Not Martha

Savory Sweet Life cookbook

Huge congratulations to Alice on the release of her cookbook Savory Sweet Life!

cover of Savory Sweet Life

I love the way the chapters are divided by occasion, but not necessarily special occasions. “Lunch Between Friends”, “Snow Day”, “Block Party” and “Summer Fun in the Sun” are all chapters.

contents page

The recipes are droolworthy but not intimidating, it’s all crowd pleasing food made extra special. There are useful tips for preparation, storing and variations. The photos are bright and clear and not only make me excited to make the food but also to get to the part where you get to share it with people you love. And there are lots of recipes you can prepare ahead of time (including two breakfast casseroles that you assemble the night before, I adore those) so you get more time to spend with people.

strawberry spinach salad

This is a salad I’ll be making tonight.

gingerbread waffles

These waffles were inspired by a now-closed restaurant here in Seattle called the Jitterbug which was a block away from the first house Scott and I lived in when we moved here. We miss those waffles too so extra thanks for this recipe Alice!

daiquiri popsicles

· comments [2] · 06-6-2012 · categories:books · food ·

links: shopping

Is there such a thing as a comfortable high heel? How does one transition from wearing flats/low block heels all the time to wearing high heels? | Ask MetaFilter. Also: Where can I get cute shoes for walking that don’t look like running shoes? | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of great walking shoes that don’t look too sensible in the answers here.

Don’t buy this stuff right now | The Wirecutter. This is a note for Scott who has been longing for a larger television.

A Wearable Planter by wearableplanter on Etsy. I love the little ones that mount on bicycles!

Bike Season at Oh Happy Day. If I didn’t already have a bike I love I’d probably be making an excuse to head to San Francisco to check out these made by Public Bikes.

Help me avoid a fitting room meltdown. | Ask MetaFilter. Oh boy do I need the advice in this thread. I have been known to have fitting room meltdown during a session with a personal stylist at Nordstrom, so I know I have it bad.

Toothy The Tooth Ferry Pillow & Illustrated Story Book. I’m still a bit tooth focused around here.

· comments [7] · 05-30-2012 · categories:links · shopping ·

Jack Cards + Blogstar = cards you want

This is neat! Bloggers have created cards available over at Jack Cards. Huge high five to Sarah Bryden Brown from Blogstar for setting this up.

Go buy them so we can have more awesome bloggers make more awesome cards.

By The Jealous Curator.

By Amy Furgeson of Old Sweet Song.

By Melanie Biehle of Inward Facing Girl.

· comments [4] · 05-7-2012 · categories:shopping ·

links: shopping

the UGC: Spec-tacular. Whitney updates us on where to buy prescription glasses online, which I’m going to do really soon.

How can we recreate/mimic the Anthropologie fashion look, but on a budget? | Ask MetaFilter.

A CUP OF JO: Lookmatic glasses. This is a reminder to myself to get myself some new glasses this year.

· comments [10] · 02-27-2012 · categories:links · shopping ·

ooh la Rue La La [a sponsored post]

Rue La La

In addition to having me along for their party at Alt Summit earlier this year Rue La La gave me a bit of store credit to spend so that I could report on what the experience was like. Sounds like a crazy good dream right? I’m not going to lie to you, it completely was.

In case you’re not already familiar with them here are the basics: Rue La La is a curated shopping site that offers impressive discounts on goods or coupons for women, men, kids and household stuff on a daily basis and travel and local finds for a bunch of cities on a weekly basis. In addition to shops featuring single brands they have collections of things like winter boots or summer dresses or, a recent favorite of mine, things that will get you ready for Sunday brunch (they had everything from specialty coffee to electric griddles). They carry a lot of high end brands and I have to admit I was a little afraid I might not find anything for our mostly practical household but it turns out that I shouldn’t have worried, they have a great mix of both the things you need and delicious eye candy (at impressive discounts). Rue La La is one of the oldest quick sales sites, have a huge number of shoppers and, I can say with confidence, are super nice people.

Rue La La

One of the things I like about Rue La La is that when you buy your first item you pay $9.95 for shipping and for the next 30 days your shipping is covered. I bought a good featherbed, pictured above, which came in a ginormous heavy box and I was grateful for that shipping price. And, oh my gosh people, having a featherbed is like sleeping on a cloud that is warm but not too warm and puffy but not too puffy. When it arrived we unpacked it and laid it out on the bed to let it fluff up (I hereby heart baffles). Scott flopped down on it and refused to leave for a solid ten minutes. We love it.

It is good to keep in mind that shipping is covered when you find something you like because things get sold out very quickly. One morning I found a fantastically priced Diane Von Furstenberg dress (silk print with a twist front, I could have worn it for so many occasions) and in the time it took me to decide between two sizes they were both sold out. Urgh. I refilled my coffee cup and by the time I got back to the table all of the sizes were sold out. Poof. The site has a shopping bag but they also wisely offer a “Quick! Buy It” button that I learned to use for items I was certain about. Each of the shops stay up for 48 hours and if you spot something you wanted but is sold out there is a “Still Want It?” option you can use and the folks at Rue La La told me that about 50% of the time they are still able to get the deal for you.

Rue La La

Rue La La has mobile apps for iPhone and Android and I found the iPhone app was very easy to navigate. I used my phone to buy the gold flats pictured above while lying in bed, it kinda made me feel like a princess so I took a photo from the same spot. If there is one thing I learned at Alt Summit it’s that I’ll use gold flats far more often than I might have thought. (You are secretly jealous of my pink polka dot pajama pants.)

Sales go up daily and most appear at 11 a.m. East coast time, meaning they are at 8 a.m. here on the West Coast. At first I was feeling a little like “everything has to happen so early here” but then a friend pointed out that she was able to shop Rue La La on her phone while on the bus on her way to work in the mornings. Another friend chimed in to say that she browses the new arrivals while she is walking her dog in the morning. I find this completely charming. It’s like we are living in the future.

Rue La La

Scott’s rubber boots got a hole in them so we replaced them with this far nicer looking pair of slip on shoes. These were meant to serve as mud shoes for chores but he reports they are so comfortable they might become shoes for trekking around the city on particularly rainy days instead.

To help you stay on top of sales that you’re interested in Rue La La lets you set up notices. They show you what’s coming up in the week or so ahead and you can choose to have the site email or text you when the shop goes live, and there is a nice little checklist layout for it so it takes seconds to do. I was really impressed with how easy they made it. When you do order something your confirmation and shipping notice emails come from “the Rue La La Concierge” which made me laugh.

Rue La La

Rue La La surprised me with the variety of what they have. I knew they offered lots of clothing and accessories but I also found kitchen appliances and gadgets, home decor, luggage and even modern fireplaces (which I wish we had a spot for, I’d be all over that). I have to admit I was not expecting to find wine among the sales. The bottles pictured above are two single vineyard varieties and I’m sort of in love with the dramatic labels. We’re planning on having friends over to share. I feel weirdly grown up to have such an abundance of matching wine in my house.

One of the things I was most surprised by was how helpful I started to find the weekly travel sales as they introduce me to new hotels or destinations. We’re headed to New England in the fall and twice now lovely inns have been featured that would be perfect (and I swear sound like they are located right inside Stars Hollow). While the dates of the deals didn’t coincide with our trip I am still happy to have learned about a great place I didn’t know about before. Also, I have to admit, the island getaways are like travel porn in the middle of a gloomy day here. Rue La La also has a selection of local deals for the cities of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC and (hooray) Seattle (we’re usually not on those sorts of lists). As with travel I’ve been introduced to spots around Seattle that I wasn’t familiar with yet.

Thanks for letting me a have a good look inside what you do, Rue La La!

Rue La La gave me credit to use to purchase the items I talk about above but all the opinions and observations are my own.

· comments [81] · 02-13-2012 · categories:shopping ·

Cookbook Club: Gourmet Game Night

dishes from Gourmet Game Night

My cookbook club met last weekend and our book this time around was Gourmet Game Night: Bite-Sized, Mess-Free Eating for Board-Game Parties, Bridge Clubs, Poker Nights, Book Groups, and More by Cynthia Nims. I made pretzel sticks with three mustard dipping sauces. I lack proper serving bowls so I went with what I know, jars. Transporting dips in jars is ideal and even better is that at the end of the night you can take the dirty dishes home easily by simply putting the lid back on. You might recognize the jars above from some of my other projects: mug wraps I made for Real Simple, these held the optional cocoa mix, cobbler baked in jars and the big is from grapefruit tarragon infused vodka.

The pretzel sticks were made from scratch and while time consuming were worth it. I couldn’t find pretzel salt on short notice so I used chunky sea salt and it worked great. The mustard dips were easy as could be:

    Herbed Mustard

  • 1⁄2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced tender fresh herbs (chives, flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon, and/or basil)
    Roasted Garlic Mustard

  • 1⁄2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons puréed roasted garlic (for me this translated into one head of roasted garlic)
    Smoke and Spice Mustard (my favorite)

  • 1⁄2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

You can find the full recipe for the pretzel sticks as well as the recipe for the Green Pea and Mint Spread with Crispy Pancetta over at Dishing with Cathy Casey and find a few other recipes over at the Gourmet Game Night website.

dishes from Gourmet Game Night

Green Pea and Mint Spread with Crispy Pancetta and Artichoke-Stuffed Mushrooms. The mint spread was surprisingly delicious.

dishes from Gourmet Game Night

Olive and Cheese Crakers which I couldn’t stop eating, they are savory but tender like a cookie, and Pickled Grape and Blue Cheese Skewers.

dishes from Gourmet Game Night

Stuffed Large Pasta Shells with Kale-Ricotta Filling and Roasted Red Potatoes with Bacon-Chive Creme Fraiche which I really loved, like itty bitty potato skins.

We also tried Aged Cheddar with Dried Cherry-Almond Chutney which was great and Polenta Squares with Spicy Sausage and Spinach. Everything was easy to eat with fingers and little fuss, which was fantastic. I didn’t try any of the desserts and I forgot to get photographs of the drinks we tried, Manhattans with Spiced Cherries, Pomegranate-Mint Fizz and Key Lime Gimlets, all of which are made in pitchers making less fuss for the host or hostess. Looking through the table of contents I think I’ll also be trying the Spicy Meatballs with Yogurt-Cucumber Dip and Mini Shepards Pies in the future.

Did we play games? Nope, our group was too large and we knew we would be have plenty to talk about. Instead we used this night as an excuse to put on our fanciest dresses and sparkliest jewelry which we all agreed we don’t get enough chances to wear. It was a huge amount of fun, thanks ladies! I highly recommend doing something similar, wearing your fancy clothes without necessarily needing to be on your best behavior is a huge amount of fun.

· comments [17] · 01-30-2012 · categories:books · food ·

book I like: A Practical Wedding

A Practical Wedding book cover

Last week I had the huge pleasure of rooming with Meg Keene while we were attending the Altitude Design Conference. Meg was there to speak and she had just started on her book tour for her shiny new book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration.

I wish this book existed when I was planning my wedding. It wish it a lot, and that is a sentiment I’ve heard from a bunch of people. Meg’s site A Practical Wedding, had just started and at that point it was just her writing and starting to figure out how to navigate this big life event that so many industries have their claws into. Her site quickly became one of my favorites as it worked as a place to go get my head straight after looking at sites and magazines that were trying to sell me perfection at a huge cost. And that is exactly what this book is, a thoughtful look at what a wedding should and can be. She works through tradition (and which things these days appear expected but aren’t actually traditional), intention for your self, intention for your family and community and how to navigate all the freaky emotional stuff that appears out of seeming nowhere. It’s like having a very cool older sister who went through all this already to help guide you on what is and what isn’t important. It doesn’t look down on weddings in general, and it doesn’t discount expensive weddings but also helps you create a rocking smaller affair. It helps you anticipate things you might not focus on and tells you that you’ll need help (you will) and how to ask for it. The book is sprinkled with essays from brides (Team Practical) telling about their own experiences, good and bad. The book is written with humor, grace and perspective and never stops feeling like she is talking right to you. If you or someone you know is getting married soon I cannot tell you enough how much you need this book. And get one for the moms involved too. And the bridesmaids. Oh heck, let’s just say all of the wedding party and everybody attending should read it too.

Meg is currently on her book tour! If you are at one of the stops you simply must go see her, she is funny and engaging and awesome. She is traveling across the country on Amtrak and reporting about the trip. It’s giving me serious train envy. Also, she’ll be interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on Thursday and she lists a few other radio appearances (including Martha Stewart Radio!).

· comments [3] · 01-24-2012 · categories:books ·

links: shopping

Best Place to Purchase Large Modern World Wall Maps? | Ask MetaFilter.

Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling | Lovely Package. I have got to sniff this perfume sometime, I love gin.

The 2011 Good Gift Games – The Morning News and defective yeti — Good Gift Games Greatest Hits.

The Cadillac of eyeglasses? | Ask MetaFilter. From the question: “I have $1000 in a health savings account and three weeks to spend it or lose it. I’ve decided to buy the world’s awesomest pair of glasses.” I giggled at the suggestion of getting ten pairs of Warby Parker glasses. Lots of suggestions for NYC options here.

· comments [3] · 12-20-2011 · categories:links · shopping ·

book: The Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

This is The Bust DIY Guide to Life and I desperately wish I had this book when I was around high school age. They’ve collected things from the magazine and included a whole bunch of new stuff on everything from decorating to beauty to savings and lay it all out in clear way that makes me feel like I could take on the world. The book is thick, over 360 pages, and is like a nice heavy textbook. I appreciate that the projects include real life needs like how to lower the front of a waistband of an a-line skirt and how to cut your bangs so that you won’t regret it. There is information on sewing, cooking, gardening, financing a small business and even a nude paint-by-numbers. Debbie and Laurie, I love the book!

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

· comments [5] · 12-15-2011 · categories:books ·

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

Marie of the fabulous site Make and Takes recently came out with her first book (yay Marie!) called Make and Takes for Kids. It covers 50 weeks of seasonal projects easy enough for kids, and you too, to take on. Each is clearly explained and photographed and they all have a bit of cleverness that makes me want to make them myself. This would make a great gift for any crafty family and would give them a year full of activities while reflecting on holidays and seasons. If you’d like to read more about it go visit the Make and Takes for Kids book page.

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

· comments [6] · 12-12-2011 · categories:books ·

The Portland Bazaar

The Portland Bazaar

Are you near Portland (the one in Oregon) next weekend? I highly recommend heading to The Portland Bazaar. It’s filled with excellent handmade goods from makers curated by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. The sneak peaks are enough to make me weak in the knees. And I hear that West Elm is serving breakfast to the first 100 people in the doors, nice. There are also DIY classes, book signings and demos including chocolate tasting and terrarium making. If I didn’t have something to be at up here in Seattle I’d be making my way to Portland to join you lucky things.

· comments [3] · 12-8-2011 · categories:shopping ·

The Colette Sewing Handbook

Colette Sewing Handbook

I got a copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick and I think I swooned a little. I’ve been a fan of Colette Patterns and her tutorials for a long time. The book contains five principles (a thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric, and a fine finish) and five patterns (a scalloped-hem skirt, flutter-sleeve blouse, sweetheart neck sheath dress, asymmetrical flounce dress, and a lined dress with gathered sleeves). Each section of the book takes you through creating each garment, teaching you techniques as you work.

Colette Sewing Handbook

The book has my favorite spiral binding so it will stay open while you work, as well as a set of patterns in the back.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing needle and thread types

The book takes you through the basics, showing tools and techniques very clearly explaining the benefits and uses for each kind.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing how to lay out a pattern on a table top

Each section of the book uses one of the patterns in the back and acts as a complete lesson in sewing a garment from start to finish. This is how I learn, I need a real project to work all the way through, so I adored how this book was arranged. You build your knowledge with each project.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing draping on a form

She gives very basic and practical tips so you don’t have to struggle. Every step is clearly displayed and explained.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing a model wearing a flutter sleeve top

And of course all the items in the book are things you definitely want to wear. Easy enough to take on, with just enough clean detail to be super cool. Just look at this top, gorgeous. If you want to learn to sew your own clothes and need a set of lessons to start you off this book is perfect.

· comments [15] · 11-28-2011 · categories:books · sewing ·

I’m selling Dahlia pins to raise money for Charity:Water

update: Well that was fast. I’m all sold out of Dahlia pins for the moment. Thanks so much to everybody who is helping me raise money!

In less than two weeks I’m headed to Camp Mighty and part of what we’re doing is raising money for Charity:Water. I’ve decided to stick with something I know and sell a few of the Dahlia pins which I wrote a tutorial for a few years ago.

These were originally created to be a Mother’s Day gift but I think they’d work equally well as a Christmas gift or perhaps as a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.

Want one? I do hope so! Please visit my Etsy shop called clove+clover for Dahlia Pins in many colors. I have red, dark red, plum, pink, bright pink, yellow, lavender, light gray and dark gray. These are made from my favorite all-wool felt which is lovely, thick and does not have any of the shine that most craft felts display. I have a limited supply of felt, but I’ll be re-listing colors that I still have in stock.

Each pin will also have the secret pocket in the back where you can store a small photograph or message. I’ll be adding more specific photographs to the Etsy listings as they are created. Go visit clove+clover if you’d like one, and thanks.

Here is what some of our other members are doing to raise money for Charity:Water:

I’ll update with more as our team continues to roll out awesome fundraising ideas. If you’d like to read more about Charity:Water and what we’re all up to please see the excellent post at Just a Titch. Thanks to you all!

· comments [17] · 11-1-2011 · categories:shopping ·

me and Jack Bishop and Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook!

Guess what? I get to interview Jack Bishop tomorrow! You know, from Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen:

He’s in town talking about the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s most Trusted Food Magazine. I’m totally geeking out over this. So, do you have any you’ve always wanted to know? I’m your girl. Post questions here and I’ll bring back answers.

· comments [24] · 10-25-2011 · categories:books · food ·

thing I like: the jeans edition

two pairs of dark wash jeans

I’m petite and struggle to find jeans I like. It seemed like I had a stretch of (long) years there where I just couldn’t find any that fit correctly. (Does everybody in the world have skinny thighs except for me?) But! I’ve recently found two kinds that make me very happy, it’s a high/low situation here:

The first are Joe’s Provocateur in a bootcut fit, I believe the pair I bought were petite. (Updated to add: I’ve just learned Provocateur are always petite. Thanks SR!) I found them at Nordstrom, $172. Now, I don’t normally spend that much on a single piece of clothing but these have been so very perfect to dress up or down that I find it was very worth it. These are bootcut with a high enough rise to eliminate the worst of the muffin top effect without making them feel like Mom Jeans. They are a nice dark blue without any fading or whiskering and a tidy fold ironed into the center front and back of the leg (which will fall out after a few washes if you’d rather not have it).

The second are Old Navy jeans in Sweetheart petite fit, again bootleg. I bought these on sale ($17.50!) but it looks like they are regularly closer to $30. The rise is similarly high but-not-too-high and the darkest wash isn’t too faded or treated looking. I think I might need backup pairs of both styles.

· comments [35] · 10-21-2011 · categories:shopping ·