Monthly Archives: August 2011

Plum Wedding Inspiration for Fall

We’re quickly approaching fall and that means for autumn brides the planning is down to the details: choosing the just right color, for their just perfect day.  I am finding a lot of inspiration in the heavily saturated tones from the Fall runways.  A major standout is shades of red.

I have assembled an inspiration board with colors based on the beautiful colors of a plum, from the inside of light golden yellows and oranges to the outside skin of deep red.

Plum Fall Wedding Inspiration

If I am may say so myself, I love this inspiration board. I love that it is natural and earthy without being “granola” – not that there is anything wrong with that.  It playfully dances around the traditional color palette of autumn leaves, but has a sense of elegance and sophistication even though there is a kaleidoscope of colors at play.

So, what do you think?  Does this make you excited for fall?

Source: Gown, Bridesmaid, Flower Girl, Cake, Earring, Stationery, Bouquet, Plate, Drinks, Centerpiece

Black Magic for Fall 2011

It’s time to get ourselves ready, and by ourselves I mean our closets, for fall.  I have already made a visual wish list for Julie, and now I am working through my favorites themes from Fall Fashion Week 2011.

The pervasive theme for fall was bold and highly saturated color, however, we would be kidding ourselves to think that fashion would abandon the non-color, color black.

My favorites from the runway:

L - R: Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari, Milly by Michelle Smith, Michael Kors

On first glance, they have nothing in common beyond their color.  But look further… There is movement, exoticism, layering, something special.  This is not your basic black. This is high-powered, glamorous, strong, fierce and sophisticated.

And, I’d like to think, that when paired together well, these pieces exude that same kind of magic.

Black Magic - Fall 2011

Source: Maxi, Shift, Shirt, Tee, Pleat Skirt, Legging, Maxi Skirt, Jacket, Cape, Necklace, Cuff, Cuff

More color coming soon!  Are there trends you want to see visualized?  Do tell in the comments!

Fall at Home

Believe it or not, this post has nothing to do with my clumsiness, we’re here to talk about capturing fall (the season) at home.

In a post-Earthquake, and post-Irene Monday the air was a little bit cooler, the sky a little bit more overcast, the realization that fall is near that much more real.

This fall, in addition to some swoon-worthy fashion pick-ups, I am thinking about decorating at home.  I am trying to strike the right balance between being seasonal and looking like I decorate for each season.  There will be none of the following: scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, candy corn welcome mats.  Come on, people, don’t we know each other at all by now?

This is the idea:

Pottery Barn

For the kitchen I am loving these lovely screenprinted tea towels.

Studio Patro Tea Towels

I love that these textiles really convey emotion and a tactile sensory experience.  Hi, I’m Veruca Salt, and I want all of them and would love to give these as gifts.

I think this is a very clever idea for lighting a Rosh Hashanah table:

Apple Core Candles

And at the end of the day, I’ll cozy up with this to keep warm:

Cashmere Throw Blanket, Williams Sonoma

Fall just seems like such a lovely, cozy season.  Are you getting anything new, or hoping to, for your home?

Hungry for the Weekend

Well, it has been a pretty crazy week in these parts.  On Tuesday we had an earthquake, yes we live in DC, and this weekend we’re settling in for a hurricane, yes, we still live in DC.

Earthquake Devastation

A funny story about “The Earthquake,” a 5.9 with relatively very little damage: in my office building they were handing out ice cream sandwiches and bars as an end of summer treat.  My colleague and friend, grabbed one as we evacuated the building.  An ice cream sandwich just isn’t her kind of snack, she’s more of a farmer’s market girl (yea for foodie friends!), but she made me laugh when she said, “hey, I just survived an earthquake – you only live once!”

So, with that in mind – indulge this weekend, enjoy the comfort of friends, family, and home cooking, and stay safe.

If you, like me, are hungry for the weekend please, enjoy these links:

Have a delicious and safe weekend!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes – Gluten Free/Dairy Free

Sometimes you just have to do your sweet tooth a favor, and by favor, I obviously mean indulge its cravings and drown it out in chocolate.  That’s pretty much the deal with anything that is triple chocolate, like these triple chocolate cupcakes.  I made them for a family gathering, because I wanted to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions, even if cupcakes typically fall outside of a diet.  And, the beauty of these cupcakes is that, even though they are dairy and gluten free, they are awesome!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Elana’s Pantry, which is an amazing resource for anyone exploring GF baking


¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup vegan chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon kosher sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup agave nectar
Set oven to 375 degrees

Here’s the thing, with gluten free baking you might come across ingredients that seem a little “ehh” or just plain weird.  Frankly that is how I felt about the coconut flour, mainly because the smell and taste of coconut reminds me of a bottle of Banana Boat, but this high in fiber flour has no such smell or taste. So fear not!

Moving on… In a medium size bowl combine the coconut flour and coca powder, salt and baking soda.

In a separate and larger bowl, blend the oil, eggs and agave.  Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and add the chocolate chips.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into muffin wrappers and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure they are done and fully baked.

While the beautiful and very chocolatey cupcakes are cooling, get to work on the frosting.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting


3/4 cup dairy-free spread (Earth-Balance is also soy-free)
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl mix the coca powder, and powdered sugar over the spread with a spoon.  Add the vanilla and then use a blender to fully incorporate and achieve the soft, whipped consistency of butter cream, you know without the butter.

Pour yourself a big, BIG glass of milk/soy milk/rice milk/almond milk and enjoy!

A Blushing Bride

This weekend was “The Reality Starlet/Professional Athlete Wedding of the Year”.  I say that in quotes because I truly think, cheesy as it may be, that on your wedding day, when you are the bride, your own wedding is always the “wedding of the year” with any hope, it is the “wedding of your lifetime.”  With that said, I will watch the E! Wedding Special in October.

In the previews I really liked Kim’s two-toned theme and it inspired me, with a slight variation, instead of black and ivory I chose black and blush.

A Wedding in Blush

Two thoughts: I think sometimes people see a pink wedding as being very specifically feminine, which is easy to imagine, but I think when paired with black and pared down in simple lines, and clean shapes it is actually a very lovely compromise, just like marriage should be.

So, what do you think?  Could you have a wedding in just two colors?

Source: Gown at StylePage, Invitation, Tablesetting, Centerpiece, Desserts, Bouquet

Fall Wish List, for Julie

The other day I had the following conversation with my sister, Julie:

Me: What is on your fall wish list?

Julie: Replace my Chinese Laundry brown boots with boots that I enjoy with jeans, leggings and skirts b/c those don’t go with skirts and I need to be able to wear boots to work, colored denim – in a red and maybe an awesome blue or mustard or something – no jackets, I’m prob good on scarves, ooh I kind of want a suede flat – like a boat shoe or loafer, obviously more maxi dresses and like 3-4 awesome sweaters in bright fall colors – purple, green, etc – and that’s it for now

Me: great job, nice selections

Julie: Thank you

Me: I particularly like how you say, “enjoy” with skirts

What I like about this look: It is a mix of a lot of things, with a focus on color.  Julie often has a bolder vibe than I do, but walks the fine line between DC conservative and bohemia.

Julie’s Fall
Source: Maxi Dress, Stripe Dress, Sweater Dress, Polish, Loafers, SlippersCardigan, Sequin Top, Sequin Cardigan, Envelope, Maxi Skirt, Midi Skirt, Skinny Jean, Flare Jean, Suede Boots

What do you think, Jules?

What is on your fall wish list?

Weekend at the Lake

As you might have guessed, we spent the weekend at the Lake.  Mark’s brother rented a house in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland and on Thursday night we drove over (3.5 hours from DC) to spend the weekend with family and enjoy one of the last weekends of summer.

I love the vibe and aesthetic of a mountain lodge home and mountain towns, and this one was no different.

Tranquility (seriously, that is the house's name) in Deep Creek Lake

With big picture windows, wooden deck and scenic views this house is made for all seasons.

Over the weekend Mark and I got to play “Super Uncle and Aunt”.

Super Uncle and Super Aunt

We saw a bear, went hiking, rode a mountain coaster, got lots of ice cream, learned how to play Angry Birds and had a great time with 2 six-year-olds, a two-year-old, an infant and Mark’s brother and sister, their spouses and his mom.

Hiking Trail

The main attraction, obviously, was the kids and the highlight of the weekend for me was our ride down the Mountain coaster.

My niece, Isabelle, decided that we were going to ride the Mountain Coaster together.  The Mountain Coaster at Wisp Resort is a “gravitational hybrid of an Alpine Slide and a Roller Coaster boasting a 1,300-foot uphill track while twisting, turning, dipping and rolling for 3,500 feet downhill over 350 vertical feet on the eastern side of Wisp Mountain”.

Here’s the truth, I would not have ever wanted to ride the Mountain Coaster.  Ever.  But, then my six year old niece took my hand and told me that she wanted to ride with me.  She was brave, in fact up until 5 minutes before getting in the cart she was ecstatic.

As we settled into the cart and strapped on our seat belts she said, “Maybe we don’t have to go so fast…”  I said, “don’t worry, we don’t have to.”

As we inched up the 1300 feet of the mountain she said, “I am not so sure this is very fun.”

And then we we were off!  We went sliding, turning, curving, running down the mountain.  We screamed, we laughed, sometimes we used the brakes.

Mountain Coaster at Wisp

And at the end, she said “I want to go again!”  and I did too!


Estadio Makes a Statement

Do you know Estadio in Logan Circle?  I have walked past it a number of times without really paying it too much attention.  I liked what I could interpret of the vibe through the large picture windows, the rustic Spanish aesthetic, but that is pretty much where it ended.

Dining Room, via Estadio

Then last night we were meeting friends for dinner, at this point, I admit we have become tough  to please in a restaurant.  We love the idea of eating at a restaurant but hate the end result of feeling overly full, overly oiled and overly billed.  So, as it happens we went to Estadio, a contemporary Spanish restaurant that encourages you to sample lots of flavors through their small bites and plates.

The stand out dish, in an evening of truly great drinks and plates was the kale.  It was full of flavor, had a strong bite, some bold natural spices and yet wasn’t overcomplicated.  This was a dish that would inspire you to make kale at home.

As we finished the plate of kale, we spotted a teeny winged friend from the garden that had also been sauteed up.  Why am I sharing this part of the meal?  Because it happens.  It happens when you go to a restaurant and the food is fresh and organic, which the kale was.  We told our waitress, she immediately apologized, notified the chef and then the manager came to the table to also apologize.  He was gracious, and truth be told, we still loved the kale.  We told him we loved it, and that we’d want to make it at home, in fact. 

Five minutes later he returned to our table with a hand written copy of the kale recipe. This means on a busy night he stopped someone in the kitchen, or had them hand write the recipe so that we could make it at home.  It was such a simple act and at the same time a grand gesture, and one that we all very much appreciated.

This was our first time at Estadio.  The bug in question was an uninvited guest, and very quickly forgotten.  The food was memorable, the service was remarkable. 

So, what else did we eat and drink?

I’ll be the first to admit I am not a drinking connoisseur; set me up with a mojito and  I am good to go.  However, our friends are, and collectively we were impressed by the homemade tonics, the infusion of real fruit, the jumbo ice cube which melts slower to not water down your drink, and liquors and bitters with great names that today I can barely remember.

Mark and I ordered the Tecolate a cocktail of Tequila & Cava, Rosemary & Grapefruit, and the bartender did offer to make a mojito if I needed, but this was just lovely.

On to dinner….

So let me set the stage for you, at our table is a combination of people who are cutting back on meat, or dairy or gluten.  Estadio makes it easier by providing two menus, a full version and a version that outlines vegan, vegetarian and gluten free.

So we started with two orders of the peach salad, the “Marriage” Boqueron, and open faced sandwich with anchovies and peppers, Sautéed Pea ShootsSautéed Red Kale,  and Bacalao Crudo, a thin slice of cod with jalapeno, avocado, orange segments and olive oil.

Marriage, via Estadio

For round two we ordered a salad of heirloom tomatoes, a dish of roasted corn with manchego, and the Scallops with roasted cauliflower and salbitxada.

I loved the peach salad; it was fresh and naturally sweet, balanced by the arugula, mint, marcona almonds and fresh goat cheese.  The roasted corn was more amazing in each bite, the pea shoots and kale were fresh, flavorful and something I would make and eat again and again.

It is really rare for us to go to a restaurant and leave feeling fully satisfied, happy with every dish, happy with the service and excited to go back.  That’s how we felt last night, and we look forward to returning.

Thanks, Estadio!

You Say Tomato, I say throw a Party

It’s hot, the farmer’s markets have tomatoes of every variety and it is time to throw one more good party before the end of summer.  I love the idea of a themed party, rehearsal dinner, or wedding, and the end of summer tomato bounty is as good as any that I can think of.

In pulling together this inspiration board the focus was entirely on the food and using the bounty that is provided in this season.  The secret with Italian cooking and cuisine is that it is at it’s best when it is it’s most simple.  Fresh produce, simple preparations and presentation.

For a dinner party, or wedding with a more limited budget choosing a theme to dictate the menu and decor can help prevent scope creep.

Tomato Party

I love that this is completely DIY friendly, and easily able to be all homemade or catered with a low cost.  In this inspiration board the difference makers are the small details: the mini Pellegrino bottles at each seat, the innovative presentation of small bites, the local fair, and the truly edible arrangements of tomatoes and grissini.

If you are in need of some tomato focused recipes, why not try homemade ketchup, tomato soup, roasted vegetable sauce, homemade salsa, or a pizza party?

Doesn’t this just make you want to throw a party and buon appetito?

Source: Bread & Oil, Polenta Hors D’oeuvres, Table Setting, Tomatoes, Carnations, Wine, Pellegrino, Strawberry Pie, Torrone