Farrell and I have not traditionally posted much about clothing. I think the underlying reason is that we have slightly different personal styles. While we are both somewhat traditional/classic, we have a different approach. In the future we may post side by side comparisons of our picks for various things, and I think this will become more clear at that point. In the meantime, we found our perfect dresses (for both of us!) for a hot Virginia day. Now which one of us picked which dress??
We are back from Vermont, which made our car look like this:
It was a great trip. On the way to Boston we ran across the Simon Pearce factory in Windsor, VT, where we were able to view glassblowing in progress. It was fun to see the origin of many of our wedding presents.
It was perfect timing, because I was able to buy Kirk's Castille Soap, the missing item in my "natural cleaning" arsenal. It is my goal this year to be about 75% green in my cleaning. We live in a coastal area and it just seems like the responsible thing to do.
Of course Sherry and John at Young House Love have a great series of comprehensive posts about just this topic. One thing I learned is that there is some controversy regarding the safety of Borax, so it may not be wise to jump right into using that on dishes unless you have done your own research. For the record my favorite book on this topic is Green Clean (pictured above)- the recipes are easy to follow and everything is broken down by room (bathroom, kitchen, etc).
With 80 degree temps expected in Virginia on Friday, we're looking towards Summer. These invites from Minted bring to mind the warm-weather, Southern, outdoor wedding under the stars (which neither of us had, coincidentally), complete with margaritas served from Mason jars.
Getting ready for Thursday, people? Living in a college town, I cannot TELL you how excited the general population around me is for St. Patrick's Day. Green beer abounds.
We'll be doing the usual corned beef, cabbage, and homemade Irish Soda Bread in this household, but after reading this article on the Top 5 Irish Whiskeys, we may make a few additions to the menu. I've rarely met a cheese I haven't liked, and dessert, well, that's apparently the themeof the blog of this week!
Did you know today was Pi Day? You know, it's March 14, so 3.14.
Nerdiness aside, this lends itself to the dessert theme of the past few posts. Some of my favorite childhood memories center around my grandma's apple pie (no, there's no written recipe, and it never tastes as good when I make it as when she does). Lauren channels her Southern roots and makes a mean Chocolate Chess Pie. Recently, my mom has been baking a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie at Thanksgiving that gets rave reviews.
What's your favorite pie? Any fun memories around it?
And by all means, share the recipes.
Continuing with the dessert post trend, here's one I made recently that is really to.die.for. After stalking it for almost a year on Perry's Plate, I used weekend guests as an excuse to whip up a Cinnabun Cheesecake. You know, then I could make something totally sinful under the guise of "we're having company and they'll help us eat it." I suggest you do the same very, very soon.
Although I am a cheesecake lover (I don't really love traditional cake, so we often had cheesecake at my childhood birthdays), I'm quite sure even those of you who prefer cake of the usual variety will love this.
Chef's Note: Use a waterbath when you bake this cheesecake. Instead of submerging the springform pan in water, I just used an additional baking sheet filled with water on the lower rack, and there were no cracks in the cake.
I spent some time with a friend who gave up chocolate for Lent. In an effort to redirect her sweet tooth, she tried Chick-fil-A's Banana Pudding Milkshake. By association, I got to try a bite this week, and Oh.My.God. Almost as good as the Banana Pudding at Coastal Flats, it even has crumbled vanilla wafers mixed in. I don't even want to start to think about the caloric damage of the milkshake, but if you're looking for a splurge this Spring weekend, I would highly recommend it.
While sane people in the northeast are heading off to warmer destinations, I am doing tons of laundry in preparation for a week in Vermont. We went in on a ski house for the season, but due to work commitments we haven't actually spent much time there. To make up for this, we are heading there for vacation, just around the time that it's hitting the upper 40's here in New York. Oh well. Really, it should be lots of fun. I had never spent any time in Vermont prior to this, so it's been very interesting. Our house is in Winhall, right at the base of Stratton Mountain. Despite being a very quiet resort (ie, there aren't taxis to take people home from bars like at Killington), it stays extremely busy on the weekends. Busy with twelve year old male snowboarders from Greenwich. They are so thoughtful and polite on the slopes. (That's sarcasm). During the week it is retirement central, which is a little more comfortable for this Virginia bred "skier." Anyway, the point is that I will be back blogging with Farrell around the 21st. Everyone have a good weekend!
Pictures from our last trip up to Vermont:
Favorite house on the way there.
Second favorite house.
Check out that icicle!
The local gourmet market/wine store/coffee shop. (We go there once twice per day.)
This may not be news to you devotees, but in celebration of their 40th anniversary, Starbucks is rolling out a whole new branding approach, among other new treats.
Although the new green sleeve was a little "in your face" for me this morning, I have to admit I am excited about the promise of this new beverage in the line-up: Cocoa Cappuccino, combines fresh espresso, bittersweet mocha sauce, just the right amounts of steamed milk and foam, and topped with a signature mocha drizzle.
Is it bad that it's 9:12am, and I am contemplating my second trip of the day to the in-office Starbucks? Does it help the validation approach if we consider that I have been up since 3:45am? Sigh.
It's no secret that I like toile. I have posted about it in the past, specifically my discovery of Town Toiles. When we were on hiatus I saw an article in The Richmond Times Dispatch about an artist who started sketching local landmarks to create the city's own toile design- I guess she figured it would take a while for Town Toiles to take an interest in Richmond. You can see the results here. At $70+ per yard (yikes!) the fabric is a real splurge, but it could be used to create thoughtful gifts for special occasions- maybe a pillow for a graduation or engagement present. Now what I really need to do is go in with someone on the design fee for a Charlottesville based toile...that would be a real hit.
We're always on the lookout for finds that are both adorable and a deal. Shabby Apple is a great example. How cute is the dress below for bridesmaids in a casual wedding? Finally, something that your maids really could wear again.
With an incredible pricetag, Shabby Apple's lines offer some great options for spring for special occasion and everyday wear.
In an effort to lend some organization to my life, I recently completed a major closet purge. Shoes, clothes, bags, you name it. I tried to stick to the "if I haven't worn it in two years, it's time to get rid of it" mantra, with a few exceptions for high-end classic pieces and special occasion dresses. Over 8 bags of cast-offs later (some pictured here), I have to admit, I was quite happy with the results.
After posting about some pretty, feminine curtains here I waited too long and found that the blue ones were gone when I went to order them. Then I went to a Junior League meeting last night in the most consistently decorated house that I may have ever personally seen. I marveled at the uniformity of the owner's taste and noted that I will probably never be able to commit that fully to a decorating scheme. And while I was not out to prove that point when I went to Pottery Barn Kids tonight, I managed to do so by buying these:
A far cry from toile (am I a six year old boy?) and I didn't have to commit to a color palette : ) But the best thing about them is that they make me happy, and I guess that is the point of decorating.
PS- Please ignore the tension rod. We live in a rental with plaster walls. I am basically too scared to install and/or hang anything.