Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Trip "Home" & Niagara-on-the-Lake

That's Fort Niagara in New York as seen from Canada. No one ever believes me when I say how close the two countries are! 
I got back from my trip "home" to Buffalo yesterday evening feeling pretty good. I say home in quotation marks because even though Buffalo will always be home in a way, I feel like Boston is my real home now. It took me a long time to want to say that!

Yesterday was also my 31st birthday and having overdosed on cake over the weekend - really, I ate cake every day and it was GLORIOUS - I made a BLT when I got home and hit the hay. The weekend started with a little camping trip for my dad's 60th birthday on Sunday. It's always been cool that my dad's birthday is two days before mine and my sister's. Now, you may have guessed that camping is not my idea of a good time, but my dad loves it and going camping with him was our present to him this year. Trust me, it's all he wanted! We got back to civilization and on Monday my sister and I took a little day trip to Canada with my mom and her friend Cindy. Having grown up ten minutes from Canada and Niagara Falls, the novelty wore off a long time ago, but I hadn't been in a while. I hate to say it, but Niagara Falls, New York is a hole. Really. It's just not that nice of a city. The area around the falls is fine, but if you actually want a better experience in Niagara Falls, you have to go to Canada! It's clean and beautiful and there are a ton of things to do.

My mom has been talking for years about going to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. It's a sweet little city right on Lake Ontario with shops, hotels, restaurants, wineries, and ice cream. What more could you want from a day trip?

We had a great dinner on the top patio of this restaurant. Wine bar = happy. The local red sangria was just what we needed after a day of walking around!

There are at least five or six ice cream shops on Queen Street, but we opted for gelato. The strawberry chocolate was divine, but through everyone else I got to try peanut butter chocolate, white chocolate raspberry, and coconut. All amazing.

It was such a beautiful day on the lake! Plenty of sunshine, no wind, and temps in the upper 60s. It was so clear that we could say hello to Toronto.
That's our new friend Max, the 130 lb. bull mastiff black lab mix. The water was a little too cold for swimming, but Max went in for a dip anyway :)
This was a perfect way to spend the day. If you're ever in the Buffalo area, make sure you bring your passport so you can hop north west of the border and check out how lovely Lake Ontario and Canada are! I have the rest of this blissful week off from work. I'm really not looking forward to the 90 degree temps we're in store for (I hate the heat), but I'll power through. I hope everyone's holiday weekend was as nice as mine!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spotlight: SUNO x Uniqlo

I'm usually pretty on top of designer collaborations, but I missed this one somehow. Maybe because we tragically don't have an Uniqlo in Boston. Anyway, SUNO is an incredible line. It's always been very heavy on prints and colors, which is probably why I love it. The first major SUNO moment I remember is Michelle Obama in this gorgeous skirt from one of the first family's Martha's Vineyard summer vacations.

Image via tumblr
I remember doing a frantic search for the designer of that skirt when I saw this image a few years ago and it was love at first sight for SUNO and I. Their 2013 collections aren't as heavy on colors as in previous seasons, but they still have some lust worthy looks. Por ejemplo:

Fall 2013/Image via
Fall 2013/Image via
Spring 2013/Image via
Spring 2013/Image via
Nice, right? So when I saw a tweet from Who What Wear yesterday trumpeting the SUNO x Uniqlo collection I did a Scooby Doo reaction with the head tilt and the RAWRRRR? Uniqlo is known for very affordable basics and on trend pieces like dresses and sweaters so I knew this collection would not only be stylish, but wallet friendly as well. In fact, nothing in the collection is over $40. Fantastic! Here are my favorite pieces:

 Skirt $29.90/Image via Uniqlo
Printed shirt dress $39.90/Image via Uniqlo
Printed maxi skirt $29.90/Image via Uniqlo
Breton stripe tank $19.90/Image via Uniqlo
Four pieces for under $150 total that will certainly go with things you already have and spice up your summer wardrobe? Yes! The first skirt is probably my favorite and I hope to secure it before my summer trips. It's perfect with just a white t-shirt or tank. The same goes for that adorable maxi skirt.

Have a look at the rest of the SUNO x Uniqlo collection here and please share with me what your favorite piece is! Has SUNO been on your radar? What about Uniqlo? There are only stores in New York and San Francisco stateside so far, but fingers crossed for one in Boston some time soon!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beet & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Two Fridays ago I went to an event my friend Kristen had at Laura Preshong in the South End. Laura and the other designers she carries make gorgeous, ethical jewelry (some of which will soon be mine woohoo!). She also makes some of the most unique engagement rings I've ever seen so click on her name there and have a look see. The event  had a pink theme, which allowed Laura to showcase some of her best pink jewels and attendees sipped rosé wines and enjoyed a variety of pink snacks. It was delightful!

One of said pink snacks was a beet and roasted red pepper hummus and IT. WAS. AMAZING. At first no one really knew what the heck it was. A pink dip? What? But we just kept cluelessly munching away. Finally someone asked what we were eating and Five Seventy Market's beet hummus was revealed as the object of our taste buds' affection. Clearly this was something I had to make.

Beets are hanging out with kale and quinoa in the new cool kids section at the grocery store. I love when obscure or previously shunned food items make a come back and end up in everything. I don't remember beets as being delicious. I remember my mom giving us pickled beets for dinner and I thought they were disgusting. Why did you do this, mother? The modern beet, however, is different. They have a high sugar content so they're really sweet when they're roasted. They're great on a salad with some toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. And you really can't match the color! Be gone, ancient pickled beet.

I started with a basic hummus recipe, cut down on the chick peas, and just added a roasted beet and a roasted red pepper and that was it. I think this is a recipe I'll be able to build on and experiment with for a while. I would like some different herbs and maybe some salty green olives in it, but I kept it basic for now.

1 small roasted beet (see below for roasting instructions)
3/4 of a can of chick peas, drained
1 roasted red pepper (from a jar or roasted yourself)
2 Tbs. tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of half a large lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To roast the beet start by pre-heating your oven to 375. Scrub the beet under running water until it's clean and cut off the bottom root bit. Place the beet on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle it with a little bit of canola oil. Wrap it up and put it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife slides in and out easily. It took 45 minutes in my weird oven.

Word to the wise about beets - they stain everything. Your hands, your counters, your cutting board. So keep it on the foil and wear gloves when handling it. Once your beet has cooled so it's not too hot to touch, you have to peel it. It's really soft at this point so just run your knife over the skin and it should come right off. After my beet was peeled I stuck it in the fridge to cool and then cut it into chunks.

Put your beet in a food processor and and process them until they're in small bits. I only have a tiny little food processor, but it's the perfect size for making dips and dressings. After the beet has been processed, add everything else in aside from the olive oil and process until it's smooth, but still a little chunky.

Since my food processor is just a little guy I had to scrape down the sides a few times, but it still got the job done. In a bigger processor you can pour the oil through the feeder tube with the processor running until the hummus is smooth. I don't have that option so I just put the oil in all at once and blended it up. Same thing.

Look at the color!! Did you even know that food could produce a color like this naturally? I sure didn't. Make sure to taste the hummus after it's been processed and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste. I found that this needed quite a bit of each since the beet and the red pepper are so sweet.

But really, have you ever seen a color like that? I think at least half of the appeal. It is delicious though. The beet flavor isn't overpowering nor is the pepper flavor. It is sweeter than a traditional hummus, but I think you'll like it.

Serve it up with some veggies and pita chips and you've got a perfect snack. Serve this at your next party and perplex your guests as to the origin of this hot pink dip. And how fun would it be at a shower for a baby girl or another kind of pink theme night?

Feel free to share your thoughts on beets. Hopefully your mother didn't scar you for life with those awful pickled ones. Have you ever had a unique dip or hummus like this?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Food Revolution Day 2013

Today is Food Revolution Day! A few years ago Jamie Oliver, an acclaimed celebrity chef from Great Britain, set out to change the way people all over the world eat, cook, and understand food. Jamie started his revolution in schools in England, where cafeteria food was just as appalling as you remember from your school days. His movement quickly spread to towns and cities and a few years ago he took over a town in West Virginia with an extremely high rate of obesity. He overhauled the school food system and set up a community kitchen where he taught locals how to cook easy, nutritious food. I sincerely hope the good work he did is still in place in England and here in America because it is invaluable. And that French fries are never again considered vegetables, as they were in schools all too recently. 

I didn't learn how to cook until I was out of college and living on my own. Despite having some great cooks in my family, no one ever taught me the basics of cooking when I was younger. My interest in cooking came from an interest in food. Food is awesome! If you like eating it, you will like cooking it! I learned to cook by watching Food Network. Really. Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, and Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) are single handedly responsible for my skills in the kitchen. So if I've ever made you anything to eat, you have them to thank!

Just like anything that requires some skill, cooking is a practice. The more you cook, the better you'll be at it. So on this Food Revolution Day do me and you a favor and cook something. Preferably something healthy, but baby steps are okay. Even if it's just putting together a salad or making a sandwich to bring for lunch at work. You'll know exactly what's going into your body and you'll save money too. But why not challenge yourself? Try something new or think of your favorite restaurant dish, find a recipe for it (Pinterest is perfect for this! Or just Google.), and make it at home. I doubt you'll screw it up so badly that it will be inedible. And if it is, you'll at least learn something!

As Michael Pollan said, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Happy cooking, happy eating, and happy Food Revolution Day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Life Happenings

Clockwise from top left: some sangria for Cinco de Mayo; my new favorite skirt; gorgeous Copley Square tulips; a ring from Laura Preshong that will be mine.

Memorial Day weekend! I will be headed to sunny Buffalo. I really don't know if it will be sunny because it snowed there last weekend, but one can hope. My dad's 60th birthday is the occasion, which means I will be spending time at his camp in the wilderness. Not my first choice of destinations, but for Dad's b-day? Of course. My birthday is also included in there somewhere (blah) and I do have a nice little week off so hopefully the next few pass quickly.


I just finished The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and it was amazing. It's the best book I've read in a long time. It's about two teenagers, each with a different kind of cancer, but it's so far from a doom and gloom cancer book. It's so smartly written, hilariously funny in parts, and totally realistic. I loved every character and I didn't want it to end. It's being made into a movie and I sincerely hope it's done justice! I just started my favorite soccer player, Wayne Rooney's autobiography this morning. He's trying to be a punk and transfer away from my team so I'm going to get inside his head and convince him otherwise. There's no way that will happen.

Relieved About...

I'm relieved that everything feels okay in Boston again. At least for me it does. I'm sure there are many others that it doesn't for and I'm still kind of at a little bit of a loss as to what to say about it. The events of Marathon Monday, the manhunt, and the following weeks are still surreal, but Boston is surviving and surviving well.


Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown on CNN. I am a Bourdain obsessive. I'd probably follow him off a cliff. He's a spectacular writer, funny as hell, and as real as it gets. I loved No Reservations, his former show on the Travel Channel, and Parts Unknown has pretty much the same format, but I think Bourdain has a little more creative freedom with this one. It's a beautifully shot show and I love learning about places all over the world that I'll never get to go to. If you're into food, travel, and comedy, give it a try.

Working On...

I'm still working on making plans for my trip to San Francisco in June and I'm also working on planning other little summer trips. I'm heading up to Burlington, VT for Brewfest in July and my sister and I are going to take a long weekend trip to Portland, ME in August that I'm really excited about. It's pretty sad that I've lived here for over nine years and I've never been to either of those states. It's a bucket list summer!


Beet hummus. All will become clear this weekend and/or next week! 

Listening To...

Man, I got nothing. I bought the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, but I'm not crazy about it. I think I just need to give it more time. The new Vampire Weekend album is out this week and I will give that a listen at some point. I also need to get my hands on The Great Gatsby soundtrack. I streamed it a few weeks ago and I really liked it. I will take any and all new music recommendations! I don't even have any concerts in the pipeline, which is very weird for me! 

Have a great rest of the month. I hope all of my allergy-sufferers-in-arms are toughing it out!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The 2013 MET Gala: The Good, The Bad, and The Punk

The MET Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the fashion event of the year. It's always themed and the guest list is A+++. Until last night when a Kardashian was there, but I'm choosing to forget that happened. The theme this year was Punk Fashion and the coordinating exhibit is a retrospective of just that. I think we all knew that not everyone was going to go literal with that theme, but for the most part everyone looked pretty great. I don't remember this kind of OHMYGODITSNOTONTHEME uproar last year when few people wore Schiaparelli pink and/or lobsters all over themselves. (See: Elsa Schiaparelli). That said, I wouldn't be surprised if next year's theme is a bit more tame.

My Favorites:

Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America
Anne Hathaway In Vintage Valentino

My girl is back, y'all! Anne Hathaway looks drop dead stunning in this gown. It's from 1992 and yet it's still modern and perfect for the theme. And her hair! What could be more punk than dying your hair a color that's completely off your spectrum? I love it and I love Anne. To the left, haters.

Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America
Kirsten Dunst In Louis Vuitton

It seems like this look is polarizing, but it's a slam dunk for me. I'm a sucker for anything green and/or feathered. It's different and special and I think she look gorgeous. It's not punk in the least, but it's awesome and I don't care.

Image via Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America
Amanda Seyfried In Vintage Givenchy

My first thought is: GIRL, why did you not wear this to the Oscars?! This dress is incredible! It has a train and an open back and the print is otherworldly. I guess I shouldn't complain because it got its moment. Not punk, but again I don't care.

Image via
Miley Cyrus In Marc Jacobs

I've got to hand it to Miley; she looks fierce in this. Out of the women who dressed totally on theme I think she did it best. The styling is perfect and on just this one occasion I love the hair. Miley is young and fun enough to pull this off.

Image via Newspix/Bauer Griffin
Sienna Miller In Burberry

Sienna is one glamorous punk is this studded jacket and simple white column gown. It's perfect without being too over the top. Some may say that the studded head band is over kill, but I totally dig it. I wonder how much that jacket weighs.

Image via Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley In Gucci

It's no secret that I love everything Frida Giannini designs for Gucci and her Fall 2013 collection was no exception. It's also no secret that I love everything about Rosie H-W so there was no way I wasn't going to love this. I think it's a little punk, right? Just enough for me.

Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America
Rooney Mara In Givenchy Couture

It's a punk wedding dress and I am all about it. And the purple lipstick is perfection. I'm not always a fan of Rooney's looks because I think they're often from the same family - always colorless, usually cut outs, lots of edginess - but in this instance I don't mind one bit.

I also have to give it up to the Queen Bee, Sarah Jessica Parker who went 110% hard with the theme. She looks fabulous and she's the only one who could have pulled this off. The other Queen (I hope she never finds out I said that), Madonna also went full on with the theme and looked fantastic.

And now the looks I really hated.

Image via Newspix/Bauer Griffin
Heidi Klum In Marchesa

She didn't even try. Heidi Klum, who has the most extravagant costume party every Halloween and wears insane costumes should have had a field day with this. I'm just going to assume she got invited at the last minute and this is all they could scrounge up for her.

Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America
Ashley Green In Marchesa

Marchesa was 0-2 for me last night. I hate this dress. It makes her look wide, which she is NOT, and the length is terrible. It was shown on the runway as tea length (my favorite) and for them not to alter it to fall the same way on her is a huge mistake. Don't mess with my tea length, folks.

Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America
Kate Upton In Diane von Furstenberg

This is a great look if you're going to prom or a black tie summer wedding. It's completely inappropriate for this event though. I don't know if she's ready for high fashion or if she ever will be. She doesn't seem to "get" it.

Image via
Beyoncé Knowles In Givenchy

I love Beyoncé and I think she has amazing style. But this is bad. The dress is hideous and her pose and hair are tired. She could have done so much better!

You can have a look at the full gallery of celebs and looks at There were quite a few other looks I liked in addition to those above so I'd love to hear what your bests and worsts were! I already can't wait to hear what next year's theme is. Also, I don't have any immediate plans to go to NYC (sad face), but if that changes I will definitely try to see the exhibit. I still remember the breathtaking McQueen exhibit like I saw it yesterday.