Metal Yell

I was supposed to wear this dress to the last performance of the 2017 – 2018 Pennsylvania Ballet season. With a blowout, plans to grab a drink with another couple who are part of the Young Friends group during intermission, and reservations after the ballet at Sampan, to say I had huge plans for this dress was an understatement.

The night prior I attended a happy hour for the Young Friends of the Pennsylvania Ballet. By the time I made it home, my husband was holed up in the living room, swaddled up in a blanket and drinking tea. Ninety minutes later, the affliction made it to me. A combination of a headache and chest congestion, I was so ill, it was difficult just to fall asleep. I was so sick that I ventured out to CVS the next morning in a sweatsuit, socks with Birkenstocks, my glasses. Lunch was pho.

Around the time we were taking out the broth, the husband and I decided that I should not get behind a car steering wheel, let alone make both us us attempting to make it to the ballet that night. DryBar was cancelled. Sampan was cancelled. The dress just never made it out.

Until today. I slipped it on, paired it with gladiator sandals and a bucket bag, and asked my husband if it was too much. He encouraged me to rock it shamelessly, even if the dress gave off walk of shame vibes. Everywhere I went, people asked if I was going somewhere. Nope, just brunch and Whole Foods.

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Strappy Days

Lately I have been on the Sex and  the City diet. While the style of my favorite character was actually Natasha’s, I think Samantha’s and Charlotte’s styles, and to a lesser degree Miranda’s, styles were fantastic and really spoke to the characters themselves.

I was perusing the tall selection at the Banana Republic online store and found a dress that screamed Samantha Jones from the scene where she passes Mr. Cocky on the street and he followed her until she paused in front of a storefront (Season 2, Episode 18: Ex and the City).

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This dress comes in tall. The tall is only available in the shocking pink these days. (The regular and the petite sizes are also available in pink, but also classic black.) The dress does not contain polyester, and these days y’all, to say it is a challenge to find anything without polyester at Banana Republic is an understatement. Can you imagine wearing the dress on the walk to work on a 80 degree morning and just slipping on a cardigan or a schoolboy blazer when you get to the office? Just me…?

Well, now that I put the idea in your ear it is time to execute.

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Seared North Carolina Trout with New Red Bliss Potatoes and Broccolini // @2souschefs

“The abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables is really ramping up on top of the mountain. Farmers’ markets teeming with peaches and nectarines from Georgia, potatoes from the next town over, corn from Asheville, and an array of tomatoes in every shape and color. This particular dish was dreamt up from this abundance. It also helps that the trout comes from Sunburst Trout Farm just down the road. We kept everything in this dish as local and small as possible, with the exception of the dry white wine that accompanied the dish as a beverage. We chose Cantina Zaccagnini from Italy.

This week’s Kitchen Gadget Spotlight is on Peugeot PeppermillThere are very few things associated with cooking that are more synonymous then salt and pepper. Fresh ground pepper can bring a Steak au Poivre to life. Peugeot is a brand that European chefs tend to gravitate towards and for good reason: they are bulletproof. The ones at the restaurant have been dropped into fryers, cranked thousands of times, and just generally abused. They still work. That’s why we brought one into our home kitchen and it has never failed us. We love it.” – Joe

Ingredients
  • 8 New Red Bliss potatos – sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thyme – chopped fine
  • 1 bunch broccolini – trimmed 3 inches from the crown
  • 1 pint Kumato tomatoes – cut in half
  • 2 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 2 fillets trout – bellies removed
  • 1 avocado – sliced for garnishing
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil and the potatoes in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Roast the potatoes on both sides until a nice golden brown color has formed.
  2. Once browned, season with salt, pepper and the chopped thyme.
  3. Place in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes or until the potatoes have softened.
  4. Heat a touch of olive oil and the crowns of broccolini in a medium sized pan over medium high heat.
  5. Once the broccolini is browned, throw in the tomatoes, and the splash of white wine. Cover and remove from the heat.
  6. Heat a third and final pan over medium heat. Add some olive oil and gently lay a seasoned trout (salt and pepper) in it.
  7. Allow the trout to cook on the skin side for about four minutes . You will start to notice that the salmon colored flesh will turn white. Once the color change is about halfway up the fish, gently turn over and continue cooking for another two minutes.
  8. Plate and garnish with avocado.

I Call This One, “The Buffet Dress”

Every girl needs a buffet dress. It can have an empire waist or be a trapeze cut. The crucial requirement of the buffet dress is that it is not constricting around the stomach. Not to flex my inner fat gal, but if I know I am going to be going to Qdoba or Moe’s and crave not only a burrito, but also an order of chips and queso, the buffet dress is what I pick from the closet.

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In The Land of Linen

I saw this linen shell and it struck me as classic, quintessential, Banana Republic. Not the polyester-laden Banana Republic of today, but the Banana Republic that I only saw ads for within the pages of my mother’s InStyle while we were living abroad. Just for reference, this was during the early to late 1990s. Kate Moss was queen and as a stick of a preteen, I related to her as I too, was skin and bones. #thegoodoledays #kidding #kinda

If Banana Republic could just go all-in on the norm core aesthetic sported by Kate Moss in the above images and offered the key pieces in the tall range, I would go wild for it. Nothing makes me more nostalgic than 90s minimalist style, specifically the memories of paging through my mom’s magazines and thinking about living the lifestyle depicted in the Banana Republic imagery. It was the life of the grown-up that I wanted to be.

The shell that took me down memory lane (also available in black and white and in a petite size range)…

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Shell I Compare Sea to a Summer’s Day?

Who remembers when Gilt and RueLaLa were the best online destinations to shop? Admittedly I probably shopped too much at the flash sale sites, so much so that I burnt out. Full candor, I was most certainly one of those girls who used the first thirty minutes of her lunch break (EST thank sweet baby Jesus) to raid Gilt’s daily offering.

Sidebar: I highly recommend reading By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop written by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, the founders of Gilt. It is an easily digestible read that you will not want to put down. Read it especially if you need inspiration in your professional life.

These days it seems as though the flash sale concept has been phased out for both of the websites. Though the seeming urgency to shop it everyday has cooled, it is not necessarily reflective of the quality of merchandise. In the past six months, I know I purchased at least one dress, one pair of sunglasses, and one swimsuit from one site or the other.

The swimsuit being this one. Unfortunately it was not offered in long torso, but I made a size larger than what I would typically purchase, work. With this fantastic print and the vivid colors, can you blame me?

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Don’t Book Back // Out of Sync by @LanceBass

last read…

Last week I wrote about Danielle Fishel’s memoir, which touched on her relationship with Lance Bass. With Out of Sync sitting in my iBooks queue, it was then decided that Mr. Bass’ memoir would be the perfect follow up to Normally This Would Be a Cause For Concern… and the third book I would digest while on vacation.

I am a bit behind the eight ball on this, as the book was released over a decade ago. I do not recall what possessed me to make the purchase; I don’t think I read any particularly juicy excerpts online. Perhaps I only saw that Lance Bass had written a memoir via his Wikipedia page. Don’t get me into the Wikipedia deep dives I have caught myself on. Almost like an Alice in Wonderland-type fall into pop culture minutiae. In fact, a recent Wikipedia deep dive into Kevin Bacon led me to know that his middle name is the same as a good friend’s last name and allowed me to come to the conclusion that my friend was was mistaken for the celebrity and received his hotel room when both of the gentleman had booked accommodations in the same hotel the weekend of the most recent White House Correspondents Dinner.

I digress.

Nearly everything that Mr. Bass offered up in his memoir, I could have read on his Wikipedia page. The most interesting part of the book was the chapter about his training to go into space. The obstacles that he met – namely, time and money – could have been easily circumvented if a certain member of *NSync was more forthcoming with his musical ambitions. I’ll leave it at that.

Will I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? A decade ago, I would have definitely recommended the book. These days, maybe try an internet deep dive instead. Or download the book via Audible and listen to it on your commute to the office.

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Out of Sync: A Memoir by Lance Bass

Head Case

Yesterday I wore a head scarf from the Eugenia Kim x Lilly Pulitzer collaboration to the pool. It goes without saying that it popped with color. Add on top of that my blue flash aviators on a Lilly croakie and orange tie dye caftan with sequin trim, and one could say that my outfit was what the kids would call “extra”.

All of this is the say that I am really into head and hair accessories. Headbands? Yes. Scarves tied Rambo-style? Yes. A baseball cap? For bad hair days and pool days only.

I could say that I blame Blair Waldorf for this obsession, but that would not be entirely accurate. To pinpoint the moment in my adult life when I was inspired to drive to my nearest locally-owned boutique (You the know the type. That one stocked with premium denim [that was the fucking rage in the aughts] and was put out of business by the 2008 recession.) and bought a few headbands, was season one of The Hills. Lauren Conrad put the headband back on the sartorial map and it was a year later than Queen B underscored it with her version of a crown.

In the weeks prior to the release of the second Sex and the City movie, I read an article that touted turbans as the next hot accessory. Let’s just say that I was on my edge of my seat waiting for them to take off to the same or comparable influence as the headband had on the years 2006 through 2009. I feel that with the few styles recently released, the turban’s time is nearly here.

gold // black // navy

red // blush // gray // pink // black

Generation Gap // An Ode to Diane

While I was binge watching Younger via Hulu a few weekends ago, I spotted the character Kelsey Peters wearing a total classic, the denim jacket. I was instantly transported…

Does anyone remember the peak time for the denim jacket? Even as a child I knew that the Gap denim jacket was the hot item circa 1990. For those keeping track, I was six years old then. It was also around that time that my mom tapped into her inner-mom-hustle and made Christmas happen by working for L.L.Bean in Freeport, Maine. (Mom, I know you don’t think that we were-slash-are aware of why you worked evenings at the Northeastern purveyor of outdoor must-have mothership [pun], and while I cannot speak for my sister, I get it and am even more thankful now for the Barbie beach club [complete with a fucking waterslide] than I was circa 1992.)

All that is to say is that while my family lived in Maine, daytrips to Freeport were ever so frequent. Only a view shed away from the L.L.Bean flagship store was the Gap and Gap Kids Outlet. This must have been a winter between 1989 and 1992. I remember so vividly the window dressing of three or four mannequins and an identical sweater in only the boldest of colors: royal blue, goldenrod yellow, emerald green, bright red. I wanted to wear all of the sweaters in the window but Mom insisted that the Gap, even Gap Outlet, was too expensive. She would later indulge me in shopping once I learned her art of the sale, easily one of the best life lessons she ever taught me.

Once I learned my mom’s tricks of the trade on how to wait for the sale, I realized that I was too damn tall to fit into the very denim jacket that was so imprinted on my memory. Le sigh. When I watched the episode of Younger as mentioned at the beginning of this post, I immediately jumped onto Gap.com and looked for a tall denim jacket. Mission accomplished.

Lucky for my future daughter, her future grandmother taught her mother the art of the sale and her mother already tried on the short pants (jackets, too) so she won’t have to.

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Chicken Pasta Salad // @2souschefs

“Growing up, our mom made rotini salad at every family get together. It had tomatoes, green peppers, and zesty Italian dressing. I would literally only eat the pasta, leaving all the vegetables on my plate. I have since grown to love all the vegetables I once despised, and revamped mom’s pasta salad! I remixed it by adding feta cheese and spinach and arugula greens. To round out the dish into a meal, I added chicken. The OG pasta was a hit in the 90s and I can say that the update is a hit these days!

Let’s talk kitchen equipment recommendations:

A German style chef’s knife (this set or this solo): my favorite for the home kitchen. A nice medium weight with a decent edge is all you need to get a perfect small dice or stop your onions from making you cry. Because who has time for that?

Meat thermometer: not just for turkey at Thanksgiving! The easiest way for avoiding overcooking / undercooking your chicken. I like the digital screen thermometers better than the traditional ones.

Stainless steel bowls: classic, sleek, useful for everything. Buy at least three. One small, one medium, one large.” – Andi

  • 1/2 pound rotini pasta – cooked
  • 1 small red onion – diced
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 1 celery stalk – diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of Italian dressing – to taste
  • 1 cup spinach / arugula mix
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook half a pound of rotini noodles according to the package. Strain and cool down.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, practice your knife skills while cutting the vegetables. You want a small dice of the celery, red pepper, and onion. Then cut your tomatoes in half.
  3. Pour the cooked and drained pasta to a large bowl.
  4. Add the vegetables, spinach arugula mix, and feta to the bowl.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Dress the whole salad with your vinaigrette of choice. I love zesty Italian. It has been my favorite since I was a kid. It is hard to say a specific measured amount as everyone has their own personal preference. Start with a couple of tablespoons and work from there.
  7. While the pasta is marinating, sear the chicken. Heat a pan over medium and when the pan is hot, add the oil.
  8. Carefully add your chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Sear for 5 minutes on one side (or until brown) and then turn the chicken and cook for another ten minutes. Your chicken should hit 160 degrees Fahrenheit for the internal temperature. Remove your chicken from the pan and let it cool for five minutes.
  10. Slice the chicken and place on top of the salad.

Theory of Cocktail Ring

I am still obsessed with the collaboration between Tory Burch and Kenneth Jay Lane. Given that, I should not have been surprised that upon examining this ring and researching the designer, it was Kenneth Jay Lane. I am eyeing this ring hard, as the boutique selling it is shuttering. I have the link in my bookmark browser on my home computer, work computer, and iPad.

In the last week or so, the boutique’s website has shuttered. Cut to me sending an Instagram direct message inquiring about the ring and all remining KJL jewelry.

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