Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet Treat:: Root Beer Floats

Memorial Day weekend always reminds of going to the lake with my family. My sister and I would stand on the edge of the dock, and then jump in the water to see which one of us could brave the cold the longest (in Northern Minnesota, the ice usually melts in late-April, so that water is freezing!). Annie always won!

After our swim, we warmed up by the fire, roasting marshmallows and drinking root beer floats. They always tasted good!

Thinking about these memories made me realize how long it's been since I've made a root beer float. Who says you can't be a kid again, right?

{Photo via Lindsay Hunt}


  • 1 pint good, vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bottles very cold old-fashioned root beer (preferably Boylan's Root Beer)
  • Freshly whipped cream


Place a few scoops of vanilla ice cream into 2 tall float glasses. Pour the root beer over the ice cream and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

For A Summertime Soiree

Memorial Day weekend is here and you know what that means: the official start of summer!

The Mr. and I couldn't be more excited for the warm weather because we finally have access to a rooftop.  Let's just say, we'll be doing our fair share of entertaining over the next few months... I can't wait!

When it comes to hosting a summer-time soiree, the simpler the better. But, that doesn't mean sacrificing style.

Here are a few festive details to make these impromptu get-togethers even more memorable.

Hot weather = Thirsty friends. Perfectly cubed ice will make your cocktails stand out from the rest. This is the only kind of ice used by trendy mixologists, for a reason.

And, nothing is cuter than serving beverages in mason jars with a fun straw!

Cheese plates are one of my favorite appetizers. Using flags to label the different varieties is a great way to inform guests of what their about to enjoy.

Always have dessert. My warm weather choice = Individual fruit pies. And surprise your guests with creative flatware... I love these plastic spoons from Anthropologie. Happy Summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Tolix Chair

Ever since we moved into our new apartment, home decor has become my new hobby. I find myself looking for design inspiration everywhere I go... It's so fun!

My most recent furniture obsession (ahem, purchase) is the Tolix Chair. In France, this galvanized metal bistro chair is ubiquitous. It was born in the 1930s by Xavier Pauchard and has been a decor staple in cafes ever since. 

And, as our apartment was in desperate need of perfectly designed bar stools (obviously), nothing compared to Tolix. 

Et voila... My new furniture love!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fresh Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt

I picked up some locally grown radishes at the Greenmarket in Union Square to make one of my favorite summertime hors d'oeurves: Radishes with butter and sea salt. This little plate is easy to make and pairs perfectly with a glass of wine on the deck.

To prepare, simply wash a handful of fresh radishes. Trim the greens and roots, and place the radishes over a bed of sea salt. (I use a small tray and sprinkle a very generous amount of sea salt to cover a portion of the the bottom). Whip one stick of unsalted, chilled butter, just until light and fluffy. Serve in a ramekin next to the sea salt and radishes.

To best enjoy, dip a radish first in the butter, and then the sea salt... And, you can't go wrong with a delicious slice of a french bread on the side.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I've Got My Eye On:: The Wedge Sneaker

One of my favorite things about living in New York is seeing trends emerge (or, not quite make it), before anywhere else in the country. You see everything in this city... And, to me, that's inspiring.

A few months ago, I began to notice the "wedge sneaker". This was mostly in SoHo, and the shoes tended to be brightly colored, almost neon. At that time, I tried really hard to embrace the hot orange shoe, but in the end, just didn't have the urge to buy into it. 

Fast forward a few months, and I've got my eye on these wedges again. This time, in more neutral, casual colors. Here are a few of my favourites, mostly from ASH. Oh la la!
{ASH Bowie Wedge Sneaker Sand/Multi Suede, $235} 
{ASH Gin Wedge Sneaker Desert Canvas, $155}
{ASH Bowie Wedge Sneaker Orange Suede, $255}

{See By Chloe Wedge Sneaker, $395}

{Ash Bowie Wedge Leather Sneaker, $255}

Monday, May 14, 2012

DIY:: Bright, White Towels and Sheets

When it comes to interiors and household items, I'm 'white obsessed'. There's nothing more classic. White dishes always showcase a beautiful meal, white sheets feel luxurious (and give me the best night's sleep), and white towels are a spa-like treat at home.

Many people fear white because they think it's impossible to keep clean. When in fact, white linens are quite easy to wash, brighten and transform into 'just like new'.

To best wash your white linens, follow these simple tricks of the trade:

  • Always launder sheets and towels first, before using them. 
  • For towels, never use fabric softeners, as they will decrease the towel's ability to absorb water (to be honest, I never use fabric softeners).
  • Use a mild detergent. Harsh formulas can thin the fabrics of the linens. I use Mrs. Meyers Clean Day. It smells wonderful.
  • I love bleach. While nearly all my other cleaning supplies are eci-friendly, nothing brightens towels and sheets better than Clorox. Wash white towels and white sheets in hot water with 3/4 cup of bleach per regular load.
  • Dry on medium-high heat.
  • Fold towels and sheets right away.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes

Every once in a while, I get a huge craving for a milkshake. And tonight was one of those times!

My husband and I have had a very busy week, so we were looking forward to enjoying an evening at home. I guess my sweet tooth, combined with a recipe I've wanted to try, and a relaxing night in with the Mr. made this dessert a reality.

The original Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake is from Stand4, a famous burger cafe in The Village. It's deliciously rich and has such a loyal following that the restaurant decided to release the recipe to Gourmet magazine. And, thank goodness they did!

Stand4 Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes
4 scoops good quality vanilla bean ice cream or gelato
1 tablespoon milk, preferable whole milk
1 large dollop vanilla yogurt (to balance out the sweetness of the ice cream)
5 large marshmallows
Whipped cream (optional)
Chocolate squares (optional)

Toast marshmallows under a broiler in the oven (this only takes a couple minutes, so watch carefully!), until they are just evenly evenly toasted and dark, but not burnt.

Put the milk, yogurt and then ice cream in a blender. Blend just until combined.

Add three of the toasted marshmallows to the blender and whirl just until they are broken and evenly distributed. Do not over blend.

Pour shake into a glass, and top with the two remaining marshmallows and chocolate squares. Whipped cream is an added indulgence - go for it!

Serve with a straw, enjoy, and repeat if necessary (highly likely)!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home (Apartment) Fragrance

Nothing makes a room more cozy than the look and smell of a beautiful candle. The ambiance of a small flame seems to always make our apartment more relaxing.

I like each room to have a very subtle, signature scent. Hints of bright citrus in the bathroom, more floral fragrances in the living room, and deeper, woody notes in the bedroom.

And, there's nothing worse than too strong, or artificial smelling candles. So invest in one that burns evenly and has a delicate scent that releases over time.

A bathroom should always have a clean and refreshing feel. I love the Orange Blossom Scented Candle by Jo Malone because it mixes the sweet smell of citrus with a warm, creamy note.

Floral and herbal candles are a perfect compliment to the living space because they tend to have inviting and familiar scents. You want people to feel welcome and at ease in your home. The very, very best living room candle is one I'm currently burning, as I write this post. Diptyque's Foincoupe candle has subtle notes of fresh greenery and almost smells like freshly washed linen, as it continues to burn.

Lastly, for the bedroom, deeper, more addictive candles are the best choice. Jason Wu's new collaborative candle with NEST is a favorite. The scent is beautiful wild orchid, and as it burns, the sensual background notes tend to become more pronounced. I also think the delicate, water-colour flowers painted on the vase make the candle look so pretty on a nightstand.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Springtime Salad

After a weekend filled with Cinco de Mayo and Derby festivities, it's time to get back on the healthy bandwagon.

Tonight, I made a delicious summer salad, packed with a variety of veggies and a little bit of indulgence: Bacon.(Note, just a touch is needed to give this salad a hearty and flavourful edge).

This recipe serves approximately six people. And, can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately three days. Simply omit the dressing and drizzle just before serving.

Summer Salad
5 Slices Thick Cut Bacon
2 Ears Fresh Corn
1/2 lb. Fresh Green Beans, Cut
1 Sweet Pepper (Red, Orange or Yellow), Diced
1 Cup Baby Tomatoes, Cut
3/4 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
1/3 Cup Fresh Basil, Chopped

1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

To prepare the bacon, I prefer baking mine in the oven. It eliminates grease splattering all over the stove and tends to get a bit more crispy... Perfect for homemade bacon bits.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the bacon evenly on the pan.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes. Let cool on a plate lined with paper towels, to absorb excess grease. Break into small, bite size pieces.

For the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the corn for 5 minutes. Add the fresh green beans and cook for three more minutes. Drain and let cool.

Once cool, slice the corn off the ears.

Combine corn, beans, peppers and tomatoes.

Whisk dressing ingredients and pour over vegetable mixture. Serve chilled or at room temperature.