Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Hi friends... Just wanted to pop in to say hello and fill you in on an amazing deal our friends at Williams-Sonoma are offering right now...

As you all know, I looove coffee, specifically lattes. I always start my day with one (or three) from the comfort of my own kitchen thanks to the Nespresso Pixie. This little machine is a life-changer. Seriously, perfect espresso, every single time, and zero clean up. (insert Hallelujah chorus) I use the Aeroccino Plus to froth my milk (perfection) and you can save $140 on the little duo if you hop on over to Williams-Sonoma right now (offer ends today.)

ALSO, with the purchase of your machine you will receive a $75 credit to purchase the Nespresso capsules (which are, in-sanely good, the absolute best quality, and ridiculously convenient.) 

Did I mention shipping is free?* Because it is. 

Tonto, jump on it. I ordered one, Rob ordered one, which basically means you should too. It makes a great gift (for yourself or someone whom you absolutely a-dore**)
*Enter the code: "ship4free" at checkout. 

**It Takes Two reference? #duh

p.s. The ideas expressed in this post are my own. I was in no way compensated by Nespresso, Williams-Sonoma, Bill Clinton, etc. etc. etc... Just a recommendation from a friend to a friend. :)

p.p.s. Notice anything looking extra festive? I decked Soliloquy's halls yesterday! Holly jolly... [Photos 1 and 3 are by Taylor (always give credit where credit is due...)]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Soft-boiled Eggs

Look, I know my way around the kitchen. As the daughter of restaurateurs, I learned at a young age how to saut√©, flamb√©, and sashay left and right. So imagine my dismay when my aunt introduced me to the wonder that is: the soft-boiled egg. I'm still a little puzzled as to how this deliciousness has evaded me for 22 years (oh wait, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I just started eating eggs 6 months ago... Foodie fail.)

I think the soft boiled egg slides under the radar because her tasteless, chalky sister (the hard boiled egg) steals the show. But, in my opinion, the silky, creamy soft-boiled alternative is the only way to go.

All you have to do is...
1. Fill up a sauce pan about halfway with water. 
2. Bring to a boil. 
3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add egg(s). 
4. Cook for 6 minutes and then remove from water. 
5. I like to run cool water over it for few seconds so it is easier to handle.
6. Peel and enjoy. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday

Happy Cyber Monday, friends! Are you doing some Christmas shopping this afternoon? I've been looking around for some ideas... but truth be told, if I buy gifts this early I always end up giving them early too. I take "it is better to give than to receive" to a whole new level. 

This year I'm trying to be mindful not only of what I give, but also where it comes from. I  am focusing more on handmade items and products made in America. Taylor's brother and his girlfriend set a $20 limit for each other and they made the stipulation that whatever they buy must be pre-owned. Hats off to them! (They are both super creative, so I'm sure their gifts will be superb.)

Despite having a 500+ collection of Crayola crayons as a child, I've never been overwhelmingly artistic. This year though, I do want to put a little something "personal" into some of my gifts. Granted, my Christmas cards will never feature my own original art or calligraphy work, but that doesn't mean I can't DIY something special for the people I love. 

I'm thinking about using a 50/50 approach for some of my gifts: 50% purchased, 50% created. Example:

Purchased: vintage Santa mug (bonus points because it's pre-owned!)
Created: Hot chocolate mix (recipe here)
Purchased: vintage Cookie jar
Created: batch of cookies & recipe printed on a pretty note-card
These would make good gifts for neighbors or hostesses, and making part of it yourself shows you care (and a vintage cookie jar says "you're worth more to me than a cheap Glad container/paper plate with plastic wrap.") As for the people closest to me, I'll have to keep the details of their presents under wraps (ha, get it!) After all, they are my most faithful followers... hi mom. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guilt-free Friday!

Well turkeys, did you have a happy Thanksgiving? I most certainly did. And as much as I love fall, I couldn't be more thrilled that the Christmas season "officially" starts today! Hoping to get a little shopping done and then kicking the weekend off with pizza at Mellow Mushroom tonight... It's our Black Friday tradition! I hope your weekend is absolutely magical, filled with the peace and joy that always seems to accompany the Christmas season! Until Monday... 

Hey! It's ok...

... To love that scented candle so much you actually carry it with you from room to room

... If Christmas music accounts for 95% of the Black Friday appeal

... If 95% of your phone's storage capacity is filled with snapshots of your pup. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011



1. A great or plentiful amount
2. Fullness to overflowing 

plentiful - copious - profuse - ample - affluent - rich

Here's to cuddling up with loved ones, flipping through a multitude of circulars, and watching as the television slowly fades from the parade to football games. 

As I sit back on this day of thankfulness, one word comes to mind above all others: abundance. I am so very fortunate, so richly blessed. And as easy as it is to get wrapped up in the splendor of this fine day- the falling leaves, the delicious foods, the people we are so blessed to spend this time with, let us always remember to give thanks. My heart is so full of gratitude, to the One who provides it all, Jehovah-Jireh. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vintage Bling

Saturday morning my mom and I ventured out to a holiday craft fair at a nearby military base. We had every intention of doing a little Christmas shopping, but were swept off our feet by "Vintage Bling," a local artist who uses old earrings and brooches to create new pieces. Being the old soul that I am, she had me at vintage. And if it sparkles too? Sold. 
 I couldn't resist wearing my new necklace immediately, and, of course, not taking it off for the remainder of the weekend. 
 [Shirt: Gap, Sweater: H&M, Pants: Target, Boots: Icora]
Even though the eye-catching piece makes such a dramatic statement, it is remarkably versatile, and I was able to transition it seamlessly into a more casual look for Sunday afternoon.
 [Top: J. Crew (thanks TBT) Jeans: Target, Moccasins: Minnetonka]
[mom's necklace was made by fastening an earring to a locket!]

I love buying things that are one of a kind, and there is something so special about wearing antique jewelry. As I imagine the story behind each piece, I cannot help but wonder if the strand of pearls used in my necklace were a girl's 16th birthday present. Or maybe a stylish lady wore these earrings to a festive Christmas bash. And as for the brooch, can't you just picture someone pinning it on for Sunday service? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Have you put the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving menu yet? My aunt does the honors of hosting every year, so fortunately I don't have to worry about that. She is an exceptional cook and I am already excited just thinking about it. 

If I was responsible for preparing a feast, I would make these Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta. My mom made them last night and they were delicious. Also, they are delightfully easy to make, so you can enjoy a glass of wine (or two) while they simmer. And wine is certainly something to be thankful for, isn't that right?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I owe it all to my friend Peter, who recommended I visit Mud several years ago. As soon as I entered the "secret garden," I fell in love. It is no secret that I am a breakfast connoisseur/aficionado, but brunch at Mud will always be my absolute favorite. 
For starters, the coffee is phenomenal. Like, off-the-charts, creamy, delicious perfection. (and, side note, my mimosa was delightful as well)
 The food is always spectacular. I usually get Sourdough French Toast, but this time I tried Huevos Rancheros, which was equally delicious.
My mom had an omlette with arugula, caramelized onion, and goat cheese (aka everything good in the world.)

The icing on the cake is the ambiance. It's one of those places that wraps you up in a cozy embrace the minute you walk through the door. Mud will always be my "happy place," and it is the thing I most look forward to when visiting New York. If you're ever in the area, you must check it out. 
[located 307 East 9th St.]

[first photo from here, other 3 images are mine via iPhone]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NYC recap (photo overload)

Hello dear darlings... home again home again jiggety jig. I had a most fabulous time in New York. The weather was practically perfect and we trekked all over the city, leaving the hotel early each day and not returning until late each night, depending on coffee and red wine (with no shortage of delicious food) to keep us running. I always return with inspiration bubbling over... The lights, the energy, it is all so grand. But, I must admit, after a few days my heart is happy to return to this sleepy, coastal town. 

 [Our arrival coincided with the delivery of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree! It still needs to be decorated, so it will stay bundled up in scaffolding for a few days]
 [Anthropologie always looks delightfully festive]

 [The Farmers Market at Union Square was full of great finds, if you were willing to wrestle the crowds]
 [Bryant Part at night just feels like Christmas to me, so red lips and a red Starbucks cup were the perfect accompaniment to an evening stroll]

 [On our last morning, we realized we didn't have any pictures of me, so on the way to 5th Avenue we stopped in Times Square (because I mean, hey, everyine takes pictures there)]

 [I know Macy's typically gets all the Christmas hype, but I found Saks to be the most beautiful of all the department stores.]

[And of course, my favorite store in all of New York, Dean and Deluca. Practical? No. Affordable? Seldom. But I do believe food to be the greatest luxury, and shopping for it should be just that: indulgent, decadent, and sensational.]

[We had several delicious breakfasts, but you'll have to check back later for a recap of my most favorite.]
[As we waited to board our flight home, we both had to slip off our shoes and prop up our feet. After 4 days of going non-stop, we were exhausted.]
Thanks again, mom, for an amazing trip. I always have the most fun with you. 

(And thanks, dad, for letting me steal your best friend for the weekend.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Boarding Passes

Once again I find myself today sitting at the airport gate feeling overwhelmingly grateful. This isn't what I pictured my post-grad life would be. I've spent the past 22 years going to school and getting an education to prep for life after college. They tell you that once you're done with school you need to go out and start your career, do your 30 years, and then take the time to live your life and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But for me, I'm not done learning. I've got the rest of my life to spend in a rewarding, fulfilling career. But for now, this precious time being, I'm going to enjoy the opportunity and soak it all in. If I could tell my former self one thing, it would be don't stress. Don't worry about the "logical" next step, just trust. If I've said it once, I've said it 1000 times: God's plan is infinitely better than mine.

I know this is not an opportunity that many people get, and I never cease to be thankful. Oddly enough, I've learned more in my travels than I ever could in a classroom. And, incidentally, boarding passes make the best bookmarks.


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