Monday
Jul112011

Princess Leia


Above: See U Soon dress, J Crew sandals, Forever 21 Bracelets, Foley and Corinna bag

My husband calls these my Princess Leia braids.  I call them sensible in the heat we have had lately.

Boston is never just hot, it is sticky and hot. I like heat, but humidity, not so much. The feeling is mutual, as the humidity continually takes out its anger on my hair- reason number 2 to wear braids during a heat wave. So, my hair is up and away and you are spared from any frizzy messes best left off the internet.

Don't ask what possessed me to wear black on such a steamy day, though. Perhaps the braids were too tight at this point?

This is a dress I picked up in France by a brand I am totally unfamiliar with, See U Soon. Anyone heard of this? The dress was so deco-flapper-fabulous (and reasonably priced!) that it immediately jumped into my luggage and made the return trip home. I found the frock at a shop in Avignon called John Mood. They carry quite a few brands that I wish I could find around here, first and foremost Gat Rimon.

This is a simple look, but pretty much all I could muster in the heat.

Wednesday
Jul062011

Mint Julep Summer Sale


Above: Milly Emilie Combo Dress


Above: Milly Chevon Gown (I may have to go back for this!)


Above: Tibi Paisley Strapless Dress


Above: Brooke and I in our matching Milly dresses

Summer sale season is in full swing and the latest addition is one of my personal, local, favourites Mint Julep.

Starting Friday, July 8, most Spring and Summer merchandise will be marked down, from 25-75% off, at each of Mint Julep's three locations: Harvard Square, Cambridge; Coolidge Corner, Brookline; and the newest on the Lower East Side, NYC.

I met up with Brooke Garber (owner of the boutiques along with Stephanie Nist) and Marissa the Harvard shop manager, earlier this week to preview the sale and get some hands on styling from these fashionable ladies.

Marissa and Brooke guided me through ample selections of Milly, Shoshanna, Free People, Voom by Joy Han, and Nanette Lepore markdowns. I picked up a Milly dress, along with a few other items that found their way into my bag....a pair of Soludos and a fabulous sparkly toad cocktail ring (yes, such a thing exists and it is now in my jewelry box). I even snagged a lovely Velvet t-shirt dress for my mother's birthday present. Now that is some one stop shopping, made all the better by some deep discounts.

Make sure to stop by this Friday- sooner rather than later to scoop up some of the best pieces!

Wednesday
Jul062011

Epicurean Adventure: Le Jules Verne

The question I have been asked most since our return from France? My favourite moment. How to level down such a list of experiences, memories of magical places visited and literally storybook castles and villages?

I have to go with my gut and answer dinner at the Jules Verne.  We had so many wonderful meals, be them on a park bench tearing apart a baguette and some cheese, with wine from plastic cups, or all gussied up for a fancy dinner with some well heeled Parisian friends, this evening stands out above them all.

The Jules Verne is a fine dining experience, named after the famed French author who pioneered the science fiction genre.....and the piece de la resistance? It's high up in the Eiffel Tower.  Head chef Pascal Feraud helms the kitchen, a finely tuned piece of the Alain Ducasse mega dining empire. Is it a bit cliche? I think not, mes amis.  Even our two French friends seemed just as excited to be dining there as we were. Private elevator to the top? Yes. Unrivaled views from sunset to midnight, paired with a delicious meal? Double check. Impeccable service? Mais ouis. Imagnez un diner a 125m d'altitude!

Fashionably speaking, I opted to wear my new Sophie Theallet sheath, paired with leopard kitten heel Louboutins for a low key, yet dressy look. Luckily the dress had a bit of a loose, bell shape to it...because I certainly ate my way through the a la carte menu.

After a cheese puff amuse bouche that melted in your mouth, I moved on to the preserved fois grois with artichokes, gelee of sauternes wine, and buttery toasted brioche. When dining at these heights, one doesn't worry about their diet (words that came back to haunt me!). Post starter,  I chose the sauteed sole with morels and baby spinach. Husband went with the lamb, of course.....what else would the Greek get at a Michelin starred French restaurant?  We opted to pair our entrees with an elegant Pommard pinot noir to celebrate last year's trip to Burgundy and our return to France again this year.

As if all that wasn't enough to sate my desire for French cuisine the cheese course was ordered, my personal highlight of the evening- four different selections of fromage paired with complimentary sweet or savory items. A mild, creamy blue veined roquefort juxtaposed with a salty-sweet gingerbread? I had to stop myself from taking portions from my neighbor's plate. I needn't have worried too much, because we still had to finish the meal with a final plate of chocolate caramel delight. No dessert? It's not possible in Paris!

A meal to last a lifetime. We relished food to tempt our taste buds, views to draw the eye, great friends, conversation and ample laughs, carrying our party through a 5 hour culinary journey. My favourite experience on all sensory levels.

Le Jules Verne
Tour Eiffel
Avenue Gustave Eiffel
75007 Paris
+33 1 45 55 61 44

Monday
Jul042011

Festive Fourth


Above: Table cloth, carafe, courtesy of TJ Maxx and Marshalls

In advance of celebrations on the 4th this year, I decided it was time for a much needed make over on our back deck. My goal, take it from drab and sad to festive and bright....ready for hosting some friends for cocktails and a walk down to the waterfront to watch the fireworks over the Charles.

Husband even helped me with my DIY project, making a ribbon banner to drape as a canopy over the deck and lounge underneath (inspiration found in the latest Harvard Square Anthropologie interior store display). So simple to do,  I just tied ribbon to a central hook from the deck roof and draped down the sides, securing in place with a few patriotic tacks spaced evenly on either side.

Also perfectly timed? Some decorating ideas and tips from my friends at TJ Maxx/Marshalls and an invitation to pick up some new party accessories for the 4th. I scored a bounty of goodies- from Marshalls a chic carafe and lights for the deck (the plates are from Marshalls as well but from ages ago).  At TJ Maxx I found a beautifully patterned table cloth, a few cook books and even....wait for it.....popsicle molds (entirely acceptable for grown ups!). I definitely see a lot of spiked "cocktail pops" in my immediate future.

Add some delightful candles from Stop and Shop ($1.99!), some well loved vases and tea pots filled with assorted flowers, and some pillows from indoors et viola.

These photos are the results from last nights trial run for decor and my new white apricot sangria recipe, to be tested en masse tonight when we host our friends.  Husband and I had a gorgeous night on the deck sampling our new summer cocktail and enjoying our new back deck oasis. A special thanks to my friends at TJ Maxx/Marshalls for the extra design inspiration.

Hope you have a festive fourth!

Friday
Jul012011

Hot Dog! Fancified for the Fourth

The hot dog is to the Fourth of July what peanuts are the baseball, turkey is to Thanksgiving, cake is to birthdays....you get the idea, it is a requirement for any and all BBQ's that are planned for this weekend.

In honor of our great nation, I gussied up the dog all gourmet-like. You can take many liberties with the general idea of dressing up the dog: fresh salsa, guacamole, with pickled jalapenos; chili, with melty jack cheese and green onions, or my particular favourite; caramelized onions, peppers and mushrooms with garlicky aioli and manchego cheese.

The recipe is minimal effort with maximum rewards.

Pre-heat and char a hot dog in the boiler (I use the broiler for all this but you could do it much more efficiently on a grill!). Toast a bun with some butter, then layer with garlic aioli*, sliced manchego, the dog, and caramelized onions, peppers and mushrooms. Return to broiler until heated through and cheese is just melty.

I served my gourmet dog along with some fresh corn on the cob, baked beans and some beers!

For even more ideas on the gourmet wiener, check out this great article from the Wall Street Journal: A Looong Way From Coney Island.


*I do like to make my own aioli, a good recipe can be found here, but when in a pinch just mix grated garlic, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard together with mayonnaise.