Ooh, my favorite!

Party Planning
January 21, 2013, 10:29 am
Filed under: Entertaining, The Finer Things, Vintage

It’s sad to say but the last official party I hosted was probably about 8 years ago. It’s lame because I love entertaining, and even in my early days as a hostess we always had fun snacking and sipping at my tiny old house in Wedgwood. I even converted a tiny extra room into a “Moroccan tea room” with tons of floor pillows and lots of candlelight. The guys especially loved calling it the make out room, but the only thing they ever did there was to get in the candle wax and make a huge mess. So yeah. Boys.

My idea of entertaining has changed only a tad, but I’m using this opportunity to plan and collect key pieces that I can use for any type of get together. Here’s the concept I have in mind, using similar pieces that I already have or have just found, and a color palate that is (hopefully) far from the horrifying search results one gets when looking for ideas on this sort of thing.

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Salad plateCrystal pitcher / Champagne coupes / Marble board / Linen cocktail napkins / Votives / Serving tray (similar) / Mother of Pearl serving set

Etsy has been an amazing source for vintage pieces at really great prices too. I’d recommend spending time searching there, but only when you know precisely what you want (combing through the results is a disaster otherwise). eBay and Craigslist are also great resources, especially when you’re looking for larger lots of dinnerware. (Our set of salad plates came from Craigslist!)

I decided that I want everything to be neutral: crystal/glass/ceramic with small bits of silver and gold. I actually like mixing the two and with only small bands of it here and there I think it will be nice little touches. The flowers will be more neutral as well with ivory, blushes and natural greens. Yep, no red flowers! The only bits of color will be the guys above, and they’ll be in the form of crepe paper that I’ll make into some sort of garland.

Some quick tips on collecting pieces:

Crystal pitcher – This Waterford one here is quite lovely, but there’s no need to spend big money. Check out a current sale at One King’s Lane and see some great ones for about $30.

Linen napkins – I have the greatest little vintage linen napkin collection resulting from a few mixed lot listings for less than $15 each. A quick search will get you lots of great results.

Champagne coupes – don’t spend big money on these. (I don’t really love the ones here, save for the gold rim.) Again, search eBay, Etsy, Craigslist.

Silver Serving tray – even new ones can be inexpensive, just take the time to find one in the shape, size, and weight that you want.

Serving utensils – I just picked these guys up on One King’s Lane for $30. Mother of pearl too!

These are a few…
January 18, 2013, 10:35 am
Filed under: My favorite things

This was one of those weeks where I can’t remember what actually happened. Perhaps it was because brother was coming up and I was really excited because that means lazy days at home with lots of home cookin’. Oh, and it also meant these…

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A haul from Miette. Oh how I miss my favorite San Francisco bakery (the ONLY place that makes a proper macaron). Thanks to brother @thanithani & @maridorothy for the goodies!!

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A new cookbook for the collection. Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook Jerusalem is unbelievable. Lots of recipes with vegetables, lamb, and spices and the photos and food styling are gorgeous.

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A recipe for gougeres. We did our testing last weekend and the gougies were a hit, and so easy. Are you ready for the recipe?

The Cool House
January 17, 2013, 10:58 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home


This is my kind of pop-up shop; in fact, this is my kind of home. Well, actually it’s a penthouse on the sixth floor of the Swiss Grand Hotel on Bondi beach in Sydney, but regardless, it’s an inspiring set-up. The shop was hosted by the folks at The Cool Hunter (my fave!) back in December, and everything (including the penthouse) was for sale.coolhouse4

Reading the latest issue of Lonny I was admiring one of the lovely featured homes, but was suddenly so put off my the owner’s description calling it “charming if humble.” Trust me when I say there was nothing humble about it. (Strategically placed Hermes housewares does not a humble home make.) This, to me, is the opposite of that. I love the comfortably stylish vibe with a definite feel of luxury, but still far from pretentious. (And it’s not even a lived-in home, it’s a freakin’ shop!)coolhouse2

I adore the use of color, and just as I’ve been second-guessing how I use it at home. I think even without the ultimate beach setting the brilliant colors and textiles would work anywhere…especially here in the nine months of gloomy drizzly rain we have. This living room setting just makes me so happy. That collection of vases. The pillows. The rug. Sigh.coolhouse

Another great vignette, again the use of colors and textures is so interesting.coolhouse3

[Via and by The Cool Hunter. Styled by Steve Cordony. Photos by Felix Forest.]

Seaweed water as a toner
January 16, 2013, 11:43 am
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Green, Health

Seaweed water as a toner

When I posted the Wakame Ponzu salad the other day I mentioned that you should save the water that you used to soak the seaweed, and here’s why: the amazingly nutrient-dense water makes the most wonderfully natural toner for hair and skin. A quick search for seaweed toners online led to a horrific concoction from the Body Shop that has more chemicals and poison than anything that even remotely resembles a trace of raw seaweed. So steer clear. Eat more seaweed and treat your skin and hair with the real thing. The applications are many, here’s how I use it:

Storage: after soaking your wakame overnight, strain the water into an air-tight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week. It’s a living thing, so it will go bad.

Nightly routine: after washing your face with a mild soap (I use Dr. Bronners), splash the seaweed water on your face and neck, let it air dry, and then splash a few more times. You can see your pores drinking it up and shrinking.

Post-facial toner: an especially good toner after an Aztec Clay mask. Your pores are open and ready for the nutrient-rich water. Again, splash a few rounds on your face before you moisturize (with coconut oil preferably!).

Bath water buddy:  add the water to your bath and have a relaxing soak after a good skin brushing. Again your skin and pores will be so happy.

Final rinse: shampoo and condition as usual. Rinse well with the shower water, then pour the seaweed water over your hair and scalp. DO NOT rinse out, just leave it on and continue with your usual hair routine. Don’t worry, there’s no smell or residue but your hair and scalp will love it just as your skin does.

Really a two-for-one kinda deal with a healthful salad AND a trusty facial staple. Give it a go and your skin will be good to you forever.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
January 15, 2013, 10:29 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes, Seattle

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It is freakin’ cold here. The days are clear and dry; words that don’t often describe Seattle weather, but without our usual thick blanket of grey-gloomy cloud cover there’s nothing to hold in even the slightest bit of warmth. I love seeing bits of frost on the ground each day (not to mention the sun!), but until it actually snows I’ll continue wish it into existence and feast on oh-so decadent, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dishes like this guy here: a proper dish of spaghetti alla carbonara.

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The key here is not to skimp–not to be afraid to use the rendered bacon fat, and not to be shy about the salt, pepper, or parmesan. It’s not a traditional addition, in fact many Italians won’t eat it if there’s a speck of anything green, but I like to add chopped fresh parsley to give a bit of freshness and lighten things up…if only just a tad. Regardless, with or without a pinch of greenery this dish is badass.

Picture 21When cooking the pasta, be sure to use a large pot with about 4-quarts of water. I used to force it into a small pot in order to save time and water, but in order to get the perfect texture and release of starches be sure to use lots of water, and don’t be afraid to salt it. We want to be sure the noodles have their own layer of flavor. And if you’re looking for a good brand of pasta I really like bionaturae’s line of organic pastas. They’re often on sale at Madison Market too.

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Serves 4

1 Tbs olive oil

1/4 lb (about 4 slices) thick cut bacon, sliced

2 eggs

1 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 pound spaghetti


Freshly ground black pepper

Optional: Fresh parsley, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a pan and cook the bacon (sliced into lardons) until crisp. Set aside but be sure to save the rendered fat.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil ladle a few spoonfuls of the water into a bowl to warm it before adding the egg and cheese. Set the bowl aside and add 2 teaspoons of salt to the boiling water and drop the spaghetti. Cook according to the package directions or until tender but firm.

Toss the hot water from the bowl and add eggs, parmesan, and black pepper. Beat well. When the pasta is done drain it and toss immediately in the egg and cheese mixture. Mix well, then add the bacon and rendered fat. Mix again and add more black pepper; taste and add salt and more pepper if needed.

Serve immediately and garnish with freshly grated parm and more black pepper. If you’re opting for the parsley, add as a garnish and mix as you eat. Carbonara

Golden Globes 2013
January 14, 2013, 11:54 am
Filed under: Fashion

I actually had the chance to catch glimpses of the show last night. There was not a sporting event in sight that could have trumped a very rare chance for me to set the channel. There was many a trend to share but here I’ve picked a few of my favorites and perhaps some that could have been.

I’ll start of with my favorite look of the night with Rachel Weisz and her classy self in Louis Vuitton. Perfectly styled from fingerwave hair to platform sandal. And the lip color! What a great call.

Rachel Weisz

Now onto the groupings…Picture 8Shades of Persimmon  I’ve never been too keen with red on the red carpet, but something about the shades of orangey persimmon I quite like. Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence, both in Dior Couture, look lovely but I particularly love minimal and elegant styling on Marion, and the pairing of the suede pumps. The proportion and volume on Jennifer is perfect.

Picture 13Deep plunges  I loved Kate Hudson in Alexander McQueen, and I was kinda surprised. The long sleeves, keyhole plunge, and the ornate gold details struck a great balance. I loved her hair, but couldn’t help but wonder how a simple up-do would have changed the look. I’m just not sure about the cut-out on Kristin Wiig in Michael Kors. I want to like it, but somehow it looks a little cheap, or as he would say “Coo coo”.

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Sheer + sparkles  Isla Fisher looks lovely as always, and Thandie looks adorable. She didn’t get much love for this look but she somehow manages to transform the Giles Deacon dress into something that’s almost ready for afternoon tea, even with those strategically placed glittery details. My question is why did Kerry Washington have to ruin a perfectly beautiful Miu Miu dress with that hair? This is a dress where those vintage waves would have nailed it! I would have also opted for an open sandal as opposed to the pumps.

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Hair and make-up  I of course loved the vintage fingerwave styles (the one I rocked for holiday party season!) but have to give the edge to Jessica here as it looks less “glued” and a bit more natural. (No comment on J.Lo…yet). But even more exciting to me was the clean, minimal make-up that Marion Cotillard, Sienna Miller, and Rosario Dawson each had. I love that genuine beauty was showcased as opposed to the gaggles of obviously false lashes, fake tan, and too muchness [see below].

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Trying, trying, trying  I’d like to see these ladies shake off some of the desperation and start perhaps acting their age and, like the ladies above, showing the natural side of their beauty. Or for god’s sake at least PICK ONE thing to showcase. Not your leg AND your chest AND your fake tan AND your eye make up AND your hair AND your curves AND the cut-out on your hip. Ugh.

[images via Pinterest]

These are a few…
January 11, 2013, 11:37 am
Filed under: My favorite things, Restaurants, Seattle

Are you all settled into this lovely new year? It’s nice to have a bit of a normal routine again, I must say. And now that we’re on the upswing for longer days it all seems to be quite nice to me. I’m looking forward to finalizing plans for our little shindig and sharing some recipes with you. Tonight we’re going to play with gougères!

Happy weekend to you. And may you play with your food too. Kiss!
Kaj Franck HeartsMint, vintage Kaj Franck enamelware bowls from Andrew! The only hearts approved for our Lucky Valentine party so far. (There will be a strict limit until I can find some good party inspiration that isn’t beyond cheesy. Seriously, try searching for Valentine party inspo.)

Seattle's Bar SajorA sneak peek at Seattle’s Bar Sajor from Chef Matt Dillon. I was so lucky (if not slightly groupie) to tag along with Andrew to see the space as they’re finishing construction. Hallelujah, Pioneer Square finally has a chance to live up to its potential! Giddy doesn’t even describe how I feel.

Pioneer Square Pantry granolaWhen Pioneer Square Pantry granola met Stumptown Grand Cru coffee. We had so much fun tasting and sipping last weekend. Already looking forward to sharing the next one with you.

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