Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Beaches

One of my favorite things about Boston is its proximity to the ocean.  One of the greatest tragedies of Boston is that it doesn't do nearly enough with its ocean-front real estate.  They're getting it right in the Seaport district- with the way the new restaurants have large, sliding glass windows that open onto the boardwalk overlooking the ocean.  But in Boston proper, they've done a poor job of utilizing the stretch of ocean that would make a beautiful back-drop to small cafes and restaurants (granted, if restaurants were to open right on the water in the city, they would undoubtedly be large chains or sports bars and I don't think we need another Sel de la Terre or Jerry Remy's, if you know what I mean).

When it comes to New England beaches, I much prefer them in the colder months rather than the summer.  I love the smooth sand, stretching like a secret along the hungry water.  I like the cold wind whipping through my hair and the stillness.  I love taking the ferry to the Vineyard in the off-season, drinking in pubs with the locals who caught the seafood on the table early that morning, and watching the sun set over the water while snuggled tight in a blanket. 

I don't know if I'll make it out to the ocean again before I leave for the UK- my weekends for the next month are already pretty booked- but I'd like to.  I'd really really like to. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Breakfast in Bed

At least once a week, and usually on Sundays or Mondays when I have the day off and all the muscles in my body turn to jelly, I sit in bed and drink coffee all morning long.  When I get hungry, usually around 11:00 or 12:00,  I yell down the hall*, "David, doesn't a ______ sound really good right now?"  That's his cue to make breakfast (lunch?).  Yesterday, I was lying in bed being totally useless when I developed an insatiable craving for a grilled cheese sandwich.  15 minutes later, David delivered this to my bed:

Friends, I cannot even tell you the magnitude of deliciousness that is a broiled, cheesy, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce open-faced sandwich.   When you wake  up feeling the tiniest bit jaded, there is nothing better than one of these, hot out of the oven, to make you feel just right (along with multiple cups of coffee, of course!). 

This is how you make this breakfast of champions:

1. Lightly toast a piece of hearty bread (it is especially good to use an artisan multi-grain loaf)
2. Butter one side of the toast
3. Put a layer of English mustard over the butter
4. Generously layer on some grated cheddar (you can also use thin-cut slices of cheddar)
5. Put the cheesy toast under the broiler until the cheese is melted and delicious looking
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle Worcestershire Sauce over the cheese
7. Consume.  Enjoy.  Feel fat and happy for the rest of the afternoon.

*David is much more of a morning person than I am.  He wakes early and is productive while I doze in bed, blog surf, and drink hundreds of cups of coffee. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Post Work

Saturday is my Friday- I'm fortunate in my industry to work Tuesday through Saturday.  This allows me the luxury of going shopping and to matinee movies on Monday afternoons, when the shops and theaters are less crowded. 

 Here are some snapshots from my "Friday" night (really, Saturday is my Friday.  I live in a time warp):

I'm a big fan of decompression.  It has always taken me a while to acclimate to the weekend, and today was no exception.  My dear friend Tony introduced me to his boyfriend, Chad, today after work, and I was incredibly honored to meet him.  I worked until six and then the four of us had a wonderful snackish-dinner at Casa Romero, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Boston (if you are from somewhere south of Boston, you will likely find fault with Casa Romero, though the food is quite good based on its geographic locale).  We feasted on chips and salsa, cheesy chorizo tacos, and margaritas whilst sharing the latest weekend gossip (which is equally, if not more, delicious than the food!).  I adore Tony and am so pleased to have him [and Chad] in my life!  It's ridiculous how often we take our friends for granted; I'm trying to be extra vigilant about being a cheerleader for all my favorite friends this year.  Lord knows I owe them a lot for supporting me throughout all I've been through!    

Now that I'm curled up at home, I must say that I've had a wonderful evening and I hope you're having a great time as well! XXOO and I hope to see you back here soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Days Like This

On days like this when I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and nostalgic for a world without facebook likes and email, I like to close my eyes and pretend I'm back in Tuscany.

On days like this when it's raining and I can't put an outfit together because I want to be cozy but know I have to go straight from work to the opera, I think back to Montespertoli and the way the clouds rolled in over the hills as we stood on the balcony and watched a sheet of rain sweep through the vineyards before us.  When it hit us, we gripped the railing tight, our clothes and hair whipping in the wind around us, our wine glasses filling up with rain. 

On days like this when I feel like time is moving too fast, I think back to those afternoons that stretched like years and remember the dirt that clung to my feet when I ran down to the clothesline, the sound of laughter echoing through the valley, and the way a glass of water shined in the afternoon sun. 

I hope you, dear reader, have a fabulous Friday.  If you're feeling as I am, rest assured that the weekend is almost upon us.  xx

Joseph Leonard

When I find a good thing, I grasp it tightly and never let go.  For instance: I still have (and regularly wear) clothes from high school, I've been using the same face soap and makeup for years, I refuse to write with anything other than a Pilot G-2 0.38 pens in black (though I cheat and use a Mont Blanc when I'm feeling fancy), etc.  Similarly, when I come across a restaurant or bar I like, I'm happy to frequent it all too regularly, sometimes without ever varying the dish I order.  When I lived in Brussels, that restaurant was Via Roma (I went often and had the same thing every time: salmon ravioli, the house wine and tiramisu for dessert, which I would share with my mother), in Boston it varies between Franklin Southie, Marliave, and Backbar, and if I lived in New York's West Village, that restaurant would definitely be Joseph Leonard

What all these restaurants have in common is that they cater to a neighborhood and have a comfortable vibe that immediately makes you feel at home.  What sets these places apart from other restaurants is the delicious food, the staff that remembers your name and the way you like your Manhattan, and the artistic detailing that makes their ambiance extra-special. 

We went to Joseph Leonard on Sunday night.  Our friend Oscar swears by it- says he goes every time he's back in NYC.  When we walked into the tiny corner restaurant, I immediately knew I'd love it.  I was charmed by everything from the chalk-board message to the open kitchen and soft light, and for the entire time we were crowded around our table, the world outside ceased to exist. 

It's been four days since our dinner at Joseph Leonard and I'm still dreaming about the skate with potato puree, onion jam, arugula and lemon-caper brown butter sauce.  Not to mention the side of roasted brussels sprouts topped with sriracha and the caramel mousse pudding (and I don't even like dessert, generally).  Everyone at the table was supremely pleased with their meals as well as the overall dining experience, and we're not incredibly easy people to please.  If you're in New York, be sure to stop in.  I know I'm already looking forward to going again (and again and again!) when I'm next in the city.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet & Greet

Guys, it's high time you met David. 

David is my best friend and we're getting married in March, but we're basically married already.  I'll be writing about him a lot and will sometimes refer to  him as the following: English Gentleman, The Red Coat, The British, English, and Coxy.  Because he's an important part of my life and I love him dearly, I thought it would be nice to officially introduce you to him.  Now, let him tell you a little about himself. 

For those of you who can't read his handwriting, I've translated:

Name: David

Favorite Cocktail: 1930's Manhattan, a little on the dark side, with an orange twist and bitters (orange) 
Editor's Note: He didn't drink Manhattans until I met him.  He drank the Cox Cocktail.  More on that in a later post.

5 Things You Believe: 
-Be where you are
-Qualifications are not a substitute for being educated
-True commitment is freeing
-Being independent nurtures fulfilling relationships
-Don't take yourself too seriously

Favorite Book: 'House of Sleep' by Jonathan Coe  Editor's Note: It's really good.  For real.

5 Things About You: 
-Born in Nigeria
-I have two wonderful sons
-6' 3.5" tall (that 1/2 inch is important)
-I love movies that move me to tears
-I enjoy long walks (with Kate), we don't need to speak
Last Words: Be curious and creative with your life.  Retirement should never be a goal.  xx


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fast & Furious: NYC

@ Fatty Crab in the West Village
We've just returned from a fast and furious two days in New York City.  We ate too much, enjoyed a great number of delicious beverages, bought clothes for our nuptial cocktail soiree, and had a really really really good time.  New York is a beautiful beast and I would like to spend a significant amount of time there, rather than quickly passing through as I usually do.  I'd like to know first hand which vintage clothing store is most likely to have an Elizabethan (like Liz Taylor) gown, where to buy the tastiest bagels, and which neighborhood is best for window-gazing on cool autumn nights.  At some point I want to take some time and be a New Yorker, even if it's only for a little bit.

Due to the weather (mashed potato slush the first day and rain the second) I didn't break out my camera as much as I would have liked.  This is unfortunate because New York is really beautiful with a backdrop of grey sky and also because this trip will likely be my last for quite a while, seeing as I'm moving to London.  I'll miss being so close to the center of the universe, but then again I'll be living mere hours away from Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, etc. and will have a whole new world to explore on long weekends.  OMGSOEXCITED!

Though the trip completely exhausted me, I still have a pile of work that I must tend to immediately.  Kisses!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Whiskey & Chess

Today seems like a great day for a glass of Jameson and a game of chess.  The flurries are swarming and my toes are itching for a pair of wool socks.  I hope you have a cozy Saturday and a great weekend.  I'll be in New York City this weekend, galavanting around the city in search of a fabulous vintage gown for my wedding party (wish me luck!).  I will be back in blog-land Tuesday night. 


Friday, January 20, 2012


Had a late night at Backbar last night (accidentally, of course).  Oh, you haven't heard of Backbar?  Well, it's only the best cocktail bar in all of Boston.  If you're into finely crafted cocktails, intelligent conversation and a speak-easy feel, then you should definitely stop in for a visit.  Bonus: it's one of the few bars in Boston (well, it's technically in Somerville) that doesn't have a television, i.e. there aren't any sports fanatics drinking Bud Lite and loitering at the bar.

Perhaps I'll see you there some time. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things I Love on Thursday

2012 has been a time-warp.  I go to bed each night, wake up the next morning and magically a week seems to have passed.  I cannot believe how many wonderful things I have already done in the past couple weeks, and I am excited to continue the trend with a trip to NYC this weekend to hunt for the perfect wedding party dress*. 

Because I was feeling a little overwhelmed this morning (so much to do, always!), I decided to take five minutes to focus my breathing and make a list of things that I am loving this Thursday morning:

Things I Love on Thursday (and everyday, really): 
  1.  Murray River Gourmet Salt Flakes from Australia (pictured above).  My mother brought this for us from Australia and I've been putting it on everything from popcorn to chocolate covered bacon.
  2. Prada's Fall 2012 Menswear Collection.  Willem Dafoe walking a runway?  Yes please! 
  3. Ironing out wedding party details.  Lots of work, but lots of fun.
  4. The Australian open has begun.  Team Federer, always and forever!
  5. Planning for our upcoming Burns Supper.  We had our first Burns party last year, complete with tartan kilts, haggis and lots of Scotch whiskey.  We are very much looking forward to our second one.
Life is good, and today is going to be a great day.  KISSES!

*If you know of any amazing vintage dress/gown stores in New York City or stunning boutiques that will have dresses with a lot of beautiful detailing and drama, please share.  And no, I am not looking for anything white...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inspired By: Katie Quinn Davies

Over the weekend, I took some time to organize my bookmarked pages and clean up my desktop.  I deleted half-finished [and very bad] poetry as well as a couple hundred fuzzy photos and revisited all the websites I've bookmarked over the last six years.  Out of those sites, I found a couple real gems that I used to check into quite regularly but had forgotten about.  In particular, it was nice to revisit food photographer and recipe inventor Katie Quinn Davies of What Katie Ate. I had bookmarked her page very early on in her blogging career.  It's spectacular to see how far she's come since that very first cupcake photo!

Photo by Katie Quinn Davies
Click through for more Ahhhmazing work.
Black is always a stunning background for food, no?
After spending a number of hours scrolling through her work, I was not only starving (she makes food look extra delicious!) but also completely inspired to keep learning about photography, developing a style, and setting up my own still-life shoots.  Katie didn't delve into a photography career until a couple years ago, which encourages me to always be tinkering and experimenting to make my work better.  Additionally, her photography inspires me to look at my surroundings with fresh eyes, to see things around me as props, to notice the texture of surfaces and the way objects catch the light.

I haven't tried any of her recipes yet, but they look absolutely delicious.  Next stop: the kitchen! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Sleep was difficult to find last night in Slum Castle.  Around 2:15 I gave up completely and decided to take a moment to admire the fresh snow that had fallen and was very quickly melting.  I love a good dusting (or dumping) of snow.  I love the way it makes the world so quiet and the sky looks as if it's glowing, even in the middle of the night.  And the smell after a fresh snowfall is wonderfull- kind of sweet but you can actually smell the cold, the crispness of the snow, the icicles. 

Winter is a majestic time of year.  As grateful as I am for this mild winter, I could do with a snow day.  After all, there is nothing cozier than being snowed in with a pot of hot coffee and a good book. Am I right?

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today has been about planning.  Planning how to get Le Chat to the UK, planning (brainstorming) wedding party details, planning our trip to NYC next weekend, planning some work and freelance projects.  So much planning that I almost forgot to enjoy the day, which would have been a tragedy.

Signing off to cuddle with my English gentleman and Le Chat.  I hope you had a wonderful Monday- let's make this week extra special!

P.S. How beautiful are Le Chat's eyes?  They match my blog perfectly!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Farewell: Gaslight

On Tuesday night, David and I met some friends at one of our old local haunts, Gaslight. Since moving out of Southie, we haven't spent as much time at Gaslight as we used to, but we still make it over quite regularly because parking is easy and we are fond of their food, drinks, and penchant for subway tile.

Whilst sipping wine and nibbling cheese at a hightop in the bar, I decided to put together a farewell series of the places I love best in Boston that I will then feature here. David and I are planning to move to the UK in April and I want to commemorate my favorite Boston spots before leaving. Seeing as we had our second date at Gaslight (we went for brunch- the poached egg Vigneronne is exquisite) and we've had a lot of good memories there over the years, it seems fitting to start my series with Gaslight.

My Favorite Things, Gaslight Edition:
-They serve warm bread with proper butter before a meal
-Frites come with garlic mayonnaise
-Brunch starts at 10:00 AM (anything later is lunch, am I right?!)
-The bartenders usually know what's up
-Subway tile, lots and lots of subway tile.

Fare thee well, Gaslight. I'm sure to visit again before my move, but I don't plan ahead and therefore cannot make any promises. Please know you are loved.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dinner Divine

Last night, we were invited to a small dinner party hosted by some new friends. It was wonderful to share a meal (they made a gorgeous Moroccan-seasoned salmon, mushroom risotto, and mashed sweet potatoes topped with almond crumble) over drinks and good conversation. They're both working musicians and it was inspiring to witness the passion they have for their profession. David and I (who are not musical people) learned a great deal about their work and we're excited to see them perform soon.

For dessert, David made a cayenne pepper seasoned bacon covered in dark chocolate and sea salt. We ate it with vanilla ice cream and it was absolutely splendid! In fact, I think we may have to incorporate the dessert into the menu for our wedding party... chocolate covered bacon in lieu of wedding cake? Yes, please!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I went to Bikram Yoga Boston for the first time last night and am shocked by how absolutely draining it was. I was in bed by 10:00 PM with a large glass of water beside me and this morning I still feel as if I could sleep another hour or two. I mean, I feel incredible, but my body is a little resistant to the idea of practicing Bikram regularly. I think I prefer Forrest at BBY, but I'll give Bikram another shot.

In other news, it's January 12th and raining in Boston. This winter has been completely schizophrenic. A client yesterday called it sprawl- a bizarre mixture of spring, winter and fall. I liked that but I would like it more if it snowed. Just once, pretty please?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inspired By: Brian W. Ferry

For a long time, I've been following Brian W. Ferry's work over at the blue hour. He has a gift for seeing the beauty in everyday life: the way a cup of coffee sits on the corner of a table, the way a vine crawls up the side of a cottage in the English countryside, the simplicity of raindrops clinging to a windowpane. His work is always hugely inspirational to me, and I've very much enjoyed watching his photography career flourish, especially over the last year or so.

Brian has two collections of work, both of which I own and highly recommend (if you can get your hands on them), Quality Of Life and Wellfleet:

For the past two years, Brian, an American, lived in London (he's now back in Brooklyn). This may sound silly, but his photos from London play a large role in why I'm so comfortable with moving to the UK. He makes everything look so familiar and comfortable, and I'm really excited to visit some of his former haunts- especially St. John's, which looks exactly like the kind of place where I'll be sure to meet some interesting new friends.

In many ways, the spirit of the blue hour is quite similar to the spirit I am hoping to encapsulate on this site. Rather than focusing my attention on things I want and daydreaming about things I don't have, I instead want to celebrate the beauty that unfolds in my every day life and the unique people and places I encounter on the journey out my front door. Brian does a beautiful job of this, and I hope you find his work as inspiring as I do.

1. Brian Ferry's two collections of photography 2. Flipping pages in Quality of Life 3. One of my favorite facing pages in Quality of Life