for the love of fashion, beauty, food, art, music, dancing, people, culture and life!
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Gimme Some of That Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip…

PBC: You don't say no to this...or kick it out of bed, even if you have a no crumbs allowed rule.

Nothing makes the holidays more warm and cozy that taking out a tray of steaming, goey cookies from the oven with ridiculously oversized gingham mitts (silicone is for boobies).  The only thing I was missing was a 50’s style floral ruffle apron from Anthropologie (cough-cough-hint-hint). 

My roomie, akin to the rest of the world, has an allergy to gluten and one afternoon she lamented, “If you could bake me flourless peanut butter cookies, I would love you for-everrrrr.” Or some variation on that comment.  Perhaps I embellished to give you a gist of the fervour behind her request.

This Old Thang: Bake some cookies, then go out in your turquoise halter Anthropologie apron. Just kidding. Please don't go out in your apron.

This recipe is taken from the Kraft website  jazzed up with my LC special touch.  Cooking is an art, baking is a science.  It takes mad skills to mess around with baking.  Even if you want to health-ify it, please refrain from using buckwheat flour. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of flour (you can use rice flour for your gluten intolerant friends)
  • Yields 24 cookies

Directions (Prep time 10-15 minutes)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine the peanut butter, eggs and sugar. 
  3. Fold in flour gradually.  Stir until mixture becomes a stiff cookie dough consistency.
  4. Drop in chocolate chips and peanuts.  The amount you add in is optional.  I choose more chocolate.
  5. Since the dough has minimal flour, you may want to put the bowl into the fridge for a half hour to stiffen. 
  6. Using a tablespoon drop cookie dough onto a non-stick pan.  You should be able to fit a dozen on a tray.  You can also roll the dough into 1″ balls but I enjoy the ‘made with love’ appearance of bumpy cookies. 
  7. Bake for 18 minutes for a softer cookie or until the edges brown.
  8. Remove cookies carefully using a flat wooden spatula and allow to cool before serving with cold milk. 

Why did you ask?  Of course they are fattening.  But sometimes you can’t take the fat out of delicious.

Share

December 17, 2010   No Comments

Hostess Etiquette 101

Ooh French Country in Red: A pretty table setting from Dinner Party Wars

In an attempt to avoid time suckage, I choose to live in a television free zone.  Though having stayed at my mother’s place for a few days, I could not help but succumb to the home improvement shows on HGTV and fanciful cooking segments on Food Network.  I still quite enjoy Jamie Oliver’s lisp. 

One show in particular that had me intrigued was Dinner Party Wars, where three couples competed in a challenge to host the best dinner party.  Having been a hostess and a guest at many social gatherings, both exceptional and fall dead asleep boring, I could probably fill a novella with quips and useful advice.  With the holiday season fast upon us, I thought I could share some of these useful grains of wisdom with all of you.

Brush up on your social skills: Kate Spade Occasions

  • Guestlist, guestlist, guestlist – I once read a hilarious blurb in a book about seating people alternating funny-boring-funny-boring-etc  If it were up to me, there would be no boring!  But there is some truth to this statement that the personalities should mesh well.  When throwing an intimate dinner, the best ones have a good blend of friends and strangers who will hopefully connect on their commonalities – “Oh, you love red velvet cupcakes? OMG, me too!”  And ’tis the season for love connections.  Did you know that if you hook up 3 friends successfully, you get a green light straight to heaven?  You haven’t heard about this?  That’s because I made it up.    
  • Decorate Good Times –  I have had many themed parties – Japanese, French Wine & Cheese, Summer Al Fresco.  Even if you don’t go over the top with party decorations, a lush bouquet or some tealights helps to set the mood.
  • Greetings and salutations – A good hostess welcomes new guests into the fold by greeting, then taking around the new arrival to strangers.  A conversational starter is how they know each other and letting the individuals know if there something mutual between them ie. a similar career, a sport or activity, where they live, etc.  It’s always nice to leave a guest with few acquaintances at the party with a friend (co-hostess) who is very accomodating – this way, they never feel awk-ward. 
  • Feed the People –  Although it is not uncommon to start a dinner party late, you should have drinks, nibbles and appetizers ready for guests.  Even if you have special prepared warm appetizers, it won’t kill you to leave pretzels, nuts or chips on the tables.  They knew they were coming to a party so they have been saving their appetites.  For smaller gatherings, a fixed menu is manageable, however, for larger parties a buffet style may please more people’s palettes and food preferences. 

Dessert served up on these Natural World plates from Anthropologie. Bugs and grenouilles never looked so appetizing!

  • No Prohibition – Never let the drinks run dry.  Always top off glasses but offer water when you notice people crossing the line into OOC (out of control) territory. 
  • It’s a Party – Parties are meant to be enjoyed, by everyone including the hostess.  Let your guests get involved if they offer.  Allow them to bring out plates of food, refill wine glasses or help you put dishes into the dishwasher.  You should be giggling, clinking glasses and dancing too!  What’s the point of having a social if you’re going to be a party pooper and boil over like a stress pot?  A memorable party is one where everyone has a great time.  Remember, a happy hostess sets the tone. 

Careful now! Don't cry over spilled wine...unless it's red and your couch is white. Busted, so obsessed with Anthropologie.

Share

November 14, 2010   2 Comments

When In Yorkville…

Can't say I'm a big fan of Olivia Palermo, but she does have great hair. The kind you would find in Bloor-Yorkville.

I rarely make it north of Bloor Street and east of Yonge.  I try to walk everywhere and I can find most everything in my SW quadrant of the city.  When I do venture outside of this territory into Bloor-Yorkville, I find myself acting like a tourist.  Generally within the span of time between visits, new restaurants and shops have emerged and the area is great people watching fodder.  If you are looking for chi-chi poo-poo, this is where you will find it.  Flaxen blown out blondes with that pristine Olivia Palermo hair (ringlets are no accident, but the work of a hairstylist) stomp in their designer heels with rich older sugar daddies, old ladies in ancient mink and oversize sunnies sit on patios and Porsches rev their engines on Cumberland.  I am truly fascinated…but only in doses.

Glamour is nice on a sunny afternoon.  If you are in the area, be sure to make a cameo at:

  • Teatro Verde (100 Yorkville Ave.)  is a glorious mansion filled with floral couture, luxury furnishings, curious and fanciful gifts.  Each room is decorated in a unique theme and mood – from Asian rock n’ roll with monolith Buddhas to a sophisticated Paris apartment with designer coffee table books and plush French Provincial divans.  Wondering where to buy a Veruschka coffee table book?  Look no further.  Need a gift for an heiress?  Have a designer create a custom bouquet with grosgrain ribbon.  Does your Den need an Old World globe and telescope?  That’s here too.  It’s as though you’ve died and gone to heaven, if your idea of heaven is a curated and decorated by super-talented artistic directors (like mine is).

"Ooh, Ahhh, Oh" The sounds you will make at Teatro Verde. Glorious.

  • Anthropologie (78 Yorkville Ave.) As if the beauty doesn’t stop, next door at Anthropologie, there are embellished jewels, embroidered caftans, Indian jewellery boxes, shabby chic housewares (love the enamel floral hooks and the ikat and gold-trimmed bowls!) and flouncy cotton dresses.  Transported to a foreign escape with the thumping beats of a ‘Buddha Bar’ soundtrack, you can find a plethora of interesting finds from tulle ruffled boleros to tribal printed cotton sleeping pants.  If you need a Gypset wardrobe, here you go.

I've been to quite a few outposts of Anthropologie and I must say, I enjoy the setup of the Yorkville location.

Lucinda Blouse styled super-cute worn off the shoulder with a sideways bun. High KB factor. True.

  • Cafe Nervosa (75 Yorkville Ave.) Ever since I was a fresh-faced fashionistah, my girlfriends and I would meet up for drinks on the patio or for a casual dinner.  The thin-crust pizza is lovely here, not too doughy with fresh vegetables and a light choice with a glass of wine for the summer.  If you are in a festive mood, why not order a jug of white wine sangria?  (To share.  Don’t be a shicker.) The wait staff with their cute Italian accents, are jovial and the smell of garlic wafts from the open concept kitchen (a bonus if you love garlic).  A very popular locale for lunch and dinner without being too sceney or pretentious. 

Cafe Nervosa at Night. Courtesy BlogTO.com

Share

June 10, 2010   1 Comment

DIY: Colour Blocking Your Closet

On the topic of perfectionism, one of my favourite activities in the whole world is colour blocking.  Considered borderline OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) by some, it makes the chore of laundry bearable.  I recently did an event where I kindly asked volunteers to colour block jewellery and shoes.  This was received with eye rolls, sneers and annoyance ‘really?’  But the end effect was quite smashing and they agreed that the visual aesthetic was worth the extra effort.  It’s just sooooo much prettier. 

Maybe it’s my formative years spent in retail boutiques, endless hours of folding designer jeans just so, meticulously spacing hangers on racks (a 1/2″ apart) and neatly merchandising  tops in an ombre effect (light to dark) that has engrained in me the need for my closet to resemble a store.  But I know other fashionistahs that share this compulsion so I feel much better about it.  We drank the Kool-Aid together. 

This morning I visited my good friend C who is in the process of converting her upstairs office into a walk-in closet.  Her grey dress pants were touching her light silk summer dresses.  OMG.  I exclaimed, “Your dresses are touching your pants.  Your closet is cute but you need to colour block.”  She agreed and as it’s still a work in progress. 

Here are some tips & reasons why you may want to transform your closet to top form:

  • Crank the Tunes – Colour blocking can be as relaxing as sitting in a giant hot tub.  Turn up your favourite melodies and start from white, move to colours, then fade to black.  Even if your wardrobe consists of grey to grey-black to dark midnight black, there is still room to colour block.  I like to work the colour wheel.
  • The Closet Edit – The activity of colour blocking also allows you to disect your fashion choices.  Never realized how much you’ve invested in the colour purple (my problem) or how much you need a functional blazer?  I mean, how many chiffon blouses does one need?  A general rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it in more than two years, you likely won’t.  Perhaps a trip to consignment, Goodwill or a local charity is due.  Why hoard fashion that might have a better home with someone who will cherish it?  Give how you live.

A Perfect World: Anthropologie tops merchandised with like colours on vintage fixtures.

  • Shoes, To Box or To Hang? – When I used to have a gi-normous closet with tons of storage, I used to keep all my shoes in boxes, clearly labelled ‘Turquoise Snake Slingbacks’ or ‘Pink Satin Peeptoes.’  This was a convenient method until I moved to my studio style apartment.  Boxing shoes works for Kimora Lee Simmons and her ilk, but for those of us with limited space, hanging shoe organizers are key.  I like how I can see all my shoes which makes dashing out the door very easy.
  • Victoria Secret Up In The Hizzo – If you’re picking up what I’m laying down and you don’t think I’ve gone beyond the edge of reason or think I’ve been hit with the crazy-stick, you would die to see my lingerie drawer.  Boy shorts, lace hipsters and thongs folded in pocket squares and lined up in neat rows.  It is my pride and joy. 

Always wondered why I took Colour Theory in university. Fashion school pays off.

Share

May 17, 2010   No Comments

Smut Alert!

Pretty Anthropologie Saint Germain chemise

Now that I’ve got your attention. Psych!  I love declaring ‘smut’ even if it is under false pretenses. 

This weekend, I had a very in-depth conversation with my girls K and McG about the movie, The Hangover and how guys never want to see girls in a non-girly light.  K adamantly argued that guys want to believe that when girls get together, they are in their rooms jumping on beds, hitting each other with pillows and engaging in tickle fights.  She believes that besides Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, men in general do not like women that are funny.  This made me laugh very hard.  More like nervous laugh, because I’m single and if you haven’t noticed, pretty frickn’ hilarious (I think). 

To top off our sketchy bar crawl, I dragged the girls past the lineup at over capacity LeVack Block and into an obscure bar disguised by a neon pink Vietnamese karaoke sign.  For those in the know, this is Baby Huey (70 Ossington Ave.)  The atmosphere is cozy, chilling with hipsters and pumping with old-school hip hop beats.  Decorated with plump thrift store couches, the back room glows with a red light in a kind of 1970’s Dirk Diggler style.  It’s definitely ‘smut’ material.   

Baby Huey with the lights on.

 

Share

March 21, 2010   No Comments

Life Imitates Art…Imitates Life

Meryl is such a chameleon. And no wonder everyone likes Amy Adams.

At social gatherings or cocktail parties, friends of friends have approached me by saying, “So I hear you’ve started a blog.  That’s so Julie & Julia of you.  I bet your blog becomes a book, then a movie.”  “Ha-ha-ha,” I laughed it off.  Intrigued by these statements, I thought I would rent the movie at my mom’s house (I don’t own a television) and see what all the fuss is about.  I thought to myself, ‘I worship Meryl Streep and she’s nominated for an Oscar for her performance, so why not?’

Expertly adapted for the screen by Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia is the semi-autobiographical story of Julie Powell who nearing her 30th birthday decided to start a blog cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 524 recipes in 365 days in her tiny New York apartment.  I enjoyed the film because it paralleled Julie’s struggle to find passion again in her writing while contrasting with Julia’s own determination as an American taking on French cuisine and finally succeeding in publishing her own cookbook. 

Have you ever noticed that Oscar contenders are always based on a true story?  Well, the best stories are grounded in truth.  What better subject matter to draw from than our own experiences?

'You Go Girl!' Real-life Julie Powell. Dreams do come true!

Here are some of my take-aways from the film:

  • Heart shaped Valentines – OMG, this is sooooooo cute!  In a scene, Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci entertain guests at a Valentines dinner while pinned with giant red heart brooches!  I am totally DIY (do-it-yourself) making these and handing them out to friends.
  • Talk the Talk – I thought it was really cute when Julia would greet Parisians en francais.  So when you meet strangers and they tell you, it’s a pleasure to meet you, you respond, “Enchante!”  (exuberantly, of course). 
  • Domestic Goddess Fashion – I am a foodie, but not one that really knows how to cook roasts or special sauces.  Being a vegetarian, has limitations you see.  I didn’t even realize that I had a gas stove until real chefs came over commenting on ‘how lucky I am.’  That said, I have been learning how to become a domestic goddess.  I believe a real fashionistah domestic goddess wears adorable, fashion forward aprons like the ones found at Anthropologie or at a local indie store.  I am definitely DIY creating these with ruffles, pom-poms, bright trims and contrasting prints.

Look good, feel like a confident cook! I cook, therefore I am!

Share

February 8, 2010   No Comments