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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Byrd

Built in 1928, the Byrd Theatre is an amazing venue and one of my absolute favorite spots in Richmond. Today this State and National Historic Landmark still shows movies on weekends and also hosts special events and fundraisers. My organization recently hosted a charity viewing of the documentary Bad Blood which you can find more information about here. Before everyone arrived I was thrilled to have a few moments to walk through the empty seats and take some shots of this beautiful theatre. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cocktails and Prejudice

Inspired by Dutch & Co.'s fabulous mixologist Michelle, my friend Kristen and I thought we would create a cocktail of our very own to share on the blog. I will tell you it's not as easy as it looks. The next time you sample one of the many crafty cocktails available in Richmond right now, remember how much creativity, knowleadge, and dare I say love went into each recipe.

After a little research I found a wonderful recipe for lavender simple syrup and knew I wanted to incorporate that into our little experiment. The drink also had to include a little of the bubbly (because everything good does) and a solid base such as vodka or gin. St. Germain, a sweet elderflower liqueur, has also been a favorite of mine for a while so I wanted to see if I could incorporate that for a little bit of the unexpected.

Thus armed we set out on our mission. Again, not as easy as it looks. It took about four iterations before we settled on the flavor combination we liked. But it was definitely a lot of fun and I can't wait to try a few other ideas I've been bouncing around. I hope it inspires you to experiment and create your own recipe as well.


Austen Hill

1 tablespoon St. Germain
1 teaspoon lavender simple syrup (recipe here)
3 oz. vodka or gin

Shake the St. Germain, lavender syrup, and vodka/gin over ice then pour into a glass. Top of the cocktail with Prosecco and garnish with fresh raspberries. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Emerald City

The Emerald City

Oh I love you so! When emerald was named Pantone's 2013 Color of the Year, I felt fortune had smiled upon me. I've always loved the unexpected versatility of green and the understated elegance of emerald. It's officially everywhere this season from handbags to home design, and most especially fashion. I've found some gems of inspiration to get you started but as for me.......I'm officially "Off to see The Wizard".

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Friday, Love

{ Via }

In case you were wondering what I had in store for the're looking at it! We are eagerly awaiting a few inches of snow here in Richmond and I have found myself { for the first time in a long time } with very few plans for the weekend. My jam-packed schedule will include consistent coffee breaks at my kitchen table, a spattering of naps, the odd movie, walks with Miss Austen in the snow, and perhaps even a kitchen re-organization.

As life gets busier, it gets harder and harder to view the weekends as a re-charge. I am in need of one though after a long couple of weeks. Professionally, they have been some of the most gratifying of my life. I have a feeling I will always look back on them and smile.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with down comforters, hot chocolate, and snuggling. See you on Monday.

xo K

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Indian-Spiced Chicken

On a recent Sunday afternoon my friend Kristin and I decided we were in desperate need of wine, girl-talk, and something yummy to cook. After perusing the January issue of Bon Appetit Magazine we settled on Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach. You can find the recipe here This surprisingly healthy dish was a lot of fun to make. The warmth of the spices was a fabulous counterpart to the chill outside making this a future staple in my kitchen during the winter months. Kristin provided the kitchen (thanks!) and I handled dessert so you'll notice some vanilla ice cream and marble pound cake thrown in at the end for good measure. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bonjour 40 Winner!

Happy Monday everyone! I'm thrilled to announce that the winner of the Bonjour 40 giveaway is..

                                                   Kathryn Bishop Pullam!

Thanks so much to everyone for their support and the fabulous entries! And don't worry if you didn't win, you can still purchase your very own copy here. Thank you to Karen as well for allowing me to include her lovely book. Kathryn, please send me a direct message on my Facebook page with your address and I'll send you your copy directly. 

xoxo K

Friday, January 18, 2013

It's Friday, Love

{ A lazy breakfast from Sub Rosa Bakery in Church Hill }

As I'm writing this it's very late at night. Miss Austen is sitting next to me with her head on the computer. She likes to do that when I'm writing. It's been a very busy couple of weeks for me. My work schedule is very full this time of year because State Legislatures are back in session. But I love it because there's always a new challenge every day. Unfortunately, that means I haven't posted as often as I'd planned this week. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

I haven't done an "It's Friday, Love" post since before the holidays either. I realized today how much I've missed them. Looking back at my week gives me a sense of closure and forces me to pause. How did the week go? What worked? What didn't? What was amazing? What made me happy?

Also today is the last day to enter the Bonjour 40 giveaway so check out the details here. I'll announce the winner on Monday. Reading the entries has been great! I hope you have a fabulous weekend.

{ Navigating the tunnels under the House Office Buildings in DC }

{ My favorite new bottle of wine }

{ Dutch & Co. invited everyone from the block to a special soft opening, AMAZING FOOD }

{ Trying to keep the Plague at arms length }

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mac-n-Cheese Muffins

{ Mac-n-Cheese Muffins }

Over the holiday break I had a baby shower to attend and I wanted to bring something yummy, yet casual. It was cold out and I was in the mood for comfort food, which for me means Mac-n-Cheese. Unfortunately, comfort food can be hard to pull off at parties so I was thrilled when I came across this recipe for Mac-n-Cheese Muffins. They were the perfect bite for the party and I think everyone enjoyed them.

Don't forget to check yesterday's post for details about how you can win an autographed copy of Bonjour 40! The contest is open till Friday!

{ Three different types of cheese give the dish great depth of flavor }

{ A beautiful new colander }

{ I'm always game for a crunchy topping }

{ This recipe works for regular muffin or bite-size portions }

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bonjour 40 Giveaway!

{ The author herself in Paris }

I'm thrilled today to host my very first giveaway on Austen Hill! One lucky reader will win an autographed copy of Karen A. Chase's fabulous book Bonjour 40: A Paris travel log (40 years, 40 days, 40 seconds)

"If Karen A. Chase absolutely had to turn 40, she decided she could do it gracefully in Paris… for nearly 40 days. Her travel journal, filled with daily humorous, insightful, and detailed glimpses into her Paris adventures, each of which can be read in about 40 seconds are combined photographs and longer stories about living in France for the month."

To win your very own copy:

1. Like Austen Hill and Karen A. Chase on Facebook
2. Answer this question in the comment section for Austen Hill or on Facebook,

    "When I imagine myself in Paris I'm wearing ________"

The contest will be open all week so you have till Friday to think of the perfect addition to your Paris wardrobe. The winner will be picked at random and we'll make the announcement next Monday right here on Austen Hill! Good luck!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Karen's Guest

Happy Friday everyone! I'm vacationing on my friend Karen's site today so be sure to check out my guest blog here. I'm sharing how I started Austen Hill and tips on finding your design style. Also, be sure you check back in on Monday because I'll be hosting my first giveaway! If you love travel, literature, and especially the fabulous City of Lights, this will be for you! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey, oh how I love it so! Season Three started this past Friday and the Anglophile inside of me is in absolute heaven. I don't want to give away any spoilers because I know a lot of people are still catching up, but the first episode was great and I'm very much looking forward to the whole season. The costumes are another reason I also adore the series. Ralph Lauren even used them as the inspiration for his Fall 2012 Collection. I've included some of my favorites below. So in case you're wondering, every Sunday night for the foreseeable future you will be able to find me in front of the television with a cup of tea and a glass of wine reveling in the drama.

{ The Crawley Sisters }

{ Ralph Lauren Collection }

{ Ralph Lauren Collection }

{ Ralph Lauren Collection }

{ Ralph Lauren Collection }

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sedaris On Ice

{ Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris }

For our last book club of 2012 we gathered at my friend Amy's house for a little fondue, mulled wine, and great conversation. Amy chose Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. I've been a fan of his for a while and this quirky book didn't disappoint. It was a great way to end 2012. We also realized that this was the fifth year we'd been meeting and couldn't believe the time had flown by so quickly. I hope we have many more years to come. Love you ladies!

{ A little mulled wine....yes please! }

{ Amazing Creole Onion Soup }

{ A little fruit to go with our cheese }

{ Amy's house always looks beautiful for the holidays }

{ A fun way to create your own lighting for any gathering }

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Healthy Breakfast

January always feels like a great time to detox and push the re-set button. To help me accomplish that in my own life, I'll be sharing a project/goal with you each week during the month with this objective in mind. Hopefully I can de-clutter, simplify, and start the year off right. 

The easiest and most beneficial place to start is my diet. We all (well really me) have dined with wild abandon for the previous two months and our bodies are begging for a break. I find that if I eat a healthy breakfast I make better choices throughout the day because I don't want to ruin the good work I've already done. 

With that in mind, a hot bowl of oatmeal is one of my favorite things to make on chilly mornings. To give the oatmeal a bit of punch I like to add cinnamon, a touch of honey, crunchy walnuts, and sweet apples. It's healthy, but still filling and delicious. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Holidays

{ Dinners with friends }

When the holidays are over it's like a switch flips. Suddenly I want all of the decorations down and the ornaments packed away. Christmas music makes me cringe and the thought of eating another piece of pie inspires another reaction. But I do love looking back at pictures of all of the fun we had. Sometimes things are so busy you miss the small moments and pictures help you remember them. Here are some of my favorites from the season. I hope yours was special as well.

{ Watching my nephew Jack open gifts }

{ Trying out, Sub Rosa, a new neighborhood bakery }

{ Christmas lights }

{ Tiny shoes for a new arrival }

{ Falling in love with Proper Pie Co. }

{ Trains under the tree }

{ A note we left for my nephew before we all headed home }