Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

We're on the cusp of September, the students have returned and there's a chill in the air. I nerded out this weekend and picked up the beautifully illustrated new edition of The Elements of Style.

It's the same old grammar manual that we love, peppered with a healthy dose of Maria Kalman pink.

Oh, how I love the Fall...

Friday, August 28, 2009

What Would Laura Do?

So there have been a few wedding setbacks... The event planner at the ceremony/reception location won't respond to any of our emails or phone calls. The flower girls dress arrived and is completely bizarre looking in person. It made my BB's gamine, willowy cousin feel like "a chunk monkey" and "a Christmas tree" alternately. And our budget is stretched to capacity.

But, on the bright side, the Mommies are happy. And we're making progress with the last minute-y stuff like programs and menus.

So I think that I will take this Friday off from thinking about the wedding and will, instead, re-read this illuminating article and ponder the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Curious Boston

BB and I have been compiling a list of suggested itineraries for our wedding guests who are spending the long weekend in Boston. We've got the expected Historical Route (Paul Revere's House, The Freedom Trail, The Old North Church), the Sports Fans Route (Fenway Park, The Cask n' Flagon, The Garden) and even a Shoppers Route (Charles St, South End). But I'm mentally assembling a Route for those who want to see the curious, charming sometimes hidden sites of Boston. I'm thinking I'll call it the Curious Boston Route.

When I first moved to Boston ten years ago, the whole city struck me as curious and magical. And sadly, a lot of the places that made it seem that way are no longer around; I'm thinking of the Avenue Victor Hugo Bookstore and Deli Haus, specifically. But there is still certainly wonder to be found in Boston and here's what I have so far:

1. The Diorama exhibit in the Wiggins Gallery at The Boston Public Library

2. The courtyard at The Boston Public Library

3. Caffe Vitoria

4. The Boston Athenaeum

5. The Mapparium (More on the beaten path than off, but still worth the trip.)

There's plenty more, but I've just started thinking about it. I'll follow up with a more thorough list soon. Please feel free to contribute!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Weekend

I don't believe I forgot to write about this yesterday. I had the most fun weekend! It was brutally hot, so rather than turn on the stove BB and I went out to dinner at The Garden at the Cellar. They were holding a Restaurant Week Boycott and offering some really gorgeous small plates for $10 each.

To counteract the heat, I had a pickled watermelon and Lillet gazpacho and grilled Halloumi with tomato-peach jam and an icy cold glass of rose. I like to think of it as my pink meal.

Then we met up with friends and went to The Donkey Show at the American Repertory Theater.

It was fantastic. Even a sour theatre snob like me, who has walked out on more Boston theatre than I've sat through, had a grand time. I danced so hard that my feet still hurt today!

It was completely refreshing and rejuvenating and made my hard, little theatre heart grow three times in size.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Recipe Goals

I've set two cooking goals for myself this week. One, to make the Almost-Instant Sweet Wine Ice Cream featured on The Kitchn last week.

The second is to attempt the Zuni Pink Pickled Onions, also in the spotlight on The Kitchn last week, which apparently I'm the only person in the world who hasn't tried.

Nothing too taxing, but still exciting and new. I've started falling back into my hummus and pasta funk and need to snap out of it.

Modern Trousseau

The lovely Ms. Heather Ross is teaching her Modern Trousseau course at Purl Patchwork again in October.

And after my standard lamenting over the fact that I live in Boston and reminding myself that spending close to $1000 on train/bus fare and hotels to take the class is decidedly unwise, I headed over to Grey Likes Weddings only to be greeted by more beautiful embroidery.

Oh, Ms. Ross, won't you please teach this course closer to Boston? My trousseau needs modernizing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ruffly Shoe

Yesterday, I impulse purchased these Nayla Ruffle Flats to wear on my honeymoon:

I think that I may like the idea of wearing them with black tights, in Rome, more than I like the actual shoes.

In reality, I think the ruffles may make my feet look abnormally large. When I look at them now, all I can think about is Melanie from Gone With the Wind sewing ruffles into the bustline of her dress.

What do you think? Ruffly shoes, yay or nay?

Great Wedding Deal

This is too good not to pass on. Ajalon Printing & Design is running a special where you can get 100 single color, letterpress wedding invitations (plus response cards and envelopes) for $398. Letterpress for $398! But the special is only good through August 31st, so you'll need to have your order placed by then.

They have a ton of designs to choose from. I'm partial to Brenda at the moment:

And if you need help with your wording, I suggest using the Invitation Wording Wizard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Women

Yesterday on Design Sponge, Amy Merrick posed the most wonderful piece about Little Women, the book and the most recent movie. She even showcases items to help Little Women-ize your home! Be warned, though, the porcelain dolls are crazy creepy.

The whole article got me thinking about which of the March girls I'm most like, which in turn sent me searching for a "Which March Girl Are You?" quiz online, natch.

Here's what I found:

Quiz #1

Quiz #2

Quiz #3, which claims to be "girls only". Pay that no mind.

Quiz #4

Apparently I'm 75% Jo, 25% Marmee. I can live with that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

By All Means, Rome

Oh lordy, I'm starting to feel quite how much needs to be done in such a short span of time. The honeymoon is mostly squared away, but we still need to book our hotel in Rome and figure out the train travel. To be honest, Rome frightens me so much more than Florence or Venice. It seems so large and like so much more of a gamble to choose a hotel there. And I'm starting to question our logic in ending a long trip with a big city.

But it will be very romantic, I'm sure. And there will be some of this:

And this:

And hopefully this:

And I've been promised that we can act out the Mouth of Truth scene from Roman Holiday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

All Better

I could tell you about how I'm frantically searching for a picture of a wedding bouquet to send to my florist. Or how, although he does great work, I'm feeling a bit patronized by him.

Or I could tell you about my killer migraine. Or how many times I've stepped in/sat in gum over the past few days. Or how awful public transit has been.

But instead, I will show you this:

There, see? All better.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wake Up

I've spent my morning listening to a potent NPR cocktail of Billy Bragg and Dan Deacon.

Listen and enjoy:

Billy Brag at the Newport Folk Festival 2009

Dan Deacon Concert in D.C. 2009

What a good way to start the day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lance Romance

The restaurant that we're getting married at has a set up that allows us to project movies or slides onto a white, brick wall during the cocktail hour. While the popular thing to do, as I understand it, is to project pictures of ourselves and our families, BB and I have decided to go in another direction.

We've decided to project a loop of clips from classic movies of people kissing, embracing, getting married, etc. Music will be playing through the cocktail hour, so the clips will be silent, almost like an art installation.

So far, here's what we've got:

1. Cinema Paradiso
2. From Here to Eternity
3. Breakfast at Tiffany's
4. Notorious
5. Casablanca
6. The Lady Eve
7. Meet Me in St. Louis
8. It's a Wonderful Life
9. A Place in the Sun
10. Roman Holiday
11. Rear Window
12. To Catch a Thief
13. The Seven Year Itch
14. Some Like It Hot
15. Umbrellas of Cherbourg
16. Manhattan
17. It Happened One Night
18. Young Frankenstein
19. Bringing Up Baby
20. The Philadelphia Story
21. Tillie's Punctured Romance
22. Easy Street
23. Seven Chances
24. One Week

We want it to be cheeky and not just straight up romance. I'm even considering including the Planet of the Apes kiss.

Any suggestions? We need them, folks. We've got a lot of time to fill!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Verdict

The carrot soup? Divine as anticipated. I have yet to encounter a Heidi Swanson recipe that isn't reliable great. My personal favorite from Ms. Swanson is her Salt-Kissed Buttermilk Cake.

*photo by Heidi Swanson

The best part about the soup, though, was the process of making it. Rather than slapping it together so that I could hit the gym, catch up on work, take care of wedding business, etc, I gave myself the luxury of time. I put on some music, set up my mise en place (which in my tiny kitchen is really necessary) and just enjoyed.

By the time BB got home, my shoulders had relaxed down to where they're supposed to be and we had a lovely meal.

Then we ran to the gym, caught up on work, did wedding stuff, etc, etc...

Oh, and our first wedding response arrived! And it wasn't from my Mom!

Monday, August 10, 2009

More Bittman Love

Today I'm loving this Mark Bittman/Leonard Lopate interview from WNYC.

I've gone through a very similar transition to a primarily vegetarian diet and dig his perspective on it. On a related note, this carrot soup recipe has been dancing in my head all day. I'm going to give it a whirl tonight. Maybe with a nice roast beet salad.

* picture by Heidi Swanson

First Trip Around the Sun

Isn't this a fantastic idea?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Date Night

My best beloved and I are resurrecting our Date Night tradition and going to see Julie and Julia tonight. Date Night policy generally dictates that we only see movies that we both really want to see, but BB is doing me a solid on this one.

Cheers to you, BB! Perhaps we'll eat Choux de Bruxelles a la Milanaise instead of popcorn.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It's official. I love Mark Bittman.

In truth, I've enjoyed Mr. Bittman's writing for years now. But it wasn't until I started watching "Spain: On the Road Again" at the gym (That's right. I watch cooking shows while I work out. What of it?) that I really began to appreciate the, for lack of a better word, character of Mark Bittman. And I find now that when I read one his books or articles I appreciate his "voice" as much as the information conveyed, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Looking back, I wonder why this wasn't always the case. It sounds silly, but I think it might be because his column is called "The Minimalist" and I used to associate minimalism with austerity. I dismissed any humor or warmth in the column as an incorrect perception on my part.

My apologies, Mr. Bittman, for thinking that you were typing away in a sterile, ivory tower. Your books are great, your blog is great and you've got a hell of a singing voice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Honeymoon Wear

Now that the wedding is so close, I find myself daydreaming about our honeymoon. And I'm realizing that I'd like to pick up a few pieces to pack that are a bit more fashionable than I usually wear. I'm going through a sloppy, summer dressing phase and need to snap out of it.

I saw some looks that I like over at J. Crew, but am not so sure that I can pull them off. For example:

Awfully cute. But I'm a short girl of average weight and not particularly gamine. I don't know if I just need to step out of my comfort zone on this one or if I'm merely being realistic about what looks good on my body type. And what sort of shoes would you wear with something like this? Could you pair a cardigan with it?

I also really like this look:

A casual skirt that I could wear with different tees and sweaters. Something a bit different from the usual jeans (so American, I know). But whenever I try to look frumpy-on-purpose, I tend to wind up just looking frumpy.

I really need help! Please advise.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Methadone for Domino Fans

I, like may of you, am still sighing over the demise of Domino Magazine. But there's hope. Ms. Rita Konig is now blogging for The New York Times. So we can stop pouring over our old Domino issues (never!) and head on over to the Times.

I feel better already.

Crossword Puzzling

Last night, while working on a crossword puzzle with my best beloved, I encountered this clue:

"Town South of Minsk (5)".

Expecting him to do the same, I immediately shouted out "Pinsk!"

Best Beloved: How on Earth did you know that?

Me: Because I didn't just fall off the turnip truck from Minsk-a-Pinsk.

Best Beloved rolls eyes.

Sometimes it pays to have grown up in the Catskills. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! I'll be here all week.

In related crossword news, I found out this weekend that my favorite great uncle and great aunt (siblings, not spouses) used to fight over the Sunday Times puzzle whenever one was visiting the other. And that they both did it in ink.

I find this strangely reassuring.

And of course I would be remiss to post about crossword puzzles and not mention Wordplay, the truly wonderful documentary about the NY Times crossword puzzle, Will Shortz and so much more.

It may even convince you to stop playing that narsty Sudoku.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Flower Lady

As a child, one of my most closely cherished wishes was that I would be asked to be someones flower girl. I come from a very small family and all of my cousins are really very close to my own age, so my being a flower girl wasn't in the cards.

But now I get the opportunity to do one better, because I was able to ask my best beloved's little cousin (one of my favorite people in the world) to be my flower girl. Actually, because she's nine years old, I'm calling her my "flower lady". "Flower girl" sounds a bit babyish to a sophisticated nine year old. And I just don't like the sound of "junior bridesmaid". Mainly because I'm not having attendants at the wedding and if she's a junior bridesmaid, I'll have to stop secretly squee-ing "I don't have any bridesmaids!" in my head.

I want this to be a lot of fun for her. I want it to be just what I thought being a flower girl might be like when I was eight or nine. So I've picked out a little bouquet that I think successfully strikes the balance between too babyish and too mature. I'm trying to find a dress that does the same, that also won't impede her from dancing and playing, but it's not easy. Here are a few contenders:

What do you think? I'm afraid the last one may be more First Lady than flower lady. A fabric flower pin at the waist might lighten it up some.

I'd also like to put together some kind of Thank-You-For-Being-My-Flower-Lady package for her with some fun candy and probably a book. I was entertaining the notion of throwing in some Bonnie Bell-type, barely tinted, lip gloss. I'm not sure what else. Any suggestions?