Monthly Archives: May 2011

Beverly Hills: Get the Look

I regaled you with the high glamor experience of the Beverly Hilton, but what if you want to live like you’re on vacation?

This is the guest room and bathroom at the Beverly Hilton.

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton

Here is how to assemble the look at your own home, whether in California or Kalamazoo.

Get the Look…

Bedroom, From L-R: Camden Nailhead Headboard at Ballard Designs, Serena Bench at Ballard Designs, Hotel Collection Champagne Bedding at Macy’s, Hotel Collection Blanket at Macy’s, Crystal Ball Table Lamp at Neiman Marcus

Bathroom, From L-R: DKNY All Wrapped Up Robe at Net-A-Porter, “Elise” Dressing Mirror at Horchow, Sussex Tube Sconce at Pottery Barn, Hotel Spa Waffle Towels at Bed, Bath & Beyond, White Phaleonopsis at Gump’s, Winthrop Mirror at Bed, Bath &  Beyond

Luxe living, at home – c’est chic!

Beverly Hills, What a Thrill

After hanging in the beach towns of Huntington and Laguna Beach it was time to get back to the city.  We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway through Santa Monica to Beverly Hills.

As we got  closer, traffic seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace.

And then we realized why:

So, we had escaped DC and quick on our tail was the President, and his motorcade.  We continued towards our hotel, the Beverly Hilton and realized, there are a LOT of police nearby…  Wouldn’t you know it, the POTUS was staying at the same hotel that we were…

Now, about that hotel…  The Beverly Hilton is probably one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at.  It is not because of the top of line service (which is great), or the amazing room service, but because it knows who it is.  It is the center of Hollywood, the home of the Golden Globes and real Hollywood glamour.

The pool deck features the largest pool in Beverly Hills and at night the white wall surround becomes a swim-up movie theater playing California classic beach films.

The Beverly Hilton

The interior and exterior hallways feature stunning black and white photographs of the legends that made this town what it is.

The Beverly Hilton

The guest rooms are perfectly appointed with luxurious fabrics, glamorous details all without the sense of fuss, or stiffness of a luxury hotel.

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton

Staying at the Beverly Hilton made me understand the phrase, “Beverly Hills, What a Thrill”!

Hungry for the Weekend: The Kick off to Summer

This weekend, being Memorial Day Weekend, is the unofficial kick off to summer.  It is officially time to trade in your reds for your whites, find your favorite beer, pick up some charcoal, and find your favorites of the season’s best fruits and vegetables.

If you, like me, are more than excited for the start of summer, and “hungry” for the weekend, here are some terrific links:

Bon Appetit - June 2011

Have a delicious weekend!

Late Night Pancakes

We used to live in Arlington, VA, but in a high-rise condo, so we had the feel of city-living.  Our building was directly adjacent to an IHOP – one that we have visited on NYE, and after my bachelorette party. Now we live in a suburban enclave in DC and there are no IHOP’s within reach.

That doesn’t mean that distance quells the need for pancakes every once in a while.

The funny thing about pancakes is that you can buy a wide variety of mixes, but you’re still adding ingredients to the mix, so why not just make them yourself, from scratch?!

Late Night Healthy Pancakes – from scratch!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg
3/4 cup water/skim milk
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup apple sauce (*snack cup sized)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey

*Makes 8-10 3-4″ pancakes

In a medium sized bowl mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small bowl whisk the wet ingredients together and then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

In a griddle pan on low to medium heat add a pad of butter and when that has melted, but not burned, ladle the first scoop of batter (about 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup).

Let the pancakes cook on one side until bubbles begin to appear at the top, and then flip. Too much flipping, or too much time will create burnt little cakes.

These pancakes aren’t like the ones you get at IHOP, with big huge air bubbles, and the kind of texture that makes you think you can stuff an entire 12-inch pancake in the sides of your cheeks. These are pancakes for grown-ups (or people who call themselves grown-ups!). These are made with healthy ingredients, and no sugar, and crazy ingredients like flax, and protein rich Greek yogurt.

These are pancakes that have some bite, and you can eat for dinner, and maybe for breakfast the next day. And, you know for fun, with a lot of syrup!

Surf City Style

In Southern California it is all sun and surf, come on, Huntington Beach is nicknamed Surf City – that’s got to mean something.  When you’re there you’ve got to live like the locals; ocean ready gear, skin protecting sunblock, bold colors and light fabrics.

Surf City Style

Surf City Style Top (L-R): Turquoise or Yellow Jersey Sundress at TopShop, Volcom Stark Mark Womens Rash Guard at Tilly’s, Melissa Odabash Brussels halterneck bikini at the Outnet, Jilbere Crystal Gems Mini Rake at Sally Beauty, Ocean Potion Suncare Anti-Aging Sunblock Lotion SPF 70 at, Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray at Ulta

Surf City Style Bottom (L-R): Surf Heart Tee at Delia’s,  Women’s Elastic-Waist Board Shorts at Old Navy, Havaianas Slim Ethnic Flip Flop at Piperlime, Roxy Logo Print Beach Towel at Nordstrom, Plastic Wayfarer Sunglasses at Forever21

Stay safe and sexy on the beach this summer, Beach Bunny!

Welcome to Huntington Beach

When we arrived in LA our first stop of our winding road trip was Huntington Beach.  The laid back beach town, friendly to surfing locals and landlocked tourists was a perfect choice to unwind after a long flight.

Image via

We stayed at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, a large hotel with an island feel.  With surfboard inspiration from the wall decor to the “Do Not Disturb” signs it was clear we had arrived in Surf City.

For the first two days of our trip we shuffled through the sand on Huntington and Laguna Beach and climbed (via rental car) up the cliffs of Laguna Beach for some real estate inspiration and admiration.

In Huntington Beach we met with a high school buddy of Mark’s at what seems to be “the” place to eat in Huntington Beach, Duke’s.  The restaurant sits squarely at the base of the Huntington Beach pier and is perfect for catching sunsets like this one.

The view is amazing and the food is exactly what you would expect, Hawaiian “inspired”, beach fare: fresh fish of all kinds, rice dishes, coconut and macadamia nut everything.  The best item of the night, without question isn’t even on the menu, it was the ahi tuna tacos.  These are worth asking for, and maybe or maybe not sharing with a friend.

If Huntington Beach is a surfer’s paradise, the artist in us all would love Laguna Beach.  With homes nestled high on the cliff side and down toward the beach, Laguna offers a landscape that is hard to find elsewhere and certainly not on the East Coast.  As you drive up the cliffs of Laguna Beach it is nearly impossible to not be taken in by the beautiful homes that are buried and built into the mountain.    The only thing more breathtaking is the view.

Custom Trolley Sign at Tuvalu

Closer to sea level are the prerequisite finds in any beach town: coffee shops, souvenirs, more ice cream shops than necessary, and in particular to this town a well edited collection of galleries and boutiques.

On Forest Avenue, you’ll find my favorite Laguna Beach store, Tuvalu, and it’s across the street neighbor 230 Forest Avenue, the site of my favorite Laguna Beach meal.

Shopping then eating.  Walking into Tuvalu, I immediately felt the urge to pull a Veruca Salt and ceremoniously declare, “I want it all”.  Seriously.  If you have a lust for coastal decor and an aesthetic that is more chic than chintz, this is your place.  Even the starfish seem sophisticated.

Off to lunch – the morning overcast has lifted, the air is cool and the sun is bright.  We sat outside at 230 Forest Avenue for a delightful and delicious Pacific coast lunch.

230 Forest Avenue, at night, via 230 Forest Avenue

Mark ordered something off the specials menu, and I had the Maui Onion Soup and the Field Greens Salad.  Here is the thing, I am not normally one to order a “field greens salad” – they aren’t generally too exciting, they typically are not different than a bagged salad.  But not here, no, sir.  Much of the produce we eat, the fruits, vegetables and salad greens come from California, so when we talk about eating fresh, and local, this is the place to do it.  Each bite of each field green was bursting with flavor and good preview of the many delicious meals yet to come.

Next stop, Beverly Hills, what a thrill!

California Dreaming

A few weeks ago Mark and I headed out west to California; the land of movie stars and swimming pools.  We went to escape the allergies of the Mid-Atlantic, to get some sun on our faces and really good food in our bellies.

Travel has a funny way of revitalizing of every sense.  This trip sharpened our sense of smell as we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, delighted our sense of taste as we enjoyed food and drink along our journey, brightened our sense of sight as we stopped to take mental photographs of the idyllic and strengthened our sense of touch during a two-day yoga workshop.

In a week we visited: Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Ojai, Ventura,  Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Carmel/Monterey, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Oakland.

Over the next few posts I’ll share the hotel, food and activity highlights from an amazing vacation!  This trip was truly a California dream come true.

Hungry for the Weekend

As this week draws to a close I am more than excited for the weekend ahead: dinner party with friends, engagement party, graduation brunch.  Lots of food shared with great people, what more could I ask for?

If you’re winding down your week and also “hungry” for the weekend, here are some great links to check out:

Lady and the Tramp by Disney, via Food Republic

Have a delicious weekend!

Black and Blue, a Look for Less

First let me say that I am in LOVE with the Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2011 collection.  It’s like swoon, double take, amble mindlessly through the collection when I visit it in stores, kind of love.  However, I am not currently in the spend $300+ on a bolt of berry blue silk wrapped around me.   It’s a look I love, but I want for a lot less.

Aspire: Reara draped silk-crepe dress by Diane Von Furstenberg at Net-A-Porter, Jimmy Choo Candy Collection Clutch at Nordstrom, AO3541 by Sergio Rossi at Zappos Couture

Attain: Aqua Sleeveless Ruffle Wrap Dress at Bloomingdale’s, Effe Patent Clutch by HOBO International, Sam Edelman Novato at Zappos

What looks are you loving for summer that you want for a lot less?  Style at a steal!

Spring Vegetable Pasta

Sometimes dinner at my house is a game of what do I have in the fridge, and how much longer will it really last?  Things with major staying power get to stick around for Wednesday/Thursday night’s dinner.

This meal came out of that game.  I had fresh spring peas, two green zucchini, a chunk of parmigiana that was all, “Carly, eat me, a little bite… I’m so good,”  and some fresh basil.  All of that would be perfectly delectable with pre-made arugula and ricotta filled ravioli.

Spring Vegetable Pasta Ingredients

  • A splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • One large onion, chopped into thin rings
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 zucchini, shredded into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup of fresh (or frozen) spring peas
  • Splash of vegetable broth (about 1/4 – 1/2 cup depending on your sauce preferences)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (pepperoncino)
  • a sprinkle (or a handful) of parmigiana cheese
  • your favorite pasta

First prepare the zucchini, this is the most time consuming element so you might as well get it out of the way early.  Chop the head and “butt” of the zucchini off and with a fruit peeler peel down the length of the zucchini revealing thin strips the width of the vegetable.  Set aside.

In a large sauce pan add a swirl of the olive oil and then add the onions.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper here, and over medium/low heat let the onion soften and sweat.

(At this point put water in a separate pot to boil and follow instructions.)

Add the garlic and when that spicy, fragrant aroma fills the air – is that not the best smell? – add the zucchini.  At this point you can give the onions and zucchini a good stir, pour in the vegetable stock and cover.

When the zucchini ribbons are softer but not soggy add the peas and again give this some good stirs so that the flavors are all fully incorporated.

When plating this healthy and quick to make dinner give the vegetables one more quick drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of red pepper and cheese.