Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Black & White Ball

I'm hanging out in the center of the universe today (New York City...obviously) to help a darling friend plan her upcoming wedding.  While packing for the trip, I got to thinking about what some call the greatest party ever thrown in NYC, Truman Capote's Black and White Ball.  Then I fell down the Google rabbit hole.  I read blogs, I read articles, I read book reviews...I seriously couldn't pull away from the topic.  I had to know it all...who was there (Frank Sinatra, Andy Warhol, Rockerfellers, Vanderbilts, princes, the Maharani of Jaipurthe daughters of three presidents to name a few), who danced with who (Lauren Bacall with choreographer Jerome Robbins, Kay Graham with the doorman, and the 6'8" economist John Kenneth Galbraith with himself), what they ate (spaghetti and meatballs and The Plaza's world famous chicken hash), what they wore (the invitations...which, by the way, were printed by Tiffany & Co...called for black masks and black tie for men and white masks and white gowns for women)...every detail was more intriguing than the last.  At the risk of turning this into a book report, I won't list out everything I discovered (although if the topic piques your interest, you might want to check out this book).  But I will show you some pictures...cause they're awesome and I'm obsessed.

Photos Via: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

Mixing patterns is a huge trend right now, but you know what I've been dabbling in lately?  Introducing the same pattern into an outfit in a couple different ways.  For example...the stripes in this skirt coordinate pretty perfectly with the stripes on the wedges.  While you don't need an exact match, the key to making this particular look work is to pick at least one element besides the pattern itself (polka dots, stripes, etc.) and keep it consistent in all the pieces (scale, color, etc.).  Take a few minutes to sift through your closet with that idea in mind and I bet you'll come up with all kinds of fun, new possibilities.  I'd love to hear all about it if you do! 

1. Leather and Ponte Top, Tibi $595  2. Fan Fridge Necklace, J. Crew $148  3. Striped Twill Skirt, Net-A-Porter $795  4. Bicolor Patent Clutch, Lanvin $2,390  5. Fabric Wedge Shoe, Zara $79.90  6. Lllamasqua Nail Varnish, Sephore $14
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Get It Together: Modern Equestrian

1. Cosmo Chandelier, Jayson Home $2, 195  2. Carved Wood Chain, Jayson Home $195  3. Perspective Candles, Z Gallerie $15.95-$21.95  4. Tribal Chevron Embroidered Pillow, Zinc Door $110  5. Milo Baughman Club Chairs, 1stdibs  6. Jacquard Blanket, Hermes $3,525  7. Tribal Clover Hook Pillow, Zinc Door $40
Monday, February 25, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013

Working For The Weekend

Let me just tell you...I needed today to be Friday.  And it is, and I'm thankful.  I was in just the slightest bit of a mood this week but I'm gonna snap out of it soon...I can feel it.  Some weeks are just like that, you know?  The great news is I've got a trip to New Jersey coming up early next week and I think it'll be just what the Dr. ordered.  In the meantime, let's all have a fantastic weekend, shall we?  Enjoy the links!

Looks healthy and delicious!

Some festive finds right here...

Amazing, amazing, amazing

Wanna try this...I've heard good things.

Perfection as usual!

Helpful and brilliant...

I'm feeling this idea for sure.

Good to know.

Turn anything into spaghetti?  I'm listening.

Ohhh...I like it!
Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Foodie Files

Before my favorite guys hit the road last week, we squeezed in a delightful little Chinese New Year celebration.  It was fun for at least a million reasons but the menu was a definite high point...General Tsos chicken, sake steamed baby bok choy, a delightful green salad with ginger dressing and black toasted sesame encrusted avocado, rice and today's Foodie File, some absolutely delicious duck confit spring rolls with a plum dipping sauce (mmmMmmm).  I found the original recipe here and contemplated giving it a try on many turns out you've gotta be real intentional to make this one happen.  There's lots of ingredients you sure won't find sitting around the back of your pantry.  I'd make these again in a heart beat, but I probably won't attempt them alongside so many other involved dishes...the prep work for this meal was out of control!


For the spring rolls:
2 duck confit legs
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, thinly sliced into matchsticks (about 2 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
10 round rice paper wrappers
1 quart vegetable oil

For the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons plum sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Remove the skin from the duck legs and discard.  Remove the meat, shred it into small pieces and place in a large bowl (you should have about 3 cups).  Discard the bones.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the duck meat.

Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan and place over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the carrot and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the five-spice and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrot-onion mixture to the bowl with the meat and mushrooms. Add the water chestnuts and cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and season the filling with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Place a clean, damp kitchen towel on a work surface. Fill a medium frying pan or wide, shallow dish large enough to hold the rice paper wrappers with hot tap water.  Working with 1 wrapper at a time, completely submerge the wrapper until it is soft and pliable, about 15 seconds.  Remove from the water and place on the towel.  Working quickly, place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling across the wrapper.  Fold the bottom of the wrapper up and over the filling.  Holding the whole thing firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper in.  Pressing firmly down to hold the folds in place, roll the entire wrapper horizontally up from the bottom to the top.

Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat and fry rolls, turning with tongs until crispy (about 4-5 minutes).  Transfer to a paper towel covered plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Mix dipping sauce ingredients together and set aside.  Cut each spring roll on a bias and serve with dipping sauce.  There's a lot of harmony in this dish and it's honestly rather simple...I so hope you try it!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

This top is like a little work of art, don't you think?  The whole ensemble is very Posh Spice to me...and any outfit that can snag David Beckham is one worth attempting if you ask me.  It's a standing-out-for-all-the-right-reasons kind of get fave.

1. Carolina Embellished Top, Peter Pilotto $1,441  2. Crepe Jersey Wrap Skirt, Bottega Veneta $920  3. Nashira Leather and Canvas Tote, Jil Sander $2,230  4. Bertie Earrings, Dannijo $282  5. Metal Corner Sunglasses, Asos $21.05  6. Gold Glitter Sandals, Eva
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Get It Together: Shine Bright Like A Diamond

1. Glass Frame, Layla Grayce $36  2. Gold Leaf Mirror, Zinc Door $601  3. Marilyn Diamond Pendant Light, LampsPlus $149.99  4. DL Rhein Fans Velvet Square Pillow, Zinc Door $150  5. Burlingame Sofa, Madeline Stuart
Monday, February 18, 2013
Friday, February 15, 2013

Working For The Weekend

Everyone survive Valentine's Day?  I certainly hope so.  All I know is now that it's officially mid-February I'm ready for one thing and one thing only...spring.  Is it too early to be fixated?  Perhaps.  But that's never stopped me before.  I'll try channeling some warm weather this weekend and let you know how it goes.  Have a wonderful couple of days, can't wait to catch up Monday.  Enjoy the links!

P.S.- We've got an exciting milestone coming up next week!  Can't wait to celebrate!!

Wish I could take my brother to this.


This made me laugh.

Some very cool jewelry here...

Get your tickets for this Sunday's show, Nashville!

So good to know.

Looks so simple but so delicious.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

If February 14th means candy, flowers and sunshine to you, I hope you get all the candy, flowers and sunshine your little heart can hold.  If it means reveling in misery, may your mope fest be everything you hoped it'd be and more (but don't's all gonna be okay).  I've got a fun night of sweatpants, pizza and movies ahead and I'm probably disproportionately excited about it to be honest.  In the name of festive fun, I rounded up a few treats that looked as delightful as Valentine's Day itself (I just love this holiday...what can I say?).  Have such a wonderful day, guys and dolls!

1. Heart Sweater, J. Crew $200  2. Two Tone Sculpted Shoulder Dress, Delpozo $2,200  3. Red Velvet Macaroon, Dana's Bakery  4. Rose Gold Heart Stud Earrings, Barneys NY $350  5. Tufted Spot Pouf, Nordstrom $78

The Foodie Files

Well...D Day has arrived.  I'm not talking about Valentine's previously discussed I love celebrating love no matter what my relationship status is (although fun fact!  I actually have a Valentine this year).  Today is the dreaded day my brother's band leaves for a loooooong tour (secondary fun fact: my Valentine is actually a part of that you can imagine that's contributing to my less than stellar attitude).  Since I couldn't let them hit the road without a delicious treat, I whipped up a batch of brown butter snickerdoodle cookies (using a recipe I first spied here).  Some sweets for my sweets, if you will.  They'll be all over the place on this tour so click here to see if they're playing a city by you (and go see them for goodness sake)!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
For rolling mixture:
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once the butter begins to foam, whisk consistently for a couple of minutes until the butter begins to brown on the bottom of the saucepan.  Remove from heat when the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma.  Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning.

Set aside to cool for a few minutes.  With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended.

Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined.  Chill your dough for 3 hours minimum or if time permits, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the dough is chilled measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball.  Heads up: the dough is gonna put up a fight but I found a serrated knife helps with the initial separating.

Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a bowl and roll balls in the mixture.  Place dough balls on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 8-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown.  They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven.  Cool the cookies on the sheets for at least 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I snuck a cookie (or three) before I packed them up for the road and was delighted with how they turned out.  If you like snickerdoodles, sugar cookies or deliciousness of any variety, you need to give these a try.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

A Valentino for Valentine's Day?  Don't mind if I do.  Pair this getup with a classic red lip and you're all set for a night out with your significant other, gal pals, or whatever else you've got on the agenda. whom it may concern, Ranunculus flowers are my fave :).  

1. Contrast Collar Dress, Valentino $2,690  2. Two Tone Square Stud Earrings, Dorothy Perkins $9  3. Ranunculus Flowers,  4. Leather Gloves, Harvey Nichols £65  5. Circular Leather Clutch, Maison Martin Margiela $1,095  6. Carlyle Bracelet, Kate Spade New York $225  7. Suede d'Orsay Pumps, Shopbop $245
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Get It Together: Founding Fathers

1. Vendome Pillar Holder, Z Gallerie $39.95  2. Surya Tobias Teal Throw Blanket, Lamps Plus $70.91  3. GW Oil Painting, Organic Modernism $290  4. Aurora Chair, Property  5. Avalon Frames, Z Gallerie $13.49-$23.89  6. Bronze Pillow, Lance Wovens  7. Hademan Rug, eSaleRugs
Monday, February 11, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013

Working For The Weekend

How's your Friday going, folks?  I don't know about you, but I've got big plans to make the most out of this weekend.  Not only is it the last few days before my brother's band leaves for their- get this- three month tour (what am I gonna do with myself when they leave?!), but there's a million things on TV Sunday...The Grammys, The Walking Dead (which I've reluctantly come to enjoy) and, most importantly, Downton Abbey.  So it only makes sense to have a Chinese New Year themed viewing party, right?  That's what I thought, at least.  I'm trying out a few killer recipes so I'll be sure to post the best of the best on The Foodie Files in the coming weeks.  I'll tell you what, it's a full time job being this celebratory but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Any fun plans on the horizon in your neck of the woods?

These flowers are to die for.

I've been craving these like crazy lately...

Part of me feels like I could have a child like this.  And I love it.

It's weird that I want these but I do.

Weird or awesome?  Perhaps both.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, remember this!

Just adorable.

Trying this!

Ate this at a birthday party and loved it...gotta attempt the recipe soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Foodie Files

It's been a soup-heavy winter here at Design Muse headquarters but I just can't help myself ladies and gents.  Among the things I've never said, "I wish I never ate that tasty bowl of soup" is right there near the top of the just always leaves me feeling warm and comforted.  My only regret with this particular soup is that I didn't add it to my rotation earlier.  I came across the original recipe months ago and completely forgot about it until just last week.  Good heavens is it delicious.  While you'd absolutely swear it was cream based, it's not.  The richness comes straight from the veggies...a major score for calorie counters and healthy folks alike.  Try this, try this, and again I say....try this.

25-30 asparagus stalks, ends removed and discarded
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
1 leek, trimmed and chopped
1 qt chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large, deep pot over a medium flame and coat the bottom with extra virgin olive oil.  Saute the chopped shallot, celery and leek for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet.  Cut the tips off your asparagus and set aside for later.  Roughly chop remaining asparagus stalks.  

Add the chopped asparagus stalks and chicken broth and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.  Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand-held blender.  Season the soup bit by bit (this is important) with salt and pepper until just right.  Put the soup back on the heat, stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.

While the majority of the asparagus will blend into the body of the soup, there will be a few pieces in each bowl.  I quite enjoyed it, but if that's not your cup of tea you could always pull the handheld blender out for another go.  Seriously, I love this soup!  Let me know what you think if you get around to making it. 
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

I've reached the point in the year when I want to start yelling, "Okay spring...come out, come out wherever you are!".  But that would come off as incredibly creepy so I won't.  I couldn't resist peppering this outfit's color palate with a few spring appropriate colors, though.  There's something about that pale rose that's almost angelic to just has a warm glow to it.  The overall look of this little getup is exceptionally lady like and soft which thrills me.  It's just lovely, don't you think?

1. Kartel Coat, Sportmax $2,068  2. Vintage Mint Gloves, Etsy  3. Everglades Bib Necklace, House of Lavande $2,300  4. Resort 2013 Dress, Sonya Rykiel $1830  5. Leather Tote, Gap $125  6. Love Potion Rose Gold Heels, ThreadSence $42  7. Morganite and Diamond Ring, Blue Nile $1,750
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Get It Together: Jewel Toned Bohemia

1. Group of brass porthole mirrors, 1stDibs  2. Amber Bottles, Jayson Home $48  3. Vintage Case Light, Jayson Home $295  4. Mysticism Dream Chair, ABC Carpet & Home $3995  5. Agate Coasters, High Street Marker $28  6. Knowles Table, Jayson Home $298  7. Herringbone Sisal Runner, High Street Market $135
Monday, February 4, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013

Working For The Weekend

I'm super pumped about this weekend cause I get to celebrate for- literally- two days straight.  And as you all know, celebrating is my fave.  I have not one, not two, but three birthday parties to attend and a Superbowl to watch.  While I can't bring myself to care about either team playing, it's still an event worth noting (and possibly one worth making some sort of crazy football shaped pastry in honor of...we'll see).  Have such a great weekend and enjoy the links!  

Oh, this video.

C'mon all you early adopters...join me!

My favorite thing.  Maybe ever.

If you haven't seen this yet you need to watch it ASAP!

My Mom the style icon  (refer to slide 2)

The most cute I've ever seen in one picture.

Great idea!

A Valentine's Day worthy treat...