Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Friday, Love

{ Homemade Whoopie Pies }

It's been such a fun week because Christmas is in the air! I love it! What are you doing to get into the holiday spirit?

Here are some of my favorite shots from the week. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. See you Monday!

xo K

{ Dried Lavender for Lavender and Honey Ice Cream }

{ Decorating my tree }

{ A gift: Charleston's Best Recipes and an adorable kitchen towel from Anthropologie }

{ Holiday Candles }

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Sneak Peek


It's officially beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The leaves have fallen and there is a new chill to the air. My ultimate Christmas playlist is on heavy rotation and I'm searching for the perfect holiday cocktail to serve. A couple weeks ago Miss Austen and I took photos for our annual holiday card. This one was one of my favorites but didn't make the final cut for the card. I thought I would share it with you today because frankly, Miss Austen looks adorable. I'll share more photos as we get closer to Christmas. 

Shopping is also on my mind {and I'm sure yours} so I wanted to share a wonderful resource put together by some of my fabulous fellow bloggers. The To & From Holiday Gift Guide has great ideas for every person in your life from The Girl Who Has Everything to The Little Ones. Created by Meg Biram and Katie of Modern Eve, this fabulous list of goodies will make shopping a breeze. I highly recommend you check it out.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

South of Broad

{ Pimento Cheese Sandwiches }

Last month's book club selection was South of Broad by Pat Conroy.  I had never read any of his novels but had seen the movie Prince of Tides, so I thought I had an idea of what I was in for. I must say that it was an experience I will not soon forget. Set in Charleston, SC, the book reads like molasses - slow - thick - sweet. It tells the tale of a group of friends who, through several decades, both nurture and destroy each other. Like most of Conroy's material, it is not always easy to read, but worth the tough portions to get to the good stuff. Much like life. Ms. Kathy {M's mom} treated us to a fabulous deep south dinner and here are some pics from the evening.

If you're looking for new book ideas I recommend checking out Goodreads and also a fun new site called Shelf Pleasure. Happy Reading.....

{ The evening's spirits }

{ Amazingly rich hot sauce }

{ Oyster Stew }

{ Our signature tea }

{ Virginia Peanut Pie }

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday


We've lived through {indulged in} Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and even Cyber Monday. If you're like me you were feeling a little wiped-out yesterday evening and in need of a cleanse {Both mentally and physically}. For my body, this means trying to eat as cleanly as possible for a few days and getting some rest before the deluge of holiday parties starts. Check out some great recipes here to get you started. For my mind, that means planning. Give me a list to make and a glass of red wine and I'm a happy girl. Sites like Wunderlist work great because you can coordinate multiple lists with individual due dates and only see the tasks you need to manage/complete that day. You feel organized but not overwhelmed.

I also wanted to introduce you to a new "theme-day" during the holiday season, Giving Tuesday. Make today about others, not just yourself. Give what you can to a local charity or non-profit of your choice, but do not give blindly. Do your research and make the donation only when you feel comfortable that your money will actually end up in the hands of people who need it.

Holiday music is also now on full rotation......thought I would throw that in:)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Les Mis Inspired Cyber-Monday


It's Cyber-Monday so hopefully I will be able to get some shopping done later and take advantage of the fabulous deals many on-line retailers offer throughout the day. But honestly I'm still recovering from Turkey Day. So much turkey......so much wine. As I was getting organized for the week and trying to plan out a few purchases for today my Les Mis Pandora station was keeping me company. The result is the mood board above. This winter I feel like channeling the luxurious minimalism that the French do so well. Fabric and fit rule- you wear the clothes they don't wear you. After a recent closet purge my wardrobe is in need of a little TLC, so I'll be keeping the French rules of fashion in mind as I make some fabulous new purchases today.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Friday, Love

{ November Blooms }
I wasn't able to post any shots last Friday so here are a few of my favorites from the past couple weeks. I'm looking forward to spending time with my friends over the weekend and relaxing as the holiday season begins. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. See you next week. K

{ Shooting at my neighbor's house }

{ Thanksgiving Ambiance }

{ Muffins at WPA Bakery that just opened on my street }

{ Taking advantage of the warm weather for brunch at Can Can }

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


I like gravy from a jar. It's not that I don't appreciate the taste or preparation that goes into homemade gravy, but it's just not the same. Why? Because it's not what I grew up with. When it comes to the holidays, taste is really a memory. Some of my fondest memories come in a 15oz. jar of Turkey Gravy.

One year I was celebrating Thanksgiving in Atlanta with my Father and his girlfriend's GIANT family. They were lovely people and I had so much fun spending time with them but they had one flaw - they insisted on homemade gravy. Not about to be deterred, I made a break for the grocery and obtained the contraband. As dinner was being served {fate smiled as it was a buffet}, I gave the signal to my Father and brother-in-law to head to the safe house {or pantry}. We quickly poured the fabulous jar of gravy over our plates and exited one-by-one so as not to arouse suspicion. The gravy that year was particularly delicious as no one was the wiser of my clandestine mission.

I hope this Thanksgiving finds you happy and healthy surrounded by people {and gravy} that you love!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pinterest Feast



Appetizers

1. Cider Rum Punch /2. Spicy Roasted Rosemary Nuts /3. Sourdough Toast with Pear and Blue Cheese /4. Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Walnuts /5. Marinated Goat Cheese

As you all know by now, when I spend time on Pinterest I achieve a zen-like state of complete harmony with nature. This nirvana, which usually takes Buddhist monks decades to achieve, I seem to be able to reach within minutes just by looking at beautifully shot food. I wonder if they still have dial-up in Nepal? Anyway, I love being decadent at holiday time so I came up with an entire feast for my imaginary Thanksgiving where I cook for 25 people. One day:). I hope it inspires you to try a few new recipes this year. You can find each of these recipes and more by checking out my Pinterest Board here.

Sides

1. Sweet Potato Casserole /2. Oven-Roasted Asparagus /3. Crispy Potato Roast /4. Classic Stuffing /5. Perfect Mac-n-Cheese

Turkey

1. Maple-Glazed Roast Turkey /2. Ultimate Turkey /3. Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade

Dessert

1. Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries /2. Four & Twenty Blackbirds Salty Honey Pie /3. Rum Glazed Coconut Bread Pudding /4. Hazelnut Cookies /5. Butterscotch Cake with Caramel Cream


Monday, November 19, 2012

You Are That Somebody


As we begin this week of Thanksgiving I thought we should start out on the right note. Don't worry I have recipes and funny stories from years past to share. But that's not really what Thanksgiving is about. It's a holiday....a season...an idea that is bigger than cooking the perfect turkey. It's about taking the time to stop and look around at all of the things in your life you should be thankful for. If you're reading this it means you have access to the Internet and the ability and leisure to read a blog just because you want to. If you're reading this you're luckier than a large number of people on this planet. You should be thankful. So what should you do with all of this gratitude? Give back!

Donate food to your local food bank, serve food at a local shelter, volunteer your time somewhere all year long not just at the holidays. There are so many people in your community who need help in some way. YOU are that somebody who can make a difference and do something about it.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meditation


I'm always moving. At least it feels that way. This self-imposed inertia means that sometimes I schedule relaxation. Sad, but true. I challenged myself Monday to try meditating for 10 minutes a day. Although I haven't meditated for 10 minutes straight yet, I have sat still and breathed deeply without looking at a phone or computer screen. I might be crazy, but I've felt better every time I've done it. I also started a Pinterest board with images that I find calming. I'm a visual person so this helps me a great deal but maybe sound relaxes you. Whatever the method, find what works for you and take 10 minutes to relax today. You deserve it. For great information and tips about getting started with meditation, check out Gwyneth Paltrow's website GOOP.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kentucky Bomber



The weather was crisp, but warm this past weekend making it perfect for sitting outside near a fire with friends. I found a great fall cocktail recipe from the classy gentleman at The Boys Club that complimented the afternoon perfectly. You can find the recipe here. I used store-bought cider instead of making my own, sorry boys. But the recipe looks fabulous and I will definitely be trying it this holiday season.


Bourbon always makes me think of Kentucky where my Father grew up and I was born. For this drink, I used a glass of his from 1974 commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Derby. I love being able to use little things that were his. It makes me feel like he’s still here. In honor of him I'm calling this a Kentucky Bomber.


In case you’re wondering, Aristides won the first Derby in 1875. Cannonade and Foolish Pleasure bookended the 1974/75 centennial year and a Stallion named Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973.


I collect antique liquor bottles and found this one at a yard sale for $2. My best find to-date. I think I scared the homeowner with my enthusiasm.







Monday, November 12, 2012

Tartan Love

Tartan Love


I've always been a fan of Tartan. There's something very sophisticated, yet rustic about it. That juxtaposition, and my partial Irish ancestry, are also reasons why I gravitate towards it. A little goes a long way though, so it's best to be measured when incorporating it into your wardrobe. Today's tartan picks were inspired by the feeling of late fall and a recent trip to the Annual Highland Games and Celtic Festival here in Richmond.









Friday, November 9, 2012

It's Friday, Love

[ Photographers taking advantage of the road work on Broad Street }

I've thought a lot about rituals, cycles, and the transition of time this week. From the election to the clocks falling back an hour, we've marked the end of one time and the start of another. The fact that my internal clock is off because of the time change is probably also why my thoughts have felt heavier this week. The good part about change is that it often leads to new beginnings. For my part, I think I'll start some new rituals on Monday. I'm going to challenge myself to practice meditating for 5 minutes a day, make a vegetarian meal at least one night a week, and go see more movies:). 
 
Here are a few of my favorite shots from the week......
{ Election Day }


[ Patiently waiting for a new bakery to open up on my street }

{ Movies and Chinese takeout with friends }

{ Beautiful landscape architecture at Captain Buzzy's Beanery }

{ Miss Austen assumes every house has treats and should let her in }
All photos edited with Snapseed and Instagram.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On The Rox


Lately, I've been toying with the idea of doing a Beer Tasting Dinner at home. Wine always seems to take center stage at these types of events, but lots of local places have been holding regular tastings and dinners signaling that craft beer is moving up in the world. And what's better on a chilly fall evening than beer and great food? 

A friend recently introduced me to Mike Pendergrast, Chef and Beer Aficionado at On The Rox. As we enjoyed Mike's company and his great selection of craft beer, it became evident rather quickly that this man knew what he was talking about. So who better than Mike to give me a Beer 101 lesson and help me plan my menu. 

But first....a little bit more about Mike and On The Rox.


Mike absolutely loves what he does, but cautions it's not for the faint of heart. Cooking professionally is demanding on many levels and like all great art {yes, I think good food is art}, if you don't fully commit to it you end up with a "mediocre copy of another man's genius". That's one of my favorite lines from Little Women but it totally applies so just go with it. He spent a few years on the Charleston, SC restaurant scene and also taught culinary arts at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College before laying down roots at On The Rox. 

"I always knew I wanted to use humble ingredients without changing the integrity of the dish."

{ Panini, Hand Cut French Fries Confit in Duck Fat, Buffalo Fried Chicken Legs with Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw }
{On The Rox has an amazing happy hour, karaoke every Wednesday, and always has "the game" on}

To accompany his unpretentious, yet surprisingly sophisticated menu, Mike knew he wanted a robust craft beer list. With his knowledge of the brewing process and landscape of the industry, it was not surprising to me that I enjoyed every beer we sampled. On this particular evening I was in for a double treat. Not only did I have Mike teaching me, but we also got a visit from his old friend Teddy Folkman, the chef at Granville Moore's in DC. What more could a girl ask for?


{Check out one of my favorites here}

{An experiment for your guests: Try the same beer in two different shaped glasses it will taste completely different}

{Our menu}

Here's the menu we came up with including a fabulous beer for every course. I hope you will be inspired to host your own tasting but always heed Mike's advice - Balance is key, the beer should never overwhelm the food.

First Course:
Mussels with tomato and cilantro in white wine
Beer: Hennepin

Second Course:
Beet and Pear Salad with aged Bucheron Goat Cheese
Beer: Tripel Karmeliet

Third Course:
Steak with Asparagus 
Beer: Orval


Fourth Course:
Chocolate Pot de Creme
Beer: Guinness Stout {My pick}








 

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