Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Today I Like ... Pastel Palette

Pastels, when deployed appropriately, can look like heaven; like color with sugar and cream. When used wrong, it conjures memories of Laura Ashley Easter dresses. Lately, they're just feeling so right, like this lovely Dior ad from a few years back.

Or this gorgeous Vanity Fair cover I loved so much...ballet pink and peach and seaglass. Who knew they could look so chic when paired with neutrals?

I've been loving this shell pink nail color from Revlon, and I'm back to wearing Essie's Turquoise and Caicos on my toes. Forget neon; I'm moving on to muted tones. (I say that now, but neon and summer just feel so right!)

Get the Look
Pastels for Spring

  1. Sweet lavender bag, $108 at Asos.
  2. Yellow studs, $10 here.
  3. Perfect green Keds, $40.
  4. Patent leather T-straps in perfect ballet pink, $56 at Topshop.
  5. Mint green purse, $278 at Kate Spade.
  6. Baby blue polish, $8.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Yesterday, I attended my very first pro baseball game! I've never been a huge baseball fan. I LOVE baseball movies, but watching a game on TV is like slow torture. But my husband's aunt, uncle and cousin are huge baseball fans and suggested a family outing to Washington's Nationals Park and I thought, what the hey, this could be fun.

And lo and behold, it was fun! We didn't win, but it was fun to watch in person and even more fun is the general all-Americana, family-friendly vibe. I loved seeing the president mascots race and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and the hilarious vendor in our section who had his own gravelly, comical interpretation of "Peanuts, Beer, CRACK-ERRRRR JAAAAACCKKKK!" I'll hear it ringing in my mind forever.

 The stadium itself is really nice, with lots of good food options (we had Shake Shack!) and a nice area with fake grass where you can have a picnic.

 My favorite part was watching the players walk up to their choice of music. Jayson Werth was my jam...he has a hilariously grizzly beard and walked up to the themes from "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones." One fan caught it on video a few weeks ago:

I decided my walk-up music would be "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I have several back-ups. ;)

All in all, it was a super fun time spent with family, followed by a delicious family-style Thai dinner. If I've learned anything about watching sports, it's that they're ALL better in person. Now I'm ready for Redskins season!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Best v.152

Young, super hip Lauren Bacall from here.

Today is an exciting day because I'm going to my very first professional baseball game in Washington, D.C.! I'm not a big baseball person, but I do love Americana and long-held traditions, so I think it will be really fun.
  • The stars of iconic photographs.
  • The 20 most hated celebrities.
  • What happens when you combine one of the most hated celebs with a hated character: Joffrey Bieber.
  • France gifts the president insane swag.
  • You're welcome: first clip from the new season of Arrested Development.
  • A Paris apartment preserved for 70 years untouched.
  • Kate Middleton on the set of Hogwarts.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Off the Registry: Baby Gift Ideas

When it comes to shopping for baby showers, I find it nearly impossible to stick to the registry. It's all so...practical. And that means the parents-to-be really need that stuff, but it's not nearly as fun to buy as itty bitty shoes or comfy cozy stuffed bunnies. So if you have the room in your budget, I suggest buying one of each: one thing off the registry and one thing that's just for fun, probably overpriced and frivolous, but so cute it makes you squee. That's my happy place; here's some suggestions I found!

Baby Stuff 1

  1. Bestever lamb baby mat, $50 at Bloomingdales.
  2. Aden + Anais "flying dog" sleep swaddle, $25.
  3. Peter Rabbit footed onesie, $30 at Gap.
  4. Striped lion jams, $18 at Gap.
  5. Knitted carrot rattle, $38 at J.Crew.
  6. Classic polka dot dress, $45 at Nordstrom.
  7. Minnetonka baby moccasins, $20 at J.Crew.
  8. Storage basket, $89 at Land of Nod.

Baby Stuff 2

  1. Honey Bunny handmade coat, $149 at Etsy.
  2. Knitted lamb mobile, $89 at Etsy.
  3. Star swaddle blankets, $50 for four.
  4. Stuffed plane, $30 at Sunday in Color.
  5. Mary Jane socks, $28 at Bloomingdales.
  6. Juicy Couture swimsuit, $51 (okay, really, that might be the dumbest investment on here, but it's SO CUTE.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Wine Club Baby Shower

On Saturday, Wine Club experienced a new first: a baby shower for one of our own! We've been to each other's bridal showers, bachelorettes and weddings, and now it's baby time. We are celebrating the upcoming arrival of Melissa's baby girl, and we collaborated to coordinate a baby shower at her clubhouse this past weekend. This little duck family waddled by while we were partying...that's gotta be kismet, right?

 I was responsible for a lot of the decorations, including the fabric pennant banner, blue mason jars (from my wedding), tablecloths and balloons. Melissa bought the flowers at Norfolk Wholesale Floral.

I used 1/2 yards of five different fabrics: a bird print, ticking stripe, a coral floral print, white and gray polka dots and a yellow with silver print. I tied it all together with gold lamé double fold bias tape.

 I brought the heart balloons left over from my own wedding. I bought them on Amazon.

 Jen made these incredible pinwheels, which were so adorable. The color scheme is based on colors Melissa wants to use in the nursery.

As a favor, Melissa packaged the cookies she's been craving the most, including delicious brownie cookies.

Erica made delicious almond cupcakes with strawberry hearts. I bought the skeleton key burlap fabric at Joann's.

 I made the mixed berry salad: spring mix and spinach, sliced strawberries, blackberries, shaved parmesan, candied walnuts and champagne vinaigrette.

 Ashleigh made mixed veggie and spinach quiches.

 She and Lauren collaborated to deliver my favorite party staple: ham rolls! Never enough.

 It wouldn't be wine club without a mimosa bar. We had orange juice, cranberry juice and a juice blend, along with garnishes of orange slices and pineapple chunks with maraschino cherries.

And we paired those with bottles of bubbly, including sparkling pear juice for the pregnant and underaged among us.

 For games, we played the ribbon estimating game, a matching game connecting celebrity parents with their silly baby names, a word search and cards full of wishes and hopes for the future Miss.

And, of course, Melissa opened presents. I bought a couple things, including this precious polka-dotted chambray onesie with neon flowers. 

It was a wonderful day. It's always inspiring when women of all ages and experience levels come together to celebrate a future member of our tribe. We can't wait to meet her!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Best v.151

Harper's Bazaar photo by Richard Avedon

A little light this week on great links. It was such an insane week that I spent most of it just reading the same stories you were probably reading, and lord knows we don't want to revisit that quite yet. On to a better week!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Professional Lady Work Clothes

Not to say I didn't always dress presentably as a journalist, but I find myself feeling like I need to seriously upgrade my professional work wardrobe. I'm not really a suit type of gal — my build is more like Joan from Mad Men than Ally McBeal — and I think mix and match separates are the way to go. I'm on the hunt, and wondering where your favorite place to grab affordable work clothes might be?

In the meantime, here are some inspiration shots of professional-looking ladies!

Audrey Hepburn in Charade.

Jackie Kennedy, in her book editor days.

 I love the shapes of Olivia Palermo's outfit...not sure if she
actually has a job, but she always looks polished.

Designer Rachel Roy manages to make colored pants with monochromatic
blouse look chic and pulled together. See more from her Refinery 29 office tour.

I love Michelle Obama's feminine style; she, like me, is a cardigan girl
and I like how she manages to make this look professional, yet fun.

How about you? Do you have to dress up for work? What's your favorite source for work clothes?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just a Little Wave!

Just a little wave hello! I'm in my first week at my new job and, as always seems to be the case, running to catch up. Needless to say, this old blog gets neglected when life gets busy like this! Forgive me...I hope to get my groove back as soon as possible!

Among the balls I'm juggling in the air are prepping for a work event tonight, prepping for a visit from my dad on Friday night and prepping for a baby shower on Saturday. Exhausted just thinking about it!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Today I Like ... Labradorite

Did you ever go through the classic gemstone phase? I did. I was full-on obsessed with buying bags of minerals and tumbled gemstones and studying guidebooks and memorizing their names. I still have all of my gemstones, which I have gathered like a mini natural history museum display

Lately, I've been spotting lots of labradorite jewelry and I can't help but love it. It looks like the waters of Bora Bora, and I love the depth and variance in each stone. 

Labradorite occurs in igneous rock and is commonly found in Labrador, Canada. Here are some gorgeous examples of jewelry using the stone:


  1. Labradorite necklace by House of Harlow, $90 at Metropark.
  2. Necklace from Blue Nile, $215.
  3. Ring by Monica Vinader, $153 at The Outnet.
  4. Suspended earrings by Alexis Bittar, $225.
  5. Stacking ring by Robindira Unsworth, $100 at Les Pommettes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Best v.150

Coco Chanel hanging out with Salvador Dali, via Awesome People Hanging Out Together.

Since I missed last week, this week's Sunday Best is a little link-heavy, but I promise they're all great! I'm enjoying a long weekend before I start my new job! Wish me luck!
  • A really great profile of Lilly Pulitzer
  • Frank Rich captures what it's like to work in news these days compared to a couple decades ago.
  • New to me: Bill Murray joins some fans for a slow-mo walking shot.
  • Six amazing WWII discoveries made in the past two decades.
  • Mad Men's token objects, today.
  • One photographer captures gender marketing to kids.
  • I LOL'd at the blog about why this guy's son is crying.
  • Amazing photos of Native Americans from a century ago.
  • Incredible feature from the NY Times following up on a 40-year-old crime.
  • I want to go to all of these amazing places.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paperless Post

I love receiving pretty stationary in the mail, but I do not love the cost of stamps. When Holly and I decided to throw a surprise party for our husbands, we wanted to send a fun and elegant invitation without the hassle of stamps or trying to stuff envelopes when our men weren't around.

It was the perfect opportunity to try Paperless Post, whose products straddle the line between fine stationary and e-vites. Invitations are available in both digital and print form, and arrive to guests' inboxes in a "digital" envelope format.

The site isn't free to use, but it's relatively inexpensive and the perks are just too great to ignore:

  • A full tracking system allowing you to see who has opened the invitation, who has RSVP'd and who hasn't seen it at all. 
  • A scheduled reminder email 
  • It's synchronized with Google Calendar to allow guests to add the event straight to their calendar.
I am not receiving anything from Paperless Post for this paperless post (hahaha I'm so lame). I just wanted to recognize a good product! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A New Direction for Me

Me, reporting on Clydesdales. Oh what a fun job this has been!

One of the funny things about blogging is that you get to decide what level of transparency you want to give to your readers. I will be honest; I'm not that transparent, for a variety of reasons. Chief among them has always been my career as a journalist. 

We can't know what's happening in the lives of any of our friends, even if we think we do. One thing you couldn't have known, reader, is that I have been gearing up to change careers. It's — for lack of a better phrase — a big effing deal

My father is a journalist, my husband is a journalist, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law are journalists. My husband and I met on the school newspaper, and most of our friends have been journalists. I love the industry, but many things have made it tough in recent years. The schedule is grueling, the pay isn't great and the constant fear of getting something wrong is enough to wake you up in the middle of the night.

Still, I've delighted in the small victories. Readers' comments that prove they read every word and really got it. Finding out your articles might have had some small impact on someone's day or even life. Hearing that you're the only one who got it right. Meeting Bob Woodward. Covering the Dalai Lama. That's all amazing.

When I saw an opportunity open up at a local art center I visited frequently as a college undergrad, I had to apply and was lucky enough to get it. I like to imagine I can tell you anything, reader, but I've been keeping this one close to the chest. 

This week is my last as a journalist for the foreseeable future, and I won't lie...I might have a mini identity crisis for the next couple months. But I'm excited for the new opportunities and to stretch my creative muscles in new ways. I hope you'll forgive me for keeping my news to myself!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A 30th Surprise Birthday Party

Things have been a little quiet around here recently, for a multitude of reasons, but one of the big ones was because I've been busy planning this — a surprise party for Sean and his best friend, Arthur.

Since September, Arthur's wife Holly and I have been planning a big 30th birthday surprise party for our husbands, who were born just two days apart in the same hospital. They grew up a bike ride away from each other, had birthday parties together and were each other's best man. We thought it would be really fun to have so many of the people they know and love come together to celebrate their birthdays and their friendship.

It took a LOT of preparation to pull off the surprise, and we couldn't have done it without so many people's help. My mother-in-law agreed to host the party at her home, and friends helped us smuggle in party supplies so our husband's wouldn't wonder why we were bringing them with us. 

The trick to a successful surprise party is to convince the people they've already been surprised; that way, they let their guard down and don't expect anything more. The only problem with that method is that you have to plan multiple surprises! 

We recruited Arthur's cousin and Sean's friend to pick them up at the house on Saturday morning and take them on a secret adventure. The boys were completely uneasy about not knowing where they were going, but ended up having an amazing and fun time touring Cacoctin Creek distillery in Purcellville and Port City Brewing in Alexandria.

To make sure they arrived on time, we told them we had dinner reservations with family in Washington D.C., and they would need to be home by 5 p.m. We told the guests to arrive at 4 p.m. It worked out perfectly. They walked in the door and were stunned to see 34 of their friends and family members!

While the guests waited for the boys to arrive, we had them fill out these cards I made with little writing prompts. Some of the answers were hilarious and some were very touching.

 To save ourselves some energy, we had most of the food made or bought stuff ready to go. Sean's mom made cole slaw, potato salad and an apple pie. We ordered pulled pork, sauces and cornbread from Pork Barrel BBQ. Arthur's mom got the incredible cakes from Desserts by Gerard; we had two small carrot cakes (Sean's fave!) and a fudge marble strawberry shortcake confection.

Us girls left the house as soon as the boys left and hit Costco to get the rest of the supplies and it was easy peasy. We asked guests to bring craft beer in lieu of gifts, which saved us the need to buy beer for 40 people and also meant we naturally had a wide variety.

The boys were truly stunned and had a great time visiting with all of their friends and family. I'm just happy we pulled off the surprise! Happy Birthday to Sean!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Steak Marinade, John Legend-Style

The internet is a magical place. I googled "best steak marinade" and scrolled past a few links, including one from All Recipes called "best steak marinade," until my eye landed on this blog entry, called "John's Best Steak Marinade in Existence."

I was intrigued, so I clicked the link and was surprised to find a picture of none other than John Legend, showing off his steak marinade. What?! Apparently his fiance has a cooking blog, just like the rest of us, and she wrote an entry about his favorite steak ever. Turns out, he did exactly what I did: googled "best steak marinade ever" and landed on that All Recipes link. An endorsement from John Legend was good enough for me!

In a bowl, I combined:
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (watch this part...I might have gone a touch overboard)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce...I put in some hot sauce (optional)

I marinated the steaks for the day, while I was at work, and popped those bad boys on the grill pan as soon as I got home. Easy breezy!

The marinade was tangy and flavorful...I put a touch too much lemon juice in, but we both agreed John Legend did not steer us wrong.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork

Carolina-style barbeque isn't for everyone, but I love the tangy, spicy wonder of it, especially topped with cole slaw. I first had it prepared that way a couple years ago while attending a bridal shower in Winston-Salem, N.C. BBQ is no joke in North Carolina, folks. 

I compared several different recipes and landed on a combination of a few. This is the cheater, slow cooker version...the real deal happens for hours upon hours in a smoker in a backyard somewhere in the Triad. This takes about 8 hours, and it's the most no-muss, no-fuss day of cooking you'll ever have.

For some reason, my grocery store didn't have any pork butt or shoulder available when I went, so I just bought a roast and it worked fine! First I made a rub:
  • 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika

I placed the pork on top of a quartered onion, rubbed the spices in and then mixed up the sauce:
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • a couple sprinkles of cayenne pepper
  • a couple dashes of Texas Pete, which hails from Winston-Salem!
I poured the mixture over the roast and set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours. I checked on it throughout, ladling the liquid over the roast to keep it nice and moist.

At the end of 8 hours, the pork was literally falling apart. I used two forks to shred it; traditional Western North Carolina pork is chopped, but this is how Sean likes it.

I added the shredded pork back to the pot and mixed it with the liquid, setting the slow cooker to "keep warm."

We ate our pork on wheat buns (dumb idea...screw healthiness!) with cole slaw and a couple dashes of Texas Pete. It was deliciously tangy and spicy and saucy. The only sad part is you cook for 8 hours and eat for 18 minutes! But it's definitely worth it.