Friday
Feb252011

APC Prep

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Above: A.P.C. jeans, vintage pennyloafers, J Crew jacket and top, vintage Gucci bag.

After a few bumps and bruises, we are well on the way to breaking in my new pair of raw denim A.P.C. jeans purchased a few weeks ago.

My second wearing of the jeans went even better than expected! There has been a noticeable softening of the fabric and they are becoming genuinely comfortable. I am debating whether to have them hemmed an inch, but I usually wait until washing them to see if they shrink up.

There seems to be a real debate on raw denim, wash to break in, or just don't wash at all to maintain the custom effects of breaking them in? What side of the debate do you fall on regarding denim? I love the artisan look of a well broken in pair of jeans but I usually fail to go very long without washing them (my OCD/need for clean tends to win out against whiskers).

Also note, my hair is down! As you can see, I didn't attempt any drastic changes at my last hair appointment, just a few more highlights and a trim. My plan is to ease my way into a lighter shade for the summer. Slow and steady, rather than drastic and heaven forbid, brassy! Quelle horreur! At least my hair is getting ready for the Spring, even if mother nature continues to unleash her fury upon us.

Stay dry!

Wednesday
Feb232011

Come a Calling

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I was recently schooled in blogger etiquette while attending my first Boston based fashion/blogger event. All the classy, divine women I met that night were happy to hand out even classier and divine business cards. Qu'est-ce c'est? Oh hello, calling card of the well-prepared sophisticate.

In organizing myself for the Independent Fashion Bloggers conference recently held in New York, I decided to take the plunge and order some cards for myself. I blame my initial reticence on not taking my blogging seriously enough. Which begs the question, if you don't take your blog seriously, why should others? Then I started really over analyzing my dilemma to unhealthy levels (I have a tendency to do this) and my quest for the card that embodies "me" was born.

Luckily, I have a lovely friend (full disclosure) who happens to be a graphic designer and has a shop on Etsy called Designeraged along with her equally talented husband, selling....wait for it....business cards. Parfait.  After a little hand holding, followed by a lot of questions and advice, I ended up with this gorgeous final product. My card makes its debut at the ball!

I am so smitten with the idea of business cards that I feel I need to take it to the next level, with a personal calling card. As the lovely Mariah, from Quite Continental detailed in a recent post on the matter: "A fabulous lady definitely deserves a fabulous calling card!". I couldn't agree with her more. One of the many reasons we hit it off so famously in NYC.

I plan on utilizing the talents of my friends once more for this new, personal endeavor, instead opting for a cotton, square, debossed card. The feel of the cotton, the luxe metallic foil, the hounds tooth debossing, lightly tossed with a minimalist design definitely represents "me", in paper form. And of course it would also be the most expensive option they have, as you can always depend on my innate ability to gravitate toward to the most expensive item. I call this a gift really, though husband is more likely to view it as a burden. C'est la vie.

Monday
Feb212011

Brocolli Cheddar Soup in a Bread Bowl

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We had two blissful days of 60+ degree temperatures here in Boston. Overnight, I was all about grilling and margaritas again. My street was lined with over eager college students sporting shorts and gloating to mother nature. Then wham, as fast as you can say cold snap, that delicious warm weather is over and we are back in the abyss of a never ending winter.

Here's hoping you survived the cold, have today off, and have some hearty soup to warm the bones.

This recipe meets all my standard prerequisites. Easy, big on taste, and come on, it is served in a bread bowl. You save on dishes and literally get to eat your serving dish. The doughy insides of a fresh loaf of bread, being my absolute favourite, was reserved for dipping. I made a few luxe substitutions, using some leftover truffle butter to saute the veggies and a maple smoked cheddar for the cheesy goodness. This dish is a cheesy carbloading festival for your mouth. Enjoy!

Read more for the full recipe and more photos.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recipe

Ingredients


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 7-inch sourdough bread boules (round loaves)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish

 

 Directions

 

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you'll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into the bread bowls and garnish with cheese.

Friday
Feb182011

Driftwood and Lucite Together at Last

    
                

Can we talk for a moment about this mirrored, modern, lucite bar?

Not as though I have the room in my teensy apartment for such a bar but it radiates cool. My dentist appointment went too long yesterday, resulting in my missing it at the Skinner Discovery auction. Alas, it was not meant to be. Speaking of cool, modern, bordering on perhaps just a wee bit tacky....I also obsessed over the lot of lamps above. Again, not entirely sure what I would have done with them but they are so outrageous and over the top that I want to take them home with me and design around them. Which got me started on a design bender.

This bar would have gone perfectly with the dining room table and chairs I plan on buying. I have a boho modernist vision of dining on a drift wood table with chic lucite chairs. Then again, all the pieces together may have culminated in lucite overload, but is there really such a thing?

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My proposed before and after. Our current table is a shamefully ugly, ten year old, Pier 1 Imports triple clearance purchase, made without any advance planning or preconceived ideas about what it may actually look like in our apartment. I feel infinitely better after getting that off my chest. We needed a place to seat people who came over the dine with us, what was I to do? The image on the above, right demonstrates what I would like to do. Scaled down to current apartment standards of course.  Husband thinks the lucite chairs pose a home hazard and would break if improperly used. Clearly, he just doesn't get it (pun totally intended). Some additional driftwood inspiration below!

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Wednesday
Feb162011

Breaking the Jean

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Featured above: A.P.C. jeans, Aldo shoes, Top Shop coat and top.

Having heard the hype about A.P.C. denim it was really only a matter of time before I drank the kool-aid. Classic clean lines? Check. Hip French brand? Check. Outrageous price? Check.

Little did I know the commitment I was entering upon crossing the threshold to the Soho outpost of A.P.C. The shop keep must have smelled my longing for French minimalist denim as soon as I entered the store. After a brief denim assessment I was on my way to the back (curtained off accordingly) to try on some jeans. The champagne room of denim.

My assistants were lovely, lithe, young hipsters. New to A.P.C.? Then you must go basic with the raw denim, "new cure" to all that ails me. Described simply on the site as:

"neither high nor low rise. very narrow leg. coin pocket. button fly. 
the first button is engraved A.P.C. rue Madame pres du luxembourg."

I was encouraged by my sales troup to squeeze into the smallest size I could possibly button, for they stretch at least a size. Deep knee bends and lunges were heartily encouraged throughout the racks. I was shown before and afters. One associate had worn their pair every day for a year (washing optional) and look how soft they were? You can even purchase the "broken" in version of the raw denim, having all the work already done for you, at an even more outrageous price. I smelled the lazy American trap a mile away and said "non, merci". I will go with my new cure and do all the work myself, thank you very much.

These pictures are hereby entered into evidence as new cure, day #1. Please note, they sit perfectly at the hip. The have a snug, but not stifling, fit throughout the leg. Deep indigo, denim perfection...with the mild texture of sandpaper. Yes, these jeans are literally so painfully hip as to so leave my hip bone a little exfoliated.

I am no slacker though. I will break these jeans. The gauntlet has been thrown and the progress will be documented in a new mintly series titled: 1) breaking the jean, 2) how to lose 5 lbs (eating is not exactly encouraged in raw denim), or 3) how to wear one jean 30 ways.