Monday
Aug152011

Barn Burner


Above: J Crew denim top, TopShop necklace, Forever 21 skirt, Isabel Marant heels, and vintage Gucci clutch

I took advantage of a day off to load the kids into the car and drive up to New Hampshire for my mother's birthday two weeks ago. I didn't technically wear the heels up there.....but I thought the heels and clutch were a fun way to dress up the outfit (full disclosure, I actually wore gladiator sandals for the drive and walking around as heels do not generally make sensible farm attire).

The dogs just love running around up at the farm. So much for the pooches to explore between the fields, barns, orchard, you get the idea. A perfect opportunity for some gratuitous Kiki shots. Though, I was a concerned mama when we were warned about the fisher cat that has taken up in the blackberry bushes. Dangerous for the dogs and double whammy, preventing us from picking any of the delicious fruit! Trust me, you don't want to tango with a fisher cat my friends. They will win.

PS, husband contributed the name for this post. Yes, my backdrop is a barn but the term has another financial related meaning, as one hell of a week (chaotic highs and lows), applied in this case to the stock market . My new word of the week = barn burner. I see future potential use for applying this term to extreme sample sales or markdown situations.

Friday
Aug122011

Thyme Onion Tart

This dish was first made........born of a mistake.  I purchased puff pastry in a rush at the super market when I really need phyllo for spanikopita. I made the best of this costly error (puff pastry is not cheap my friends- though it is worth it for the ease of picking it up in the freezer) and turned it into a delicious tart for a family get together. My father in-law loves caramelized onions so any dish working them is automatically well received. I have made it no less than 3 times since. It is simple and you got it, utterly delicious.

I took some liberties with the recipe I used here, and instead of roasting the onions in the oven, I caramelized them on the stove top, and sweetened them up a bit by adding some fig preserves. Alright, alright, I may have added some more bacon too.

It is a delight of an appetizer but would make a delicious, quick dinner, during the week too.

Wednesday
Aug102011

Get In My Closet: Viv&Ingrid Interview and Fall Preview

Imagine my surprise when I found out my friend Sabrina grew up with one of the founding designers of the adorable jewelry line Viv&Ingrid? It's like finding out you are distantly related to Kate Middleton, right?

The two designers behind Viv&Ingrid, Vivian Wang and Ingrid Chen met as girls in the Bay area, went on to study at UC Berkeley, and then both decided to join their career paths in 1999 to found the eponymous line. Both openly admit to being obsessive compulsive (women after my own heart), though Vivian brings to the table a free spirit and Ingrid a focus on more refined detailing. This ying/yang balance between the designers is evidenced in their well edited and beautiful collections.





They have garnered oodles of success with the brand, with two of my favourite pieces (below) being featured in People's recent August Stylewatch issue (wishbone necklace) and Allure magazine (peacock earrings). As you can also tell from the images above, I have the wishbone necklace myself- an avid fan and client! It is adorable, has a touch of whimsy, and layered with my gold evil eye pendant, provides me with a layer of impenetrable wards to keep negative energy away!




I immediately asked Sabrina to link me up with these lovely ladies so I could take a look at some of the fall designs, pick their designing brains about how they find all their inspiration, and of course, subject them to five questions with Mon Petit Chou Chou.


Best of all? They are offering 20% off through 8/12/11 with Friends and Family code "vifriends20". 

Who are your biggest influences design wise? 
Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Prada, Ralph Lauren... we really love all the great designers and couturiers. During the last few years, we've also become obsessed with the refined details found in beautiful architecture and interiors.

How do you prepare for each new collection? 
The research for each collection is usually pretty organic. Sometimes, we are inspired by the purity of a set of colors, or the natural beauty of a raw precious stone. Other times, an image from a book, painting, or even poems may spark a vision for a collection. For example, our Summer 2011 Collection was inspired by a letter from Hernán Cortés, who was searching for a legendary island of Califia, which was ruled by amazonian women and said to be rich with gold and jewels. 

If you weren't designing what would you be doing?
We'd be running a non-profit!  Giving back has always been very important to us, which is why we created the Viv&Ingrid Corporate Giving Program.  The Program has allowed our company to contribute a percentage of our web sales each year to causes that are close to our hearts like the Red Cross, the Children's Cancer Research Fund, UNICEF, local food banks and more. These organizations are so important and help so many in need, and we want to do everything we can to support them!

You are presenting the fall 2011 collection soon in NYC- what is your favourite piece?
Viv loves wearing the new Flora Rosary, and Ingrid is obsessed with the Cirque and Peacock earrings!

Any special plans for the presentation?
Like our new shop, we designed our booth at the upcoming ENK Accessorie Circuit  to be a welcoming wonderland of jewels and cute packaging.

5 Questions with MPCC:

Movie you have watched the most?
Pride and Prejudice. We're lovers of love :)

Last item of clothing you purchased?
A Burberry short trench coat from the SFO duty free shop!  

Swedish fish or gummy worms?
Swedish fish!

Soundtrack to your life?
Lately, we're listening to the Songs for Japan album. It inspires us to keep sharing our best hopes, thoughts and efforts with everyone in our community!

Three products you could never live without?
My iPhone, metallic gold Viv&Ingrid hoops (wrap and braided), and a Moleskine sketchbook!



Monday
Aug082011

Sir Duke


Above: H & M dress, vintage Gucci tote, Miu Miu heels, Forever 21 jewelry, Ray ban aviators.

Another hot summer day, another white dress out and about.

This time the dress is an old closet staple, unearthed from the vaults, and years out of circulation at H & M. I have seriously had this dress for about 10 years and it really never goes out of style (or shows all the items I dropped on it and stained it with over the years!).

Husband and I pulled over on the way up to NH over the weekend to take these shots at a mini-hatch shell on the Mystic river in Medford. I have drive by it a million time and always wondered about it. Imagine my surprise when I found the mural had been painted by some do-gooder students at my alama mater, Tufts. The bright colors and musical images immediately make me start humming the opening horns from Sir Duke, by Steve Wonder. Classic song for a classic dress.

Do you have any items like this? That you just seem to wear year after year?

Friday
Aug052011

Farmer's Market Berry Pie


Farmers Market Delight: Before and After. Shopping, then below, eating!

I love this photo of husband (note, shot perfectly timed to preserve anonymity) and the kids. He is also standing next to a "beef" sign, which makes me giggle. I think he is gazing at the guacamole stand, wishing he had some.

Husband and I have a new weekend tradition of walking to the Harvard Square farmer's market every Sunday morning (post tennis match, our other newest obsession).

I love taking the dogs down to the square, strolling the fresh produce, seeing what inspires, discovering new things. Our favourite local bakery, Sofra, even has a stand there....replete with Van Gogh-esq flowers at every corner. Kimball farms arms me with the freshest, most delicious fruit and produce. My last haul included picture perfect berries, heirloom tomatoes, and red basil (which I never even knew existed), and though somewhat deviant in color is just as delicious as the average green variety.

Post stroll and back at the apartment all those delicious berries were just begging me to put them into a pie. I was all to happy to oblige the berries and my rumbling stomach.

This recipe was adapted from my new baking bible, Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe (crust recipe can be found here). Your basic fruit pie follows some tried and true rules: cornstarch to make it all come together, some lemon zest and juice, sugar, I like a bit of cinnamon and vanilla, you know the drill. Mix it all in with some blueberries and raspberries and toss it into a crust.

And voila. I always like to top off my pie with some amaretto whipped cream. Spike your heavy cream with vanilla, sugar and amaretto for a nice change of pace......fair warning, once you do, there is no turning back to the same old whipped cream.