Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Best v.14

That's my mom on the far left. How cute is she? Those were her favorite going-out pants: red velveteen, I do believe. I should send this to My Parents Were Awesome. You're still awesome, Mom!

On another note, I promise I will return to cooking experimentation again soon! I've been extremely busy with work and every night I've made boring, boring not-innovative foods. In other words, living the normal life.

Sunday Best:

Friday, February 26, 2010

J. Lingnau Jewelry

I am in LOVE with J.Lingnau's jewelry. Whimsical, but simple, with great craftsmanship.

I like that her work is symbolic, but not too cute. Really gorgeous. The top necklace costs more than $1000 (eek!) but the bottom necklace of crossed fingers costs a more manageable $339.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Early Domestication Fail

My mom just shared this picture on Facebook. She said it was "first attempts at domestication." You can see by the facial expression just how much I loved it! lol.

I remember using the "microwave" as storage. That should have been a hint of what was to come.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wedding Inspiration: The Red Shoes

I totally impulse-bought these shoes from Topshop last night after seeing them in Design Sponge "Living In" column on "The Red Shoes." (I included "The Red Shoes" in my wedding inspiration board here.)

I hadn't planned on this before my heart saw them and fell in love, but I think I'm going to make them my late-night "dancing shoes" at my wedding. You know, once I've reached the point my feet can no longer stand heels. At the very least, they'll make great getaway shoes.

LOST in Translation V.4


Wowza. Last night's episode got so crazy, I pulled out my reporter's notebook and started scribbling such cryptic notes that by this morning, it looked like I was Jacob. There were so many crazy tidbits, but I think this episode really upped the ante with Sideways Jack.

Just like how last week showed us a Locke who could let things go and move on, this week's episode showed us a Jack who could think of someone other than himself FOR ONCE and recognize his demons and try to stop them. He was a father, a flawed father at that, and when he realized it, he was able to dig deep and forge a real connection with his son.

This will be all over the place, as it always is, and as always, I suggest you read Doc Jensen's much more cohesive and exhaustive recaps at Entertainment Weekly. But here are some thoughts:

* THE APPENDIX SCAR!!! Early in the episode, Jack raised his shirt and looked quizzically at the appendix scar as though it hadn't been there all his life. He asked mom where it came from and she said, "Don't you remember? You were 7..." And he had no recollection of the event. As we all know, his appendicitis kicked in on the island and he was patched up by Juliet. The fact he had no memory of the event but his mother did could have been completely innocent OR could suggest that somehow, in some way, Sideways Jack is reincarnated Island Jack and has somehow retained some elements of his previous existence. Yet somehow, his mother had a "don't you remember" answer for it; why?

*JACK'S A DAD: And his son's name is David! And he plays piano, just like Jack did. And we have no idea who his mom is, but boy didn't her house seem familiar? I thought it was Kate's post-Island house at I wrong? By the way, King David (of the Bible) was a warrior, musician and poet who wrote the Book of Psalms. He was David as in David and Goliath.

* The Annotated Alice: Jack read the book to David as a child; other bloggers have noted he also read the book to baby Aaron when he and Kate were shacked up. The book is an exhaustive explanation of all the hidden symbols, wordplay and mathematical concepts in Lewis Carroll's books about Alice. We've had many, many references to "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" on LOST and I think it's pretty easy to take the book as a hint that this Jack is another incarnation of Jack.

It's also not hard to draw on the literal interpretation of "Through the Looking Glass" in the show. Island Jack looked into a mirror at the end of the episode and saw his own home reflected back and went batshit crazy.

* Jacob's message for Jack (as interpreted through Hurley): "You have what it takes." Jack's father always said quite the opposite, and as predicted, it got a rise out of Jack. This planted another seed in my mind that Island Christian is, in some way, Jacob. But then again, he could just as easily be the MIB. Ugh. Confusion.

* Claire as New Rousseau: So I think we're all agreed Claire is the New Rousseau. But to what degree? Rousseau was crazy, but she still could distinguish those who had the "sickness" from those who did not. I always figured she was crazy because a) she was tormented and her baby was stolen and b) she's French.

Claire, however, seems positively delusional crazy. Her interaction with Jin was sooooo similar to Rousseau's first encounter with Sayid, right down to the piles of explosives and shrine to missing baby. She talked about not being alone and introduced her friend, the MIB, who was all like, "Sup, it's me. Dun dun DUN." She also talked about being taken to the temple, branded (like Sayid was two weeks ago) and poked at.

There are so many things that don't add up about this.
1) Why does she not realize she left the camp and abandoned her baby? Is it because she is infected with "the sickness" which seems to be paranoia?
2) I don't frankly buy Claire becoming renegade Rousseau. Rousseau was always tough as nails, but Claire was always needing someone to help or rescue her.

I think she was enticed by the vision of Christian (as we know), who might have been an appearance of the Man in Black, and through his Smokey Magic, became completely confused about everything. Claire was always quick to grow angry and distrustful, and that seems to be exacerbated by the fact she's flat out CRAZY now.

One last note about Claire: She's in Christian's Sideways World will. What do we think about that?

* Hurley's Theories: How awesomely rewarding was it to hear Hurley say maybe Adam and Eve were the LOSTIES after some time travel gone bad? Is that a producer's wink at us or is he right?

* HOLY CRAP THE LIGHTHOUSE: So apparently there was this huge lighthouse right near the caves that no one discovered. OR as Hurley sagely said, "Guess we weren't looking for it." In other words, guess we weren't looking for answers about why we were here. We were looking for any way off this godforsaken place." Which can be further extrapolated to the questions all of us ask (or avoid) about "why we're here."

I thought it was fascinating they immediately cut to the conservatory, where Sideways Dogen told Jack, "It's hard to watch and be unable to help." Story of Jack's life, isn't it? But that's a gift fatherhood could give Jack: restraint.

Meanwhile, Jack went apeshit when he saw the dial/mirror combo that had the names of the LOSTIES, some crossed out, and at 23 degrees, his own name and his childhood home. He didn't like the idea Jacob had been watching, and totally ruined the whole thing. But Jacob seemed nonplussed when he told Hurley that, basically, some people can accept things on faith and some things need to learn lessons for themselves.

Again, story of Jack's life. Island Jack is again established as the Man of Science who needs proof. Strange since only a couple weeks ago, he seemed to be giving in to the mystical properties and unexplained elements of the island.

So what do we think all this means? I think this episode gave more support to my personal theory that the Sideways World is not just an alternative version of events, but events informed by the past memory of Island World. I think it's a form of reincarnation, perhaps not adhering to the Hindu ideas we're already familiar with. What do you guys think is going on?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Pattern Repeats

Gasp! How gorgeous is this shot of blue patterns and wedding accessories? A very good eye on that wedding photographer, for sure.

Spotted at 100 Layer Cake.

Decor Score!

I had the best shopping experience last week. I've had this Twinkle Living chevron pillow on my wish list for years. It's $50 and I just really, really struggle with spending $50 on one pillow. I LOVE chevrons and I really, really love seafoamy-blue, so I kept fantasizing the day would come that I could own my fantasy pillow.

Well, imagine my delight when I was strolling through my local Target and spotted a seafoam chevron toss pillow in the Dwell section of bedding. I flipped it over and saw the other side has a frou-frou rosette and some birds, which means 2-in-1 styles. Talk about bang for your buck.

To add to my joy, I looked at the price tag: $25. Which means I could buy TWO pillows for the price of one from Twinkle Living.

Happy Little Chevron Pillow. It doesn't even really go that well with my present pattern scheme, but it will someday.

How about you guys? Any awesome shopping triumphs lately?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Best v.13

I'm sorry to say I don't remember where I found this room — either Design Sponge or Apartment Therapy, but I can't get over how it's such a great kid's room. I love the whimsy and the birdhouses with the painted tree? Pure genius, cheap and easy.

Sunday Best:
  • A second look at Mary Todd Lincoln.
  • You know those days you oversleep and your hair just has to go dirty? Oscar Blandi has a new, better solution. Want.
  • Proof Papyrus is the most overused font.
  • Who knew girls in bow ties could be so charming?
  • Could the Vancouver Olympic logo be a symbol of death?
  • A profoundly wonderful profile of Roger Ebert.
  • To get you pumped about this week's figure skating: Oksana Baiul skates the Black Swan in 1994 Olympics. Breathtaking!

Friday, February 19, 2010

LOST in Translation V.3


Remember that Locke from the first season? He was great....

Wow. It really took forever for me to recap this week's episode didn't it? Blame Evan Lysacek and Shaun White. It's their fault.

But it's also LOST's fault a little bit. I didn't really know what to say about this week's episode, except HOLY NUMBERS, BATMAN!

My by far favorite moment was the reveal of Jacob's crazy, scrawled cave list of surnames. Some were crossed out, but some were not and those names belonged to our remaining heroes. Some names were shown and some were not. What to make of that?

My first assumption is that the list is compiled of "candidates" for whatever office it is that Jacob wants to fill. I'm guessing that Jacob has been long-searching for a candidate to take over his job, but why? Did he anticipate death or does he just want a break?

One of the best theories I've seen is that Jacob has died many times before (but how?) and his ashes are the powder that repels the Smoke Monster.

The Sideways world showed Locke's paths crossing with more of the island's familiar faces — Rose and Ben — but also allowing himself to accept his fate of life in a chair. It was refreshing and nice to see him let himself be cared for by Helen.

MIB-Locke (who some genius on the Internets decided to call the Lockeness Monster) was quite frightening with Richard and quite debonaire with Sawyer. What to make of Richard? Could Richard be an angel of some sort? A disciple?

I liked Richard's Big Warning to Sawyer and Sawyer's relatively blase response. What to make of Sawyer?

I feel like I'm already pretty fuzzy on this episode, so I'm going to devote a few hours to reading Doc Jensen's recap.

What were your thoughts this week? What do you think is going on with Jacob's List and the possible origin of the "numbers"?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Apple Tart

I'm sure many of you spent your Valentine's Day dressed up in a fancy restaurant, stuffing your bellies with price-fixed delicacies and wine pairings.

Sean and I are penny-pinching for the wedding and beyond that, I wanted to use my newfound cooking skills to show my love for him. So I concocted the perfect (for Sean) V-Day meal: Homemade Pepperoni Pizza and an Apple Tart!

Sean lives for apple desserts, while I'm more of a chocolate girl. I don't have a pie plate, but I do have a tart pan, so I went with Smitten Kitchen's interpretation of an Alice Waters recipe.

Start with the crust (obvi). Combine sugar, flour and butter. It will appear to be easy if you have the right tools, but for me, it involved lots of struggling to get 1/2 inch pieces of butter to reduce to pea-size balls. Really, really hoping to get a standing mixer for the wedding.

Slowly "dribble" water into the mixture and drop through your hands. Or that's what Deb says to do. I didn't know what the hell dribble meant and at no time did my dough get "ropey" or have "dry patches." But don't fear, it still came out just fine.

Once done, wrap the ball of dough in plastic and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. I went with "or so," which was about 1 hour.

Take a million years out of your life and slice up some apples. I wanted to use Golden Delicious, but do to catastrophic snowstorms in the south, none were to be had. These are Granny Smith Apples.

Take out the dough (and remember to be preheating your oven to 400, friends! Crucial!) and roll into a 14-inch circle. I found myself incapable of doing so and came up a bit short. But my general failure at math didn't let me know I had come up short until later, when one part of my crust wouldn't cover my apples. Don't make my mistakes, friends!

Line the apple slices up in your tart pan and fold the corners of your pie crust up, pinching as you go. Melt butter and brush it over the apples and crust with a pastry brush, then sprinkle sugar all over the crust and apples.

** If I had trusted my gut, I would have added some brown sugar or cinnamon for some extra depth of flavor. I might have even added some caramel. The tart is good, but I could have used the extra sweetness. **

Pop the tart in the oven for 45 minutes, rotating every 15.

While the tart is baking, take the remains of the day (i.e. the apple peels and extra bits) and put them in a pan with sugar water just filling to the top of the apples. Let it simmer for 25 minutes, then strain. This will create an apple compote syrup.

*** Make sure there is enough sugar to thicken the sauce. I definitely did not have enough, but it wasn't a disaster ***

Take the tart out when edges are brown and brush with the apple syrup all over.

READY TO EAT. So freakin' American and wholesome, isn't it?

And just so you can see, that's the pepperoni pizza.

It was a good meal and Sean enjoyed the apple dessert. I liked it okay (I'm a chocolate girl), but I will definitely make some adjustments next time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today I like ... Historic Hairsdos

My hair hates bobby pins. In a wrestling match, my hair always wins and always weasels its way out of any bobby pins' grasp.

But I can't help wishing I could pile it on top of my head and emerge with romantic hairdos like I see everywhere lately. Check out some of these lovely historic hairsdos:

I love the architecture of Virginia Woolf's hair in this shot. Plop a rhinestone hairpin in that bun and she'd be evening-ready!

I've spent the whole weekend trying to twist my hair like Vanessa Bell's in this shot. No luck yet; I need about eight more arms!

Look at these darling braids and hair bows! Proof nothing is new; it all comes back.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Raspberry Brie Bites

If you're looking for an hors d'oeuvres that will so wow your guests, so distract them, that you could probably steal from their purses without them ever noticing, this is it. I'm sure I didn't invent it, but I did improvise it: Raspberry Brie Bites.

This recipe is so easy a Sean could do it and yet, everyone will think you are incredibly sophisticated and you slave for hours in your hot kitchen. Begin by slicing a wheel of brie into teeny tiny squares.

Place the teeny tiny brie squares in puff pastry cups.

Place dollops of red seedless raspberry jam on top.

Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.

The reaction was truly incredible. Everyone fawned over them and they disappeared almost immediately. Seriously, make them NOW.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Best v.12

This week, I'm in mourning after the suicide of Alexander McQueen, one of my favorite designers. He designed the dress above, in 2008, and it is one of my all-time favorite designs ever.

When I was a little girl, I used to watch Fashion TV, hosted by Tim Blanks, every weekend on Vh1. Alexander McQueen was just getting his start then, and I loved his theatricality and dedication to bending the rules as far as they could go. Read a lovely tribute by Tim Blanks here.

On a happier note, I love this little girl, working hard on her valentines. LIFE picture from January 1942.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creme Brulee Bars

One of my former co-workers had a neighbor who brought creme brulee bars to every dinner party or event. They were amazing, and when I was thinking about what desserts to make for the dessert wine party, I thought creme brulee bars could be perfect.

I used this recipe. Start by mixing flour, sugar and softened butter.

Press the mixture into a baking dish (or pan) that hasn't been greased and pop in the oven for 20 minutes to set.

Meanwhile, stir together five egg yolks (I could write a whole entry about my trials and tribulations of separating yolks, but I won't) and a 1/4 cup of sugar.

When thick, add heavy cream and brandy. Doesn't brandy smell divine, by the way?

It should look basically like eggnog, but don't get distracted! Carry forward.

Pour the mixture over your now-set butter/flour crust.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Take out and allow to cool for an hour.

Once cooled, slice into bars. Be careful! These babies are very delicate.

Put a 1/3 cup of sugar into a pot and allow to melt on medium heat. Guess what? You just made caramel! Who knew it was so easy?

Glassy-looking caramel.

Quickly drizzle the caramel over the bars. It will harden fast, mimicking the hard shell over the soft custard that makes creme brulee so great.

The bars tasted great, but I will say the yellow color intensified and kinda freaked me out. They are also VERY sweet, so I'd imagine they won't all get consumed in my house because they are just so rich. The flavor combo is right-on though; could be great for any Francophile birthday party.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wino Dessert Party

Wino Wednesdays is back! Except it was on Thursday this week because of stupid weather. Boooo.

This time around, it was my turn to host and as per usual, I went a little crazy with the Valentine's Day-themed decor. We were having dessert wines and desserts and boy, was it sweet.

I literally made that doily garland while watching LOST...I'm a nerd.

Above, raspberry brie bites. Recipe coming this weekend!

The menu: deli spirals (the easiest, most crowd-pleasing storebought item ever), raspberry brie bites, smoked cheddar popcorn, creme brulee bars, chocolate raspberry mousse (which I unfortunately still have) and French macarons from Trader Joe's.

I dug out my grandmother's crystal. Valentine's Day was her birthday and always reminds me of her.

We tried:
  • Jackson-Triggs Icewine: an incredibly smooth, honey-like dessert wine. Very sweet but very good.
  • Verdi Peach Sparkletini: A super fun, bubbly spumante with a hint of peach. It also comes in raspberry, which I'm dying to try.
  • Harris Ruby Porto: This was my first port and I actually really loved it! I said drinking port made me feel like one of those old dudes who plays chess in a library filled with leather chesterfield sofas.
  • Butler Cassis Noir: A very tart black currant wine, excellent served over cheesecake. Very tart and earthy.
  • Banyuls: I can't read the label, so I kinda suck at this. I bet it was good though. Oops.
  • Bitch Bubbly: I was the only one who kinda like this; it was a very bubbly, berry-flavored sparkling wine. Fun, but not rich in flavor.
More pictures and recipes to come later! Big dessert wine tip: The wine should always be sweeter than the dessert you pair with it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Saltines

Nothin' new over here. You guys saw the chocolate toffee saltines here, but this is the first time I tackle the recipe myself.

Bring a cup of dark brown sugar and two sticks of butter to a boil. It will look awesome, like lava.

Pour the toffee over saltines placed in a tin foil-lined pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes until toffee has set.

Pull the bakeware out and try not to burn your thumb like I did. Pour chocolate chips over the toffee and as they melt, spread the chocolate over the top.

Let the crackers cool, then put in freezer to get the chocolate hard.

Break into pieces like you would peppermint bark and serve!

I made these for movie night the other night and one of my guests shoved an entire cracker in his mouth. This is a bad idea. He said "Omg, this is just sugar." To which I said, "Well yeah."

You've been warned!