Monday, May 26, 2008

perfect for vacuuming

Fierce, no? Louboutin at Saks.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

let them eat kate: clever or vulgar?

Honestly, I'm as sick of Kate Moss as the next girl, but I am curious about how her campaign for Agent Provocateur is being received. While recently in SoHo I stopped by the shop to glance at the window display, the glass of which reads "let them eat kate" smeared in bloody red paint or something similar (an unfortunate choice if you ask me, but not the point).

Personally, I think an image of Kate Moss with Denueve hair and red patent hooker boots with this, um, "caption" perfectly suits the AP sexy-smutty image, even though it's not the sort of thing you'd want your children to spot in a window display. What do you think? Funny? Hot? Gross? Tell me in the comments.

You can check out all the different images of Kate on the AP front page here. The pictures change each time you refresh so a quick spin through will reveal the "let them eat kate" ad. As AP sells lingerie, expect the images are not quite safe for work.

make this biscotti today: chocolate pistachio biscotti

I have never made biscotti before. This was the first time, and it was awesomely delicious. Everyone always gripes about how complicated Martha Stewart's recipes are but this was not too bad at all, the only trouble I had was slicing up the biscotti before their second spin in the oven, and to be honest, I fear the knife I used was not quite sharp enough. You could easily substitute other nuts for the pistachios but really, they taste so excellent with the chocolate and they're such a pretty green color I can't see why you would. I toasted the nuts beforehand because always do, but doing so is not required by the recipe. Here, I make two "loaves" so that the biscotti fit easily into a lunch bag, but feel free to make one large one if you'd prefer the more traditional shape.

chocolate pistachio biscotti
adapted from martha stewart's cookies.

2 cups ap flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons salted butter (I omitted the salt since I only had this on hand), softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (could use semisweet, I had bitter on hand)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet.

In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt if you are using unsalted butter. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture, in two parts. The dough will be very stiff. Stir or fold in the pistachios and chocolate chips by hand, until just combined.

Split the dough into two logs, place them onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into flattened logs, roughly eight by three inches in measurement. Bake for 25-35 minutes until slightly firm. Remove from the oven, drop the temperature to 300, and set the biscotti to cool for 5-10 minutes. Patience will be rewarded so give them plenty of time to firm up before slicing. Then use a sharp, serrated knife and cut on the diagonal to make one inch thick slices. Bake (or "dry out"), cut side down, until crisp but a bit soft toward the center. Martha Stewart said about eight minutes, it took me closer to twenty. Use your eyes. Cool completely before eating.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

perfect for vacuuming: err edition

Why design something beautiful and elegant, like these or these, when you can design something that would look perfectly at home on the Jersey shore boardwalk? These Christian Louboutin shoes can be had from net-a-porter for about $800 if you don't mind the dreaded ankle strap and hideous color.

moving sucks out your soul

My absence here in the last fifteen days might suggest that I have decided to quit being housewifely. Not so. Over the first two weeks of summer I have done more baking, cleaning, cooking, and the like than I have in the last several months. The trouble is, I was also finishing up final exams and papers while moving home. My dorm was (and will be in the floor) a fourth floor walk up and I cannot seem to live without my muffin tins, stationary, or a few dozen hundred books, so I had a lot of stuff to move, and oops, now I am making excuses, which seems like poor etiquette. I am starting a new job on Tuesday, but one of my goals for the summer is to keep up with the blog pretty much daily, especially as there is nothing I love to do more when I have the full home kitchen at my disposal than make cookies.

In penance, I offer up the recipe for incredibly chocolate-y cookies that I made three weeks ago. These are so rich and chewy that I think they're the perfect thing for when brownie batter cravings. I kept aside 5-6 for NH and put the rest out on the dining room table for my sorority sisters, and they were gone very quickly. They're a simple variation of a peanut butter and chocolate confection I saw on Baking Bites, but since NH doesn't like peanut butter at all I do not bake with it much. You can check out the original recipe here.

Oh, I picked up Martha Stewart's relatively recent Cookies at Costco today. I am going to make the chocolate pistachio biscotti after I post this.

toasted almond chocolate chunk ridiculously chocolate-y cookies

1/2-1 cup whole almonds
2 cups ap flour
2/3 cup good cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350.

Chop almonds coarsely (you can buy them pre-chopped but I can't account for the quality of chopped nuts and they're more expensive anyhow). Toast the nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until they smell delicious. Keep turning them and make sure they don't burn. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix up flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until nice and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture slowly. Fold in chocolate chunks and cooled, toasted almond. Drop nicely rounded tablespoons of dough on a lined cookie sheet, allowing plenty of room for spread. Bake cookies for about ten minutes, or until they appear relatively set. Watch carefully, it can be hard to see if chocolate burns. The cookies will need some time to cook before they can be removed from the sheet.

Yields about forty cookies.

Friday, May 9, 2008

perfect for vacuuming

Clicking around a bluefly shoe sale I ran into these Caovilla sandals and pumps, which I think have beautiful colors (love the sort of mottled look of the pump) and something really special in the pearly detail. In fact, I can't really recall the last time I saw pearl details on a shoe. I think these shoes have sort of an antique feel to them that probably captures what most people are looking for when they shop vintage, especially "older" vintage (1900-1940?). Even on sale these beauties are a mint, but would definitely be "pop" pieces for years to come.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

good things to put in scrambled eggs

shredded fontina
shredded mozz
shredded cheddar
shredded manchego
goat cheese


diced roasted tomatoes
diced sauteed peppers
black beans

fresh ground black pepper

Obviously not an exhaustive list.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Fabulous! Festival for May '08

This month I am guest-hosting the Fabulous! Festival, a blog carnival devoted to looking and feeling fabulous! I read some beautifully, honestly and hilariously written posts on a variety of topics from wedding style to purse obsessions, so without further ado, I give you the top ten eleven.

First off, ever wondered how perfumes and cosmetics evolved from essential oils and pinched cheeks? Over at Edwardian Promenade, edwardiangaiety does a thorough-and fascinating-examination of The Chemistry of Beauty, a necessary read for anyone curious about how major perfume houses and big names in cosmetics developed into the multi-million dollar industries they are today.

For those interested in scaling beauty routines back to basics, Amy at Brown-bag Beauty Blog profiles a simple technique for preparing dry skin for summer exposure. Interested in saving a little cash and exposing your skin to fewer chemical-laden exfoliating products? Dry Skin Brushing may be the answer to flaky skin woes.

Curious about more all-natural beauty? Allie of Allie's (green) Answers soothes irritated, angry skin with baking soda and finds herself converted to this unconventional solution. Follow her lead and Give It A Try-Skincare from the Kitchen Cupboard before investing in the latest pricey, unproven skin care products.

..Fashion + Style..
On the theme of remaining fabulous and eco-friendly, Ann at annie green jeans takes an in-depth look at, well, "green" jeans. In her post Who Makes Eco Fashion? she explores the oft-avoided question of how to go about making sustainable fashion choices.

At The Fashion-y Blog, Kori responds to a Bazaar layout criticizing Oval Office hopeful Hilary Clinton's wardrobe and asks "Do we want a president who will take the time to keep up with the trends and push the fashion envelope? Or do we want a president who will spend her time running the country?" in her post My Two Cents about the intersection of style and politics.

Nancy's, of Fritinancy, anxiety-free swimsuit shopping may fill readers with surprise-or jealousy-but her look at the Skirtini, Put on a Suit and You'll Look Cute, is whimsical, poetic, informative-and just in time for beach season.

At The Pinup Blog Tali takes a close look at the summery sex appeal of the Vespa. Her post Ladies Prefer Vespa profiles the brand's history of sexy girls on candy-colored bikes. You might not be surprised to discover that the current, super-slim models accessorizing Vespas in today's ads can't even compete with some of the classic Vespa-adorning beauties like Jayne Mansfield and Raquel Welsh.

Finally, Meg at All About Appearances offers up her Number One Style Tip: choosing colorful solids over hard-to-match, soon-to-be-dated prints.

Registries for any event-like any large-scale shopping endeavor-can be overwhelming. Woman Tribune provides easy-to-follow suggestions for designing a successful-and exhaustive-registry in Planning Your Big Day: Wedding Registries.

At The Bargain Queens, Meg's simple tip for finding cute shopping totes at beyond-reasonable prices in The Keyword for Finding Cheap but Fun Shopping Totes is a great way to avoid pricey models designed to capitalize on the trendiness of eco-friendly goods.

Finally, SweetTooth over at ShopLittleGifts has an excellent worksheet for coming up with gift ideas for the person on your shopping list who has everything. Check out 9 Tips to Shop for People Who Have Everything.

..Attention, Bloggers!..
Meg will be hosting the Fabulous! Festival again on June 2nd! Submit your posts on fashion, beauty, shopping or personal style by May 30th using this carnival submission form.

Interested in hosting the festival? Contact Meg.

Questions? Try the Fabulous! Festival FAQ.