Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dress Up - Terry Graziano Hats

Terry Graziano Maven hat

Even if you don't think hats are for you, how fantastic are these creations by Terry Graziano? I've had her etsy shop as a favorite for many moons. Summer provides so many hat appropriate occasions; weddings, trips to the beach, picnics. Hats are such an easy way to glam up a plain outfit and they add instant drama and mystery (except for in this guy's case).

Terry Graziano Sweetheart hat

Why not pick up one of Terry's lovely designs and WOW everyone at your next summer gathering?

Terry Graziano Cape Hatter

All images from Terry Graziano

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday World Travel - Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Image from

This week, I thought a lovely beach vacation would be appropriate to kick off the unofficial start of summer. So off to gorgeous Tamarindo, Costa Rica!

image from Witch's Rock Surf Camp

Tamarindo is known for it's terrific surfing, so the day will start with some surf lessons.

image from Flickr member Chris Symonds

Hopefully, the lessons will provide surfboards in somewhat better shape than these, but I love the idea!

Image from Hotel Pasatiempo

After surfing, some serious pool lounging will be in order. The pool at the Hotel Pasatiempo provides sun or shade, and close proximity to fruity mixed drinks.


Suit from J. Crew, hat from Village Hat Shop, Cover up from Top Shop, Shoes from Go Jane,
Bag and bracelet from Forever 21

Costa Rica can be pretty steamy, but this outfit will help cool things down. Plus, the cover up is cute enough to wear shopping or to have lunch in town.

Image from Tamarindo Diria

The day will end with cocktails and a meal at the lovely Tamarindo Diria. Hope this puts you in a ready for summer mood!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movie Love - George Sanders as The Saint

image from

I love finding delightful new-to-me classic movies, such as The Saint in London which I stumbled upon one lazy Saturday morning. George Sanders plays Simon Templar in several Saint films, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris. The plot is relatively thin, but handsome chain-smoking reformed criminals afraid of marriage yet ruthless flirts always make for good movie watching.

image from Postershop Espana

Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies doesn't have this lovely gem scheduled to play again. However, you can catch George in his Oscar winning role in All About Eve on June 29th on TCM.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Recipe - Apricot Tart

Day 256

I've been going through many many years of accumulated magazines the past few days. I've been pulling out the interesting bits before the rest head for recycling. I found a very interesting recipe for an upside down apricot tart in a Bon Apetite from May, 2001. Apricots were on sale at the store, a sure sign to give it a try.

This is a pretty straightforward recipe. I'd never made caramel sauce from scratch, so that part was a little tricky. Also, flipping out the tart required several deep breaths and false starts before I actually worked up the courage!


3/4 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
6 fresh apricots, halved and pitted
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Combine sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan (preferably NOT a non-stick saucepan). Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and boil. Don't stir once it starts boiling, but swirl the pan occasionally and with a pastry brush dipped in water, brush down the sugar that will creep up the sides of the pan. After about 10 minutes, it will have turned a deep amber color. Lower hear to low and add butter and cream, stirring constantly. The sauce will bubble up after the butter and cream are added.

Pour the sauce into the bottom of a 10 inch ovenproof skillet or a 10 inch pie pan. Swirl the pan so the sauce covers the whole bottom. Place the apricots round side down in the sauce around the pan tightly together.

Roll out the puff pastry and cut into a 12 inch circle. Place on top of the apricots in the pan and tuck around the apricots. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute. Run a knife around the edge of the tart to loosen from pan.

To turn out the tart, place a large rimmed serving platter over the pan. With pot holders, tightly grip the pan and serving platter together and quickly flip them over. The tart will fall out of the pan onto the platter. Lift off the skillet and rearrange any apricots that moved around. Serve warm.

Apricot tart

That's it! The apricots make it rather tart so this would be great served with some sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and coffee.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dress up - Kailani shoe from Chinese Laundry

Chinese Laundry Kailani Shoe

How adorable is this little wedge? Also comes in black or aqua

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How To: Wrap a Potted Plant

I was invited to a friend’s home for dinner last weekend. Normally,
a prettily wrapped bottle of wine is my go to hostess gift. I know these
friends are not big drinkers, though, so a gift of alcohol would have
seemed thoughtless.

My next default gift is a blooming potted plant.

Potted plant wrapped example
Plants have several advantages over wrapped fresh flowers or a
floral arrangement:

1. A pretty potted plant is WAY less expensive than cut fresh flowers.
2. A potted plant doesn’t need immediate attention like wrapped fresh
flowers. Having to go and find a vase as soon as guests arrive can
be a little frantic.
3. It will last longer than fresh flowers.
4. The host or hostess can plant it outside OR just enjoy it indoors .

You can pick up something lovely at your local garden center for just a
few dollars. Bigger grocery stores often carry a small selection of
plants, too.

A plant you get from a garden center will probably be in an unattractive
plastic pot, while one from a florist or grocery will be wrapped in either
crinkly green plastic or foil the color of my old silver Honda. You CAN
still give the plant to your host in the original (or lack of) wrapping. The
thought is still there, and you will have fulfilled your guest-ly duties.
However, why not wrap it yourself to add that custom touch?

Wrapping a potted plant is easy. You’ll need:
- scissors
- wax paper
- pretty paper for the wrapping
- ribbon or twine

Some pretty papers your could use include wrapping paper, parchment
paper, brown craft paper, tissue paper, newspaper, or heavy duty
aluminum foil (technically not paper, I know).

Potted plant wrapping materials
First, cut a large square of the pretty paper. It should be big enough
that when folded, it will cover the pot on all sides. Then, cut a square of
wax paper slightly smaller than the pretty paper. The wax paper layer
will help prevent damage to the pretty paper when the plant is watered.

Lay the pretty paper facedown and the wax paper on top. Place the
potted plant in the center.

Potted plant wrapping
Bring up two corners of the papers towards the plant. 
potted plan wrapping
Then bring the other corners up and crease the paper in several spots
so it stands up close to the pot.

Potted plant wrapping
Wrap the pot with some ribbon to keep the paper in place. I used a little
scrap of twine.
Potted plant wrapped
You could also make multiples of these for a pretty, simple, and
inexpensive centerpiece. Your guests could even take one home
after the party as a memento.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wednesday World Travel - Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Wednesday World Travel. Hey, Wednesday's are hard, so why not take a mini-break to someplace fabulous? Today we're headed to Helsinki, the capital city of beautiful Finland.

image from Wikipedia

Let's start the day at Soumenlinna, a very cool sea fortress. After exploring around, lunch will sound good. Luckily, a picnic is at hand.

image from Flickr member Suviko

Smoked salmon on rye bread, with a dash of strong mustard spread, too. Maybe someone will be selling some licorice ice cream nearby as an extra treat.

image from WikiTravel

A short ferry back to the city to visit the Sibelius Monument, built to honor the composer Jean Sibelius.

A quick stop in to see the famous architecture of the Academic Bookshop.

image from Iittala Group

Then I'll squeeze in some quick shopping at an Iittala Store to pick up some new pieces of Ultima Thule.

image from Sea Horse

I'll have dinner at the Seahorse, a famous local restaurant. The interior is pretty swanky, so I'll get dressed up in this before dining on their Lapland Menu: wild mushroom soup, filet of reindeer, and warm breadcheese with cloudberry melba.

scarf, dress, tank, earrings from Forever21, bag from Piperlime, jacket from oli. I can't remember about the boots and bracelet, sorry!

The interior is pretty swanky, so I'll get dressed up in this before dining on their Lapland Menu: wild mushroom soup, filet of reindeer, and warm breadcheese with cloudberry melba.

Hope this little trip brightened your Wednesday!