Monthly Archives: October 2010

Roasted Potatoes, Poupourri You Can Eat

To be fair this is not so much of a “recipe” as it is a suggestion.  

I know that this weekend is dedicated to running around for last minute costumes, carving pumpkins, excessive makeup, buying candy, consuming lots more candy, and indulging on some other celebratory vices.  And that is all good.  But, the weekend is long, and eventually you’ll want something that is healthy, and easy.  This is so easy that while you’re setting your hair in curlers and finishing the details of your meat dress this can cook.

Roasted Potatoes is the most homey non-recipe recipe there is.  I like to mix a large variety of potatoes (white, red, purple, sweet, yellow) and chop them all up into chunks that are about 1/4 – 1/3 of an inch thick.

Set the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  And get chopping. 

Ta da!  All chopped.  When all the chopped potatoes are in a bowl drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some Kosher salt, crack some black pepper.  
Okay, now here is where you have some creative license.  Are you feeling traditional?  How about some rosemary and thyme.  Want some heat?  Sprinkle on some cayenne.  Want Italian flavors?  Try oregano, parsley, and maybe some  finely grated Parmigiana-Reggiano, or do as we do and go a little crazy with the Old Bay.  There is no right or wrong amount, but you’ll want to see the flecks of flavor on each piece of potato.  This is truly an instance of “flavor to taste”.

Throw in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, the longer it’s in there the more browned the edges will become, again this is a personal preference.  Also, I am going to again recommend mixing up the variety of potatoes, they each have a different flavor and texture and so all together they are like a little (healthy) party in your mouth.
Enlarged to show flavor intensity detail!
Happy Halloween, this year instead of a pre-trick or treating peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or pizza (which are all more than fabulous), mix it up with this!

Halloween is Full of Surprises

Four Years Ago Today I met Mark.  Let me tell you how we got there.

In high school my fall midterms always conveniently fell right on Halloween, so my teenage Halloweens were spent at the dining table in my parent’s house with text books and loose leaf paper.  
Then I went to college.

I was very lucky to be matched (fate has a weird way of finding you the right roommates) with girls who would plan, and seek out the most perfect Halloween/Holiday/Tuesday night.  Freshman year we were all still getting our footing and typically went out in a pack of 8+ girls, so the costumes were a bit “home sewn” as Tim Gunn might say.  That year I was a flapper, with a top from Loehmann’s, a skirt borrowed from a girl on dorm floor, and a boa that I was magnetically pulled towards.

Sophomore year I was home for a wedding, no costume, but a great dress none the less.

Junior year.  This is is where it really begins.  There were just the four of us (Jaci, Cara, Liz) and we decided we’d make more impact together than we would apart.  We all had our own motives for a Halloween costume; and I won’t out anyone else, but I personally set out to look cute in a costume, the scary and funny is not for me.

We bought this:
Ghostbuster Costume via Dressy Costumes
We made this: 
You can’t tell but those jumpsuits were taken apart, taken in, and hemmed into very chic Halloween Couture dresses.

It’s Senior Year.  Time to go out strong.  We all four live together for the first time.  We have become more than just roommates and friends, we became a troupe.
A troupe with a friend who is a Disco Alien
We went out for a bar crawl starting at Ozio, a bar I had never been to before and have only since been back during my bachelorette party).
And that’s where I met Mark.  I was with my best friends, in costume, in a bar that I would never normally go to.  He was with his best friend, in costume, in a bar that he had never been to before. I think looking back we were both a bit anti-Halloween that year.  I definitely put up a fight on the costume, and the plans.  But, again, fate has a funny way of making the right matches.

I asked him what he was supposed to be.  (He looked like Tony Montana (Scarface) but was actually dressed as Pablo Eskobar, if you do a little research you’ll see the costume is fairly universal.)  He asked me if I was dressed as Winnie Cooper (Wonder Years).  
I told him I was a “rock star” – and that was the “hook”.   He left his friends and joined our party and that night we changed numbers, shared dances and shared a kiss.

Since then we have dressed up as the Dukes of Hazzard and Olympians, (last year we were in South Beach for wedding planning).

I am lucky for friends who pushed me to embrace the night, and I am very lucky for a partner, best friend and husband who pushes me to embrace everything in life.

I hope your Halloween provides as many treats as mine did, and continues to do.

Happy Halloween and Happy Anniversary to my Husband, I love you.

Couples in Costume

Halloween is just four days away!  Oh you didn’t get a costume yet?  Maybe you forgot that Halloween is always on October 31, maybe you got busy, maybe you just couldn’t decide what you wanted to be this year.

It is too late to order something online, and all that is left in the stores is a witch’s hat and a sexy nurse’s outfit – boring!  If you and your love are dressing up this year for Halloween here are five easy to execute on a budget ideas.  The couple that dresses together stays together!
All of these costume ideas are built off of items that you probably already own, and every piece is less than $30.00, and able to be worn again – score!

Since it is “Wedding Wednesday” we had to start with a Vegas Bride and Groom.  This costume just screams wedded bliss on the fly, and this time what happens in Vegas comes home with you.
 What couple is more recognizable than Brad and Angelina?  You and your beau can pull from your own wardrobe, lots of gray and black, but these accessories put it own the top.  If you’re baby-free don’t forget the Brangelina babydoll.
Maybe you and your beau are complete opposites, but together you’re the perfect match.  Just like Danny and Sandy.  Layer on the black, add some Grease, and get dancing!

Are you ready to go back in time?  All the way back to Bedrock?  This costume is a bit more DIY; take the togas you made in college and grab your Sharpie marker to make up the perfect Fred and Wilma.

Or, go for glamour as the ultimate glamour girl with her ultimate boy toy: Barbie and Ken.  Load on the color and the 80’s makeup to become the Queen and King of Pink.

Happy Halloween!

Stuffed Mushrooms for Last Minute Appetizer

Stuffed Mushrooms are the kind of appetizer that takes no time to make, you’re likely to have all of the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, and they are delightful bite full of flavor.

Stuffed Mushrooms Ingredients:
15 medium Baby Bella Mushrooms (a whole container)
2 tbsps of Olive Oil
1/3 cup of Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp of Skim Ricotta Cheese
2 tbsps grated parmesean
2 tsps of italian seasoning
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add chopped basil, or parsley, chopped garlic
First rinse and rub all of the mushrooms and let them dry.  Remove all of the stems and reserve.  Take the stems and chop them to a small chop.  

In a small bowl add all of the seasonings, cheese, bread crumbs and olive oil.  Add to that the chopped mushrooms.

With a fork mix all of the ingredients.  This recipe is sort of the exact opposite of baking; you can swap out other ingredients, you can change the seasoning, want more spice, less spice, no cheese, more veggies, this is a great clean out the pantry in a flash recipe.

Prepare the oven to 400 degrees and put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Turn the mushrooms cavity down and lightly oil the outside of the mushrooms, and sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper.  With a small spoon, or of course your fingers, stuff the mushrooms to the top.

Bake for twenty minutes.  Allow to cool, just long enough so that when you pop an entire mushroom in your mouth and it’s not so hot that you have to do that “it’s too hot” dance.  Enjoy!

Inspiration via France

A few weeks ago The Sartorialist featured what he called the “Shoe of the Season”; the Valentino Studded Kitten Heel.  He wasn’t kidding.  

Photo via The Sartorialist
They are ladylike with an edge.  The studded detail elevates the feminine kitten heel and pointed toe without going over board.  I love the idea of wearing them with trousers for day, and then when the day turns to night, it’s surprise.

Not surprisingly this pair is a little out of reach, but there is a lot of more affordable options that is inspired by the Valentinos.  If you set out in search of a similar style you’ll want to focus in on the more feminine shaped shoes with a slim heel and delicate straps.  The look is more lady with an edge, than biker chick or rock and roll roadie.

Happy Shopping, make this fall fabulous!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, Better When Homemade

File this simple recipe under the category “Better when made at home”.  Oatmeal is the comfort food of champions when the weather starts to turn, but I will be the first to admit that plain oatmeal is really just PLAIN.  So, I turned to an old favorite, apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
1 large apple
1 cup of whole, plain oatmeal
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of apple cider
1/4 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of cinnamon sugar
1/4 tsp of kosher salt

I like gala apples, or braeburn apples, or fiji apples, I like anything with a tartness and some crisp in the bite.  Chop up the apples in to a small chop, but not too small so that they melt away – keeping them a little bit larger will add another dimension to the texture of the oatmeal.
In a small pan add a pat of butter and let it begin to melt.  Add in the chopped apples, and let them cook for about 2 minutes.  Add some cinnamon and sugar to get the juices flowing.  

When the heat really starts to kick in add the apple cider and stir.  The infusion of liquid and sugars will slow the cooking and also create a more caramelized texture.

While the apples are cooking you have a pot of water boiling.  When the 2 cups of water has reached a boil add the 1 cup of dry oatmeal, lower to medium heat and stir.  You’ll want to keep an eye on the oatmeal so you’ll know when it is “done” for your standards.  After about five minutes you should be there but you can take the pot off the heat and see if it’s thick enough.

When ready add a big scoop of the cooked apples, and enjoy.  It’s not quite fireside weather yet in DC, but when it is you can bet what I’ll be eating

Madonna, The Mother of Reinvention, an Ico

Madonna has never been my icon, but there is absolutely no denying that the Mother of Pop Music is also the Mother of Reinvention.  In the span of her career no other artist has transformed their look so seamlessly, and stayed so true to their personal style.  Who would A Virgin could become a Geisha and then a Disco Cowgirl.  That is Madonna.

There is a ton of inspiration to be found in Madonna, and not just for Halloween.  Certain signature staples like a structured corset black dress, sequins, and fishnet stockings have always been Madonna. 
In the 80’s Madonna rocks leggings, layered jewelry, virginal white and then bold neons, oversized hair accessories and lace.  Watch out for the lace, it becomes a signature.

In the Mid 90’s Madonna identifies with another platinum icon, Marilyn and then she finds Tom Ford.  It is almost safe to assume that in the 1990’s Madonna saves Gucci from financial peril.  Nearly fully covered in a shirt and pants, she still oozes Madonna.  She also begins to infuse a vintage aesthetic to her wardrobe as she films and later promotes Evita.
Madonna in Gucci in 1995

Madonna discovers Kabballah and Yoga.  Brittney and Christina want to also be like a Virgin and thus Madonna goes back in time and back to the gym to look the youngest and be the most fit.  Her wardrobe in the early 2000s is inspired by disco glamour (color, sequin), and fitness (track suits, leggings, leotards).

Madonna in 2005
Today, at 52 years old, she is Mother Madonna.  She is still a rock star, but she has added to her resume fashion designer with daughter Lola, humanitarian, and she continues to be a filmmaker.  Her wardrobe today is a sophisticated representation of the past three decades.  She still favors body conscious fits, sexy details, ultra feminine pieces but it has a more practical presentation to keep up with her travels and life.

Madonna and Lourdes
“The history of women in popular music can, pretty much, be divided into before and after Madonna.”  – Susan Sarandon

The Most Important Dress to Date

When I reviewed Spring 2011 Fashion Week I touched on how the fashion cycle is a full season ahead; in the world of bridal it is a full year ahead.  Brides are instructed to always have selected their wedding dress no less than six months prior to getting married.  I bought my dress on June 6, 2009 – my wedding date was January 23, 2010 and you wouldn’t believe the shock from the store attendants.

Anyway, as we are fully into Fall 2010 it is time to look towards Fall 2011.  This week was Bridal Market in New York, and through the power of the Internet it’s like we are all able to attend.

Here are my favorites, so far:

Seriously, I love this dress.  I love the structure, the cut outs, the keyhole at the bust.  I would love it even more Red Carpet in a metallic, or a black.  I’ll take it in my size; thanks Angel!
Angel Sanchez
I love this dress.  It reminds me a glamorous swimsuit with an even more glamorous sarong wrapped just so elegantly at the hip.  I like the metallic sheen and the delicate tied bow at the hip.
Priscilla of Boston
The following bridal gowns are for the following brides:

This reminds me of the punk rock princess.  The dress is all princess, and the styling has just enough edge to keep it fun.  I hope she is secretly wearing a pair of Converse under all of that.
Jewel by Priscilla of Boston
This is the dress I pick for the White (as in Snow White) Wedding.  I can’t ID for sure the fabric of the skirt but it reminds me of fresh, powdery snow.  The simplicity of the bodice is a perfect balance to the drama of the skirt.
Angel Sanchez

This is so classic bride.  I love simple shape.  P.S. what you don’t see is the intricate cut outs across the back.

Angel Sanchez
I love this shape for bride who wants to walk on the edge.  She wants to play with fashion, she wants an awesome pair of shoes, and want to show of her legs all night long.  It also doesn’t hurt that it reminds me of the skirt Carrie wears when she bumps into Aidan in Morocco, err, Dubai.

For the dreamy bride, this dress is a dream come true.  The layers are whimsical and ethereal.  She looks like she is floating in style.
Monique Lhuillier
For the bride with aspirations to float down the aisle like Marion Cotillard, a la her John Paul Gaultier 2008 gown.  Love the scales down the skirt.
No matter the style, it is great to see bridal taking a cue from high fashion.  On her wedding day a bride is any thing: a movie star, a model, a princess, and luckily she’ll have no trouble dressing the part.

What style do you favor most?

On Finding Inspiration

Thirty years ago today my parents got married.  

My dad had the remnants of an Afro, my mom had stick straight hair and wore a simple polyester gown.  They were engaged for nine weeks – not a lot of time to plan a wedding by today’s standards but long enough to plan a marriage.

My bouquet wrapped with lace from my mom and mom’s veils,
My parents follow in the footsteps of their parents; my maternal grandparents have been married for 56 years and my paternal grandparents for 62 years.  As I grew up I would observe my grandparents, and the “funny” things they would do, and now that I am older I see the same things in my own parents.  
They look after each other.  They have stories and memories that could fill books.  They do the little things; pick up the dry cleaning, make the perfect cup of coffee, prepare a sandwich just the right way.  They are for each other the right fit: a partner, a friend, and a love.  They still flirt with each other.  They sing, and share the same music; the music of their own lives.  They are fierce parents (and grandparents) and have created homes that welcome their children, and (grandchildren, and great-grandchildren).  They are still very much in love; my dad proves it to me every time he makes comments on my mom’s new hair cut, toned arms, great smile.  
I am so lucky to have an example of a long and fruitful marriage to look at, learn from and aspire to.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, wishing you many, many more years of love, happiness, and health.

Valentine’s Day in October

I love flowers; the way they brighten up a room, they way they smell, what they symbolize.  But, flowers die.  Ouch, so that was a rough point.  But just because they do doesn’t mean we can’t find inspiration in flowers everyday.

Today’s fashion proves that roses are red, and black, and beige.

There are high fashion options from Valentino and Milly what is not to love about this?

Valentino “Petale-Mini” Leather Tote via Nordstrom
Rose Toe Platform Suede Pump via Bergdorf Goodman
Milly Rose Skirt Dress via Bergdorf Goodman
Okay, head in the clouds and empty wallets, where else can we find rose inspiration?

English Rose Robe via Anthropologie
Torn by Ronny Kobo Lila Rose Print Dress via National Jean Company
daniblack Jasmin Rose Sandal via Endless
How about taking the roses home?

Diptyque Roses Candle via Saks Fifth Avenue
Flowering Twig Pencil via Anthropologie
Deconstructed Rose Pillow via West Elm
Come on you didn’t think we wouldn’t have a rose inspired baking tool? 
Nordick Rose Bundt Pan via
 Or go for the original, the real thing:
Sharing the Love Rose Bouquet via FTD

Wishing you a house full of roses, whether you get them as a gift, or buy them for yourself.  They are a happy, and delightful treat for anyday, Valentine’s or otherwise!