30 June, 2009

And the Hair Saga Continues

At a fairly young age I read a quote from C.Z. Guest that said to "find your style and stick with it". I took it as gospel. So, for as far back as I can remember, i.e. as soon as my dad relinquished control over my shorter hairstyle, I have had a bob. Sometimes it's been chin length and sometimes it's been jaw length but, a bob it's been.

A couple of years ago I momentarily lost all my marbles, went brunette and tried to grow my hair long a la Elle McPherson. Fortunately, I quickly came to my senses, rekindled my relationship with highlights and left with a slightly shorter, sportier do.

I really liked the stacking in the back but it wasn't perfect. I had a vision in my head that I was having trouble translating to my stylist.

Sooo...in I went with the above picture...and out I came with horrible razor thinning that took me a year to grow out. Back to my safe bob I went, tail between my legs...

Today I'm headed BACK to the salon, daring to try again, but this time I am armed with multiple pics including this one of an old friend. Between the preppy 80's cuts and the Laura Ashley dress, this photo is one like one stop shopping.

And, this one of my friend Joanie (of Belgian Loafer fame) sporting her newly shorn Gwyneth Paltrow in "A Perfect Murder" do. That's moi on the far right, hair bobbed, wet, and post beach per usual...

A back up pic of Linda Evangelista with her career making short cut...

And, back up, back up pic of the preppy, Chanel clad Selma Blair, minus the bangs.

Keeping my eye on the "will look fab with short hair" prize, I've realized that, funnily enough, I"m trying to reclaim my blast from the past Dorothy Hamill wedge that my dad forced upon me all those pre-bob, keep it short for swimming years. Go figure...

Kindness of Joanie DiNardo and LAN for pic use pre "intended, albeight belated" permission requests...

29 June, 2009

Team Dina

Looky what I unearthed for all you Real Housewives of New Jersey fans like moi....

I'm already in mourning for Tuesday nights. Please, please, pleeeassse let the Atlanta Housewives be on deck....

Warning...This is quite a lengthy video for those of you trying to watch on the sly at work.

26 June, 2009

College Bound Loot

The princess will be heading to South Carolina shortly for college and I must match last years going away loot pile for Emma cuz I know that someone was taking notes.

First order of biz are a couple of these Aquis Microfiber Large Hair Towels that every female in my family can't live without. Bff Kimba won't remember this but, she was the first person to turn me on to these waaay back during our roomie era. They were a godsend during the many years of highly chlorinated and fragile locks.

I will have to warn Em to put her monogram in permanent marker on her pink T3 Tourmaline Overnight Hair Dryer. This must be done for all duplicate gifts. For, a certain someone has a reputation for "misplacing" her item than declaring ownership of the one belonging to a more, ahem, responsible party.

Lastly (minus a large Kiehl's order to be placed at the eleventh hour), is a wardrobe of Huggable Hangers. Like I mentioned before, if they're good enough for Katie Lee Joel's Greenwich Village pad, they'll do just fine for Hilary's sure to be minuscule dorm closet. And since Emma has too many pink Huggables to keep track of, black it is for Paris!

For future reference purposes, Hilary, Hilbils, Princess and Paris are all one in the same girl. We are a family heavy into bestowing nicknames. And, the "Princess" doesn't fall too far from the "Queenie" tree...

25 June, 2009

Adieu My Beloved Strawberry Season

Before strawberry season totally wraps up, I'd like to slip in one last hurrah recipe I gleaned from the Food Network for Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes. Um, who wouldn't eat their vegetables with this on deck for dessert?

For the Shortcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
raw or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

For the Toppings:
1 quart freshly picked strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the shortcakes: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar. cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture with a fork to make a shaggy dough (there will be some dry bits). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; pat flat until 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 6 rounds with a knife or cookie cutter, using the scraps for the last cake.

Place the rounds on the baking sheet; freeze for 20 minutes. Beat the remaining egg; brush onto the cakes and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Meanwhile,make the toppings: Toss half of the strawberries with half of the sugar in a bowl; set aside. Place the other half of each in a sauce pan; cook over medium-low heat, mashing with a fork to make a thick puree, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Whip the cream with a mixer until medium peaks form; swirl in the strawberry puree.

Split the shortcakes in half. Layer some of the strawberry cream and reserved fruit on the bottoms; cover with the shortcake tops. Finish with more strawberry cream and the remaining berries. Makes 6 shortcakes.

Bon Appetit!

24 June, 2009

Lotty B

Every summer I make a promise to myself to order a Lotty B hand painted silk sarong and I have yet to follow through.

The most fun would be to actually go to Mustique where Lotty Bunbury lives and works and buy one at The Pink House.

But, alas, no trips to Mustique are in the foreseeable future so an online order it shall be.

It's amazing to watch the evolution of Lotty's creative process as seen in the silk sarong that she custom designed for one our most favorite places, Sandy Lane in Barbados.

Here's Lotty wearing one of her signature caftans (also on the endless wish list) while working on the beautiful Sandy Lane design.

It's literally wearable art...

Part of the problem in the past has been that I'm always torn between designs because they are all so amazingly gorgeous.

But, this time around, I am pretty certain I have found the one...

Shades of pink, check! Lots of preppy sea creatures and seashells, check and check!

Plus, it would have sentimental meaning since Babe and I still moan about how fabulous Sandy Lane was.

The sun better come out soon or Babe's going to have to start looking for a second job!

23 June, 2009

When the Tanning Gets Tough the Tough Get Needlepointing

Usually, this late in the game, I have a tan that would rival that of the 80's Bain de Soleil girl. But, the weather has been so stinking dreary that instead of logging my usual PTH's on the beach and at the pool, I've been filling my time with eating and online shopping. Two things that can get me into trouble.

So, last night Pilge-a-Roy and I pulled out my "haven't touched in months" needlepoint project to keep myself out of the kitchen and away from the computer.

I had been lusting after this Elizabeth Turner Collection Staffordshire Hunt Scene belt canvas for close to 15 years.

The busy scenes are always the most fun to do and I should whip through this one in record pace. Weather permitting...

And, if le commandant doesn't thwart my progress by running off with all my silk and ivory thread!

I've already started eyeing up my Chuck Pinnell sterling buckle options.

Black calf leather, paired with either one of the above options, will make quite the swanky pièce de résistance when finished. Just about the time I'll be hanging up my tanning spurs for the season...

P.T.H. Peak Tanning Hours. The hours between 10am and 2pm when classes are empty in the spring.

22 June, 2009

Wheeling, Dealing and Scouting All Weekend

First, I just had to have an impossible to find bottle of Porter Creek 2006 Estate Bottled Russian River Valley Pinot Noir to give my dad for Father's Day. Fortunately, my friend Amy gets it shipped by the case directly from the winery and was willing to barter for a bottle.

One Ledo pizza, tales of crazy weekends in Hamburg ("as only weekends in Hamburg can be") and a treating to "The Proposal" later, and I was walking home with a bottle of Porter Creek in hand. Leave it to the globetrotting Amy to ferret out the best Pinot in the land to add to her stable of enviable loot.

Next task at hand; tracking down the preppy apple green ice bucket featured in this month's Elle Decor for my sister Mandy's birthday. But, it must be so new to the lineup that it's not yet up on the Mr. Ice Bucket website. Foiled again...

After fruitless googling and scouring of the site I resorted to calling 732.545.0420 and leaving Mr. Ice Bucket a pleading message. I hope he stocked up before deciding to run with the big dogs. Or else it's back to the drawing board pour moi...

Note: I just received a call back from Mr Ice Bucket himself and my gift will be delivered tomorrow!

Kindness of my ace in the hole Amy Fahrenkopf for her generous trade. And, in all fairness, she graciously offered to give me the bottle. Fun at the movies and tales of Hamburg over pizza were an added bonus...

19 June, 2009

Tammy Fender Groupie

I have this enviable talent of simultaneously being able to flip back and forth between 7th Heaven and MTV, read a magazine, rip out pages for future reference or archiving, and sip from my SIGG all while doing a high level on the Stairmaster Gauntlet at the gym.

This is exactly what I was doing two years ago when I culled the above Vogue article about Tammy Fender and her cult following. I have been a devotee ever since.

Even though I'm a Kiehl's girl at heart, I truly love my Tammy Fender splurges and my absolute favorite is the Epi-Peel. It smells sooo delish that I shed a tear when it comes time to rinse.

It takes 7000 rose petals to produce a single drop of the Bulgarian Rose Water. I feel like the Queen of Egypt when I use this toner. And, then I huff the cotton pad. Not very queen like.

I genuinely liked my Antioxidant Creme Neroli Orange from the start. Truly, I did. Then, about a year into my habit, I read how Lauren Bush never boards a plane without it, Melania Trump swears by it, AND I spied it in my chic sister-in-laws medicine chest. I realized I was in tall cotton and now I really, REALLY like it!

From now through August 31 Tammy Fender is offering 20% all online, phone or in person orders. Just enter the coupon code "JUL09DEAL" to see the discount reflected with online orders.

And...as an added bonus Kiehl's is offering a free travel size with your 16.9 oz regular purchase when you stop into the store now thru June 30.

18 June, 2009

Emma's Favorite Southern Mint Brownies

Whenever we have a family soirée during the summer months, Emma invariably spearheads the campaign requesting either one of two things from moi; Barefoot Contessa's guacamole or...my famous Southern Mint Brownies. Dare to show up with both and you could quite possibly spend the evening being fanned with palm fronds and hand fed peeled grapes in appreciation for your greatness.

4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa
1 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Mint Cream Frosting
3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter

Beat eggs lightly with a wire whisk in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, and stir well. Combine flour and cocoa; gradually stir into egg mixture. Stir in melted butter and flavorings. Pour into a greased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan; bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Spread Mint Cream Frosting over brownie layer; freeze 15 minutes. Melt chocolate squares and 3 tablespoons butter in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Spread over frosting using a pastry brush. Refrigerate until firm; cut into squares. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 2 dozen

Mint Cream Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract 3 to 4 drops green food coloring

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer; gradually mix in the sugar, beating after each addition. Add milk; beat until spreading consistency. Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring. Yield: about 2 cups.

Disclaimer: If ya plan on fitting into any of the loot you may have ordered from yesterday's Calypso post, I would advise using above recipe with extreme caution, for they are highly addictive...

17 June, 2009

Jonsing For Calypso

Last Wednesday my Crackberry was a smokin' from all the emails, texts and calls logged between my sister, nieces, aide-de-camp Lizzie, and myself when Calypso St. Barth debuted their renovated site that was chock full of pretty new summer duds.

The consensus was that the Juno Dress was the pièce de résistance with pink and purple running neck and neck as the color of choice.

But, hey...why put limits on oneself? I could totally take one of each and still wear the life out of them.

Next on my list was this pretty, Bermuda blue addition to my Cool Change collection. I live in these beach cover ups and never tire of strangers stalking me to ask where I get them.

Lizzie and I have a purple floral version of this Rowena Delano Dress from last year that we both wore into the ground. I remember, we had both been eyeing it for a couple of weeks discussing back and forth it's merits and potential. Then, US mag broke a picture of Nikki Hilton sporting it at the Hampton Classic horse show and that was all she wrote. I'd say we both had it in our greedy little mitts within days.

Now, usually this arm/neckline and swimmers build don't mix so, I tend to shy away from this style. But, the color and the fabric looked so pretty that I was toying with breaking my own rule. But, alas, Lizzie has reported back from the front lines of the Boston Calypso and is only giving the Emerson Dress a lukewarm review. Babe thanks you Lizzie.

This next choice goes out to Emma...Leighton (I'm coming back with Blaire's wardrobe in my next life), Taylor (ehhh...) and our girl Nikki again rockin the in vogue pink skirt.

I'm trying to convince myself that I am not too old (i.e. fat) for this look but, will settle with forcing my niece to get it.

And the sleeper? The Belen Dress which Lizzie gives a resounding two thumbs up. Apparently, it doesn't photograph well but, in person the beading is amazing. I received an email from a loyal reader Sarah, who was smitten with this dress as well, and was anxiously awaiting it's delivery and hoping there would be no husband "package intercepting".

And, lastly, I really want these jeans but I just don't know. I had a pair at one point then returned them. They looked fabulous on Reese but, I just couldn't commit. But, now Lizzie has put them back on our continuously updated "hot list" and has even followed up with a sighting of her fav chic J. Crew personnel wearing them well with a ruffle shirt and cardi. It's a good thing I'm not a gambling woman cuz I would have bet a million dollars that I wouldn't live to see, let alone sport, the "tuck and roll" again. Good thing...

Kindness of aide-de-camp Lizzie Prenger (soon to be Lawson) who is being très gracious about me exposing all our trade secrets and thus risking a run on our private wish list. Also, to Sarah, I hope your husband doesn't read my blog. XXOO

16 June, 2009

Cookie Coma

After a four day "tour of gluttony" that included eating our weight in Katie Lee Joel cookie dough, previously banned Diet Cokes and Sauvignon Blanc, Five Guys burgers and pizza from two different joints, we are waving the white flag.

The alarm is set, and the SIGG, workout shoes, iPod and US mag are all neatly lined up by the front door. Please God, pleassseee...if we do penance at the gym in the morning will you help us get back on track and into all our new summer finery? Whaaa...??? Yes God, I promise to make mummy throw out our open bag of unused chocolate chips...sniffle, sniffle...