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.