happy new year?

In fashion, September marks the beginning of a new year. A time to shed those old clothes and last year’s Louboutins in order to forge yourself a new identity. This seems highly appropriate for me these days with my new job, my new apartment, and my new designer wardrobe (hah… i wish!).

For me, September also brings about a reevaluation of sorts. Change is in air. Fall is approaching, kids have headed back to school, and last but not least, another birthday creeping up on yours truly. More so than during the New Year, during this time I find myself setting new goals and aspirations for the future. I always feel too pressured on New Year’s Eve to slap together some bogus list of resolutions (this year, I will not eat chocolate, and pick up gardening… and take ballroom dancing?!). In September, I feel genuinely inspired to create a list of priorities that hopefully will propel me into the direction of becoming a wiser, kinder person. So far the list I have compiled is thus:

(1) apply for graduate school for fall 2012… or eventually
(2) volunteer at a soup kitchen, shelter (sadly, I haven’t done this since high school)
(3) workout more regularly
(4) don’t stress out if I don’t workout regularly
(5) read more. blogs, twitters, and emails don’t count– time to get a library card!
(6) explore New York City. It’s the greatest city in the world, and now my new home.
(7) put together a kick-ass grown up wardrobe (my work clothes are waning)
(8) never be too busy for my friends
(9) never ever be too busy for my family
(10) remember that loving others starts with loving yourself  (my friend Oprah tells me everyday)

So far, the start of September has been great. I was able to visit Nashville and Murfreesboro during Labor Day weekend and boy, was it nice! First off, I stopped by Nashville Friday morning where I met up with one of my former Art History professors and then went to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts to meet with the director/another of my former professors. It felt like being home. It was so nice to get some professional advice as I have been quite confused about how/when/why I should apply for graduate school. Having my questions answered and my worries slightly eased has boosted me to take the plunge.

After a day in Nashville, I went to the Boro to see some of my high school friends and in particular to celebrate the engagement of my friend Morgan! There are moments when it hits me that I really am growing up, and this summer has been chock full of them.

And last but not least, I am so happy to no longer have to keep this secret: my college-roomie for all 4 years and 1/2 of the renowned Dynamic Duo, JESSIE CAPPS, is back in the states!! She made an early surprise trip back home from Ireland to surprise her brother and his fiancée! The timing could not have been more perfect. After one full year of not seeing her, we were finally reunited on Sunday morning over one of her favorite pasttimes: venti Starbucks coffee (and chai for me). Welcome Home JESSIE!

Now, I’m back in New York City having just finished the first day of my big-girl job at the Met. Today seemed completely stress-free and natural. It felt good to be back. Moving into my apartment yesterday, however, was quite an adventure! When my flight got in at 3p, I called my apartment manager to tell him that I would need someone to let me into my new place since both my roommates were out-of-town. Turns out, he’s in Costa Rica. But no problem, his replacement said he would send someone over to meet me at the building at 4p. Perfect! Fast forward to 7.30p, NO SHOW. no one but me sitting in the lobby of my apartment building with both my suitcases, my September Vogue and a growling stomach. Luckily, a middle-aged French lady in my building saw me stranded and invited me to her apartment to have some tea. Turns out she and her fellow Frenchie roommate are both artists who have lived in New York for 20+ years! We sat and chatted about art and the city while I tried to decipher their snippets of French. They were so incredibly sweet, and I will forever be indebted to their hospitality. When one of my roommates finally arrived at 10p, I bid them adieu but not before exchanging numbers. Who said this city is rude? Non moi!

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bombardment of bridesmaids

pink taffeta dress. bridezilla-slave. never a bride.

since when did the word ‘bridesmaid’ develop such negative connotations? well, let me tell you, i (and Pippa Middleton) refuse to fall into the pitfalls of forgotten gowns and hideous hairdos. lucky for me, i have a great friend who also refuses to let her bridesmaids become a walking travesty.

i still cannot believe my high school friend, rebekah, is getting married this july! to say i’m excited is like saying ke$ha needs pants or that i had problem hair in middle school (bit of an understatement). so what’s a bridesmaid to carry in her arsenal for back-to-back bridal showers? two words: butter and booze.


rebekah’s first shower was a brunch and recipe swap. for this, i brought two versions of these dreamy cream scones: cheddar chive and cranberry lemon. i’ve made these scones before as the base for a strawberry shortcake, and they were this time as they were then, perfection. how perfect? you know when someone brings you a nice bottle of wine as a gift and then proceeds to drink half the bottle over dinner? that was me scarfing my face with these scones during brunch. ladylike? no. delicious? mMmm-hMm.

Dreamy Cream Scones
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream + extra for brushing 

(1)  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F.
(2)  In food processor: Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in the work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse six times. Remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add cranberries and zest then pulse a couple more times. Transfer dough to large bowl.
     By hand: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Distribute the butter and cut into the flour with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal.  Add the cranberries and zest then mix together. 
(4)  Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
(5)  Dump the dough and all dry, floury bits onto a countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.
(6)  Form scones by rolling the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a ¾-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece and cutting until dough has been used up.
(7)  Place rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.
(8)  Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
 

For Cheese Chive version: Omit sugar, zest and cranberries. Increase salt to 1 teaspoon and add ¼ pound of diced sharp Cheddar Cheese, 2 T of chopped chives and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. When ready to bake, brush the tops with heavy cream but do not sprinkle with sugar.

Makes about 2 dozen scones

  

rebekah’s second bridal shower was a lingerie & painting party. at a small studio called faithful strokes, each guest painted her own variation of the same picture as a gift to the bride. afterwards, we got our giggles out as rebekah was surrounded by mounds of tissue paper and lacy lingerie. and what goes better with giggles than sangria? 


white wine peach sangria to be exact. and boy, i do love me some sangria. each fruity bite brings you closer and closer to tipsy bridal shower bliss. this recipe is perfect for summer. refreshing, cool, yet slightly tart. just like the perfect bridesmaid. 

White Wine Peach Sangria

  • 2 peaches, cubed
  • 1 orange, halved and sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) white wine (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ½ cup peach nectar (I used apricot nectar, which was fine)
  • ½ cup peach Schnapps, optional
  • 1 ½ cups seltzer water, chilled
  • Ice cubes

(1)  In a pitcher, add the peaches, orange, and lime. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and let sit for 15 minutes.
(2)  Next pour in the wine, peach nectar, and Schapps (if using) and stir gently. Chill mixture for at least 1 hour, 4 or more is better.
(3)  Add seltzer water and ice cubes just before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings

 
outfit: H&M dress and belt, Target wedges, vintage cameo necklace from Grandma Choo
 
Faithful Strokes
122 N. Spring Street
Murfreesboro, TN 
(615) 275.6636