Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day from our Jim Dine pizza attempt!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Skip Loves Winston's

RTT did well with an early delivery of Valentine's Day flowers from Winston's (of course).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skip Heads North

This past weekend, RTT and I decided to escape the Winter torment by heading, er, north.

While it was quite obviously not warmer, Woodstock, VT was a quaint and quiet retreat for us busy Bostonians. Frequented by the wealthy financier and municipally magnanimous, Laurance Rockefeller, the town is known for being the "quintessential New England village" complete with an impressive inn, well preserved Georgian and Federal homes, and a marvelously manicured green. Indeed, RTT and I were duly delighted by the sweetness of the place.

We happened to stay in South Woodstock at the lovely Kedron Valley Inn (featured in a Budweiser/Clydesdale commercial) largely because l'il Piglet was in attendance and our first hotel of choice was anti-puppy. Not to worry though, this being cute central, the Kedron Valley Inn was divine and we ate substantially at their morning breakfast buffet. (Eggnog french toast? Homemade buttermilk bread with jam? Almond coffee cake? Fresh squeezed orange juice? Yes, please.) We also were able to enjoy multiple fine meals at the Woodstock Inn (the aforementioned first hotel of choice) in their Red Rooster restaurant. And, shockingly, the eating continued during the day...we sampled LOTS of cheese at Sugarbush Farms, drooled over the glassware at Simon Pearce, and cooed at all the picturesque country stores (and supplied her highness with endless homemade Vermont Animal Cookies).

While we want to return to Vermont, it will require a significant diet detox period before we can go back.

The South Woodstock Country Store

Glass blowing at Simon Pearce

One view from the Woodstock Green

RTT at the Red Rooster restaurant

Our room at the Kedron Valley Inn

Cows for cheese

Rigby waiting in the front seat...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Shepard Fairey Opening

Last night, my ever-cool friend, India, and I attended the members-only opening night of the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston. (Like us, I'm sure many of you have not heard the name Shepard Fairey, but I assure you that his work is nearly ubiquitous. He famously created the Obama Hope posters that have plastered billboards, scaffolding, and magazine covers. This kind of graphic propagandist street art is Shepard's signature.)

We arrived at the impressive ICA to find that the Obama enthusiasm extended to the artistic interpretations of his ideals. Despite a required advance RSVP, there was a line! There was NO red wine left when we arrived midway through the opening! Needless to say, India and I, mistresses of malcontent, were not pleased.

However, as a result of waiting in line for almost 40 minutes, we arrived in the gallery to find that Shepard Fairey himself (all 5'6" of his youthful, hipster spirit) was roaming the space giving a kind of ad-hoc commentary on his work.

What luck! Thank goodness for Bostonian inefficency and lack of planning!

The Shepard Fairey exhibit is going on now through August.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Skip's a Cookie Connoisseur

I intently believe cookies are an unequaled dessert, no matter the occasion. Whether I have just enjoyed a simple sandwich, perfect pizza or luxurious lamb entree, I always crave a cookie for a sweet treat. (Glass of milk optional.)

It's not surprising then, that I have made it my life long mission to locate, update, amend or even author the preeminent homemade cookie recipe across each cookie category in an effort to offer to all domestic goddesses around the planet the opportunity to impress any discerning cookie guest (both large and small). For now, I think I have located a peerless Sugar Cookie recipe in Elinor Klivan's '125 Cookies' and while I am constantly re-convinced I've made the best Chocolate Chip cookie, that elusive rapscallion remains as such.

I do reckon, however, I have found slash developed the very best M&M Cookie (I suppose the brand of candy-coated chocolate is your choice)....Sublimely both crisp and chewy with overflowing M&M's but the ideal chocolate to vanilla cookie goodness ratio. Finally!

Skip's M&M Cookie Masterpiece

1 cup packed Brown Sugar
0.5 cups White Sugar
1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 Eggs, room temperature
1.5 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2.5 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1.5-2 cups M&M's (any type)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, cream together sugars and butter. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla extract. Sift together flour and baking soda (and 0.5 teaspoons salt if you so choose). Add flour mixture to creamed sugar/butter/eggs bowl. Blend well. Add 1 cup of M&M candies.

Drop dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press a few M&M's on top of each dough ball.

Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies. If desired, check cookies midway through baking and press some more M&M's onto the tops of the half-baked treats.

Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack or your mouth.

Football Feast

There is very little to get excited about in mid-Winter in Boston. Snow storms that blanket the city in cold, pure prettiness become tiresome when your car gets stuck, they don't plow the roads, and rocky ice rinks form on every sidewalk.

Thus, the Super Bowl afforded RTT and I the opportunity to break out of the dreary doldrums and create an artery clogging football feast for, er, two. We spent Sunday producing the beautiful balanced meal of vegetables, onion dip, Chorizo Nachos and M&M cookies seen here.

It will take us until the start of the next football season to recover.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Well Deserved

Yippy Skippy!!! My boys won another Super Bowl title in an exhilirating battle against the Arizona Cardials (though the first 22 minutes were a tad dull). Obviously, it was because I was wearing my #7 jersey...well, and because Santonio Holmes is a rock star.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Skip's Sis Starts a Blog

Hurrah! My fabulous l'il sister, Fabs, has started a design blog!

She'll be chronicling the trails, tribulations and triumphs of decorating (from scratch) the spectacular space she currently occupies at 25 Fifth Avenue in New York City and readying it for our parents' presupposed retirement (I'm so sure).

Head to NYC Nest to keep abreast of her interior improvements.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Skip is Bummed Out

Horrid news today! I just received an email alert from the ever-informative Women's Wear Daily (WWD) that Domino magazine is shuttering!

I heart Domino and all the creative, cool interiors depicted inside...indeed, the latest February issue was fabulous!

Such a bummer! Hopefully they will at least keep the website up and running...?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Skip Covets Dior Couture

While I have no delusions about my future with regard to Couture clothing (namely, I have no future with regard to Couture clothing), a girl can still dream.

And, how lovely that the Spring 2009 Christian Dior Couture show (with the masterful John Galliano) conveys just that idea...of dream-like, optimistic 1950's silhouettes created with crinolined fabrics but with shockingly gossamer transparency and lightness.

I'm going to channel these looks for my Spring/Summer wedding circuit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Inspired Fire Extinguisher

I am a firm believer in the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-redesign-it school of classical industrial products. For example; please consider colorful, retro telephones compared with the insipid new black/silver plastic wireless versions or compare a time-honored time keeper clock with an impersonal digital doomsday type that haunt bedside tables everywhere. Most of the time, vintage is better. But not always...

For this little beauty I will certainly make an is a cleverly redesigned version of the classic, red fire extinguisher that I discovered while perusing the surfeit of design blogs on the world wide web this past weekend.

If only it were available in the U.S....currently, you can buy it at Cox & Cox in the U.K.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Skip's Tip Top Hat Hunt

In order to glamorously convey my British-ness, I have decided that I will be wearing a hat (or fascinator) to the myriad of weddings RTT and I are attending this Spring/Summer. Of course, this requires me to find the perfect hat first...While, in an ideal world I would fly to London to visit the ancestral home and meet with my milliner, alas I am rather confined to searching on the world wide web for now.

Thus, my new favorite website is the quaint, curious site of Samuel's Hats, based in downtown New York City, selling insanely beautiful hats by Anna Rizzo, Herald & Heart and Philip Treacy, to name a few. It is a bit of a cumbersome site, but with some dedicated searching, I have found more than a few hats that I am lusting after...less Isabella Blow and more Renee Perle, I hope.

Of course, the hat is dependent on what my couturier designs for my dress...

Skip Attempts the Blueprint Cleanse

Persuaded, unknowingly, by my little sis, Fabs, and further provoked by Holiday party pounds, RTT and I embarked on a super trendy, 3-day pre-packaged juice cleanse from Blueprint Cleanse this past week. Promises of renewed 2009 energy, clear spirits and weight loss convinced us that the $65/day cleanse (I picked up the juices in NYC while visiting the fam) was worth it.

The Renovation Cleanse consists of 6 juices per day and stricken all solid foods from the diet (the only non-Cleanse item permitted is herbal tea). Two of the juices were a green lettuce-y based concoction that tasted suspiciously like L'Occitane's Verbena soap smells and thus required me to quickly gulp them down to avoid my gag reflex. Another juice was a delightful pineapple-mint beverage that I thoroughly enjoyed and the Peppery Lemonade (with Cayenne) was actually quite refreshing as well. The juice menu was rounded out with a very ginger-y Beetroot juice (RTT hates beets, but I found it to be decent) and a well-received Cashew Nut Milk.

We were considerably hungry during day one and both experienced persistent but minor headaches, yet, to be honest, after the initial food withdrawal symptoms passed, we were good. No hunger, no headaches on days two and three.

Here's the thing, while I was not hungry, I was also not satiated. I was feeling not bad but not great either. I was expecting to feel rejuvenation yet I felt run-of-the-mill. And, I just got so sick of juice! It was too much liquid for one person to consume and I missed the ritual of getting up from my desk for lunch and chopping and cooking for dinner. It was so dull.

So, my lovely readers, I can happily disclose that indeed the money was well-spent because RTT and I learned a valuable lesson; cleanses are gimmicky and boring...for people like us. If you want to detox and need focus and a filter, Blueprint was a peachy option. But, next time, RTT and I are going to limit ourselves to fruits and veggies for a week instead. I expect that will Renovate us just as well.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Skip Loves Happy Ending(s)

While watching my most favorite guilty pleasure on television, the show Privileged on the CW (I know, I can't believe I have sunk to this level), I heard the most fantastical song ever! And, using Shazam, I discovered that it was funky, far out "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" singer Mika's oddly uplifting yet depressing ditty, "Happy Ending."

Of course I am late to the Mika party as the song is from his March 2007 album, "Life in Cartoon Motion," but I almost don't even care! I have literally listened to this song on repeat everyday since.

Participate in tween-er music love by buying the song on iTunes...oh, and watching Privileged.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Skip Supports the Steelers

Thank goodness I was wearing my #7 jersey! Again!! Go Steelers!!!!

PS- Hi, Ben.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Skip Wants to Throw a Party

I can't believe I am even uttering the word 'party' after barely making it through the Holidays, but I am looking for any excuse to buy these confetti-filled pinatas.

They are perfect for my glam, white and gold color-schemed Mexican cocktail fiesta which will also include these White Paper Flowers, something made of feathers and will take place in my yet-to-be-bought-and-or-built party barn.

Ah, confetti-filled dreams!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Skip Adores Mistral

When I left San Francisco for Boston I was convinced that I was leaving behind the incredible foodie culture and iconic, gourmand juggernauts of the region like Cyrus, Zuni, Town Hall and Kokkari. And, in fact, upon arriving in Boston it became clear that my premonitions were completely conceived. For the most part, this city is chock-full of pub grub grease-pits and mediocre, uninteresting restaurants with vastly inflated prices and extensive truffle oil use.

But, maybe, keeping my expectations low (and after a series of disappointments at supposed Boston yuppie hideaways like Masa and Sibling Rivalry and special occasion treats like No. 9 Park) prepared me to be blissfully surprised when I finally dined at Mistral.

If I were to describe in exquisite detail my ideal daily (note, this is not a description for those exclusive, once in a lifetime, sell-your-Jimmy-Choo-handbag-to-pay-for-the-meal places) dining event from the valet to the entrance way's first impression to the decor to the lighting to the music to the service to the bar scene and bartenders to the wine list to the menu layout to the appetizers and entrees to the prices to the companion clientele and, of course, to the bread offering and bathroom conditions, I would describe in exquisite detail the entire Mistral experience.

First, the valet service is quick and helpful (one kind young man rushed to catch me when I hit the skids on a nearby patch of ice) and, um, kind of a ridiculously handsome bunch, and the entrance is impressive and sophisticated in wrought iron glory. A warm, neutral space with simple, organic decor elements strikes a Mediterranean slash Northern California Wine Country note (and you wonder why I love this place) overall. The lounge-y hipster area encourages happy hour co-mingling at the front of the restaurant and off to the far-right of the larger dining space that occupies the side-left and back of the place, separated subtly from the more demure diners with frosted glass (I did prefer the potted cypress wall that was recently replaced but I'm sure no one really cares what I think), is the fantastic, expansive concrete bar where RTT and I prefer to feast. There was a happy quote collage on the bar-facing wall which I thoroughly enjoyed as a bar-dining view, but it has regrettably been replaced with a chic liquor display and less-chic television nooks (alas, there is now no restaurant in Boston from $ to $$$$ that doesn't have a television on which the obsessed public can ogle their beloved sports teams). I should also mention that the bathrooms are always clean and oddly devoid of women, which I find to be rather lovely and calming. Who likes to wait in line to use the restroom?

My drink of choice is the rare Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka & Soda or a generous glass of the Catena Malbec. And, I must say, the bread teaser with a garlic-chick pea spread is some of the best I have had in my life (and I am a wee bread snob). I think my favorite food item in all of the earth, the Maine Crab Ravioli, is my preferred appetizer but I also adore the Seared Foie Gras and simple Garden Greens Salad. I am essentially addicted (if one defines 'addicted' as devoted to a practice or habit or fare) to the White Cheese & Hot Pepper Pizza and will be scarcely able to face the daylight when they take it off the menu in the Summer season. Perhaps I can abduct chef Jamie Mammano and force him to make it for me come May? Really, in the end, a shocking lack of matchbooks is all that is left to be desired...

By the time we leave Mistral, I am perfectly satiated, life is grand and I am the happiest Skip in Boston. Why would I not want to eat here every week? Why would RTT not want to keep me so euphoric?

Indeed, RTT and I are going to make Mistral 'our place.' RTT knows it's worth the investment.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Skip Lives in the Arctic

I have determined that there is really only way to survive Winter in Boston...and that is with a glamorous Dr. Zhivago-inspired fur hat.

Shockingly, the fabulous fur hat market is relatively devoid of stylish options (and normal head models) but I have narrowed it down to a Black Fox Pill Box style and a Silver Fox Zhivago Hat.

This is a matter of life and unfashionably freezing to death.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Puppy Paraphenalia

As today is my favorite Frenchie's half-birthday (the esteemed Eleanor, revered Rigby, beloved bulldog) and given she can't yet communicate her own birthday wish-list (try as she might to chew on the computer at every possible moment), I feel it is my duty as Rigby's trustee to enunciate her very deepest pet preferences for birthday bounty...

(1) Cheeky Dog Bowls. Rigby has consummate taste in dinnerware and clearly deserves to dine out of the very best bowls. These cartoon-y bowls from Wagwear will surely make every meal more enjoyable.

(2) Couture Collars. Needless to say, Rigby is a ridiculously spoiled pet and has three collars with which to accessorize her daily duds. However, a girl can never have too many shoes and a Frenchie can never have too many collars. Rigby is partial to the prepster meets hipster options from Ella Dish and these WASP-y wonderful collars from the lovely luxe Blueblood brood, but I secretly desire to round her Summer collar collection with these pretty Palm Beach Lily Pulitzer bands. She'll fit right in at the Breakers.

(3) Tasty Treats. Rigby is an all organic gal as she is constantly concerned about her health, fantastic figure, and the sustainability of the food she eats. Lucky for us, we live very close to the phenomenal Polka Dog Bakery, where the Piglet shops for all her preferred products. But, for her 6-month birthday, Rigby will undoubtedly prefer the Bully Bonanza on which to munch.

(4) Organic Dog Toys. As Rigby is known for literally ripping her toys to shreds through a painful series of dismemberment and repeated beatings, it's better for all parties that her toys be organic. This way, when she inevitably ingests the arms, leg, tail or stuffing, RTT and I can rest a little easier knowing it's 'all natural.' Rigby really likes Percy, the organic chicken plush toy from FetchDog.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Skip's Christmas in Chicago

The beautiful Harding tree!

The Girls

Greer Parents & Mummy & Daddy

Fabulous Fabs

Penny & RTT

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

Yes, I made these cookies and not, as you may think, a 2nd grader.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Minute Gift List Update

For those of you desperately looking for some last minute Holiday gifts (Mummy, this one is for you) allow me to update my ever-expanding, never-necessary list of gift must-haves.

(1) A Letterpress Calendar. While I am thoroughly enjoying the time management function on my iPhone, Victory, I find there is always a need for month-at-a-glance calendar viewing at work. What prettier way to fulfill this function that with an artistic and original letterpress calendar! I love the hand drawn feather version at The Wild Unknown.

(2) Crafty Teapot Cozy. For a house to be considered truly English, it absolutely must include a biscuit tin for biscuits and a biscuit tin for tea bags (as advised by my father), a plethora of dish cloths, a teapot (obviously), ample tea mugs (again, courtesy of my Daddy) and, of course, a tea cozy. While RTT and I have a cutesy cupcake version from my Mummy, I do so love this flouncy crochet kind from Eden & Eden.

(3) Dyptique Fragrance. I am sure it's been made abundantly clear that I am a fragrance freak. RTT can attest to the overflowing tray of perfume bottles on our dresser each of which I labeled with appropriate moods and feelings imparted by the smell contained within. Is that crazy? Yes. Do I care? No. I even want more, like this divine fig-scented bouquet from Dyptique, Philosykos. It is described as a "fig tree and white cedar on a hot summer day in Greece." Yes, please!

(4) Fancy Gladiator Sandals. I fulfilled my fashion need for flat gladiator sandals last Summer with an adorable, gold pair from Matt Bernson. But this Spring, I really want to glam it up on the gladiator front. This fab python pair from Coach will be the perfect match for my incredibly stylish, yet-to-be-discovered cocktail dresses at all the weddings we have to attend this year.

(5) Personalized Stationery. More, you ask? Again, you say? Well, what would a Wish List be without a stationery line item? And, clearly my dreams have yet to come true in this department otherwise I wouldn't keep including them! My new favorite is this uber-chic vintage wallpaper version from Linda & Harriet. Of course, $490 for a set of 50 is a tad-bit excessive, but...why not just make sure everyone is at least aware of my amazing taste?

Only 4 more shopping days until Christmas, folks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Skip Dreams of a Sunday Ride

I am almost 100% sure that this bicycle would inspire me to take up bike riding after a 18-year hiatus.

The Simple City 3 W. In Gloss Aqua, obviously.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Skip Asks the Question

Oh, what a happy world in which we live! It just makes you want to smile!

This peppy attitude could too be yours if you logon immediately and watch the Fifty People One Question videos (just avoid reading any financial news at nearby websites or driving in Boston for a little while so that you can maximize the gladdening effects).

The clever idea is a social project by Crush + Lovely, a small creative studio based in New York and San Francisco, that involves asking 50 people one question and filming the responses. The result of the first, precious question, Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?, now includes over 900 stirring, silly and sweet responses from people all over the globe.

If someone as anti-other-people as moi can be so captivated and even endeared to such a charming public simply from watching these videos, just think of the added bounce in your daily steps?!?!

Skip Succumbs

Well, it's happened. I have given into the pressures of mass consumer culture and purchased an iPhone. I know, I know.

But, in my defense, the entire purchase was motivated by my current complete lack of cell phone service in my own flat. While I am enternally devoted to T-Mobile, if there is one place my mobile needs to ring, it is in my house! Secondly, please believe me that this was a carefully considered (and reconsidered) decision that involved multiple trips to Verizon and AT&T before I finally accepted the iPhone as my own. I tried the Storm (painfully slow) and the Omnia (frustrating user interface) but, ultimately, the iPhone was the lesser of the evils.

I hope you can forgive me, dear readers!

Update 1/18: Just a wee note, on the ridiculously cool iTunes/iPhone App store. As much as I wanted to hate it, it might make the entire conformist thing worth it. I am obsessed with Shazam (already put to use on a Ray LaMontagne song), my Traffic update application that helps me avoid road rage on my commute and the quirky Quad Camera program that has turned my otherwise crappy iPhone camera into a nifty Lomo-type one.