Tuesday, June 30

Extra Virgin

My first time at Extra Virgin was during the day. I was immediately mesmerized by the beautifully designed space, the witty t-shirts worn by the servers, even the bathroom. But four small plates, one cup of tea and a cup of coffee later and we had spent a hefty $50. Although the food was great, I was still hungry, my wallet hurt and I was officially unmesmerized. For lunch, it felt a little extravagant. I wasn't that impressed.

But we gave it another go after hearing about their "new" Happy Hour. It's from 11 am to 6 pm. Select plates are half off, wine and cocktails are $2 off and beers are $2.50. Now that I could manage. Click here to see their menu.

We had an excellent server named Steffan (newly imported from Chicago) who overheard that it was our anniversary and offered the wine discount that didn't actually start until later. He put our napkins in our laps, cleared our table in a timely manner, made drink suggestions and was friendly and engaging. If you stop by, you should definitely ask for him.

I'm glad someone is paying attention to the economic climate and is flexible enough to make the necessary changes to build the business and make it thrive. A price slash for lunch through regular happy hour times? Definitely a good move in my book. I will be back!

photos from Extra Virgin

June Supper Club

Matt & Sloane hosted this month's supper club and the theme was an evening in Provence. Their bungalow is so adorable and their six-burner gas stove makes me green with envy. It was mine and George's six year wedding anniversary and who better to celebrate it with than with friends who love each other?

A sample of the starters (sorry Maria the salad pic was too blurry!). 
{1}  Lobster Stuffed Squash Blossoms - Sloane & Toni
{2}  Cheese and Raspberry Crepes - Jeanne & Craig
{3}  Goat Cheese, Arthicoke Heart & Tomatoes w/ Grilled Baguette - Matt
{4}  Socco - Tim & Lynn
{5}  Basil-Mint Mojitos - George & Linh

A peek into Matt & Sloane's house. The sixes were for George, me and the Devil. :) 

Whole roasted grouper with grilled squash, fennel, olives and tomatoes. So gorgeous and yummy. Thanks, Matt!

I ate the one of the fish eyes, Jeanne took care of the other one and there was a fight over the fish cheeks!

Beautiful cake by Le Fou Frog's pastry chef Carter Holton. Topped with Sloane's homemade vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, June 25

Green Celebrations

I work at a company that LOVES to celebrate birthdays. Desks get strewn with streamers and balloons. Everyone brings in treats and co-workers stop by all day to wish you a great day and to eat of course!

This week, when there seemed to be a gazillion birthdays in a row, I said to myself..."Not another one!" Then one of my co-workers came over and said, "Let's make our own decorations instead of always buying them and trashing them." And my love of birthdays came back, just like that!

In the works are fabric garlands and banners, recycled paper garlands and a papier mâché cake. I can't wait to see what everyone makes! For now, I am collecting ideas for inspiration.

Wednesday, June 24

Vial Writings

I recently revamped my husband's writing blog by choosing a simpler layout and designing a new header. Two quick changes and his blog went from fuddy duddy to fresh and modern. Check it out here and be sure to read his short story about Dingle Berries. Hilarious.

Although we speak the same language, George and I sometimes just don't get each other. Mince or hamburger meat. Three or tree? Craig or Greg? It's all the same to him while I'm a stickler for the details.

So does this count as an anniversary gift? I definitely think YES!

George in Dublin at the Seagrass Restaurant with his best buddy, Garry.

Tuesday, June 23

Happy Hour at Nara

This is a quick design I did for an informational happy hour at Nara. I'm also on the committee planning the art event for Sheffield Place, a long-term transitional shelter for homeless women and their families. So who's with me?

Click on the image to see it larger. Try to make it if you can!

Friday, June 19


I am a HUGE fan of Capucine. She is funny and adorable and smart and amazing. You will love her too after seeing these videos! Make sure to read the comments, she has many adoring fans. You must click here to see it...Capucine - Thank you Krista!

Wednesday, June 17

Prosecco Punch

{Recipe and illustration by Yvette van Boven}

I have seen a lot of awesome drinks (all loaded with alcohol of course) that I want to make this summer. Prosecco muddled with strawberries, Tomato Martini, yummy sangrias - they all have one thing in common, lots of fresh fruits and herbs! I just want to make this recipe because the illustration is so cute. {via design crush}

I love to follow links because you never know what fun places they'll take you. This recipe took me to Yvette's blog and then to Pia Jane Bijerk's gorgeous sites. So beautifully illustrated and photographed. Foodies, go take a look! I'm linking you directly to the Pia's kitchen blog where culinary guests like Yvette posts their favorites, click here.


Sneak Peek via design*sponge

This is a fun way to display your pictures - clip frames in a grid. Jorey Hurley used IKEA clip frames - $1.29 for 4, 4 x 6 frames, other sizes available {via Cup of Jo}. Jimmy Kimmel has done something similar in his kitchen but with 8x10 photos and staggered. It looks great at any size but the trick is lining them up perfectly.

Cook for Your Dad!

Another great way to show your dad how much you love him is with food, of course! Here are some recipes you can try...

Eggs on Toast w/ Dandelion Green
Recipe from Gourmet Magazine - click here for the recipe.

Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburger with Texas Barbecue Sauce
Recipe from Epicurious.com/Bon Appétit - click here for the recipe.

Grilled Shrimp w/ Molasses-Guava Glaze
Recipe from Epicurious.com/Bon Appétit - click here for the recipe.

Bison Rib Eye Steaks w/ Roasted Garlic
Recipe from Food & Wine - click here for the recipe.

Miso-Glazed Sea Bass with Asparagus
Recipe from Gourmet Magazine - click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, June 16

For You, Dad

Some ideas for your wonderful fathers, dads, daddies...click on images for larger views.

1. Convenience: Bottle It Up Wine Carrier Coolers » $14-$32 {UncommonGoods.com}

4. Whisky Glasses » $45 for two {Teroforma}
5. Whisky Stones » $20, set of nine {Teroforma}

10. Field Notes "Three Pack" » $9.95, set of three {Field Notes}

The Rules

With Father's Day coming up, I thought I'd share this delightful blog with you. Even though it's a father to son deal, a lot of these rules can be for girls too. And definitely still apply for adults. Some of my personal favorites...

The blog is going to be a book soon. You can pre-order it here

Monday, June 15

The Cutest Bags

I've been making my own cloth bags recently. They are super easy to make, even for the basic seamstress (like me) and they're quick so you get a real sense of accomplishment when you start whipping them out. Here are a couple of tutorials if you want to make your own.

The first, from Betz White, is a cute shoe bag that will keep your shoes from dirtying your clothes when you travel. Also great for packing intimates or used as gift bags. I add buttons and appliques to mine for that extra special oomph. Click here for the shoe bag tutorial.

If you don't want to make them yourself, then come buy one from me at the 39th Street Farmer's Market ($3 for small/medium bags, $5 for large bags). I'll be there almost every Wednesday from 5 pm - 7:30.

The second, a DIY Warm Greetings bag from Style Me Pretty, is actually a pre-made muslin bag that you sew tags on to personalize. A great idea for the winter holidays, but you can change it up for any holiday and any season, like this bride did for her winter wedding. This is going on my to-do list to make for my fabulous girlfriends - they will be filled with mini bottles of champagne and yummy chocolates...but I'm making the bags myself. Click here for the tutorial.

Friday, June 12

Summer Hangout

I have a large blank wall at the back of my house and I've been thinking of what I can do to fill that space. I think this would be perfect. A little shade and a stylish place to sit and relax. *Sigh* Now, I just have to figure out a way to keep the doggies from destroying it.

Best Invitation Ever

Do you know what I love about weddings? The stories. The journey a relationship can take. The hope and promise. The joy. And of course, the invitations....like this one designed by Matt Dorfman that combine all these things. Please follow this link for a better view - worth every moment it takes to read it. {Design Sponge}

Pearl Necklace

Click on image for larger detailed view.

This statement necklace is a do-it-yourself, one of a kind piece, all made with beads and materials from Michael's. There's a lot going on but the tonal color palette neutralizes everything and makes it sweetly detailed instead of over-the-top crazy busy. Click here for the tutorial.

Thursday, June 11

365 Days

Here is another young, talented whippersnapper, 17-year-old Amy Mortimer from Warkwickshire, England. She is an art student and photographer who has a similar style to Jasmine Rubio. Her self-portrait project is called 365 days*. {housemartin}

I find daily pictures of one subject fascinating, how you can mark time passing, see the little changes day by day, the big changes when you take a step back to look at the whole picture and the familiarity as you get to "know" the subject whether it's a person or a landscape.

Photographer Kevin Trageser's subject is his girlfriend, Nadine. Go here to see the photos. Just click on each page to move on (for my less-tech savvy friends since it took me a minute to figure out also). {A Cup of Jo}


Speaking of The New York Times, my friend and client Ryan Maybee, got his bar mentioned in the June 2, 2009 article, "Bar? What Bar?", about the speakeasy trend. Yes, he is a PR machine, but a nod from the Times not even six months in? Pretty impressive. He's also been widely covered and lauded in Kansas City.

I worked on their logo, menus and calling card {"M" mark, phone number and tagline only on the calling card to continue that element of mystery} as well as developing copy/taglines...
{+} Cocktails Liberated. 
{+} Drink Early. Drink Often. Speak Easy.

Here's a peek at my work for Manifesto.

101 Meals in 10 Minutes

{photo by Cucumbersome}

Yes, it has been an entire 7 days since my last post. But life gets busy like that sometimes. For the busy bees in all of us, click here to check out the New York Times list of 101 meals you can make in 10 minutes. They're not recipes, just general ingredients and directions. The rest is up to you. I saw the scallop ceviche recipe on Cucumbersome that looked delicious and fairly easy to make. Can't wait to try it over the weekend. Come by Saturday evening if you want a taste!

Wednesday, June 3

Miss Curiousity

Oh, to be 14-years-old and so full of talent and individual style. There is a wonderful wit and humor to Jasmine Rubio's work, and at times, deep sadness and solitude. See more of her photography HERE on flickr.

 Photos by Jasmine Rubio