Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summertime in Savannah

Ashleigh, Bret and I had the BEST long weekend in Savannah! I was just too exhausted when I got home Monday night to write about it, but never fear...I've planned out recaps galore for eating, drinking and shopping one's way through town if you've only got a couple days to do it!

My friend Bret went to college in Savannah, so I spent a lot of time visiting there back in the early to mid-aughts, but hadn't been back in about 6 years. It was so much fun to go back with him again and sort of relive my college visits, but have Ashleigh join in and also — big difference — have a little more disposable income! His family kindly let us tag along to their beach rental at Tybee Island, which gave us a nice taste of city life and island life for the weekend.

First, just a few snapshots.

 I can't help but pause all over Savannah taking snapshots of architectural the mounted antler outside this courtyard!

 The door on a Wells Fargo bank...gorgeous!

 Ashleigh demonstrates the precarious centuries-old stairs.

 We spent part of a day swimming at Tybee Island. So much fun!

We posted so many photos, we were sure our friends were going to defriend us, but Ashleigh said, "If they don't like our pics, they're not our friends" and we laughed so hard.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Best v.165

Truman Capote, looking ready for a shopping spree.

Today I'm having fun in Savannah with my besties Bret and Ashleigh (more on that when I get back!), back for the first time since 2007. I used to go down all the time to see him in college, so I'm very excited to be visiting again with some actual disposable income! 

Some extremely stellar links this week, y'all!
  • Facebook flashbacks.
  • Kate Middleton said pfft to the idea that a new mom should look like she never had a baby and she's a rock star for it.
  • Sufjan Stevens: surprising font critic.
  • A touching photo project that reminds us of the people inside the elderly amongst us.
  • dancing little girl makes the news worth watching.
  • A college student embarrasses her entire generation by sending a letter to Nirvana.
  • The ultimate Clueless tour of Los Angeles.
  • An actress who has discovered the fountain of youth.
  • Bill Clinton sings "Blurred Lines"
  • Authors' favorite first lines of novels.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jams of the Week

TV Jam: "Orange Is the New Black"

When Netflix decided to get into the production game, they came to DANCE. Seriously, their shows have been killing it and "Orange is the New Black" is no exception. It's powerfully funny and grounded, and in my opinion, some of the best ensemble cast work I've seen in a while. By far some of the best writing for a nearly entirely female cast, and I think the writers have done an amazing job of fleshing out the characters. We tore through the first season in about 48 hours.

Literary Jam: "Seating Arrangements" by Maggie Shipstead

I'm not sure if I LOVED this book, but I enjoyed it and it was a great summertime read because it's set in a beachside town in Maine. It explores the weekend of a wedding — always a good source of drama — from several perspectives and meditates on love, marriage, adultery, what matters, what's real and what isn't. That said, Shipstead doesn't endeavor to make her characters particularly likable and at times, it's hard to decide how you'd like things to go because you're not sure if you like anyone. 

Art Gallery Jam: Morgan Lehman Gallery

I became completely sucked into the website for the Morgan Lehman Gallery, located in New York City, the other night and ended up so inspired by all of the artists represented, included the work shown above by Paul Villinski. Check out some of the amazing pieces!

Dress Jam: Gap shirtdress

I hesitate to even share this because I love this dress so much and I don't want anyone to have it but me, but here's the truth: this Gap shirtdress is the most comfortable, fun, stylish, summery, dress-it-up, dress-it-down shirtdress ever. It comes in several patterns and they've just added some solid colors, including a beautiful dainty white version. Getcha one. It'll sail right into fall with tights and boots. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today I Like ... Stylish Beach Gear

It's hard to believe it's almost August, and we've only made it to the beach twice! We like to swim, but we're not big on laying out for too long, so our trips are usually only a couple hours long, but every time we go, I get the itch to buy lots of cute beach accessories!

I'm resisting the urge right now, but if you've still got a trip in the works, do me a favor and rock one of these cute items on my behalf! P.S. Now is the perfect time to buy beach's just going on sale!

Beach Days

  1. I'm dying for one of these gorgeous patterned beach umbrellas by Kerry Cassill, $210.
  2. You might be mistaken for Audrey Hepburn in this super-wide brim hat, now $30 at Anthropologie.
  3. World Market's super cute beach chairs are now on sale for $15.
  4. Snag colorful sunnies like these from Ruche, $15.
  5. J.Crew's punk floral suit is now $50.
  6. It's not cheap, but Calypso St. Barth's $299 caftan would be perfect for those of you with tropical vacations coming up!
  7. The chicest beach towel around, $48 at Serena & Lily

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Translated: Pottery Into Rustic Living Room

It's been a while since I've felt really inspired to think about decor like I normally do...primarily because I feel kinda "done" with our apartment at the moment and we're not planning on buying a house for at least six months. BUT, I've been really admiring beautiful pottery lately and I was totally struck by these new pieces at Leif Shop by Kevin Wilcoxson. It just screams out for a summer-y, rustic, Western-inspired, sun-filled living room in a midcentury ranch with big, big windows.

Rustic Western Inspired

  1. Channel 1970s Laurel Canyon with this woven leather Pacific Wonderland chair, $899 at One King's Lane.
  2. Pop Leah Duncan's cactus print in a pretty wood frame, $20.
  3. Add a Georgia O'Keeffe touch with this horn-inspired table lamp, $149 at West Elm.
  4. To hold your books, candles and cocktails, a geometric wood side table, $298 at Urban Outfitters.
  5. Pottery, $40 at Leif Shop.
  6. A rug that brings the room together, $825 at Shoppe by Amber Interiors.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Best v.164

L'Eclair by Rene Magritte

How fabulous is this painting by Magritte that I just discovered? I love when I find a new-to-me artwork by a famous artist. We're having a great low-key weekend around the house. Friday we hit up an art opening, yesterday I ventured out to buy new running shoes and today we've hit the beach. But I'm just counting the days until next weekend, when Ash and I are going to Savannah for a long weekend! In the meantime, I've got so many great links this week:
  • Incredible composite photos of relatives.
  • A reminder to parents that nonparents have lives, too.
  • You can be the coolest, and your kid will still think you're lame.
  • Famous art and the art it inspired.
  • Microsoft and Google, explained through The Wire.
  • A map that explains San Francisco to New Yorkers.
  • buddy comedy with Louis CK and Woody Allen? I'm there.
  • Another reminder of the excellence of Matt Damon.
  • Blurred Lines, covered by Vampire Weekend.
  • What happens when produce is affected by nuclear radiation.
  • Alanis Morissette's song is finally ironic.
  • Books are radically different when the title is missing one letter.
  • Smart men wearing shorts.
  • Actors who should play Disney princes.
  • Celebrities whose mistakes have been forgotten.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today I Like ... Erica Weiner Lyric Necklace

 A few weeks ago, I came across Erica Weiner's brilliant heartbeats lyric necklaces and was absolutely sure I was going to get the R. Kelly lyric option ("And after the party, it's the hotel lobby") as a sort of tribute to college, but then I saw the Talking Heads option and had to have it. "This Must Be the Place" is one of my all-time favorite songs, and we played it at our wedding and even quoted it in our wedding programs.

The necklace is short at 16 inches, but hits at the perfect spot if you're wearing a collared shirt or scoopneck. I love delicate gold necklaces and I'm always on the hunt for new ones that are unique and interesting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekend Hijinks: Balloon Fights, Bands and Terrarium Class

We had another great weekend in Hampton Roads, the kind that makes us grateful to live in such a fun place. In downtown Hampton, the famous Run of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain was reinterpreted as the Rolling of the Bulls, with derby girls standing in for the bulls and water balloons filling in for tomatoes in a street fight. It was amazing to watch!

I was excited to see the Hampton Block Party because an amazing band from my hometown, If Birds Could Fly, was booked to play. They even got this old couple dancing, which warmed my heart.

We had another great dinner at Venture Kitchen & Bar, where I had a trio of delicious, spicy meatballs in a chili glaze...

and the most DELICIOUS grilled asparagus salad with a surprising topping: popcorn! It added this amazing crunch and salty snap to the salad...I swear, I might add popcorn to all my salads!

On Sunday, I trekked to Norfolk to take a terrarium class at Studio Posy. It was so much fun, and I am so happy with my terrarium! Our instructor, Marissa, warned us we will want to make them all the time now...consider yourself warned. You might end up getting a terrarium for Christmas!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Best v.163

Picture found here.

It's another lovely weekend in Hampton Roads, which just comes alive in the summertime. Lots of great events and festivals and places to go and things to do. It's a wonderful place to live this time of year. Here are some favorite links of the week:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Jams of the Week

Literary Jams: Reconstructing Amelia

I'm still just a readin' fiend! Recent reads have included this mystery, which traces one mother's efforts to understand how her teenage daughter died. It's a quick read, super contemporary and on-topic. It definitely makes being a teenager today seem totally crazy, though!

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

And just yesterday morning, I finished "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen and it totally lived up to the hype. I became completely engrossed in the lives of one family, spanning a few decades. That's kind of my favorite kind of book, it seems.

Workout Clothing Jam: Old Navy

I've recently been trying to get a real exercise habit going in earnest, and the best way to get pumped is always to get new workout clothes! I've recently picked up a few things from Old Navy's Active line and I LOVE everything from their collection, which is really cleverly designed. These pants have a little pocket where you can stash a key or ID or whatever, and are super comfy and flattering. Their socks and shorts are also super fabulous and clever. 

Concealer Jam: Benefit Fake Up

I recently had to make a TV appearance for work (!!!) and I wanted to make sure I had a concealer up to the task. This new concealer from Benefit is a hydrating concealer that's still super long-lasting. That means it doesn't get all cakey in your fine lines, but provides coverage, which is what I needed.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Post-Beach Day Blues

Every year, Sean and I convince ourselves we're going to take advantage of our proximity to several beaches and every year, we're lucky if we make it once by August. It seems like we never have time when the weather is nice and when we have time, the weather is the worst.

Happily, we finally got our chance this Sunday, when we cruised down to the Fort Monroe beach for the first time. Fort Monroe is a recently decommissioned Army base with lovely Bay beaches that are absolutely uncrowded, offer FREE parking and best of all, don't require us to go through a single tunnel. 

The waves aren't aggressive, which is actually a bummer for someone like me who loves jumping the waves, but all in all, we had a wonderful time.

But of course, not all stories have happy endings. I am nursing my annual what-is-wrong-with-me-why-do-i-never-learn insane sunburn. I swear this is the last time, FOR REAL. I will reapply sunscreen with a higher SPF like it's my job, get a damn beach umbrella and wear a cover-up when I'm not swimming. Lay your advice on me: What's your preferred sunscreen and how do you avoid sunburns? 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Best v.162

Surface 210 by Giuseppe Capograssi

Well, I've officially gotten my first sunburn of summer! Ugh. Every year I vow to never let it happen again and every year it happens. We're buying a beach umbrella and higher SPF sunscreen immediately! We've had a great lazy weekend...played tennis, went to quiet Fort Monroe beach, had sno cones and watched Veep. Gotta love summertime!
  • ICYMI: Teacher wears same outfit on picture day for 40 years!
  • What it feels like to pass into your mid-to-late twenties.
  • Just stumbled upon these brilliant portraits of women by Lisa Congdon, one of my favorite artists.
  • A real, live mermaid show in Florida!
  • 3D printers are everywhere these days! Now, they can print super sci-fi casts to heal broken bones.
  • Little kids' hilarious faces when getting slathered with sunscreen.
  • A cool look at people's private emails from artist Miranda July.
  • Ho Hey remixed with Will Ferrell's Harry Caray

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fourth of July in Colonial Williamsburg

 I hope you had a happy Fourth of July! Longtime readers know it's my most favorite holiday. I love it because it's entirely about unity and something all Americans share in common; it's not a religious holiday and you aren't obligated to spend it with certain people. It's just about celebrating hard work and sacrifice made hundreds of years ago with good food, good friends and FIREWORKS!

Every year I take special care to don my red, white and blue, so here's the obligatory outfit shot. As you know, I'm obsessed with this Old Navy dress this summer.

 Sean even got in the spirit and wore his Nats T-shirt!
 In the time we've lived in Hampton Roads, I've seen the fireworks in Yorktown/Gloucester, Fort Monroe, Newport News and Norfolk. This was the first year we went to Colonial Williamsburg, and I have to say, I think I've found my new favorite tradition. While the fireworks show itself wasn't lengthy, the actual pyrotechnics were impressive. More than that, guests are treated to a free concert from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, who played all the classics of Americana, from Aaron Copland to Gershwin to Sousa to Cohen. I was dancing in my chair!

As for Fourth of July eats, Sean and I ate bison burgers real quick before we headed out to Williamsburg, then noshed on Asti, cheese doodles, cherries and watermelon. It was divine! 

Because it's my favorite holiday, I love to see how other cities celebrate. So far in my life, I've celebrated the Fourth in Norton, Va.; Big Stone Gap, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Matawan, N.J.; Manhattan (twice); Lexington, Va.; Staunton, Va.; Fort Monroe, Va.; Newport News; Norfolk, Yorktown/Gloucester and Williamsburg. We also visited Independence Hall on July 3 one year. Where are the best celebrations you've attended? I gotta add them to my list!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July Foods

The Fourth of July is one of my all-time favorite holidays for a multitude of reasons, especially because it's just the epitome of good-eatin'. I look forward to Fourth of July food more than Thanksgiving! Hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled dishes, fruit salads, craft brews...mmmm. One of my lifelong dreams is to finally start a Fourth of July party tradition when we own a home. Here are some of my favorite dishes you can bring to your cookout or picnic:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Marinated Flank Steak Sliders

No before pictures today, so you'll have to settle for afters. That's partially because I frankly don't think this is complicated enough to merit step-by-step pictures. Here are the steps:

  1. Marinate flank steak for 4-6 hours in a marinade of 1 bottle of beer (your choice), 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce, the juice of a lime and 2 teaspoons of cumin (or however much you want).
  2. Grill the steak on medium to high heat until you're satisfied it's cooked to your liking. 
  3. Slice it and put it on toasted slider buns with your toppings of choice. Mine were horseradish mayo, lettuce and squares of Swiss cheese. 

We ate our sliders with salad and peaches. And it was SCRUMPTIOUS. The beer taste is subtle, but gives it a nice flavor and I'm sure is even better if you marinate overnight. Easy and tasty and about the equivalent of one sub sandwich.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pork Chops Smothered with Peppers

 Sometimes I just have the hardest time getting psyched about dinner. It's especially hard when I don't feel like my ingredients go together for greatness...that's still a big cooking challenge for me. But it all came together in a great way last week, when I googled my disparate ingredients "pork chops" + "peppers" and came across this recipe. To my pleasant surprise, I not only had all the ingredients, but it came together in a great way!

I fried up the pork chops and set them aside...they were skinny ones compared to the bigger bone-in ones I usually get.

 In the same pot, I added olive oil, fennel seeds, garlic, pre-cut peppers and onions (sometimes I'm lazy, what can I say?) and let that mixture sizzle for a few minutes until the peppers softened.

 I then added tomato paste and stirred, then added white wine to deglaze the pan, along with chicken stock and stirred. I added the pork chops to the pan and made sure they were good and coated.

 I moved the chops + the peppers to a pan and popped them in the oven (preheated to 400) for just a few minutes. Since my chops were so thin, they were basically done anyway.

Sean, a regular rice fiend, wanted a side of rice and it went quite nicely with the smothered chops. This is a great option for easy weeknight cooking and is lean and pretty healthy!