Thursday, November 26, 2009


While perusing the web, I came across my new favorite online shop, Ruche. Funny, I was just talking about ruffles the other day...

Ruche carries a variety of "vintage-inspired" items that are fun, trendy, but just a little bit unique. It reminds me a lot of my beloved Anthropologie - only affordable. I'll admit, the catalog backgrounds appeal to my newfound midwest sensibilities.

In any case, like most shops, tomorrow there will be sales: use code RUCHEBFCM for 15% off Friday and Monday. Check it out!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'll admit, I have totally bought into the ruffle-fashion-craze. While ruffles have always been around, this season they are out with a MISSION. Everywhere you turn there are ruffled tops, ruffled sweaters, ruffled scarves and ruffled skirts. On Project Runway, one of the contestants aptly remarked, "I hate ruffles! Ruffles make me sick!" youlookfab also had something to say about this phenomenon.

Despite the overdoneness of the ruffled look, I caved and already have quite a collection of ruffled items. My favorites are from Anthropologie. The Wrapped-In-Ruffles Jacket by Charlie & Robin is adorable - the high ruffled collar makes it seem straight out of a Victorian movie. The boiled wool fabric is thin, but warm. The first time I wore this piece to work I was certain I would be laughed at. I didn't care. Let them laugh!

My all-time favorite sweater, is the Plaza Cardigan by Moth. The soft cotton is soft and well draped. Surprisingly, the mass of ruffles is not overpowering. The cascading effect of the ruffles is fun - asymmetrical yet elegant at the same time. I would wear this sweater every day if that were socially acceptable.

My latest acquisition is the light, yet warm Waterfall Scarf. I always wanted one of these scarves so while on a trip to Washington D.C. I saw it and decided to buy it. I am not sure there is even a single Anthropologie store in all of Iowa so when the opportunity arose, I went for it.

I suppose there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, but for now, I'll be celebrating the decorative power of the ruffle.


Images lifted from,,

Christmas wishlist

Stuck at home with "flu-like" symptoms, there wasn't much to do but read a trashy book and surf the web. While online window shopping I decided to start my Christmas wish-list:

1) An Ebelskiver Filled-Pancake Pan

These things look amazing. I am actually not a huge pancake person, but I love the idea of filling your pancake with whatever filling strikes your fancy. These adorable little puffs of deliciousness would be perfect for Sunday brunch or even for dessert. Having a spacious midwest kitchen means there is always room for another ridiculous kitchen item.

2) A Roomba

One our least favorite tasks is vacuuming the house. The spacious midwest lifestyle means you often have a lot more floor space than you're used to. Our split-level foyer house would be PERFECT for a roomba. Think of how easy it would be to have a little bot do all of your cleaning...ah the luxury...

3) A Birling Ruffle Coat

As if I didn't already have enough beruffled items in my closet, a coat that I'd been eyeing since it first came out is now on sale. Now that's hard to resist. Although it is a bit unusual - check out how it looks on the model. Pretty fabulous, no? Well, even if you don't agree, I think the coat looks fantastic. Still, a bit pricey for my budget this Birling Ruffle Coat is going on my Christmas wishlist. Then again, sale items never last for long. I may reconsider this option once my next paycheck rolls in...

Well, enough daydreaming and window shopping - what I really need is some Tylenol and sleep...


Images lifted from,, and

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alexander McQueen 10 inch heels

As a woman who rarely wears heels above 2 1/2 inches, I find the 10-inch alien-inspired Alexander McQueen heels on Lady Gaga in her Bad Romance video truly astounding. Even more astounding is the fact that women are actually trying to buy these shoes. Check out the article on Grazia Fashion.

Wearing a pair of studded man-daggers on your feet would certainly garner attention.

What do you think? Alexander McQueen 10-inch stilettos: to die for or will kill you?


Image lifted from

Purple Cauliflower

While at the Farmers Market this week I came across an unusual looking vegetable - a PURPLE cauliflower. It was like someone had gone and dyed a regular cauliflower the color of a purple crayon. Interesting. I asked the farmer what makes it so purple. He told me he doesn't get paid enough to know $%&^ like that. Fair enough.

As it turns out, the purple color comes from the antioxidant, anthocyanin. This is a water-soluble pigment that is also responsible for the red color in blueberries, beets, red cabbage and red wine. I was told the pigment will leach if the vegetable is boiled or steamed so pan frying or oven roasting seemed the way to go.


Image lifted from

Taste on Melrose

Last week I pulled the "wife" card and guilt tripped the husband into taking me out to dinner. One can only entertain at home for so long before washing dishes gets to be a PITH. Although we live within walking distance of one of Iowa City's favorite local restaurants, Taste on Melrose, we had never actually tried the place out for our ourselves.

Taste on Melrose is a small, incredibly affordable little restaurant with an unpretentious front, simple decor and cozy seating. There might have been 10-15 tables total in the tiny space. Fortunately it was a Wednesday night so the restaurant was only half full. I ordered the homemade fusilli with spicy grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and cilantro in a spicy cream sauce. The portion was enormous. (I later discovered that one can order half-portions of the main dishes - ah well, at least I had lunch for the next two days.) The homemade pasta was delicious and cooked to al-dente perfection. The sauce was fantastic - flavorful, spicy, and creamy with the cilantro adding a unique touch. The vegetarian ordered the sourdough pizza with roasted butternut squash, mushrooms, caramelized onions, peppers, and fontina. It was all I could do not to eat half of his meal too. That pizza was hands-down the best pizza either of us have had in a very very long time. Perhaps it was the sourdough crust, or maybe the deliciously roasted(?) squash. By the end of our meal we were too stuffed to brave the dessert menu.

We'll be back again.


Taste on Melrose
1006 Melrose Ave
Iowa City
(319) 339-9938

Sad news, Taste on Melrose has since closed its doors.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The miraculous apple corer/peeler/slicer

Part of surviving in the midwest is learning how to fully embrace domestic life.

Last weekend we went to the nearby apple orchard to pick up some fresh fruit before the end of the season. While drooling over the frozen homemade apple pies I was interrupted by my husband, "Why would you buy a pie when you can make it yourself?"

Obviously, the man had never rolled out a pie crust.

But on second thought, what the $%& else was I going to do on a Saturday night (in Iowa)?

So we picked out a bag of apples, and bought what turned out to be a MIRACULOUS piece of kitchen equipment: an apple corer/peeler/slicer. This amazing gadget looks like something out of the 1920's. It comes in red enameled cast steel with a stainless-steel shaft and prong. The apple corer/peeler/slicer has a suction base that sticks firmly to your countertop while you pop on an apple, turn the crank and 1-3 seconds later your apple is cored, peeled and sliced. In under a minute I had enough apples to fill a pie.

Now, if only they would invent a miraculous pie mixer/roller/assembler...

Yours from the heartland,

Image lifted from William Sonoma.