Hey there....

Oh hi.  So I'm not going to pretend that I just forgot that I started a blog then a few months later decided I had had enough.  These past six weeks have been a whirlwind.  After six (seven...) months from when I moved to FL, I have finally landed on my feet in the full-time employment world.  Towards the end there, things were getting hairy.  Thoughts and movements towards looking for jobs in other cities and making another move were truly in the cards.  I was getting pretty desperate (honest moment) and can now only mention this because I seem to have found a great match for me in the job department.  This is my third week there and I really do like it.  This in itself is a blessing, because we were in an "any port in the storm" situation.  So to actually have found a job and actually like the work, and like the people.  I do feel like a lucky duck.  

So apologies for my online neglect.  More posts about food, fashion, and FL travel (I've been casing this state the past few weekends!) coming soon that I am excited to share my 2 dozen-plus readership.  

Image via My Pinterest.


Idiot Brother

Have you seen this movie?  I thought it looked amusing when I saw the previews, but never got my act together to see it in theaters.  Luckily it made it's way onto our Netflix queue and arrived last week.  We've been pretty 50/50 with some of our movie selections.  With my personal theory being if all the previews look horrible on the DVD before the feature, you're doomed.  Well this my friends was a complete success.  The movie has an incredible all-star ensemble cast that works so well together and the story is sweet, endearing, and witty.  I would recommend this movie whole-heartedly. 

About a brother with three very different sisters, they all love him and his simple, do-good attitude.  But his naivete doesn't always serve him best, and creates a tale of family complications, both funny and sad that is enjoyable to watch play out.  The cast of characters is fantastic and the settings of NYC, upstate New York (I think, maybe Vermont or New Hampshire) are great to see, and the storyline weaves everything together in a way that when the movie wraps up you feel a contentment that few movies bring these days.

All images via imb


A Repeat Marriage

I must share a happenstance recipe success.  This does not involve careful planning and inspiration, this involves two old classics, one that I did not even make, for a sum greater than it's parts.  Allow me to be more specific -



I made Nestle's Toll House Recipe for chocolate chip cookies with the mini-morsels (I like these better myself) a few weeks ago.  When the batter was ready I opened up the freezer to get some ice for a drink, and I saw that lone sleeve of thin mints.  I put them in there because we all know that once a sleeve is opened, it does not linger, and some self-control is necessary.  So I plucked it right out of the sleeve, threw them in a freezer bag, crushing them with a rolling pin and threw the delicious crumbs in the batter.  Oh man.  I did not have dinner because of ensuing batter ingestion.  So ladylike.  I brought them to a Super Bowl Party and was smiling like the Cheshire Cat as I overheard people musing, "Have you had one of these cookies?!" to their friends.  Ultimate potluck personal success.  Ultimate deliciousness hands down.

Images 1, 2, 3.


Hey love

Happy vday to everyone.  I hope you get a little love today - may it be a phone call from your mom, a card from a friend, some flowers, or even treating yourself to a cappuccino instead of your normal coffee when you run out this afternoon.  xoxo

Images via my Pinterest.


Seeking studs

A few days ago the Valentine's Day email from one of my most favorite jewelry designers, Julia Failey, appeared in my inbox.  Julia and I went to the same college, but didn't overlap.  We met and started to hang out in Chicago, going to hot yoga and having pup park dates.  Her stuff is a-mazing, there is a good range of price points, and her eco-centric approach to design and craftsmanship makes each purchase a feel good one.  I received this necklace for Valentine's Day a few years ago and it is a staple for Saturdays (and other days too) ever since.   Julia also does ridiculous custom work, making many a man friend's engagement ring for his fiance to be.  She even made her sister's engagement ring - talk about special stuff.

Back to the email - it highlighted her stud earrings.  I am obsessed with stud earrings, I think they are timeless, can mix with a variety of looks and seasons and are just more chic than most danglies.  My opinion.  Here are some of her studs which I adore.  Is anyone who wants to get me a gift reading? Just kidding!  Kind of.

Meet Julia -

Now let me introduce you to some of her wonderful studs -

Her variations of classic pieces are incredible.  Hope you enjoy!

All images via Julia Failey.


Paper love for love day

I thought I would share some adorable cards I found for V-day, coming around the bend next Tuesday.  Single or spoken for, I love to send out cards to friends around this time, who doesn't like getting a "hi - thinking about you, miss you!" note in the middle of February?  Fun cards with a great new pink or red pen and maybe some snazzy stamps and I have a great Saturday afternoon activity.  I could seriously be a professional note writer - is that a thing? 

These cards are from some of my favorite paper spots.  Mr. Boddington has inventive messages with sweet visuals - they made the perfect pairs and chevron options.  I also love Snow & Graham, a Chicago paper company with wonderful products; they did the cupcake card.  I love their calendars, note cards - everything is done so well and creatively.  Kate Spade takes credit for a great box set of sealed with a kiss cards, the striped lining in the envelopes is an added bonus for sure.  Rifle Paper Co. a favorite among some bloggers I read, does such a a great job and is a Florida company - little current state pride here!  I sent out their postcards for Christmas this year, and they are credited with the adorable above postcards, the balloon card, and the candy hearts cards - all such lovely options.  Crane's did the simple but sweet xo card, a good staple to keep in your card drawer regardless of the time of year.  The hump card (sorry if you think is crude), and mac and cheese card (a personal fave) are from Kate's Paperie online.  I spent long lunches at Kate's, a NYC paper shop, wandering around when I worked near Columbus Circle and had to run out to get last minute extra invitations for an event for work.  I could spend hours in a paper store, I think they are such warm fun places to be.  We all have our vices.  xoxo


Will upgrade by 2015?

Honestly, I am kind of a Luddite.  Everybody prioritizes how they want to spend their monies, and for me, a new phone, a cool TV, etc does not really do it for me.  I'd rather splurge on clothes, home ware, etc.  I currently have a solider of a Blackberry from 2008 that was my friend's from her former job.  Hey, it gets the job done in having access to my email and sometimes googling maps for directions.  One day when due for an upgrade, or even getting someone's leftovers when they must upgrade to the latest greatest version, it would be great to get an iPhone.  The one thing I would love was a decent camera on my phone, other than that for now I'm OK to wait to load, for just about everything.

If I did get iPhone, as I'm not always so nice to my technology - being catapulted out of clutches and slipping out of my hands while juggling grocery bags - I would need a hard case. This tortoise shell hard case from Incase would be my top choice.  I think it's great looking and not too juvenile which some of the colored/patterend cases can be.  You like?

Images via Incase.


Sale + Staple = Justification

A little Friday afternoon internet perusing led me to this bag by Kate Spade.  From $375 to $159 it is called the Cheltenham Shiny Large Lucia; it is a great shape to wear to work and/or travel with (has zipper closure) and I think this could be justified.  I don't have a bag in this color, a rich chocolate brown, and I have seen it in black from a cute former coworker who used it as her staple.  I like Kate Spade bags for staples, not a lot of logos, good shapes and minimal hardware.  They also take a beating pretty well because I'm not wrapping my bag in tissue paper each night, or anything remotely close to that.  This bag is not trendy, is a great shape and color, and it is going to be hard to find something of this quality under $200.  Are you convinced yet?

Super Bowl Sunday Ideas

I love game-day recipes.  They are an excuse treat yourself and fellow guests, making crowd pleasers.  Here are a few of the things I'm mulling to make for the Super Bowl Party we're attending on Sunday.

White Queso Dip (courtesy Fly Through My Window)

Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (courtesy smitten kitchen)

Guacamole (courtesy moi)
3 ripe avocados
1/2 cup white onion, chopped fine
1/2 pint grape/cherry tomatos, cuts into quarters
juice one lemon
juice one lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T jalapeno, minced
2 t salt

Rainbow cupcakes (courtesy Peppermint Bliss)

Hudson White Bean Dip (courtesy Oprah.com **I normally double this because it goes so fast)
1 can (16 ounces) white beans (great northern or cannellini)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves peeled garlic
2 T dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 t cayenne pepper
Salt to taste


Summer risotto in winter

My cooking clock is all messed up.  About this time I should be making many a chili, stews and other hearty dishes to warm you up on a winter's night.  Now I live in a warm weather locale and not only is it the temperature outside affecting what I eat, but what I buy.  Who thought January to May would be the local growing season?  Strawberries were $5 for 10 lbs at the store yesterday.  It is February 1 people.

A couple nights ago I made a recipe my boyfriend's mom made for the 4th of July dinner which everyone loved.  It is truly vegetarian and one of the lighter risottos I have cooked.  It was delicious and although I probably should have halved the recipe for two people, it has been a lunch staple for the remainder of the week.  (Please excuse the budget picture of the leftovers.)

Tomato Risotto (courtesy Mrs. M.)
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut into small diagonal pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup of chopped yellow onion
1 pound ripe tomatoes
2 cups of arborio rice
1 small bunch of fresh basil (cut into strips)
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
container of fresh grated Parmesan 
4-6 cups of water
Blanche the asparagus and cut into one inch pieces (make sure it is cool) and put into a bowl with the basil, and cherry tomatoes, lemon juice and cheese, mixed up with 1/2 cup olive oil.
Cut up the tomatoes and puree in a blender.
Over medium low heat, saute onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.   Add the rice to the onions and turn up the heat to medium high.  Stir and toast for about 2 minutes until the grains are hot.  Pour 2 cups of water into pot and stir constantly.  Turn down the heat to a simmer and once the liquid is absorbed, add another 2 cups of water and continue to stir constantly.  After about 15 minutes of cooking and stirring, or about 5 minutes shy of being al dente stir in the tomato puree.  Stir for another 4 minutes or until liquid is almost totally reduced.   Then stir in the bowl with the basil, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and cheese and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to your liking.
Serves 6-8.


Weekend recap

This past weekend flew by - my dad and step mom were in town visiting for the first time in Miami.  I ran the ING Miami Half Marathon on Sunday for Team Fox.  It was the third half I have done, and was a new personal record.  We had a blast, packed a lot in but also had some good down time in between meals and activities - an overall success.  We also tryed all new places to eat and go, a bit risky but it proved to be successful, so now I have a couple great new go-tos, success #2 of the weekend.

Their flight was delayed (too much fuel in the plane, seriously) so they came in and we walked to a great place in our neighborhood, Jaguar. A Peruvian spot with delicious ceviche, tasty drinks, and a great vibe.  My dad and I had pisco sours ( I don't think I've ever had one) which will be a repeat order, I had a great shrimp dish, and my step mom and dad each ordered mahi mahi, prepared different ways.

Saturday morning we went to the Coral Gables Farmer's Market; Farmer's Markets literally give me endorphins, I am not sure why but I LOVE them.  They picked up some stone crabs to bring back to DC for a dinner on Monday, we got freshhhh squeezed grapefruit juice glasses, my dad treated himself to some 10 am pork tacos, and then they got this adorable key lime tree for our backyard.  I can't wait to harvest (aggressive) the little guys!

Then we went to Garcia's upon a a recommendation from a friend and it was a rinse-repeat for sure.  We had beers and fish sandwiches watching yachts, tug boats, and our fellow diners the entire meal (good people watching in this town).  We sat outside on the second floor deck and ate up the January Miami Saturday afternoon.  This is a great spot.

We went back and there was an every man for themselves exercise/read/have a beer period.  We then went to Cibo's Wine Bar in the Gables for some carbo-loading for me and wine drinking for others (at least this is what resulted).  I searched for an Italian restaurant near to us for dinner before the race, and I got one with the added bonus of a "wine angel." I'm being serious here.  We sit down and realize that the floor-to-ceiling glassed wine case has a svelte young lady strapped in like a rock climber (...) who could hoist herself up to get your bottle of cab. 

Sunday morning I got up at 4:30 for the 6:15 race start because it was the first time I had used public transit to get downtown and I was a little nervous about making sure I got there in time.  I enjoyed a peanut butter and banana sandwich on a whole wheat hamburger bun (probably should have shopped for breakfast) and made my way downtown.  With more than 25,000 runners from every country in Latin America, and across the world it was pretty awesome.  You run over two bridges linking Miami to Miami Beach, the course hits so many great spots and I was just enjoying myself (except mile 8 wasn't the best) and the runners.  I met my three fans at the bag collect, a go-to meeting spot, and we headed back to the Grove.

We then headed to our favorite brunch spot so far in the Gables, Chocolate Fashion.  I had to get over the name at first, but it is a tasty place.  French owned and operated, they have wonderful coffee drinks, breakfast foods and a good lunch offering.  I enjoyed the bagel-lox platter with a side of potatos lyonnaise and a latte.  I needed a little downtime so people read the Sunday Times, watched TV, and snoozed.  We then walked around the Grove and did a little shopping before we got ready for dinner and drinks on South Beach.

We started at The Tides which we just happened upon and it was a great Art Deco hotel, recently redone on Ocean Drive.  Enjoying $6 mojitos (a SoBe steal), we wandered around the lobby loving the decor and feel.  We then headed up to the Eden Roc a famous old Miami Beach hotel for dinner.  We ate at 1500 which is fabulous, we had a charming server, delicious food and wine, and the chef even came out to say hi - a great way to end a treat of a weekend!

With Tuesday upon us, reality has officially set back in.  I am excited to revisit some of these new finds and it has reinvigorated me to continue to explore this town.