Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ken and Dana b-side scarves

I'm loving these scarf necklaces from Ken and Dana Design. They scour New York for vintage scarves, then add their gold cube beads. What I like about it is that they look so effortlessly chic and in all actuality, would take little effort to duplicate. Vintage scarf + Interesting metallic beads = style in spades.

The b-side scarves are one-of-a-kind, but range from $225 to $375.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Best v. 26

We all know I love my paper crafts. This awesome design was part of a Claus Oldenburg-inspired event designed by the always amazing David Stark.
  • Five easy breezy summer hairsdos.
  • Imagine I Can Has Cheezburger, but starring the guests of Maury Povich and you'd have this.
  • Awesome party banners.
  • This Wimbledon live blog might be one of the best things I've read in years. And I'm not a tennis fan.
  • I am dying to try this recipe for chili macaroni and cheese.
  • Do you love the sound of vuvuzelas?
  • Do you hate the sound of vuvuzelas?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Treasure Hunting: Williamsburg Antique Mall

So have any of you noticed a theme lately? My little antiquing hobby has exploded a little bit lately, partially because I work quite close to the sprawling Williamsburg Antique Mall. I keep going in with the intention of picking up interesting stuff for the wedding, but this time I just picked up interesting stuff, period.

I've been collecting silhouettes for a couple years now. My hope is that the next time I move, I'll have enough to do some kind of awesome silhouette wall in a bathroom or something. I had to scoop up these silhouettes of George and Martha Washington, which I think cost $8.

And on my way to the counter, I fell in love with this incredibly ornate jewelry box. I usually like super-simple stuff, but this was so gorgeous. It looked like the kind of box you'd keep a tiara in. It's velvet-lined and topped with glass. I have no idea what jewelry I'm going to keep in it, but I love it.

Sigh. I really have to cut off my addiction to treasure-hunting. Maybe I can form an addiction to money-saving?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Repairing Tarnished Brass

You might recall that I picked up this little brass bowl at a yard sale for $1 a couple weeks ago. When I picked it up, I loved the shape and thought it would make a great vase for flowers, decorative item or jewelry holder. But as you can see, it was pretty badly tarnished, nearly black in person, and the woman who was selling it took a look at it and frowned before saying "I'll give it to you for a dollar."

The inside color is gorgeous, and my hopes were to clean it up so the outside looked just as good. Let's just say we ALMOST got there.

I did a little internet snooping around and came up with a plan of action that I would recommend if you have any interest in fixing up tarnished brass (which is super trendy right now; every single damn shirt I've bought this year has brass beads).

First, wash thoroughly in hot soapy water. Dry completely. This is what the bowl looked after that process; a little better, but not quite there.

Then, create a paste out of vinegar, salt and flour.

Apply the paste to the bowl like you're icing a cake and let it sit for about an hour.

Rinse off the paste and dry thoroughly again. Looking much better, isn't it?

Sprinkle salt on half of a lemon and rub the lemon into the sides of the bowl. This is a kind of natural scrub that also works wonders for your skin! lol.

The finished product (for now!). Seriously, I was really impressed with how much better it looked. It still looks a little scratched up and tarnished, but I think that gives it some Old World-charm. I think I might try one more round of paste at a later date, but I'm pretty happy with the results.

I should note that this was also my first foray into Heloise-style domesticity. I used to edit the Hints from Heloise column every week and if I learned anything, it's that the solution to everything is vinegar.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Best V.25

This hilarious image comes care of the home tours on The Selby, whose book just came out. My mother's cat used to do stuff like that; my mom affixed a ball on the end of some elastic that she then hung from the ceiling and omigoodness, that cat would just lose his mind with glee. I want a cat really really really bad, but both Sean and I agree we'd rather take that on when we live in a more permanent home. Sigh.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Espresso Mousse in Chocolate Cup

Forgive me for not cooking anything tasty recently. I've been busy jet-setting ( all over the place lately, so the best I can offer are pics of some of the delectable treats I've been eating.

This amazing chocolate teacup filled with espresso mousse came from Local Chop and Grill House in Harrisonburg. The restaurant opened in the City Exchange building, a converted seed warehouse, in 2007 and at the time, I wrote an article about the new fancy restaurant. It's since changed its name, its menu and its chef (and possibly its owners!), but all for the better.

When we went, the pastry chef was on her second day and had already schemed up an awesome array of treats for dessert. The mousse was perfect, but I found myself wondering how I could replicate the chocolate teacup. I think I know how to make the handle...but what about the cup itself? Any ideas?

Taking a "sip" of mousse. The musician behind us was hilariously earnest and kinda bad, but at least he gave us something to laugh about.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beach Blanket Bingo

How adorable are these beach blankets from Steven Alan?
I don't think they're needed, but boy are they cute. One costs $48.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wino Wednesday: Wine Bar Outing!

Remember my wine club? Yeah, we still meet, but I just can't be bothered to take pictures or write posts. In recent weeks we've been to the Norfolk Wine Festival and the Portsmouth Beer, Band and BBQ, but we haven't had our traditional you host-I come drink format in a little while.

We recently went out to sample the fare at Terra Wine Bar in Williamsburg, which offers tapas-style eats and tons of wine. The real reason we went was to try out the ... wait for it ... wine dispenser! The bar has wine dispensers just like these.

For a minimum of $20, you can put the money on what looks like a metro card that is inserted into the wine dispenser. Then you can choose one of three wines, and specify if you want a taste, half-glass or full-glass. Three of us ended up splitting the $20 card and we each got to taste three wines, which was pretty good.

For dinner, I had the pear, bacon and gorgonzola salad.

And I also ordered this AMAZING Baked Caciocavallo cheese dip.

I believe these are the Catalan toasts, with crushed tomatoes, Serrano ham and manchego cheese.

The giggly group.

An itty bitty cup of raspberry sorbet for Sean with frozen (very sour) raspberries.

I can't wait to sample the lunch menu, but I would recommend going here for an after-the-movies snack rather than a full meal.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunday Best V.24

Ugh, I forgot. I forgot to prep my Sunday Best post to actually go up on Sunday. I was out of town, which is a theme of the summer so far, but I will try to get myself good and organized next time! I also forgot to post this tremendous picture of my huge capital-M Missed Opportunity. When we were yard saling the other day, we spotted this amazing midcentury modern sofa and chair and I swear, if we'd been driving a U-Haul instead of a Saturn, they would've been mine. But for now, they'll have to be the ones that got away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Little Black Dress for Every Event

In case you were looking for the perfect black dress for a day at a picnic that leads to dinner that leads to an impromptu dance party that you can then wear to brunch the next day, here it is. This Zucca dress will set you back a cool $712.60 at Creatures of Comfort.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Garden update: Lavender woes

So I promised I would post pictures of my little garden as it grows. I've had some successes, but I seem to be on the path toward crushing defeat in regards to my lavender plant. It kinda just stopped growing, and as you can see, some of it dried up. I ended up just pulling that part out in frustration. Any advice?

My rosemary is doing just fine. I need to actually get around to using it!

The basil and mint are rocking out for sure.

My little gnome man is hidden in the foliage now.

But my cilantro...sigh. It's turning yellow SO fast. I read that can happen when it's overwatered, but I can attest that when I did a finger test, the soil was NOT moist. I've been pruning the dead leaves, but at this point, that's almost all of them. What the what, Internets?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spicy Flank Steak

Oh, Internets, let me give you some advice.

Let's say you instruct your life-mate to purchase a flank steak at the grocery store, but don't really make any plans for its preparation. And then the day comes when you intend to eat it, and you learn a little lesson about planning ahead: the Internets agree completely that flank steak should be marinated for hours. And you kinda wanted to eat it right quick. That's a pickle to be in, readers.

So here is my advice: screw the Internets! What do they know anyways? The answer to your troubles is dry rub, and I don't mean fancy pants, bought-in-a-jar dry rub. When pressed for time, it's all about pulled-from-the-cabinet-and-tossed-together dry rub.

With some advice from a few different recipes, I pulled down: cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I kinda eyeballed the mixture, but I think it was between 1-2 teaspoons of cumin, chili powder and garlic powder and just a pinch of cayenne.

You'll want to pour some olive oil over the steak, and then massage it into the meat. You want to have an intimate moment with this flank, is what I'm saying.

Then you'll want to up the ante and cover your fingers (remember to take off that engagement ring!) with your homemade rub, which you will then press into the meat until you feel confident every crevice is covered in spice. Squirt the juice of half a lime (or half of a fake plastic lime) over the steak.

Cover the container with plastic and pop in the fridge to marinate for about an hour.

Then you attempt to sear the steak on your grill pan and then lower your heat to cook. Or, if you're me, you'll grill it till it's black and then realize you meant to lower the heat. You know what? Either way works.

Then you'll pull out your brand new knives from your sister-in-law-to-be and marvel at their ability to slice through steak like butter. It will be a revelation.

And finally, you'll enjoy your steak with hastily microwaved Mexican rice found in the cupboard. It's not like you'll have time to plan a side dish or anything.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Treasure Hunting: Mathews Yard Sale

Ever since I got sucked into the rabbit hole of this blog, I've been itching to hit every thrift store, antique mall and yard sale in a 50-mile radius. I don't know what I'm hunting for, per se, but I love hunting for treasure.

So when I saw the community of Mathews, Va. was having its annual "longest yard sale" on Saturday, I begged Sean to get up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to drive me nearly an hour away to hopefully buy crap for pennies. He must really love me.

We had a fun time of it, and the country girl in my heart loves nothing more than a bargain and a backwoods drive.

My loot included the brass owls you see above ($1.50!) destined to go to my future sister-in-law, who loves all things owl.

I also got this very tarnished brass bowl that I plan to clean up. I love the look of old brass, and the shape to this bowl was incredible. I think it makes a great decorative object, but will also serve as a gorgeous vase for big, fluffy peonies or some other big-headed flower.

I picked up this vintage wire basket with a sweet little bow for $1 at the Gwynn's Island Civic Center (which is very much in the middle of nowhere), and I got an entire roll of grasscloth wallpaper (shown in the background) for a $1. I plan to use the basket for gift cards at our wedding; it's a dead-ringer for the brand new picture frames I bought at Anthropologie and plan to use for menu descriptions.

I scooped up this 1940's edition of "Little Women" at Annie Rooney's in Mathews, which proved to be one of the BEST antique stores I've ever visited. I loved the cover of the book especially.

Sigh. I can't wait to read this again.

One of the hardest parts of treasure hunting is leaving some treasures right where you found them. I was determined to buy only little things, but omigoodness, I wanted to buy all the garden stuff at Annie Rooney's.

When we pulled into Annie Rooney's lot, the first thing I spotted was this gorgeous bench and I swear, it was love at first sight. The tag, however, said it would cost $595 to take it home and alas, it was not to be. So for now, my love will be unrequited.

One of the most pleasant surprises of the trip was our stop to have pizza at Southwind Cafe. I expected greasy spoon fare, or at least country-fried everything, but I was pleasantly surprised when we walked into the PACKED restaurant and saw Vichyssoise at the top of the menu. Nevertheless, we got pizza.

And it was good.

Be sure to stop by if you're ever in the Mathews area. All told, it was great to get out of the busy busy busy I-64 rush of Hampton Roads and stretch up to the Northern Neck.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Best v.23

Remember when I posted my favorite links on Sundays? Those were good times. Since I was traveling and forgot to set my entry to post last Sunday, this is the quite delayed one from last week.

Anyway, these peonies were the loveliest I've ever seen, and a gift from Sean's sister. She picked them up at Whole Foods; if I were getting married this weekend, I'd pop by there, tie a ribbon around it and call it my wedding bouquet.