Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar and the Icons

Did you catch The Oscars last night?  After checking out the feedback, it seems I'm one of the five people in the world that actually enjoyed it.  I don't know if I just feel protective of my supposed doppelganger, Anne Hathaway, or what...but I thought it was totally entertaining!  Although the results of the evening have the power to define careers, there's really only one question worth asking during the course of the show itself- what's everyone wearing?  I had some beef with a few of the dresses, but there were a couple gals that hit the mark.  And I think I can say with 75% certainty that Mila Kunis gets my best dressed award.  Let's just chalk the missing 25% up to the fact that she was one sneeze away from an epic wardrobe malfunction.  

At this point, we can only guess who- if anyone- will achieve the formidable level success that separates the stars from the icons.  What name will live on for generations or become synonymous with class?   Here are a few megawatt superstars in their Oscar finest.  Now, these ladies are legends!

Bette Davis, 1939

Lauren Bacall, 1952

Elizabeth Taylor, 1953

Audrey Hepburn, 1954

Grace Kelly, 1956

Sophia Loren, 1963

Lauren Hutton, 1975

Design Musings

Friday, February 25, 2011

Que Bella

When you're a single gal with a good number of single friends, the girl in 'girls night' can seem somewhat superfluous.  It's just...regular night.  Nonetheless, last night's girls night was so much fun that it's totally claimed the week's Que Bella.  A lot of my favorite things were involved...good friends, quality time, delicious food and killer atmosphere.  We started off the evening at a scrumptious little french bistro called Miel.  MmmmmMmmm, was it good!  Since I'm a sucker for presentation, my favorite part was the Creme Brulee.  Amazing, right?! 

From there, we ventured over to The Patterson of my favorite places in Nashville and long time resident of my 'things I must feature on Design-Muse' list.  There's arguably no place in the greater Nashville area with a cooler vibe.  You know what they categorize it as?  A 'speakeasy'.  If a more awesome term for a bar or lounge exists, I've certainly never heard of it.  They don't do any advertising, nor do they have so much as a sign out front, so it's hard not to feel like you're in on some fantastic secret from the moment you walk in.  But it's not a secret at all- in fact, Patterson House received coverage in the New York Times and was even named one of the top 10 bars in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine.  The interior is a pre-prohibition dream with an imprinted tin ceiling, rich textures, metallic wallpaper and dimly lit chandeliers I'd love to Oceans 11 right out of there.  It makes me want to hug the interior designer, Landy Gardner...and believe me...I'm not a hugger.  To top it off, they even have posted rules like "no fighting, no play fighting, no talking about name dropping, no must refrain from introducing themselves to women unless invited or introduced by a friendly party" and the like.  I it.  It's hard to do it justice in explanation, or even in pictures, but here's my best attempt.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Foodie Files

Last night, cooking and I were having a bit of a lovers spat.  I was in a rut, I didn't feel motivated, and I just wanted to say "you know what, cooking?  I love you, but I just don't like you right now".  The show, however, had to go on...I was expecting company, have a few out of town guests staying with me and realized The Foodie Files wasn't about to write itself.  So I did what I always do when I have relationship problems- I called my Mom.  She suggested I make a delicious but simple lemon and olive that is exactly what I did.  As usual, her advice was spot on and the meal- however uninspired at first- was a hit.  Here's the recipe (I was cooking for 10, so you can go ahead and make adjustments as needed).


10 Chicken breasts
4 Lemons, quartered
1/2 Cup Black Mediterranean Olives

In a roasting pan, squeeze lemons over seasoned chicken breasts.  Throw olives and remaining lemons on top, then lightly sprinkle fresh thyme over chicken.  

Bake covered at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, then remove cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  That's it...easy as pie, right?!  I served the chicken with rosemary potatoes (a simple recipe I want to add to before I post...I was getting a few ideas tonight but didn't have the right ingredients to act on them.  Next time...I promise.) and my Nonnie's delicious Zucchini.  Since I had two waves of guests, I made two separate "batches"- which is how I managed the before and after shot.  Had there not been so many people in my kitchen, I definitely would've pretended to be on a cooking show ("...and here we have a finished product...doesn't that just look delicious...").  The recipe here is quite simple too.  It goes a little something like this.

4 Zucchini (don't forget- I was feeding 10)
Mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Cut zucchini in half, then slice lengthwise into thirds.  Place on a greased cookie sheet, then season and top with Mozzarella and Parmesan Reggiano cheese.  Broil on high for 7 minutes.  And your done!  A simple but scrumptious meal!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

? + Coffee = Art

I don't know about you, but I'm having a two-cups-of-coffee kind of morning.  I'm not sure if this is because A) I didn't get an overwhelming amount of sleep, B) It just tastes so good or C) I'm a total addict.  Probably all three.  Either way, coffee is on the brain and down the hatch.  Rather than make it a three, four or five-cups-of-coffee morning, I decided to try and indulge in a different way.  Thus, the hunt for pretty and artistic coffee began.  Come to find out, there are two basic approaches to coffee art (who even knew that was a thing, by the way?) made in coffee and art made of coffee.  So it's an interesting and delicious medium!  Here are a few gems from my search.

"I orchestrate my mornings to the tune of coffee."  -Harry Mahtar

Mirror, Mirror

I'm having a very difficult time accepting the fact that it's not already warm out.  In my head it only makes sense that I should be fine (nay, warm) in short sleeves from now until...October perhaps.  In fact, every time I walk out the door and have to turn back for more layers, a small part of me gasps.  But, it seems that small, gasping part of me is the one in charge of Mirror, Mirror posts and for that reason we're done with sweaters and coats for awhile.  Good thing it's always warm in blog-world. :) I think every last piece of this outfit is amazing- what do you think?!

1. Once Upon a Citron Dress, Mod Cloth $49.99  2. Bullion Sling Bag, Anthropologie $138  3. Celtic Knot Necklace, Forever 21 $9.80  4. Teak Treasure Cuff, Anthropologie $298  5. Messeca Cecilia Wedge, Piperlime $169
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vintage Beretta

I've got a little treat for you guys today...a few dresses I "designed" when I was very...very young.  I'm not sure the exact year, but I do know it's long enough ago that I can't be held responsible for what they look like.  I scanned these pictures awhile back and get a kick out of them every time I see them.  Thought you might too :).

Get It Together: Technicolor Dream

In case you missed last week's Get It Together, we've expanded the column to include paint recommendations from color-expert Lillian Beretta of Lillian's Paintbrush.  Below you'll find three different Benjamin Moore color options that compliment this week's Get It Together.  It's amazing to see how a simple coat of paint can change the whole feel of the space, don't you think?  All three are especially pretty, but my personal favorite is the warm shade: Satchel.   

1. Mary Ruffle Poster, Tumblr  2. Russian Dolls, CB2  3. Sky Planter, Boskke $25-$75  4. Water Stripe Pillow, West Elm $29  5. Lepark Rug, Gandia Blasco $2,225  6. 365+ Lunta Floor Lamp, Ikea $99  7. Nesting Tables, Areaware $400  8. Vitra Cork Stool C, Design Within Reach $405
Monday, February 21, 2011

Jackie O

On this lovely President's Day, I couldn't help but acknowledge the reigning first lady of style: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  It's been half a century since her time in the White House and almost two decades since her passing, yet she remains the epitome of timelessness and class.  If ever there was a woman who understood the power of looking fantastic, it was Jackie O.  Not only did her wardrobe make history, but her determination to restore the interior of the White House left a legacy, impacted legislature and even helped her husband's administration gain international support during the Cold War (taking the importance of re-decorating to a whole new level).  Here's a snippet of dear Jackie in a 1962 White House tour that was distributed to 106 countries and even won an Emmy award!

We could all stand to learn a thing or two from Jackie O's simple yet impossibly chic sense of style.  Just look at her- she's spectacular!

Follow Jackie O's fabulous lead by incorporating some of her signature accessories into your look.  Here are a few of my faves:

1. Triple Strand Faux Pearl Necklace, $99 Smithsonian Museum Store  2. Jackie Ohh II Sunglasses, Ray-Ban $139  3. Silk Twill Scarf, Hermes $385  4. Pill Box Hat, Dorfman Pacific $30  5. Cotton Trench Coat, Burberry $895

Design Musings

Friday, February 18, 2011

Color Me Smitten: Nude

I’m excited to announce a new addition to our Editorial Calendar: Color Me Smitten- a once monthly column where it’s all eyes on my current color obsession. Though the content will vary from month to month (sometimes focusing on apparel and accessories, sometimes on d├ęcor, and other times on a combination of the two), the focus remains the same: What’s beautiful?  What’s “in”? & What’s all but haunting me?

At the moment, I can’t get enough of this camel-nude-sienna-y color.  Sure, it’s not a smack you in the face kind of palette, but is that really so wrong?  I say phooey to the banish-the-beige movement.  Beige colors are good…necessary even.  Using it head to toe (or floor to ceiling, for that matter), might have snoozefest potential, but the right shade is anything but boring.  I chose some simple pieces below that would work wonders as the base of a killer outfit or as a really versatile accessory.

1. Bias Asymmetrical Dress, T Alexander Wang $175  2. Tuck Shift Dress, TopShop $90  3. Ruched Knot Skirt, Nasty Gal $48  4. San Tan-Tonio Nail Lacquer, OPI $10.95  5. Slouchy Pocket Jersey Tee, Forever 21 $9.80  6. Lillie Perforated Leather Clutch, BCBG Max Azria $128  7. Mixing Elements Bangle, Anthropologie $358

Que Bella

My cousin Jessica and I took an unplanned trip to Florida over the weekend, and believe me when I tell you no one was more surprised about it than me.  I like to plan things...I like to make lists and meticulously check them off...but apparently I like warm, sunny weather more than either of those.  And I'm glad, cause our trip was an absolute blast.  Did we drive through the night, rely on a GPS that took us on 35mph backroads throughout the entirety of Georgia and ultimately get a flat tire 30 minutes from our destination?  Sure we did.  But it worked itself out, we made it, and within five minutes of our arrival we'd already consumed our own weight in my Grandmother's ravioli, sausage, and meatballs- making even the worst parts of the trip totally worth it.  Getting to spend time with my grandparents was, by far, the best part of the trip...getting spoiled with awesome food wasn't too shabby either :).  I can't pick a favorite or most beautiful part, so here's a few pictures from the trip (including some time at the beach!).  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Foodie Files

I attempted to put off today’s Foodie Files for as long as possible due to the fact that I have yet to perfect a key item in the meal.  I tried, failed, researched, tried again and now have to face the facts.  As the score stands, it’s Hollandaise sauce-2, Gabby-0.  I know I know, sometimes you learn more through mistakes than success and not everything can be perfect all the time and blah blah blah.  The point is, the Hollandaise sauce wins the battle.  It remains to be seen who will win the war but I’ve still got some fight left in me so don’t count me out just yet.

All the other more cooperative parts of the meal were delicious.  In truth, the Hollandaise sauce was actually quite tasty…it just looked ugly, and that’s not acceptable.  So here’s the recipe for fried green tomato Eggs Benedict…along with a few ways to NOT make Hollandaise sauce.  *sigh*

 Ingredients (to serve 4):

4 English muffins
4 slices of turkey bacon
8 eggs
8 oz butter
1 TBS lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 green tomato
Extra virgin olive oil

The key to a success here is timing.  Since the final product involves combining a few different elements (and you’ll want to serve all those elements while they’re warm), it’s best to invest a little time prepping. 

First, slice and bread the green tomato, dredging them in flour, egg, then breadcrumbs (side note: I learned the word dredge while reading Martha Stewart Living over the weekend and have been excited to use it ever since…I know…I couldn’t be more of a nerd if I tried).  Set the breaded tomatoes to the side for now.

Next, prep your turkey bacon.  I usually cook mine in the microwave, so for me this is just a matter of putting it on a plate in between two paper towels (double up on paper towels if you want your bacon crispier).  Place in the microwave but don’t turn it on just yet.  We’re still prepping, remember?

Around this time, you’ll want to cover the bottom of a large skillet with oil (for the tomatoes) and set on medium high.  Put 1TBS of oil in another pan (for the eggs) and heat on medium.’s time to start the dreaded sauce.  Separate the yolk of three eggs and set it aside.  Melt butter in the microwave and (you guessed it) set it aside as well.

Okay- time to start some actual cooking.  Pop your English muffins in the toaster, start the bacon, and fry up the eggs and green tomatoes.  Hollandaise sauce should be served immediately and requires your full attention, so don’t get started on the sauce until the rest of the sandwich is fully intact.  Once it’s all together say a prayer and give my arch nemesis a go.

Most Hollandaise recipes require a double boiler.  In fact, I’m beginning to think my lack of double boiler might be the root of my woes, or at the very least an excellent scapegoat.  I searched for a recipe that allowed me to use direct heat with a regular pot.  I whisked the eggs and lemon juice together over medium low heat.  While still whisking, I slowly added the butter.  Things were going well until a layer of oil began forming at the top of the pot and I realized the sauce was separating.  So I did the only thing I could think of.  I yelled at the Hollandaise.  Needless to say, it didn’t listen. 

I served the sandwiches anyway and decided to put the Hollandaise sauce on the side to give folks the option of using it.  The taste was there for sure, so if you stirred it up real good, then poured it on it definitely served it’s purpose.  Still, I was somewhat infuriated that it wouldn't cooperate. 

The second time I tried, there was a homemade double boiler involved.  I don’t even want to go into this one although I do have two words for what went down: scrambled eggs.  I’m going to keep trying and I’ll let you know if I’ve got a win in me.  
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I took a bit of a spontaneous trip over the weekend.  By spontaneous I mean only a few moments passed from the time I decided to go and the time I walked out the door, and by trip I mean 12 hour overnight drive to Florida.  I'll admit, it was quite out of character for me but my cousin Jess happened to catch me in a spontaneous mood and things just sort of escalated.  Very, very quickly.  We're headed back to good 'ol Nashville today, so wish us luck in our travels.  I'll post more about the trip itself this Friday.  I couldn't resist the urge to have today's Mirror, Mirror reflect the beautiful weather we've soaked up over the last few days.  All I have to say is this: countdown to warm weather starts now.

1. Sleeveless Knit Top, Forever 21 $19.80  2. Red Poppy Felt Flower Brooch, Soroka $20  3. Crystal Fob Drops, BHLDN $200  4. Hatshepsut Bangle, Anthropologie $38  5. Pleated Bracelet, Anthropologie $138  6. Catty Clubmaster, Ray-Ban $145  7. Polka Dot Shorts, Free People $58  8. Powder Satin Bow Flats, Valentino $449
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get It Together: Bright + Clean

Since we’re lucky enough to have access to color specialists through our parent company, Lillian’s Paintbrush, we decided to add another element to our weekly ‘Get It Together’ posts.  Let’s talk paint for just a moment.  Change the paint and you change the space- it absolutely has the power to set the tone.  This doesn’t mean every room needs color- some may actually look best with a white backdrop- but it does mean a poor choice in color will weaken a space 100% of the time, and vice versa.  Here are a few different color suggestions to maximize the impact of this week's Get It Together, courtesy of Lillian herself.  They all set a different tone, but each would work beautifully!  All the colors below are from the Benjamin Moore palate (our favorite!)- we'd suggest checking out a hard copy swatch before moving forward with a project.

1. Miss K S1, Design Within Reach $332  2. Simply Sub-Lime Curtain, Mod Cloth $49.99  3. Framed Objects, think of the $65  4. Ceramic White Alarm Clocks, West Elm $34-69  5. Braid Server, Jayson Home & Garden $135  6. Company C Pillow Fiona Sky, Layla Grace $110  7. Fingerprint Kuma Pillow, Areaware $48  8. Company C Pillow Windowpane Jane, Layla Grace $55  9. Industrial Age Side Chair, Urban Outfitters $228  10. Emeco Icon Chair, Phillippe Stark via Velocity Art $390


I think it's safe to say Anthropologie + Weddings = the best idea ever.  Just yesterday this brilliant concept came to life with the launch of their latest venture, BHLDN.  Before I say another word, lets just talk about the name for a second.  It's pronounced "beholden" and was inspired by a dutch word that means "to keep".  It's as confusing as it is clever, but we're talking about Anthropologie here and- I don't know about you- but I'll take whatever they're dishing out.  At any rate, their selection of gowns, bridesmaid dresses and wedding accessories is as fantastic as one would expect.  Their goal is "heirloom quality" and they surely deliver on it.  As if all this wasn't exciting enough, they're already announcing plans to expand into wedding decor and will eventually carry everything from candelabras to cake toppers.  I posted a few of my favorite pieces below, but I hope you'll bounce over to their brand new site and check things out for yourself.  It's all so very gorgeous!

Monday, February 14, 2011

When You Least Expect It...

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!  Despite my perennially single track record and against all odds, I love this holiday.  I don’t get down with the whole ‘I’m alone on Valentine’s Day, thus I must don sackcloth and ashes and make everyone miserable’ routine.  It’s just unnecessary.  However, on this very special day- while seemingly everyone else is celebrating the joys of coupledom- this one goes out to the singles.  May you have the wisdom to celebrate your non-romantic relationships, the stomach to tolerate the Kay Jeweler commercials (“In all the years we’ve been coming here I’ve never seen a storm like this…I’m right here…and I always will be”), and the patience to endure well meaning comments like “love will come when you least expect it”.  Even though there’s not an unattached person in the world who revels in hearing it, maybe the lovebirds are right.  Maybe love will come when we least expect it.  Here’s a little photo tribute to that very idea.  Happy February 14th- do yourself a favor and make it a great day!  

Design Musings