Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Marilyn Painting

For Christmas this year I decided to do a painting for my favorite blogger friend. Little did I know just how long an oil painting would take...the first week or so seemed disastrous. The next few weeks, things improved...slightly...and finally, the last couple of weeks the painting actually looked the way I'd imagined.

Maybe if I had more time and energy for painting this process would progress a little more. Currently I have two paintings sitting half-finished on my easel. Maybe by the end of 2009 I'll be able to finish them. Funny how life gets in the way of art!

Happy Holidays!!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turk dance from Scrubs

Ever watch Scrubs? This scene is classic:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Spun sugar and rice pudding

During my food blog travels, I happened upon this delectable-sounding recipe:

Rice Pudding and Spun Sugar

She includes a link to another one of my favorite food bloggers, Tartelette !

Now I have a craving for rice pudding...yum!


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Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Had I known of Portea at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, London, I SO would have stopped by for tea.

Nibble on edible versions of designer collections, (updated every six months), and sip tea from fine bone china designed by Paul Smith in collaboration with Thomas Goode of Mayfair.

"The tailor-made tea is served so that, whenever a guest takes a cake or savoury nibble, it is quickly replaced on the cake stand. Over and over, one can relive the excitement of a Louis Vuitton dress selling out and being re-issued, simply by stuffing one's face."

This is likely the only place where you can come close to some of these highfalutin fashion-world trends.



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Chocolate Factory

Remember the episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ethel worked at a chocolate factory?

Read about one girl's experience at See's Candy Factory in San Francisco! Too bad See's doesn't offer regular tours...(it's invitation only.)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Calendar

In search of a really garish and tacky Advent Calendar to hold up as an example of what NOT to do, I instead came across this simple, and very cute wood Advent Calendar instead:

Having grown up with the occasional paper Advent Calendar filled with small, unimpressive chocolates or plastic toys, the idea of filling one's own calendar is a novel idea. Fill one of these with Teuscher chocolates and I'd be hooked!


Images lifted from and

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Foodie

Love this Teatime Hamper from Fortnum and Mason:
It comes with a little fruit cake, some marmalade to go on your buttered toast, loose leaf tea, and some sweets to go with your cuppa. Plus it all comes packaged in a quaint wicker hamper. How British!

I am awaiting the day when one of these places opens in Boston. There's nothing quite like the food halls of London.

Another fabulous gift (for the foodie) is this fascinating Salts of the World sampler:
Try anything from Italian Trapani Sea Salt to Seoul Bamboo Salt to Black Lava Salt. The list goes on. I've always wondered whether pink salt really tastes any different from blue salt...

Although I admit this weirds me out, handmade "sushi" chocolates from Suedy's Koo-Ki Sushi make for a cute stocking stuffer:
These pieces come with hand-molded dark or white chocolate plates, artfully edged with edible copper or gold luster. The sushi may look real, but it's all dessert - crisp rice cookies, apricot flavored "gummi-eggs", bits of caramel, chocolate, and meringue.

Prefer something a bit healthier? How about a basket of baby veggies:
Send your favorite foodie friend a selection of artichokes, beets, broccoli, radishes, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots...all in miniature!


Images lifted from,,, and

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Peanut Butter Brownie Squares

Inspired by a photo I saw on the chocolate peanut butter gallery, I attempted my own version tonight:

Step 1. Make a graham cracker crust.

I actually ran out of graham crackers due to the recent Thanksgiving Day run on pumpkin pies, and substituted oatmeal biscuits instead. In a food processor, crumb biscuits with half a stick of melted butter. Add nuts or oatmeal if you want to seem slightly healthier. Bake in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes (or until dry and crispy.)

Step 2. Melt peanut butter.

FYI: Real, wholesome, organic peanut butter that you store in the fridge DOES NOT melt in the microwave. I learned this first hand - it tends to burn. Instead use Jiff or some other artificially sweetened variety that melts easily. Pour melted peanut butter over the crust.

Step 3. Mix up your favorite brownie mix - any recipe will do. Pour batter over melted peanut butter and bake as usual.

Let the brownies cool a bit before you slice them (as this can get messy otherwise.)



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chocolate-Cinnamon Babka

After one prior attempt at making a chocolate babka (mine turned out like a challah bread with chocolate chips), I asked an expert. I followed this recipe and ended up with the most fabulously delicious chocolate babka I have ever had:


For The Babka Dough:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

For The Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 stick (2oz.) butter, melted
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For The Chocolate Filling:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolat
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (2 oz.) unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum

For Meringue:
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For Egg Wash: (optional)
1 egg yolk, or egg white, beaten
1/4 cup milk, or water

Combine the flour, the sugar, the salt, and the yeast in a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Heat the oil and milk in a small pan until very warm, and pour over mixed dry ingredients.

With an electric mixer, blend at low speed until moistened. Add eggs, and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turn greased side up, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Place dough on a floured surface, divide in half, and roll out each half to a 10 by 18 inch rectangle, and 1/4 inch in thickness.

For The Cinnamon Filling:
Spread each dough section with half of the melted butter or margarine. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over each dough section.

For The Chocolate Filling:
On a low simmer, melt chocolate in top of a double boiler, stir in sugar, butter or margarine, and milk. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly for 15 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and rum, chill in refrigerator.

For the Meringue:
Beat egg whites with the 1/4 cup sugar until stiff but not dry. Spread each dough section with 1/4 of the meringue, and 1/2 of the chilled chocolate filling, top with the remaining half of the meringue.

Roll up rolls of filled dough, jelly-roll style, starting at the long end. Braid rolls together to form a twist and place in a greased 9 or 10-inch bundt or tube pan, seal edges together and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C), or 325 degrees F (170 C) if you are using bakeware with a dark, nonstick or colored exterior.

Brush dough with egg wash, and place the bundt or tube pan with babka in it in pre-heated oven and bake it for about 50 minutes or until the aroma becomes irresistible and the babka is golden brown.

After baking, remove the babka from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Take it out of the pan and place it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely before serving. Dust top of babka with confectioner's sugar,



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Thursday, November 20, 2008


While browsing through the latest edition of N.E.E.T. magazine, I came across these fabulous finds:

The Illiyon dress from Leanimal by Leanne Marshall. Now that she's won Project Runway, I'll never be able to afford her gorgeous clothes!

A Silhouette Necklace by Early Jewelry. Kitchy-cute and kind of funky!

Chainmail jewelry by Crescent Maille.

Tough Lolita Hooks by Poison Apple. Sweet and sparkly in a dangerous sort of way. I love the little silver skulls and I'm obsessed with those little metal bows.

Vintage treasures by This Charming Girl. So fun to browse!

A Shimmer Dress at Candy Store Collective. If only I had a real job I might be able to afford some of these clothes!

...and there's plenty more where that came from!


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"Single Ladies" SNL skit disappears

Sadly, the most entertaining version of Beyonce's Single Ladies dance routine is no longer available on YouTube. If you weren't lucky enough to see it on SNL or on the web, read about it here.

And yes, that's JT in a spandex leotard. You should see that boy shake it!

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Beyonce: Single Ladies

Same moves - in spandex leotards. Now that takes balls:

Gwen Verdon: Mexican Breakfast Fosse

Check out the flashy matching 1960's costumes on these foxy ladies:

Engage Green

Check out these bags made of recycled materials!

[Engage Green]

I am especially drawn to the woven "paper" product line. If I weren't so broke I might consider investing in one of my own!


Image lifted from the green globetrotter. Check out her blog for more tips and ideas on traveling green!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seven Up

One of the more hilarious and fascinating shows I've watched lately is the British documentary, Up series.

"The Up Series consists of a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. The latest film, 49 Up, was released in September 2005; filming for the next instalment in the series, 56 Up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012."

My all-time favorite character is Bruce. Even at the young age of seven he was concerned about the lives of other people. He said his heart's "greatest desire" was to see his father (who was living in Rhodesia.) Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip of him talking about what he wanted to do when he grew up. Trust me, it's HILARIOUS. However, I did find a good clip of another classic moment (the interviewer just asked Paul whether or not he'd like to get married someday):

If you haven't got time to watch them all, at least see the first episode, shot in 1964. The kids are super-cute and then you'll be hooked.


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Who says fashion is boring?


"Fantasia, by its strictest definition, is a musical term: describing free improvisation and contrast of musical treatments that seldom follow textbook rules. Appropriate then that the same word should be the title of Nick Knight's latest fashion film: a free-wheeling exploration of joyous, unbridled movement in model and clothing alike. Harness to this the riotous creativity of some of fashion's greatest names and you have a mesmerising, full-throttle trip around the most sensational sartorial propositions of the past ten years. Worked to their fullest extent by the dynamic duo of Lily Donaldson and Jourdan Dunn, the array of outfits on show are a fashion fantasy - in the very truest sense of the term."


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Montreal French Fries

If there's one thing I love about Quebec (and it might only be one thing), it's the Poutine - the perfect comfort food. There is nothing else quite like it.

Canadian transplant, Gino, decided to open up shop in Massachusetts. So now, instead of driving north for four hours, one can drive south to Bridgewater, MA for some fabulous Montreal French Fries.

"What is a Montreal French Fry? The potatoes for Montreal French Fries are imported from either Quebec or New Brunswick. The fries are then hand cut and fried twice in peanut oil. The result is a french fry that is a cut above any other french fry that you've ever tasted!"



Montreal French Fries
757 West Center St (Rt. 24, Exit 16B)
West Bridgewater, MA
(508) 588-FRIES (3743)

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Design Hive

Although I'm really not a fan of Fox News in any sense, there might be some redeeming value:

Design Hive was featured this past Tuesday on Fox!

"The Design Hive is a rotating collective retail experience featuring different designers every week. It's a great alternative to mass-produced, mass-consumed goods and it's way more hip."

I, for one, am really looking forward to checking this place out! My good friend, pequitobun, will be there today and next Saturday as well. There will also be around 50 other independent designers selling their wares at Design Hive for the next 6 Saturdays! Find everything from clothing and jewelry, to handbags, housewares and art!

Happy Shopping!


The Design Hive is within walking distance of both Harvard and Porter Squares in Cambridge.

Maria Baldwin School (formerly the Agassiz School)
28 Sacramento St. (off Mass Ave. @ corner of Oxford St.)
Cambridge, MA 02138

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Imasu by Kelly Nishimoto

Check out REVOLVE for some fantastic clothes and other goods!

I particularly love this unique coat by Imasu:

"At the age of 19, Georgia-native Kelly Nishimoto was named one of the "Top Ten Designers to Watch" by the Miami Herald. Always one to use a variety of materials in her designs, Nishimoto has gone from styling with Reynolds Wrap to designing innovative corsets for celebs like Tori Spelling, Jenny McCarthy, and even Dave Navarro. The designer introduced her full collection of feminine pieces during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2006 and continues to bring originality and elegance to her line of womenswear each season."

Too bad I can only afford to window-browse...


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Don't bother with those boring chain sandwiches - stop by Chacarero for a true Chilean lunch!

If only I worked downtown...


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Adopt a Turkey

Every year for Thanksgiving I am faced with the challenge of making an edible alternative to the traditional Turkey dinner. Last year I tried roasting an entire pumpkin stuffed with root vegetables. Sadly, the roasting time was off and the pumpkin (and stuffing) turned out hard, flavorless and far less appealing than the succulent poultry beast sitting next to it.

This year, I came across a novel idea (for a meat-eater at least). For a mere $25 adoption fee, one can ADOPT A TURKEY and save it from the frightening prospect of becoming someone's Thanksgiving meal.

There are two ways to adapt a Turkey:

1. Sponsor "adopt" a turkey who lives at Watkins Glen, New York or Orland, California shelter for farm animals. For a one-time $25 adoption fee, you will receive:

A special Adopt-A-Turkey certificate with color photo of and fun details about your new friend
- A Farm Sanctuary membership for one year,
- A one-year subscription to Sanctuary, our quarterly newsletter.
- As a turkey sponsor, you will not only contribute funds for the care of the rescued animals at our sanctuaries, but will also help us educate and advocate for turkeys, and other farm animals, everywhere.

Adopt a turkey online or by phone at 1-888-SPONSOR.

2. Home adopt and provide a safe, permanent and loving home for two or more turkeys.

Home adopters must be vegetarian and committed to providing lifelong care for their turkey friends. Individuals interested in home adoption must complete an adoption application. Turkey companions are personally delivered to approved adopters by Farm Sanctuary staff via the Turkey Express.

Option two I find quite intriguing. Apparently Turkey's require companionship and thus individuals who wish to home adopt must agree to provide a "safe and loving" home for at least two Turkeys. Which leads me to my next question:

Can one eat Turkey eggs?

As it turns out, Turkey eggs are edible. However, it is unclear from the website whether or not adoption includes a breeding pair.


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Amish Friendship Bread

About 10 days ago, I received a 1-gallon plastic ziplock bag of liquid "starter" and a recipe for Amish Friendship Bread.

Having never heard of such a thing, I found the process of making the bread very intriguing! Not unlike a chain letter, Amish Friendship Bread is passed around to friends. The sweet, cinnamon-flavored bread probably has no connection to the Amish people (typical recipes include a box of instant pudding!) According to Elizabeth Coblentz, a member of the Old Order Amish and the author of the syndicated column "The Amish Cook", true Amish Friendship Bread is "just sourdough bread that is passed around to the sick and needy". I'll admit, I'm not sick or needy, but I do appreciate a loaf of homemade bread!

Amish Friendship Bread

Important Note: Do not use metal spoons or equipment. Use only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls or containers.

1 cup live yeast starter

day 1:
Do nothing with the starter.

days 2-5:
Squeeze the plastic bag.

day 6:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Squeeze the bag.

days 7-9:
Squeeze the bag.

Day 10:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic 1-gallon bags. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends (or keep one for yourself if you want to make more bread.) To the remaining batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil)
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts (optional)

Mix and pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy and pass it on!


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Bazaar Bizarre

Looking to find something a little more unique for the holidays? Why not check out the Bazaar Bizarre. This year the Boston Bazaar is going to be held at the Park Plaza castle. How fun is that?

Some of my favorite indie designers will be there, including pequitobun! Undoubtedly there will be numerous other fabulous designers and (if it's anything like last year) plenty of people selling some really weird stuff.

Come by, peruse, and check some local designer flavor!

BBB December 7th 2008 at the Castle

See you there!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Transylvania is not England

"No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be."

Quote lifted from Bram Stoker's Dracula

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Most Bewitching Night

"It is the eve of St. George's Day. Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?"

Quote lifted from Bram Stoker's Dracula

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Black Nail Polish: Fashion Forward?

What other beauty product can boast a history that includes Chinese royalty and Freddie Mercury? Simultaneously countercultural and aristocratic, black nail polish is making yet another comeback. Check out A Brief History of black nail polish: from ancient Chinese royalty to Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie.

Looking to find just the right shade of black?

If you like sparkles, try Dior Vernis - Black Sequins. Coat your nails with a celestial shimmer in black lacquer with silver flecks. This item is limited-edition so get it while it lasts.

Swing by a Sephora store or browse the website.



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McCain Vs. Obama Dance-Off

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The NEW MacBook

So pretty, so shiny, so soon to be mine!

And for a mere $1,599.00, it could be yours as well...

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween Bash!

A Halloween Party at A Fanciful Twist...where anything goes...won't you join in the fun?

I'll be bringing sweet treats to share:

Chocolate skulls from Vosges.

Fig pumpkins and Halloween bugs from John and Kira's.

S'mores bites and candied orange peel from Recchiuti.
See you there!


Images lifted from,, and

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fab 5

Yah! This week I am guest editor for Fab 5 Friday on Rare Bird Finds.

Check it out here and see what 5 items I've picked out!



Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dreamy Dessert

Check out Dreamy Dessert's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

So deliciously yummy looking! I might have to try a hand at this recipe!


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Bacon diet

One of my friends is going on a diet this week: no fried chicken and no bacon.

Imagine a world without bacon.

I know a certain vegetarian who doesn't miss any sort of meat product, EXCEPT bacon. Bacon should really have it's own food group. Oddly enough, bacon is making a huge showing as a dessert ingredient. Weird, yes, but there is something about the salty sugar combination that could be appealing. Take for example Vosges Mo's Bacon Bar - premium chocolate with a smokey, salty flavor. It might not be worth the $7 price tag, but it's not half bad. Along the same lines, Maple-Bacon Lollipops by Lollyphile, and make-your-own bacon toffee or bacon cookies provide similar sweet and salty fixes. I'm not sure I could handle the cookies (I prefer my chococolate chip cookies in their purest form), but toffee might be ok.

Bacon desserts: brilliant or bizarre?


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

10 year reunions

With the coming Fall weather, the only thing more frightening than frizzy hair, might be the fact that my 10 year high school reunion has arrived.

Now this just makes me feel old.

Back in high school I skipped every football game and school dance. Admittedly, I did attend the junior prom in a rare show of solidarity. I still have the dress I wore, and (amazingly enough) it still fits. Thank you high metabolism. I don't really keep in touch with anyone from high school, and in fact, the only reason I know anything about my high school class is because of facebook.

Our 10 year reunion is actually being held downtown, so really I have no excuse not to attend. If the flashbacks become too painful I can always grab my two free drinks and just go home. I wonder if it will be like Grosse Pointe Blank or Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion - because those movies ROCKED.

If only John Cusack could be there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

All that glitters...

Ever since I was little I've been obsessed with sparkly things. As the euphoria of Elmer's glue and glitter faded, it was rapidly replaced with a tendency towards sparkly eye shadows. Imagine my excitement when Bare Escentuals came out with the limited edition Extreme Glimmers line. I saw it first on the Sephora website and went to check it out in person. Were these amazing flakes of color really as shimmery as they look online?


And then some. With each swipe of the teeny brush that comes with the kit, one gains an increasingly metallic shimmer that is truly unparalleled. Surprisingly the large sparkly flakes do not irritate the eyes and are thin and delicate enough to lay on with the same smooth application of the other Bare Escentuals eye shadows. These would be perfect for a glam version of an 80's prom queen Halloween costume or for the upcoming holidays.


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Monday, October 6, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I stopped in at Sabon with the full intention of trying out their free scrub and walking out of the shop unscathed. Unfortunately for me, I tried the new creamy scrub in carrot. The little ground peach kernels and crushed olive seeds were gentle on my hands, and the deliciously mild, yet beautifully fragranced 'carrot' scent was impossible to resist. I bought a container. I also bought a container of the 'carrot' scented lotion yum...

And I wasn't done yet. The deliciously minty Face Polisher seemed perfect for my poor, dry skin. It's getting to be Fall, after all, and a girl really needs to keep her skin well scrubbed and moisturized!

Who knew how easy it would be to blow a hundred bucks in only 10 minutes?

Sabon. C'est bon.


129 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 236-1931

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Crema Cafe

Hooray for independent coffee shops!

Crema Cafe in Harvard Square has only been around for a couple of months, but already it's a Harvard Square Institution. While Tealuxe still fulfills that tea craving while on the run, for some great chai tea, fresh ginger or blackberry flavored lemonade and the most fantastic-homemade-english-muffins-known-to-man, stop by Crema for a light breakfast, relaxing brunch or even lunch! Cute, frosted cupcakes, homemade pastries (try the almond croissant!) and cookies are on display. The soups are delicious, and although I haven't had a chance to try the pressed sandwiches (served on Iggy's bread) I've heard only good things!

Say Crema owners, Marley & Liza:
A "third place" is somewhere that many of us naturally seek out- a place between home and work where we can feel relaxed and comfortable, yet also connected to our community and the outside world. Crema Cafe is our definition of that third place.

At Crema you can meet, chat, sip, read, write, watch, think, taste and enjoy in an atmosphere that you simultaneously create and absorb. Our goal is for Crema to be a familiar, warm nook in the world where you can enjoy some of the best things in life – a delicious cup of coffee or tea, homemade baked goods straight from the oven, and yummy fresh food in a environment with both stimulating conversation and calm quiet.

Don't turn up to this place if you are in a hurry - there is often a line and unless it is early on a Saturday morning, there might be a longish wait for your toasted homemade english muffin.

Read more about Crema in Chowhound



Crema Cafe
27 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 876-2700

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I guess I should consider myself lucky to have avoided the bug all these years. Although I've spent plenty of time feeding other people NyQuill and tea, I'd forgotten how wretched it feels to actually have the flu myself. Fortunately, before the high fever, chills and muscle aches set in, I managed to enjoy one last decadent meal at the new L'Espalier location.

We arrived bedraggled with umbrellas turned inside out, and were greeted with the same pleasant-not-TOO-pretentious attitude of the old L'Espalier restaurant. After some confusion over tables we were ushered into a glass elevator complete with two comfy chairs to recline upon the entire three floors up. We were seated in the ultra modern open dining room by the large windows facing the street from which we watched drenched afternoon shoppers make their way along the windy sidewalks. $%&#s to be them!

For lunch I had the L’Espalier’s “B.L.T,” a delectable lobster salad with green tomato, smoked bacon and avocado butter on top of a toasted buttery brioche style bread and served with homemade paprika potato chips, followed by the L’Espalier’s artisanal cheese plate. All DELISH. Despite my better judgment, I also opted for a wild orchid and lychee martini. I couldn't resist. It was, in fact, very delicious - well-balanced, smooth with just the right amount of lychee sweetness and a wafting of fresh orchid from the infused vodka. It was also the last thing I remember tasting before the fever rapidly descended.

Hopefully the worst of the flu is over by now and I can soon go back to every day life - even if it's mostly on the outside looking in.


p.s. Kudos to the one who picked out all those crazy glass chandeliers for the L'Espalier dining room!

774 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 262-3023

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Can't help it, but I do like Ugg boots. When the weather is cold and yucky out, it feels really nice to slip into a pair of soft and fluffy sheep skin lined boots. They are so light it feels like you are wearing slippers! I'll be the first to admit, the classic Uggs are pretty ugg-ly. However, the Ugg brand has come up with a couple of styles that are not too hideous.

I am particularly obsessed about this pair:

If only I wasn't stuck on a graduate student budget!


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Bar-le-Duc Red Currant Preserve

Bar-le-Duc Red Currant Preserve

The origin of this expensive preserve dates from the 14th century, when jars were offered as gifts to princes, dukes and ladies-of-the-court who traveled via Bar-le-Duc. Even today, the process has not changed. Seeded by hand with a goose quill, the delicate currant berries are thrown into hot syrup, a method which allows the fruit to keep its flavor and bright color.

A jam fit for a queen or just an overpriced jar of jelly? You decide.


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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eye candy

A deliciously delectable photo caught my eye this morning:

Cake on the Brain made these gorgeous macaroons, inspired by the flavors of an Oreo cookie, yet girlie and decadent with a pink white chocolate buttercream filling and crushed cocoa nibs on the dark chocolate cookie shells.

If only I could reach across my computer screen and grab one for real!


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Easy soup recipes

The weather is getting colder, and for some reason, time seems less easy to come by these days. Recently I've started getting into soups, of the easy-to-make-saute-and-blend variety. Here are a couple of favorites:

easy black bean soup

1 16-ounce package (about 2 1/2 cups) dried black beans (or canned)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
5 cups veggie (or chicken) broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 jalapeño chili, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro

Place beans in large bowl. Add enough water to cover by 3 inches. Let stand overnight. Drain well. Simmer the beans in water until tender, stirring occasionally, about two hours (slow-cooker recommended.)

Sauté celery, onion, and carrots until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, beans, broth, jalapeño, vinegar, cumin and coriander. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer soup, 10-20 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and process until slightly chunky puree forms. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Blend sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice and 1/2 cup cilantro in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Place dollop of sour cream mixture atop soup. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and chopped tomato.

easy cauliflower soup

1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups 1-inch pieces cauliflower (cut from 1 large head)
3 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt veggie (or chicken) broth
1 3/4-inch cube Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional cheese shavings for serving

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
White or black truffle oil (for drizzling)

Sauté onion, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add cauliflower, 3 1/2 cups broth, and cheese cube. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor. Return to same pan. Add cream and bring soup to simmer. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with drizzles of truffle oil and fried sage leaves.

Bon appetit!


Images lifted from and

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My newest favorite cafe is the much-anticipated Sofra Bakery. Run by the chefs and owners of Oleana, Sofra (from the Arabic word for dining table, picnic or kilim; and also a symbol for generosity and hospitality) offers a stunning array of modern Eastern Mediterranean food with a twist. After drooling over the menu for days, we finally made the trip. While I had planned on opting only for the delicious-sounding Turkish Breakfast and an iced latte, I ended up spending over $40 in gorgeous pastries. Despite the best-intentions, I walked away with a box filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies:

lebanese croissant with za’atar
sicilian ricotta, orange & chocolate croissant
perfect sugar
hazelnutter butters
sesame cashew
coconut macaroon
chocolate hazelnut baklava with cocoa honey
umm-ali—egyptian bread & butter pudding
crick-cracks with nigella seeds
and homemade string cheese

The Turkish Breakfast alone was fantastic. It included a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg covered in crispy strings of something-or-other, fresh cucumber, tomato, salt-cured black olives, feta, and delicious fresh figs in Greek-style yogurt with honey or spoon sweets on top.

If you haven't been yet, you MUST GO.


One Belmont Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 661-3161

Image lifted from

Friday, August 29, 2008

A fresh face for vintage jewelry!

Check out pequitobun on! I've seen her everywhere lately - including a full-page profile in the Improper Bostonian.

Hooray for publicists!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hostess gifts: for the girl who has everything

Oh decadence! What to buy a birthday girl who has everything?

I'll be bringing a bottle of DIVA vodka, made by Blackwood Distillers. This triple-distilled vodka is ice-filtered through Nordic birch charcoal and then passed through crushed diamonds and other gems. The glass bottle is filled and encrusted with semi-precious or precious stones, depending on your taste and, uh, budget.

Also on the gift list are Knipschildt's La Madeline au Truffes. This fantastic truffle is made with 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, truffle oil and vanilla as the base for the rich chocolate ganache. A rare French Perigord truffle is then enrobed by this decadent ganache; coated with Valrhona dark chocolate and then rolled in fine cocoa powder. The result is pure extravagance! Lying on a bed of sugar pearls in a silver box tied with a ribbon.

Not the prettiest chocolate you'll ever see, but it might be the most expensive!


Happy Birthday Chic&Charming!!!

Work has kept me out of touch with the blogging world, but I'm back in time to celebrate Chic&Charming's first birthday! It's an excuse to dress up a bit - I always love wearing feathered masks and ballgowns. ;) I may even use this as an excuse to splurge and buy something fabulous and sparkly at pequitobun!

Our inspirational hostess is serving a stunning array of cocktails and gourmet "jello shots." I, for one, can't wait to try them all!

I'll be bringing Cashew Gateau With Coffee Cardamom Mousse for everyone to share:

See you tonight!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

All swimmers look alike

Aug 19, 2008

Olympic swimmer and Athens Bronze medallist, Steve Parry, from Great Britain, takes to the streets of Beijing (Tienanmen Square to be exact!)


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kanye's off-scipt remarks

How I ever missed this gem of a clip is beyond me:

NBC Universal came out with this statement following Kanye's offscript remarks:

"Tonight's telecast was a live television event wrought with emotion, Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him, and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."

The NBC spokeswoman said that Kanye's (final) comment would be cut from the West Coast feed (but not, thankfully, from YouTube.) The show was live on the East Coast with a several-second delay. Whoever had his finger on the button was supposed to keep his ears peeled in case someone uttered an obscenity, but did not realize Kanye had gone off-script until it was too late.

Hilariously so.

The thing that gets me is the look on Mike Meyer's face, and the way both he and Chris Tucker keep glancing uncertainly side-to-side...of course, they actually keep to the teleprompt.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cowboy boots

Obsessed with the notion of getting a pair of cowboy boots, but not entirely sure this is the fashion direction I should take (see blog entry on spats), I decided to peruse the web and see just how fashion (un)savy I might be. A google search led to this hilarious article, "What (and what not) to wear with cowboy boots." Says this fashion expert:

"You just don't wear an ordinary skirt or dress with cowboy boots unless you are wearing your cowboy boots to milk the cow...If you square dance or line dance there are special outfits to wear with your cowboy boots. The square dance outfit is a ruffled and tiered square dance skirt with a peasant type blouse or western style blouse."

As I don't own any long suede skirts or fringed jackets, I might follow advice from instead:

1) Invest in a good quality pair of cowboy boots, since you will likely have these for a long time. Look for a neutral color, such as black, brown or camel.

2) Consider opting for special details such as contrast stitching or hand tooling.

3) Wear cowboy boots with jeans and a long cardigan or tunic. This look can go just about anywhere you do on the weekends or after work.

4) Slip cowboy boots on over skinny jeans and a dress. This is a look some of the celebrities have been seen in lately and is a very clean, modern style. Realize that the skinny jeans can look almost like tights if they are fitted enough.

5) Try cowboy boots with a cocktail dress and dark tights to add a casual and unexpected vibe.

6) Step into cowboy boots beneath nicer wide leg pants. The narrow point of the toe will give you a long, sleek line.

7) Consider wearing cowboy boots with a mini skirt and layer tanks. This is a sexy, confident style for a night on the town that won’t look like you are trying too hard.

8) Remember that you don’t have to dress like a cowgirl to wear cowboy boots. These can be a nice addition to modern, conservative and trendy pieces.

Another website strongly recommended not going "cowboy themed." Unless you want to end up looking like Daisy Dukes, that seems like sound advice to me.


Image lifted from

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bleach Painting: moth to flame

I love this piece by moth to flame. Deborah Gwinn works from her small design studio in Seattle atop a hill with a scenic view. In her words:

Not that it hasn't been great to work in my pajamas and slippers if I want, but my “assistants”, that are now 3 and 4, are less than cooperative and much more demanding than I had imagined they would be. They do not follow orders well, talk incessantly and completely off topic during client meetings, and throw grapes and other snack foods at me if ignored for too long. I have written them both up on several occasions but I don’t think they are grasping the full severity of the situation. While firing them is out of the question, I think a transfer to a Day Care division may be necessary.

Gwinn's work is surreal and organic with rich, earthy tones. She also has a website and a blog site where you can read more about her bleach painting technique.



Monday, July 28, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Joe's Shanghai: soup dumplings

The past couple of times I've been to NYC I have tried getting into Joe's Shanghai. There was always a line out the door, and at least an hour-long wait. So when we happened to be in Chinatown on a Monday afternoon, imagine my delight! Famous for the "soup dumpling," Joe's Shanghai is a bit of a New York establishment...

I should have done my research ahead of time. Instead we went in without a clue (like most tourists.) We were seated at a round communal table, and given chopsticks and some green tea. The menu was somewhat baffling. Although the restaurant is known for the "soup dumplings" these items were not prominently featured on the menu. I flipped through for a while before asking the waiter for help. I was given a cross 'you-look-Chinese-but-can't-speak-the-language?' stare and after much confusion, the waiter made my order for me.

The Xiao Long Bao or, "little dumplings basket," arrived fresh in a bamboo steamer. They were round, symmetrical things, that supposedly resemble a pagoda shape. Observing my neighbors, I decided the best way to eat them was to plop a dumpling on my spoon, nibble off the top, drizzle in some of the vinegary sauce, and then suck the meaty broth from the steaming pouch. Afterwards I could munch away at the delicious little crab and pork meatball and the yummy doughy wrapper.

Other specialty dishes at Joe's Shanghai include, the shredded turnip shortcake, a variety of seafood options, braised duck and Shanghai fried bean curd (this one was delicious!)

Please note: Dine carefully on the "soup dumplings" as these little pouches of steaming hot liquid can result in severe tongue burning!


Joe's Shanghai
9 Pell Street
New York, New York 10013
Phone: 212-233-8888
Fax: 212-233-0278

Image by cartoonist, Robert Zimmerman lifted from

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joy of Painting: Bob Ross

One of my childhood memories consists of sitting in front of the T.V. and watching the folksy guy with the fro paint landscapes in under an hour. Bob Ross, from the Joy of Painting, was one of those reverse chic gurus whose soothing voice was once compared to Demerol. He would contend, that given half an hour, just about anyone could paint a landscape following his instructions for, "happy little clouds" and "pretty little mountains." He made it look SO EASY.

Imagine my surprise when I took my first oil painting class...

...the colors all muddied together and despite my best attempts, no "happy little trees" or "happy little streams" or even any "happy little accidents," magically materialized. Ah well, maybe I didn't pay close enough attention when I was little.

I recently found this YouTube clip of Bob Ross, "happy little outtakes." Not to be irreverent (I still loved his show!) but I find it weirdly entertaining:

Image lifted from