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Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Favorites...?

*sniff sniff*


*cough COUGH*

Oh hi - remember me? I'm that girl that usually posts about fun things I'm baking or cool places I've traveled to...ring any bells?

I'm also that girl that has been laid up on my couch all week - victim of a vicious fall cold.

Ok, it wasn't really that bad. But it was bad enough that I barely moved from the couch to my bed for almost three days straight, and the only thing I have been eating is cereal, toast and fruit juice.

So, my favorite things this week? Being able to breathe and swallow and eat. All of which I can now do to about 95% normally. Hooray! It really is the small things, isn't it?

I apologize for the lack of posting this week, I'm sure you can understand. But don't worry! I have some exciting stuff coming up next week - new recipes and a kiddie photo shoot and a trip to NYC! So I better be all better for that! Stayed tuned for more updates next week.

Until then, I'm off to enjoy this indian summer we are having (oh heck, its the closest we've had to a real summer since....APRIL!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friday Favorites

For this weeks Friday Favorites I thought I would share with you some recipes that I have been making (and not taking pictures of). Because I do nearly all of my baking/cooking at night, when the light in our basement kitchen is not so great, I've decided not to whip out my camera every time I turn the oven on. But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy in the kitchen!

Pumpkin Granola via Two Peas & Their Pod
Ok, I've told you guys before it is dangerous for me to have granola in the house. Well, this Pumpkin Granola is no exception. This stuff is DANGEROUS - in the best way possible. I added almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds to the mix before toasting in the oven. I made two packed baking sheets worth and there *might* be about 3/4 of a cup less than two weeks...oops.

Chicken, Corn and Lime Soup via Epicurious
I made this soup a couple of weeks ago when Brian away on a business trip. I made the recipe exactly as is and no joke it fed me for a week. Add a little fresh cilantro, grated cheese and some crushed up tortilla chips and you are livin' the good life.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake via Smitten Kitchen
If there is one thing that you do this weekend - MAKE THIS CAKE. I am not joking. It is hands down one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had. A coworker of mine thought it was a bit boozy, and while I probably wouldn't give it to your kids, the red wine definitely kicks it up a notch. The cake is super moist and dense without being too rich, and the red wine gives it a subtle spice that you don't normally find in regular chocolate cake. I didn't even put any frosting or powdered sugar or anything on it and it was still amazing. Deb (from Smitten Kitchen) referred to this as "the real red velvet cake" and I say AMEN to that.

What have you been baking or cooking in the kitchen lately? Have you been craving pumpkin and spices ready for fall or are you still trying to hang on to the last few days of summer? Share with me in the comments! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interesting European Photos (or, weird sh*t we see on vacation)

After a year or so of traveling around Europe, Brian and I started to notice some weird stuff goin' on. And I'm not talking about the normal cultural differences like clothing, hair styles or music. The stuff I'm talking about is more like weird advertisements, weird shop windows and (oddly enough) lots of weird photography studios. 

So, without further ado, here is some weird shit we've seen from around Europe...

*Just a heads up, there are some semi-indecent photos below. So if you happen to be looking at this with your kid, you might want to tell them to scram. I think that is the only time I will ever have to put this kind of disclaimer on my blog...hopefully...*

Why are you looking at me like that, don't you let your giant stuffed bear straddle you?
~ photography studio in the South of France

Best damn ice cream bar you will ever have
~ Magnum ad outside of a cafe in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Honey, let's get a romantic photo of us and Dubrovnik (and that random lady walking behind us)
~ Dubrovnik, Croatia
Umm, yeah. I'm going to leave this one alone
~ Dubrovnik, Croatia
Frisky mannequins...buying sporting gear was never so erotic
~ Bolzano, Italy
Perfect, I've been looking for a KKK band to play at my next event
~Venice, Italy
Sadly this was taken in my neighborhood...I am not even going to try and explain this one
~ London, England
This was also taken in my neighborhood. Are the Power Rangers back and no body told me??
~ London, England
Please tell me these people are not brother and sister...but are they old enough to be anything else?!
~ photography studio in Bruges, Belgium
Maybe I don't understand this photo because I don't have kids of my own yet...but I have a feeling that even then I still wouldn't understand. I'll get back to you when the time comes.
~ photography studio in Bruges, Belgium

Lord only knows what else we will find on our travels...but I can't wait to find out!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favorites - #NYFW

Hellllloooo weekend!

Ok, one more day until the weekend but we are socloseIcanfeelit!

As you may (or may not) already know New York Fashion Week kicked off last weekend and has been going full steam ahead all week. As it draws to a close I thought I would highlight a couple of my favorite collections this season! (Which are probably fairly predictable if you know me at all) 

I can remember the first time I ever looked at runway collections - I was  probably around sixteen or so (ok, so I guess my memory isn't that good) and would spend HOURS looking at runway photos of the latest collections on my parents computer, on our trusty AOL and dial-up internet. No wonder it took me hours...who even remembers dial-up?! I didn't really know what these collections were all about at the time, I just knew that I couldn't stop looking at all of the wonderful photos of such amazing clothing. What I did know was that I had to do something with all of that inspiration. And that's when I decided I wanted to go to school for fashion.

*J Crew - for the first time ever J Crew presented at NYFW. And no they didn't do a fashion show thinkin' they were all some big hot shot designer like Alexander Wang. Instead they put together a presentation of their Spring 2012 highlights and invited guests, celebs and the press in for a sneak peak. They just launched their first store in Canada and are now shipping to the UK (can I get a Hell Yeah!) so the focus on the presentation was getting the word out there and creating more accessibility to the foreign press. What can you expect for Spring 2012? Classic silhouettes in new fabrics and crazy amazing colors. You can also expect some play on proportions - head designer Marissa Webb highlights oversized cashmere sweaters as a key piece. Also keep your eye out for their amazing accessories - start saving your pennies now!

Get the full article on WWD here!

**Vera Wang - need I say anymore? She can, in my eyes, do no wrong. Even when your collection is based on Alice in Wonderland with a trippy-water color-acid feel to it, Vera still manages a slam dunk. The fabrics...the colors...the patterns...the silhouettes and construction and attention to detail! LOVE.

Get the full article on WWD here!

***Organic Girly - check out my friend Jennifer's blog pieces on #NYFW round up of organic and sustainable fashion. If you're like most people, you probably don't realize what goes in to make the clothes that sit  untouched in your closet for weeks (months...years??) on end. I'd like to think that the world is getting a little greener these days and fashion is a great, creative, way to do your part! Also check out her full article on

London Fashion Weeks kicks off this weekend. There are tents being sent up outside my office in Berkeley Square and an unusual number of super tall gorgeous women on the streets (for London at least). I'm looking forward to seeing what British designers have come up with for the Spring 2012 season - especially Burberry as they have been on a roll the last couple of years! 

Have a great weekend everyone - catch ya on the flip side!

(huh? right, just go with it)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Do you ever go through spurts of extreme laziness and then extreme productivity?

When some days it doesn't feel like you can even get up to go to the bathroom - and then other days when you feel like you could run a marathon while tweeting / talking on the phone to your bff / painting your nails at the same time all with a great big smile on your face?

Yeah - that second one doesn't really happen to me either. 

But...sometimes, I do get ambitious in the kitchen.

Like last night. I decided it would be a good idea to bake some bread, make stuffed peppers for dinner and then bake a cake. No biggie, just a random Tuesday night.

I needed to use up a surplus of carrots that I got last week in my fruit and veg box from Abel and Cole. Of course my first thought was carrot cake - there was no way I was letting those babies get turned into something savory. 

I wanted to make something *slightly* less sweet than traditional carrot cake though and started thinking more in terms of a carrot "bread" - much like zucchini or banana bread - rather than a cake. And a lighter glaze rather than heavy whipped frosting. Three cheers for getting one of your five a day in your dessert! 

In the end I found this great recipe from Bob's Red Mill that proved to be an excellent jumping off point. And the best thing about this recipe is that it is highly adaptable - as long as you get the dry to wet ratio right you can add lots of different goodies - think raisins, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips...the sky is the limit!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
You can omit the cream cheese icing if you want to make these a little healthier, though I really love the sweetness it adds to the bread/cake. Feel free to bake this in a regular loaf pan or as muffins, just adjust the baking time accordingly. The original recipe was found here from Bob's Red Mill. Make sure to add the correct amount of baking soda - I accidentally added 1 TBLSP instead of TSP and my coworker noticed green chunks of carrot in her piece of cake! Not attractive at all, but still perfectly safe to eat.

Carrot Cake
1 cup oats, not instant
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tblsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 - 2 1/2 cups of shredded carrots
3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (go on, use the good stuff!)

- In a medium bowl combine the oats and the milk and stir well. Leave to soak while you assemble the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine flour, brown sugar, shredded coconut, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir well and then add in carrots (you would also add the raisins, nuts or any other dry extra in now as well!)

- In the bowl with the oats and milk add the eggs, oil and vanilla and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until all ingredients are just incorporated - do not over mix. Pour in your prepared pan of choice (you can use a bundt pan like I did or a loaf pan or even a cupcake tray with liners).

- In an oven preheated to 350*F bake your cake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I needed 45 minutes in the bundt pan, I expect a loaf pan would take a similar (if not slightly longer) baking time. Cupcakes/Muffins would probably take closer to 15-20 minutes. Adjust as needed according to your pan and check that it doesn't over cook.

- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely. Once the cake has cooled frost with Cream Cheese Glaze (recipe below). 

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 tblsp powdered sugar
2 tblsp milk (to start, see notes below)

- In a medium size bowl combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk and stir until combined. Depending on the consistency that you want on your cake you might want to add more milk to make it thinner. I ended up using about 3.5 tblsp for my glaze.

- Drizzle over cooled cake and leave to set. Serve extra cream cheese icing on the side in case people want more sugary sweetness!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Weekend at the Seaside

When I was growing up, living in the middle of a cornfield, in a town hamlet that had one blinking light, I dreamed of moving to the big city. So I did. First to New York and then to London. And now, the older I get, I find myself dreaming of the country.

The grass is always greener, ay?

My good friend invited me down to her parents house by the seaside in West Sussex. It was the perfect escape that I didn't know I was looking for. A quiet girls weekend away from the hectic city, with long walks on the beach, many bottles of wine and lots and lots of laughs.

The weather was...English. Sometimes it was sunny, sometimes it was raining. Sometimes it was cloudy, sometimes it was clear. And it was always windy. Like I said, it was typically English. We made breakfast and a picnic lunch. We went for a long walk along the beach, braving wind, rain and sun. And we laughed.

We made a big, family style dinner. We ate cookies and candy and popcorn. We had wine and watched  TV. We talked and we laughed. 

Laughing, is good for the soul.

Friends, are even better.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Friday Favorites and Project 52 - the lost weeks

It has come to my attention that I have been neglecting my Project 52 recaps. Actually, I have been neglecting Project 52 as a whole. It's not that I've been doing it on purpose! I just...I just...

I just got lazy.

There, I said it.


I am a Taurus after all - what did you expect?!

Before I recap Project 52: the lost weeks how about time for Friday Favorites??

*DIY Tote Bag by Renske Solkesz via Design Sponge

image from Design Sponge
Although I would much rather have someone else make this bag for me (anyone? anyone?) this bag is so perfect its tempting to bust out my sewing machine and do it myself! Except that I left my sewing machine at my parents house. In New York. In the United States...

**Wet nail polish? Not anymore!

monkey nail drier
I mean....seriously.


I'm half horrified and half OBSESSED. He's so cute! And I really do always mess up my nails before they dry...

Me too, my friend. Me too.

And now...the moment you have ALL been waiting for!!

(pretend, ok?)

Project 52: the lost weeks

Week 30 - A letter of the alphabet
Ok, so there's more than one letter...

Week 31 - Sky
Hi Sky dog!

Week 32 - My favorite time of day...
Whenever the sun comes out!

Week 33 - Slow down and look back

Week 34 - Connections
Umm....yeah I don't know what happened here

Week 35 - Lazy
Yes, yes I am

Week 36 - Thirst for knowledge photography. The Traveling Cupcake.

Around the South of France


The night that we arrived in France we decided to stay in Toulouse and head out on the open road the following morning as we were arriving quite late. After quickly checking into our hotel we headed straight back out for dinner. Honestly, I hadn't given Toulouse a thought. We were only there for a few hours, most of which would be spent sleeping. However, as I have happily experienced many time before, often times when you have no plans or expectations is when you can have the best time.

St. Stapin

One objective for taking the back roads during our drive to Neffies the next morning was to explore the countryside. We wanted to see rural France rather than the endless, bland motorway. Along the way we found a lookout point. We parked the car and worked up an appetite (which was to be rewarded with cassoulet) and when we finally got to the top (all of ten minutes later...) we were rewarded.


Our last night in France we decided to go to Pezenas for dinner. It's much larger than Neffies and we knew they would have restaurants open even though it was a Sunday evening. We were told to make sure that we found the "real center of town" for the best restaurants, and to avoid the touristy bit at the beginning. I think all the sun had gone to our heads because we didn't listen. Our dinner might not have been the best of the weekend, but this town sure was lovely.


I awoke early on our last day in France. We had a couple hours until breakfast but I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. The sun was out and I could feel it getting hot already. I took this chance to take a walk around town and enjoy the peace and quiet that only early morning can offer. Early morning light is the best light, to me at least, even though I rarely see it. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to this town I felt so at home in, even only after a couple of short days.


We spent the last day driving along the coast, visiting small town after small town before heading to Montpellier and then onward back to London. The sun was strong and the heat made me tired (though I was not complaining). We arrived at Marseillan and had a wander around this sleepy town on the Mediterranean.  It was almost as if I was in a dream. Lunch on the marina, a cool breeze from the sea, gelato in the shade - a perfect way to end our trip...