Thursday, January 31, 2013

Neutral Nursery Inspiration

Don't go getting the wrong little Kennedys are expected any time soon. But, I've officially reached the age when every single one of my friends is pregnant and nursery planning. I've been exchanging ideas with one friend, in particular, about neutral, sophisticated nurseries and I find the idea of it an inspiring challenge.

Is it weird if I think it might be my calling to be a nursery designer? Seriously, let me know if you want help! I love imagining spaces that are soothing for mom and for baby. Here are some scenarios I've dreamed up:

Sophisticated, Gender Neutral
Sophisticated Baby

Okay, calling this gender neutral might be a stretch with some of the fabric choices, but for at least that first year before a baby boy starts exerting his manliness, I think you could pull this off as a boy's nursery or a girl's nursery.
  1. Paint walls Sherwin Williams' "Rainwashed," a soothing blue-gray-green shade.
  2. Use Etsy, thrift stores or antique shops to find a calm landscape painting. It will give the room some gravitas and maybe inspire the baby's imagination.
  3. An origami pendant lamp gives the room some cool, along with gentle, diffused lighting.
  4. A trio of greige, silvery-blue fabrics can round out the room, used for curtains, bumper covers, the cribskirt or the changing pad cover. These are from herehere and here.
  5. With a pretty cushion, this old-fashioned wicker rocking chair would give the room warmth and feel connected to older generations.
  6. I have a weakness for pretty Jenny Lind cribs. They just look classic to me.
  7. Provide extra seating and even a little table for the wee one with a pouf.
Worldly Girl's Room
Girly Neutral nursery

For the sophisticated future world traveler, a selection of fabrics from cultures around the world: a suzani-lite fabric, a spotted ikat and an equestrian toile. To bring it all together, a print reading "I love you around the world and back again." Indeed.
  1. Walls painted Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter.
  2. Fabric, left to right, herehere and here.
  3. A super fancy (albeit expensive) glider.
  4. The Jenny Lind crib.
  5. This is a vintage-inspired chandelier, but you can usually find cheaper versions of the real thing at antique stores. I love the reminds me of something Sally would have on "Mad Men."
  6. A pink leather pouf.
  7. I might actually have to buy myself a beautiful stuffed swan.
  8. A lovely poster from Etsy.
Glam Girl Nursery
Glam Girl Nursery

Since the baby frankly won't remember the look of her nursery, why not make it a glamorous place for mom to enjoy?
  1. Nate Berkus fabric, gray fabric from Joann's and beautiful dove grey Dwell fabric.
  2. Walls painted Revere Pewter, the perfect greige. Want to get really fun with it? Paint stripes.
  3. A gorgeous glider.
  4. Jenny Lind crib (again).
  5. A beautiful Dash & Albert dhurrie.
  6. An IKEA shelf that can hold books, toys, sheets and clothes.
Whew. What is it about nursery design that gets us ladies so pumped? Maybe the idea of designing the perfect little world for a baby to be welcomed to the world. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wine Club Visits Todd Jurich's Bistro

Last week, the Wine Club gals headed to Norfolk for Restaurant Week. We enjoyed a dinner at Todd Jurich's Bistro, one of the fancier restaurants in town. I love going to nice restaurants once in a while because they inspire me with their ingredient combos and presentation. I managed to snag a few (crappy) shots, for your cooking inspiration.

I started with a classic caprese salad, but this was with marinated tomatoes, burratta, basil and cippollini onions. It was delicious, and came with a little crostini buried under all those tomatoes.

For my entree, I had delicious housemade fusilli pasta covered with a sauce of tender lamb and porcini mushrooms. You never realize what a difference fresh pasta makes until you have it.

Lauren had this delicious salmon topped with tomatoes and onions.

And Erica had filet mignon with the most delicious truffle fries ever.

Forgive the terrible pic, but I was just so excited to dig into my bread pudding with whiskey creme. 

And the rest of the girls enjoyed dark chocolate pots de creme with caramelized bananas on top. And now I suddenly want banana chocolate chip me while I get to that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beef Bourguignon...Almost

Just like the rest of you, I read "Julie and Julia" a million years ago and I've been meaning to make beef bourguignon ever since. Its very name makes it sound like the Mt. Everest of cooking, but fear not, it's not too hard....unless it turns out you're missing half the ingredients like I always am.

Ina Garten told me to start by frying up some bacon in my dutch oven, but I found, naturally, that my bacon had gone bad. Story of my life...that's what happens when I thought I was making this weeks ago. But I pressed on, searing the beef and setting it aside.

In the same pot, I tossed in pearl onions and carrots with salt and pepper, then cooked them until they were just getting soft and added minced garlic, which I cooked for a couple minutes.

The part that came next was the scariest part, as it always is: lighting cognac on fire!

I poured the cognac in, stood back, went to light it on fire and then...nothing happened. Until it did, and then I screamed a little. I just let it burn off. I then added nearly an entire bottle of red wine. Pinot Noir or Cote du Rhone is recommended, but of course I wasn't prepared for that. So Cab Sauvignon it was! I also added beef broth until the meat was almost covered.

The entire dish went into the oven, preheated to 250. I then let it bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, then added a mixture of butter and flour to thicken the sauce. I brought the mixture to a boil, let it simmer for 15 minutes and then spooned it over a toasted piece of sourdough bread.

It was all delicious. I will admit the meat was tougher than I would've liked...I probably seared it too long in the beginning. But ultimately, it was scrumptious and great winter snow day eating.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fashion Review: SAG Awards

The SAG Awards are definitely the also-ran of awards shows when it comes to fashion. How else to explain the amount of black dresses? But still, there were some shining accomplishments and groan-worthy disappointments. My reactions:

Best Dressed
Amanda Seyfried looked glamorous, yet easygoing in this form-fitting navy dress by Zac Posen. I love the necklace choice, and no one rocks the Veronica Lake hairsdo quite like she.

Jessica Chastain wins my Most Improved award...she has struggled pretty mightily with getting her look right since she started the awards show circuit last year. This was her most successful look thus far, in my opinion, and I thought her red Alexander McQueen gown was a perfect reference for that other va-va-voom Jessica...Rabbit, of course.

I haven't yet found the designer, but Viola Davis looked glorious in this turquoise gown. I really think this is the color she should wear everywhere from now on. Can you imagine if she wore turquoise as often as Tina Fey wears black? It would be delightfully crazy.

Kerry Washington looked like a delicate ballerina in this beautiful gown by Rodarte. The backside, on camera, was ruffled and that gave me a little pause, but she still looks gorgeous.

Just when I've grown my hair out, Marion Cotillard comes along with the chicest bob to tempt me to chop off my locks all over again. She looked extremely elegant and modern in this Christian Dior dress, which photographed blue, but almost appeared more green on screen. 

I still can't get completely on board with the short dress under a sheer skirt trend, but I couldn't deny Anne Hathaway's Giambatista Valli gown was frothy and elegant and made her look a little like a modern version of a 50s movie star.

I like how Helen Hunt sort of vanishes for years at a time and then reemerges, looking basically the same. I thought this silver gown was perfect for her coloring, her shape and her attitude. She looks strong, like it's her own armor, no?

Gold is really Jennifer Garner's color, don't you think? She looked fresh and pretty in this simple Oscar de la Renta dress.

I thought Naya Rivera looked just the right mix of classy and sexy in her Donna Karan Atelier gown, and her hair and makeup are just perfect. This was the first time she really made an impact on me with a red carpet look.

Nina Dobrev never seems to get any time or attention on E!, but when I see her gowns pop up in the style pics, I'm always impressed. Her Elie Saab dress pops, looks elegant, but sexy and modern. 

Worst Dressed or Most Disappointing

This peach/orange/Nickelodeon gown by Kaufman Franco on Jane Krakowski just looked a little old, a little crazy and just generally not like something I want to see on my TV in high-def. 

 I don't even really hate January Jones' Prabal Gurung's interesting and intriguing. But as a look, I hate it with the Ziggy Stardust hair and the ever-present bitchface. Sorry life has been so kind to you, January!

Claire Danes had a bit of a misstep with this mod Givenchy one-shoulder dress. The dark lipstick is on trend, but looks frankly weird off the runway.

Her costar Morena Baccarin is gorgeous and has an amazing body, but this Basil Soda dress looked a little like an off-the-rack Medusa costume. The slit + see-through panels + printed fabric just looks trashy to me.

Michelle Dockery needs a stylist, stat. She always looks a bit messy, and this vintage Chado Ralph Rucci black gown is no exception. It looks wrinkly, but more than that, the side boob situation was deplorable. She has no support in this gown and she deserves better.

 Sigourney Weaver's satin black gown was equally unflattering. I told my husband I wasn't even sure where her boobs were in there, but it's just not her best turn on the red carpet.

I don't hate the cut of Rose Byrne's Valentino gown, and with her hair, she looked like a real Old Hollywood star from the 30s. But the print just isn't great, and didn't film well on camera. I also think it could have used a boost from some jewels, like a jeweled belt, cuffs or hairpin.

What did you think? Did anything stand out as particularly great or bad to you, or — worse — did nothing stand out? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Best v.140

Warhol and Basquiat at Indochine, by Jean-Philippe Delhomme

After having a go-go January so far, I was so relieved to just be a total and complete couch potato this weekend. Sean and I watched a bunch of movies and enjoyed a snow day on Friday. I got caught up on the DVR. It was blissful. Here are some links I enjoyed this week:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Jams of the Week

Trailer Jam: the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis"

I'm a pretty huge Coen Brothers geek...they can do no wrong in my book, even when they misstep a bit. But a movie about beatniks in Greenwich Village? No missteps there...I absolutely can't wait.

Outfit Jam: Mrs. O's Thom Browne Coat

What a debut into womenswear for Thom Browne! I loved the sleek coat our First Lady wore for the inauguration on Monday, and immediately thought, "Dang! Where do I get myself a subtle patterned coat?" Not so easy, but I could at least probably get my hands on some purple leather gloves. Check out all the First Lady's looks on one of my favorite blogs, Mrs. O.

Music Jam: The Lone Bellow

I read about this group last week, then saw them perform their beautiful harmonies on Conan. But I loved the song even more when I found out the band's members are from Virginia and the girl singer went to William & Mary! I love rooting for fellow Virginians, so I'm excited to see how the buzz builds for them.

Movie Jam: "Silver Linings Playbook"

We've seen most of the nominated movies with a couple exceptions, but I think "Silver Linings Playbook" is my favorite so far. Don't get me wrong..."Zero Dark Thirty" was tense and brilliant; "Argo" was fun and thrilling; "Lincoln" was epic and masterful. But "Silver Linings Playbook" is the only one that left me actually gushing as we left the theater. See it if you can!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today I Like ... Downton Abbey's 1920s Look

Have you been loving the third season of Downton Abbey (trailer included if you somehow don't know what I'm talking about)? I have always loved the 1920s, so from the first episode this year, I was pumped to see the finger waves, the sparkly jewels, the dropped waist, the chiffon and all the pretty satin wedding dresses.

I don't think it's any exaggeration to say the 20s are about to have a major Moment with a capital M in 2013. Between Downton Abbey and the upcoming adaptation of The Great Gatsby, I'm seeing the influence hitting the runways and already trickling down to merchants. If you're feeling the inspiration like me, here are some pieces to bring the jazz age into your closet.

Get the Look
20s Style

  1. Peter Pan collar blouse, $30 at Delia's.
  2. Deco embellished top, $79 at Asos.
  3. Accordian pleat midi dress, $138 at Anthropologie.
  4. Cloche hat, $25 at Nordstrom.
  5. Barrette, $78 by Marc by Marc Jacobs.
  6. Earrings, $180 by Lulu Frost.
  7. Birdcage pump, $70 at DSW. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Best v.139

Photo of Marilyn Monroe by Sam Shaw

Whew, what a week. Thank you for your patience. Life at the moment: laundry on the floor, Christmas decorations STILL up (ugh, shameful), and I've worked the last two Saturdays. Hoping this week life will slow down just a little bit! Here are some links I've enjoyed around the web lately:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bear With Me

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. The truth is, we suffered a death in my family last week that took me to New Jersey for a funeral. During that time, we also learned of a serious illness in another part of our family, and then on the way home, learned of the tragic and untimely death of a family friend. I'm feeling a little unmoored by the whole experience, and left with little to say.

What I will say is this: It's impossible to walk away from a funeral and not want to be a better person who doesn't waste a day. So I'll be thinking about that for the next little while. Hugs and kisses to you all, and please spread them to your loved ones for me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Celebrity Wines

There are famous winemakers, like Robert Mondavi or the irreplaceable Charles Shaw (haha!), and then there are famous people who have decided to make wine. We decided to see how celebrity wineries stack up...although few celebrities could compare with pretty Maya,  my new kitty friend.

We've tried Matthew Fox wine before, and while we're pretty convinced the winery has nothing to do with the guy who played Jack on Lost, we like to imagine there's a relation. It's surprisingly good and super cheap.

You gotta give Drew credit...even if her wine tasted terrible, its label will attract your eye. Luckily, it doesn't taste terrible. It's a little sweet for pinot, but refreshing and easy to drink. Apparently Barrymore Wines were inspired by her journeys through Italy.

I marched into my local Total Wine and asked if they had any celebrity-owned winers. The super smart lady said, "We just got some Trump wine about that?" Um, sold. I imagined it would taste like spray tan with metallic undertones, but it's actually not too bad. That's because the Trump family bought the former Kluge Wineries near Charlottesville and just slapped their name on the wine. The simply red was not really noteworthy or memorable, but it wasn't a disaster.

There's a surprisingly large contingent of race car driver wineries, including Jeff Gordon and Mario Andretti. Jen brought Childress Vineyards' sweet muscadine, which is this one for dessert. Childress is committed to putting North Carolina wines on the map. 

There's a reason Francis Ford Coppola's wines are sold almost everywhere...and it's not name recognition. His wines are legitimately good! This sauvignon was crisp and refreshing, with a little effervescent zip that had me pouring a second and third glass. 

To get in the celebrity spirit, Jen made some celebrity dishes, including Rachel Zoe's apricot mustard-glazed salami. If you've watched the show, you'll remember it's the only thing she makes and everyone loves it. It was delish!

We also had Dolly Parton's garlic cheese biscuits...

Courtney Cox's currant scones...

John Wayne's green chile squares...

And Guy Fieri's spinach salad with pear and pomegranate, drizzled with honey and dressing. Super great!

Curious what other celebrities have slapped their names on some labels? You might be very, very surprised. For my money, I think Francis Ford Coppola's held on to his status as a legend among this group, but Drew's wine is a close second.