November 30, 2012

Fill In The Blank Friday

1.  The best way to spread Christmas cheer is...  by doing something selfless. I'm not religious, so for me Christmas isn't about God or Jesus, but rather it's about people taking the time to think about how lucky they are and reach out to those who aren't as fortunate. I'm a big believer in giving back around the holidays (this story especially warmed my heart.) 

2.  The holiday season is   a time I get to spend a little extra time with my family, since I haven't lived in the same state (for years not even in the same country!) as them in almost 10 years     .

3.  When it comes to holiday decorating   I LOVE wrapping presents, and I like white christmas lights (I find the colorful ones tacky), but I'm not a big house decoration. As for the tree, less is more .

4. The thing I look forward to most about the holidays is     sleeping in and wearing pajamas all day .

5. My favorite holiday tradition is   my mom's amazing Christmas Eve party (with all the oysters and fois gras and champagne) and opening a single present on Christmas Eve before we go to bed.

6. This year my Christmas plans include     spending some quality time with my family, and getting to see my best friend for a couple of days when she comes to visit me in New York .

7.  My favorite holiday food is  oysters and fois gras and champagne. It's a little Marie Antoinette, I know, but it's a time for indulgence, right? :) 

Don't forget to link up with Lauren

November 29, 2012

Star Spangled Cape

During Hurricane Sandy I was pretty much stuck at home for a few days. 

I was lucky enough to not lose power, but I couldn't really go anywhere, so I needed to find something to keep myself busy in my apartment. 

I decided to tackle a sewing project that had been in my "to do" pile for at least a year: a winter cape. 

I bought McCall's 6446 on sale last year for something ridiculous like $1.99. I thought it had a great classic silhouette with some nice details, like the welt pockets and the back pleat. 

I also bought some beautiful shetland wool--black with natural white specks--and a black silk lining. 

To complement the white specks, and add a bit of a mod look, I bought oversized faux mother of pearl buttons, and altered the pattern to have the buttons go all the way down the front.

I also added bound buttonholes, which I think gave the garment a more professional finish.

The pattern also didn't include a lining, so I drafted and added one.

At first I was a little nervous about how wide set the collar was (I think it was meant to accommodate the hood) but when I actually finished it, I was pleased with how it looked. A bit more retro.

When I can strong arm someone into taking some photos of me wearing the cape, 'll post them so you can see that it looks a lot less frump actually on a person with legs and not just a headless dressform.

Bound buttonhole

Mother of pearl buttons

Welt pockets

Interfacing and lining

I hand finished all raw inside edges in self-made silk bias tape. 


In other news,  I was wearing this yesterday and an adorable gay couple stopped me in the street to ask where I'd bought my cape. When I told them I made it myself but didn't actually sew professionally, they told me I should really be sewing to sell. 

So it got the wheels turning in my mind, and after a lot of positive encouragement from facebook, I think I might actually do it! When I have some time over the holidays I'll try to start making some headway into opening up an Etsy shop! 

I will of course keep you all posted about my progress. 

Now, for a bit of self-serving crowd-sourcing, as a potential buyer, what items would you most like to see in an Etsy shop?

Adult Outerwear (coats, capes, etc.)
Adult Apparel (skirts, tops, dresses)
Accessories (clutches, pouches, etc.)
Baby/Kids Clothes
Vintage finds

November 28, 2012

Wish List: Kate Spade Edition

I've always been a big fan of Kate Spade. 

She fancies bold colors, simple designs, and adult-appropriate girlish styles -- all things I love. 

So I thought I'd kick off my Holiday Wish List series with some of my favorite bright and cheerful Kate Spade stuff.  

(This just makes it easier for anyone just dying to buy me some expensive presents to pick out something I like :)


               PAPER GEM COASTERS / $20.00


What's on your Holiday Wish List?

November 23, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Those of you who know me know I'm staunchly anti-Black Friday. 

I hate waiting in line more than anything else in the world, and being jostled by aggressive bargain shoppers in the middle of the night, fighting for a bunch of crap made in China would be my personal hell.

(No offense to anyone who did take advantage of the shopping deals, it's just not what I'm cut out for). 

Instead, I slept in, woke up to a delicious breakfast of leftover Thanksgiving pie, went for a leisurely run along the Charles river and had a tasty turkey sandwich lunch.

A day off much more up my alley. 

Now my mother and I are hunkering down to tackle an extended project that we've working on for years: organizing our family photos chronologically into photo albums.

My brother Lucas and cousin Enrico, the original hipsters; Italy, circa 1993.

Not only do we have thousands of photos (my brother and I were very photographed children) but we're also both easily distractible, getting caught up  ooohing and ahhing over baby photos and first halloween costumes.

I had a little hipster thing going on myself; but back then it was just called the 90s. Not gonna lie, kinda wish I still had that outfit. Cambridge, MA circa 1992.
Needless to say, there's a reason it's taking up years to do this. 

The original #notimpressed; Italy circa 1993.
Wee Little Nautical Pinup; Boston, MA circa 1988.

My brother and I were very serious children; Italy circa 1993.

I had my Thanksgiving clean up technique down early; Cambridge, MA, circa 1989. 

Well, this holiday season is no different, and I'm looking forward to getting lost in a sea of childhood memories. 

Happy Black Friday! 

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

English Sticky Toffee Pudding in the works

There's nothing I love more than waking up on Thanksgiving morning with nothing to do all day but cook and eat.

I'm still in my pajamas and we've already made a dent in the sticky toffee pudding, the garlic mashed potatoes, the shredded lemon brussel sprouts, a pear pomegranate pie, kumquat cranberry sauce, and a little turkey for us (the main turkey is cooking our friends' house, where we'll be sharing the meal later).

If there's one more thing I could make (but I don't have time) it's Heidi Swanson's Spice-Kissed Pumpkin Pie, which has long been a Thanksgiving favorite at our house.

(If you're looking for a last minute dessert to make, try that one. You won't regret it.)

I should probably get dressed and back to cooking, but I want to wish all of you a splendid and delicious day full of good food, friends, family, and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

November 21, 2012

Le Petit Dejeuner

Coming home for the Holidays is such a treat. 

I managed to get Wednesday and Friday off of work, for a five day weekend to come home and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.

This morning I slept in, and woke up to a delicious latte, some nice crusty bread slathered in fresh butter and tasty blackberry jam.

I love le petit dejeuner, French-style. 

I'm enjoying a nice calm morning with my coffee, while my mom is off getting her hair done, before the crazed grocery shopping trip of this afternoon turns into frantic cooking of tonight, rolls over into a cacophony of friends and family and flavor tomorrow.

November 17, 2012

Friday Blanks on Saturday

Today is an absolutely spectacular day. 

I finally went running for the first time in a couple of weeks (I've been swamped at work) and it was so nice to be out in Central Park on such a beautiful morning.

The foliage is turning--although unfortunately a lot of it was lost during Hurricane Sandy--and the colors are really amazing.

A beautiful brownstone on my street

Birds on the reservoir

Birds on the reservoir

Then I came home and had a celebratory waffle brunch with my roommates, which really hit the spot.

(I want to tell you what I'm celebrating--I have some really good news--but I'm keeping under wraps until it's officially official) 

Now I have to a put in a couple of hours working remotely, and then I'm off to a birthday party!


1.  My best quality is  that I'm highly rational. Sometimes it's not always great (I find it hard to lead with or be lead by my emotions) but most of the time it's extremely useful to be able to analyze and reason a situation from an objective perspective, both with regard to my own life and when helping friends. It also makes it difficult for me to get overwhelmed, which is very useful during highly stressful moments  .

2.  One of my less flattering qualities is    that I'm impatient and sometimes a little peremptory (one of my mother's favorite words to describe me as a child). But I'm working on it :)     .

3.  I'd rather be   someone who only thinks nice things about people, but unfortunately I'm also a little judgmental and critical. That said, I always give people the benefit of the doubt.

4. Something I have been challenged with lately is     finding the time to do the things I need to do to be happy and healthy, like going running and cooking dinner. Working 60 hours a week is making it difficult, so thankfully this job is only a couple more weeks.

5. I am looking forward to    spending five wonderful days at home with my family for Thanksgiving. Monday is also my little brother's birthday (25!) so we'll be celebrating that as well .

6. A super random factoid about me is    that I really hate the color purple. I'm not sure why, but it really irks me. Plum I can get on board with, but bright royal purple is like nails on a chalkboard for my eyes.

7.  I want to   take a trip to Europe. I haven't been since I moved away in 2010 and I miss everyone so much. There are children of my cousins that I haven't even met yet - new tiny people! - and I'm really nostalgic for Italy. Maybe next spring?

Don't forget to link up with Lauren


Happy Weekend Everyone! 

November 15, 2012

Recipe: Sticky Toffee Pudding

After reading this review of the Sticky Toffee Pudding at John Dory Oyster Bar in Chelsea, I became obsessed with it. 

How could I not be? 

Look how delicious! 

[Photograph: Kathy YL Chan] via Serious Eats

My old roommate Amanda (who I hadn't seen in too long) and I were both working in Chelsea a few weeks ago, so we decided to meet up here to catch up over a glass of wine and a delicious taste of this scrumptious pudding. 

I have to say, it ended up looking much better than it tasted. 

It was a little dry, there wasn't enough caramel sauce, and the "early grey infused" whipped cream was anything but. 

But the idea got in my head, so a few days later I decided to try it at home to serve with a delicious Sunday dinner that my roommate Amber was cooking up. 

This one was much much better. 

Not as pretty, but much tastier!

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Adapted from the Food Network


Toffee Sauce

  • Pudding
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates (I didn't have dates so I used raisins and it was delicious)
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding. Spread evenly on top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Serve immediately spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.

It was a huge hit and I plan on making it for both Thanksgiving festivities I'll be attending--a Thanksgiving Pot Luck for my Book Club and my family Thanksgiving at home. 

Bon appetit! 

November 9, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday!

1.  I like  that the weather is getting cooler and I get to style fall clothes!  .

2.  A life goal of mine is  to make time every year to get away. It's too easy to get wrapped up in school or work and settle for a "staycation," but I think it's important to really disconnect at least once a year    .

3.  The last thing you would ever expect me to like (even though I secretly do) is  fruity cocktails. I'm usually all about simple spirits and crisp wines, but even I'll go for a mojito every once in a while .

4. Some wise words that I love are    "live and let live" and "to each his own." Seriously, if more people followed that advice the world would be a much more peaceful place.

5. Most mornings you will find me   making myself a latte while I try to wake up and then sipping it while checking my email and the news.

6. Right now I am super into   big buns. The weather's been a bit iffy for wearing my hear down without getting frizzy in five seconds so I've been rocking giant buns, which looks pulled together, even if I haven't washed my hair!

7.  Right now I am super over   warm-weather clothes. Summer was too long this year. I'm excited for tights and boots and coats! 


Don't forget to link up with Lauren!

Have a great weekend! 

November 7, 2012

Wear It & Share It: Tux Top

Remember the Tuxedo Blouse I refashioned this summer? 

Well I finally got around to wearing it! 

(Apologies for the blurry shot--the ladies room at work doesn't have the best lighting, but the mirror is huge!)
I paired it with a cropped blazer, black leggings, and ankle booties for a fierce formal look. 

I like the simple black and white look with a pop of color from the oxblood lining of my blazer.

Blouse: Own design
Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted
Leggings: No brand
Ankle Boots: Aldo/own design, thrifted 
(these used to be knee-high boots but I cut them off at the ankle seam to make them into booties--much better!)