Sky musings

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The moon has risen high over the east river tonight. It's shining a path right across the river, broken occasionally by a ripple. This time of the year the night sky appears sharper somehow, and my nighttime walks with the dog will reveal a few stars glimmering above the brightly lit buildings. I tend to forget about the stars the rest of the year and am always delighted when I see them peeking through the haze that usually surrounds the city night sky. It comforts me to think that family and friends scattered all over the world see the same night sky.


Have you ever heard of a savory granola? I certainly took notice when I saw this curry coconut granola on The Kitchn the other day. I think I'd sprinkle it on salad or soup.

In the mood for something healthier? I would say yes to this autumny salad of sweet potato and avocado from the fun and bubbly Sarah at A House in the Hills.

Another wonderful use for brussels sprouts: Jessica at How Sweet it Is serves up some balsamic brussels sprouts grilled cheese sandwiches.

I love this gift guide from Luisa at The Wednesday Chef. From beautiful artisanal teas to art for your home, she's covered it all in her usual stylish way.

Interior design:

Stephmodo has a wonderful Real Life Home series where the featured homes are not professionally designed but curated by a homeowner with some incredible taste. The latest one in the series is a beautiful and cozy bungalow in San Diego.

Kinfolk inspires me, quite simply that. Their holiday video is just the ticket to get me in the holiday mood.


I love giving family members photo related gifts. Thanks to Anne at The City Sage, I'll be trying out some photo books with Artifact Uprising. Their design clearly allows the photographs to be the star of the show and the results look simply gorgeous.

This giveaway from Honey Kennedy will appeal to my London-based sister and international readers. It's from a London clothing and home store, Couverture & Garbstore. Jen picked her favorite items from the store and you could win them all. Just head to Honey Kennedy to enter!

Garance Dore has launched her online shop! Scott announced it on The Sartorialist today. He's so proud of her ... and that's pretty sweet.

I think the perfect way to end my day is with a cup of tea and a long perusal through the holiday issue of Rue.

And, finally, a few links to make you smile:

 Security cameras don't always catch bad things. Sometimes they catch beautiful things. Watch the video and enjoy.

And see if you can find Momo. It reminds me a bit of Maddie on Things. Thanks to Koseli at Original Archiving for the find.

Like you need more

Monday, November 26, 2012

I hope you're returning from the holiday refreshed and ready to take on the week. Or maybe you're feeling a bit overwhelmed with the next holiday rushing towards us at breakneck speed? I'm a little bit in between those two extremes.

Here are a few links for you to look at in between your work and cyber Monday activities (at lunchtime, of course):


I know you don't want to eat more chocolate, or maybe you didn't eat enough over the holiday? Anyway, Alice at Lingered Upon made these nutella buns from the new Sussman brothers book, This is a Cookbook, that I'm definitely trying out asap.

My next major dessert is going to be this rosewater and pear cheesecake from the lovely site, What Liberty Ate. I had to buy a huge bottle of rose water for that cardamom brown sugar cake with rose whipped cream that I made last week so I'm eager to find other recipes that make use of it.

Ok sorry, I'm sending all sweet links your way today. SORRY! Last one is this biscoff gooey butter cake from Cassie at Bake Your Day.


I know I've mentioned Sole Society a few times here. I can't help it. Their shoes are not only affordable, but also super cute. Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess have teamed up with them to offer a giveaway of THREE pairs of shoes from the site. Just pick your favorite pair and leave it on A Beautiful Mess to be entered to win. Also, even if you don't win, enter the code MESS20 and get $20 off a pair of shoes. That would make these Marilyn glitter heels just $30!

Did I say gift guides were stressing me out? Well they were, until I saw this cute roundup by Bonnie at Going Home to Roost. Check out her gift guide for the blogger in your life.

Interior design:

I set my alarm for 4am this morning to take advantage of the amazing discounts on art at 20x200. I have my eye on some of the Jane Mount ideal bookcase series. Starting at 4am you could get up to 40% off the art!! I'll see you there.

I'm loving this collection of bird prints that the lovely ladies at Good Bones, Great Pieces have put together. Along with tips on how to hang a gallery of art on your wall, it's something I'll be referring to as I put together my art pieces (hopefully recently purchased from 20x200!)

And last, this Thanksgiving I was grateful for many things, but high among them was this little space I've created for myself here on the internet. And you've made it a fun place to come to by reading and commenting, so I'm feeling very thankful for you this holiday season.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I thought I'd switch it up and try a post that doesn't arrive in the middle of the night. What? Aren't you all up at 2am rattling around your homes like me? Also, I need this evening to finally brainstorm what I'm making for my holiday dinner. All I know is that I'm doing roast beef, but other than that, I'm stumped. I need time to plan!


Check out the new blog Julep, headed by Liz of Say Yes to Hoboken and featuring posts by several of the best design and craft bloggers out there, this blog from the awesome paper company Minted is bound to become a go-to site for inspiration and wonderful home crafts.

Mackenzie of Design Darling is pretty much wearing my ideal autumn outfit.

In celebration of a wonderful year, Jamie Beck of From Me to You is hosting a beautiful giveaway of a chic leather Lo & Sons camera bag. Perfect for lugging around my camera and a lens or two this winter. It even looks like a real handbag.

Interior design:

This giveaway feels a little too good to be true: Stephane of the beautiful blog Stephmodo is giving away a week (yes, a week) at her French cottage La Maisonnette to one lucky reader. There are 5 ways to enter and I'm definitely doing whatever it takes!

Victoria of SF Girl by Bay wants to know if you could live in this rooftop flat in Paris. And the answer is yes, resoundingly so.

How do you feel about black and white in a children's bedroom? I, for one, love it and find it so soothing. Check out this playful bedroom found via My Scandinavian Home today.

I found this post on never giving up on your dreams from decor8's Holly Becker incredibly inspirational and refreshingly honest. Interviewed by famed interior designer Kelly Hoppen for her site, Holly bares her soul and tells us how she dug herself out of a job she didn't like to follow her dream. She asks us to share our stories in the comments section and I'm finding some wonderful stories there too.


The girls from The Everygirl tried to cook Thanksgiving dinner and in the process make many mistakes that we can all learn from. Read their hilarious entry here.

You all know I love tea, there's nothing more perfect morning, noon, and night for me. This spiced persimmon turmeric tea recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen looks like it will hit the spot after what is bound to be a filling meal on Thursday.

Hopefully I'll see you guys here tomorrow, but I imagine everyone is crazed with holiday preparations or travel plans. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and eat some good food! We're staying in the city and I plan on walking around and falling in love with it all over again. It's not hard to do.

Busy baking

Just a quick check in to tell you what I was up to this weekend.

I made grapefruit olive oil cake from Deb's new book.

And then a brown sugar cardamom cake with raspberries and rose whipped cream from Eva at Adventures in Cooking.

and then I ate, and ate, and ate. In the spirit of all I ate, I'm just doing a food post roundup today.

Should you want to make your own butter, then head to Fig & Fauna to make what looks like a fairly simple recipe for a delicious alternative to store-bought spreads.

This is quite simply the prettiest apple pie I've ever seen! And the fact that Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen has a salted caramel sauce to drizzle over it only makes it better.

Erin of The Forest Feast shared her recipe for persimmon squash salad on Design Sponge's In the Kitchen With column. It would definitely lift me out of this sugar funk.

I so into curry in my soup at the moment. There is something so wintry and comforting about the sweet flavor in a hot soup. So, I'm definitely trying this coconut curry pumpkin soup from Love and Lemons.

My knife collection is in need of an update so I'd love to win this 7-piece Wusthof giveaway from The Kitchn.

See you tomorrow!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm feeling the passage of time keenly today. A milestone birthday has passed in our household and it's left me feeling a bit strange. Sometimes it feels as though all the hoopla and excitement surrounding a birthday is all just to disguise the sadness that time is rushing through our fingers more quickly than we can bear to think about. Unless of course you're living in a Doctor Who world (oh, how I dearly wish I was) and you can just hop back and forth through time and space with a witty companion by your side.

With that depressing thought out of the way, shall we move on to some links? Yes, lets!


This recipe for an alternate way to cook brussels sprouts (with pomegranate seeds and honey!) on Simple Bites has me rethinking my thanksgiving side dishes.

This toffee pear galette from The Baker Chick might very well replace the usual apple pie for next week. I've been wanting to try a galette for ages and I love the thought of toffee and pear together.

Win a pie dish from hosted by the lovely Eva of Adventures in Cooking. There's also a recipe for chocolate pecan pie (something I've yet to try).

And lest you think I'm all about chocolate (well, to be honest, I really am) I'm loving these vanilla almond orange cloud cookies from Joy the Baker. And guess what? There is no flour or butter in these beauties!


This winter I'm debating parka or puffer. I already own the puffer coat but I'm really coveting some of the cute parka coats out there now. Check out these options from Say Yes to Hoboken.

Win $150 to spend at Pinhole Press from Design Mom. I made calendars for family members with Pinhole Press last year and they turned out really well.

Interior design:

Participate in the awesome Wednesday Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn giveaways. This week you could win a Williams Sonoma cookware set or a Chesterfield sofa by Canvas!

Also, if you read Smitten Kitchen (like everyone else out there) and have wondered what lies beyond those granite countertops, then check out this interview she did on The Kitchn today. It just goes to show, you don't have to have a giant, tricked out kitchen to churn out some of the best recipes out there.

Anna at Door Sixteen has been renovating her garden and she's almost done, check it out here, even unfinished it looks awesome!

Do you read Jessie at The Long and Short of It? She gives a tour of her incredible Raleigh home on The Everygirl. Color just pops out of every room and you get to see her lounging at home with her giant dogs.

Not sure what category to place this one under, but perhaps that's the point. In any case, if you're looking for a moment of stillness and beauty, then head to Nadia at La Porte Rouge to gaze at the incredible photographs of several white horses she came across in a field one dark, chilly night.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I used to be one of those people who loved the holidays. I loved the smell of spiced cakes, breads, and cookies baking in my oven. I loved the feeling of planning and making a giant meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, I loved walking home on dark evenings and seeing holiday lights and decorations in people's homes (and knowing that I lived in one of the best cities at holiday time). But somehow it has changed and become a time of major stress. Are you guys stressing out about the holidays as much as I am? The gift guides appearing on some of the blogs and in magazines are gorgeous and do inspire me, (like, I should be thanking EZ at Creature Comforts on bended knee for her insanely beautiful and useful holiday gift guide) but at the same time I feel overwhelmed and pressured into buying gifts too early. And the whole time I feel guilty for dreading a season that everyone appears to love (but perhaps some of you secretly agree with me?)

How can I rediscover my holiday spirit, or is it gone forever?


Head to Little Brown Pen to enter to win a gorgeous selection of the best books from Nichole's publisher, Chronicle. I own quite a few of these already (Anne Willan's Country Cooking of France is one I turn to frequently in my kitchen) but I'd love to give most of these as gifts.

Victoria of SF Girl By Bay is giving away her own curated stack of Chronicle books too. Head here to enter to win her favorites. Also, you'll get a 30% discount on the Chronicle website by entering discount code "givebooks" when you check out.


These tips from The Kitchn on preparing elements of dishes (like gravy or pie crust) ahead of time and freezing may help destress me during the holidays.

I am a fan of trying something other than turkey for our Thanksgiving meal and this year I have decided to do roast beef. I hadn't chosen a specific recipe yet, but now I have an entire menu, thanks to Mimi at Manger. I'm drooling over her recipes for roast beef with red wine gravy, yorkshire pudding, and roast thyme potatoes.

Now that I've had success with one of the recipes from Smitten's book (the pumpkin gingersnap tart), I'm eager to move on to the next. Todd and Diane at White on Rice may have found it for me: coffee toffee with hazelnut topping. Yum.

And last, win a super cool tasting box from online shop Eat Boutique on The Vanilla Bean Blog. It would make a marvelous holiday gift for the food lover on your list.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

All that was left after the office bake off was my pretty Anthropologie cake stand.

Well, I participated in my office bake off today. And, guess what? I won! I baked a pumpkin gingersnap tart from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook and it was incredible. It was devoured so fast that I didn't have a chance to take any photos, but I'll get some when I recreate it this weekend for disgruntled family members who didn't get to taste it the first time around.

Interior design:

Did you see Joy's gorgeous living room? It was beautiful before she had her sweet daughter Ruby and now it's beautiful in a different way as she has baby proofed her way to the most stylish living space I've ever seen. Coveting the blue Moroccan rug and the poufs.

Are you in the market for a beautiful tray? Check out the Apartment Therapy roundup of trays today.


Private Pinterest boards? I'm so in! Now I can assemble boards in secret and reveal when I'm ready. Everyone gets 3 boards, I'll be using mine asap.

Win $150 to spend on jewelry at Blue Hour Designs on Design Mom. Just pick your favorite and she'll draw for a winner by Monday.


Here's a new recipe for my weekend morning pancakes. Poppy, lemon, and sunflower seed pancakes from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks were featured in the New York Times this week (annoying, but you have to have an NY Times subscription to view this).

Umm, The Kitchn tells me that we can now buy wine from Amazon! Did you know this?

It's Friday! Don't you want a drink? The Boys' Club suggests The Southside Fizz. Looks yummy.

Yay for more bread pudding. It has pumpkin. Need I say more? I didn't think so. Thanks, Love and Lemons!

Did you know there won't be any more print editions of Everyday Food? I'm sad, but excited to see what they have coming up on the website.

Have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

I hadn't realized how stressed out I was over the presidential election until it was over and now I feel as though a huge weight has lifted. Now I can concentrate on my two favorite new shows on Bravo: Startups Silicon Valley and LOLwork. Like, seriously guys? LOLwork is hilarious.


I get to work with the lovely and talented Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast on her first cookbook and I couldn't be more excited. See her announcement here.

Now, I may not have time to actually make a lattice pie crust topper for my mug of tea like Victoria at A Subtle Revelry has done but I think it's the cutest thing I've seen all day.

Our annual office bake off is coming up on Friday and as usual I haven't yet picked out what I'm baking (eeek!). The rule this year is no baking with chocolate (a tough rule, I think). I hope no one from the office is reading this entry because I'm thinking about this caramel bundt cake from Bake or Break or this cardamom brown sugar cake from Adventures in Cooking. Do you think I stand a chance with either of these?

If you're going to be in downtown Manhattan this weekend make sure you call in on the Hurricane Sandy bake sale being run by Cup of Jo and others.


Buying any gifts for children this holiday season? Look no further than the awesome and thoughtful list of 49 great baby and children's gifts put together by the creative Ez at Creature Comforts.

Enter to win $150 to spend at awesome clothing and accessory store Victory, at Honey Kennedy. Just tell her what you'd use the $150 on (I'd go for the liverpool jacket or the delancey sweater) and you're entered to win.

Interior design:

Win $100 to spend on art for your walls at 20x200 from Anthology today. Just tell them what you'd spend your money on (I'd like one of the Ideal Bookshelf series) and you're in!

Do your part

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On our morning run on Randalls Island, the pup and I found that our favorite willow tree was felled by the storm

I'm not an American citizen (yet) so I won't be out there voting tomorrow but oh, how I wish I was. Every presidential election is an important one, but this one feels more weighty than previous ones, more serious, more crucial somehow. So, I hope you'll get out there and vote!

Also, here's an ingenious way to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy without dealing with the bureaucracy of The Red Cross. Check out this Sandy registry on Amazon where you can order the exact items that the victims and agencies need and get them delivered directly to a church in Brooklyn where they will be distributed. Order sorely needed items like wool blankets, diapers, and generators. It feels lot more helpful than just writing a check.

This image depicting the electricity supply in Manhattan from New York Magazine just blows me away.

Interior design

Oooh, I really really want to win this set of interior design books being given away at Young House Love today. They'd look so pretty all stacked up in my apartment.

As usual, My Scandinavian Home finds the most appealing places for us to drool over. How much would you want to spend the holidays in this cozy home in the Swedish countryside?


Victoria at SF Girl By Bay has put together a list of her winter clothing staples and I'm dying for the suede boots (yes, another pair of boots, sorry!) and the Anthropologie sailor cape that she's linked to.

Win $100 to spend at lovely store Ruche at The Daybook.

As if I didn't love Instagram enough already, now I hear that we are getting profile pages on our Instagram feeds on the web!


Joy the Baker calls this cinnamon-sugar apple skillet cake the perfect cake to serve when friends drop over for tea or coffee, and I'd have to agree with her. It has a thick buttermilk base that makes me want to just lick the plate - and you get to make it in a skillet! Joy says she's not the kind of lady who has a cake to serve when guests come over, but somehow I doubt that.

My next weekend baking project will probably be these Irish shortbread toffee bars from The Kitchn.

I'm excited to add yet another tea bread to my weekly list. This time it's a pumpkin graham bread from Ashley at Not Without Salt that looks like the perfect mix of spice and sweetness.


Friday, November 2, 2012

The city is still eerie and quiet - as we slowly recover our former spirit. It's way too dark outside, plenty of people on our block still don't have electricity. For the first time I can look out of my window and the usual twinkling lights of apartments in the neighborhood have been replaced by a few stars. My office is still closed and won't be opening up until at least Monday. While I'm on this weird forced work hiatus I'm trying to stay busy by cleaning the nooks and crannies of my apartment that haven't seen a dust cloth in forever, but instead I find myself gazing out the windows at the torn-apart city. I'm left wondering if we'll all be the same when we do return to normal life.

For more photos of the strange darkness that surrounds us, check out this post by Anna of Door 16.


It feels fitting to only post about food this week, as a return to blithe posts about interior design and fashion felt a bit irreverent. So, here's what I have my eye on:

While I'm at home this week I have to tackle these salted dark chocolate espresso cookies from Stephanie at Desserts for Breakfast.

Sometimes we forget that the most delicious recipes are the simplest. I'm definitely trying out this recipe for franks and beans from Dinner a Love Story on the next busy weeknight (aka every night).

Just when I thought Jessica's recipes couldn't get any better, she outdoes herself with apple bacon stuffed sweet potatoes on How Sweet it Is. I mean, come on, apple + bacon + sweet potatoes!?

This ginger spiced pear bread just might become my new holiday bread. It sounds like the perfect mixture of fruit and spices that will evoke the holiday spirit. Plus, it will probably make my apartment smell amazing as it bakes. And I can be doubly thankful that my oven works.

Also, I really meant to participate in NaNoWriMo this year but the hurricane threw me off. Can I still start 2 days late?

The hurricane

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The East river boulevard was closed off on Monday
 I can't even adequately describe to you what we saw from 25 floors in the air and on our sporadic walks outside, so I'll just show you what happened in our little pocket of Manhattan.

Watching the East river spill on to the FDR and eventually to First Avenue

East river flowing down First Avenue and on to 94th street on Monday night

On Tuesday morning we woke up to a changed neighborhood. Things felt raw and tossed around. We had lost power the night before and still didn't have it back. I walked down 25 flights of stairs and started to look around the neighborhood. It didn't take me long to head straight towards the river and the FDR.

Walking down the middle of the FDR on Tuesday

Other things I couldn't document photographically but need to preserve here: A taxi getting washed away down the FDR, its headlights bobbing up and down and eventually going dark as the car sank under the water. I was terrified that I was witnessing someone drowning but was assured by neighbors that someone escaped from the car before it sank.

The bones of our 32-floor building creaking as the building swayed to and fro in the wind. Our bathtub, filled with water just in case we got cut off, sloshed in time with the building's movements.

All in all, a very scary event. I am thankful that our biggest hardship was walking up and down 25 flights of stairs to walk the dog. Other apartments and homes in Manhattan and the surrounding areas were devastated and I feel lucky that we got off as easily as we did. My office is still closed as there is no power to lower Manhattan.

Looking outside tonight there is a clear sky and a bright moon shining down. It is hard to believe just two days ago there was a raging storm.


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