Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jessica Simpson Denim Launch

Jessica and I in front of my "closet"

 A wall of Jessica's awesome new denim collection

 Best closet ever. Everything in my size and it's covered with print-outs from Milk & Mode!

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jessica Simpson at a chic, super-intimate little soiree she threw in her Manhattan showroom to celebrate the upcoming launch of her brand new line of denim. I was one of only four bloggers invited and the Jessica Simpson team was thoughtful (and creative!) enough to build each one of us our very own closets filled to the brim with clothes and shoes in our sizes and a cute, nautical suitcase to haul it all home in. Plus! The closets were wallpapered in print-outs from our blogs. They sure know how to make a girl feel special.

But back to her new line of denim: it's comfortable, chic and fits like a glove. Best of all? The jeans will retail for $49-$69 come mid-July on her own site along with Macy's and Dillards. If the runaway success of her shoes are any indication, you better start checking in for them now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Whole World Wants What We're On

Images by Zac Sebastian

Swedish Midsummer is officially my new favorite holiday. Over the weekend, my gorgeous Swedish friend Elin Svahn, invited me to the Soho Grand Hotel for a traditional Midsommar dinner, complete with a delicious Swedish meal and piles of flowers to pin into our hair. We all took way too many shots of a mysterious 80 proof liquor that came in a green bottle and ended up hopping from the after-party to another Midsummer party at White Slab, to Kenmare, to the Tribeca Grand Hotel's Friday night party, and back to Kenmare for some seriously late-night debauchery. Yikes.

One thing I got out of the night (besides a morning-after throbbing headache) was a new determination to perfect my recipe for Swedish meat balls. The ones that were served at dinner were completely delightful and inspired me to try making my own. Here's the recipe I used. I must say, it's pretty close to flawless. Maybe next year, I'll throw my own Swedish Midsummer party.

Swedish Meatballs
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk until very soft, 5 minutes. In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Let cool.

Add the ground pork and beef to the soaked bread. Gently mix in the cooked onion, celery salt, kosher salt and beaten egg until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Shape the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. In a large skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes; reduce the heat to moderately low if the meatballs begin to brown too quickly. Drain on paper towels.

Pour off the fat from the skillet, add the cream and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer over moderately low heat until reduced by one-third, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Return the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes before serving.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Midsummer!

Celebrating Swedish Midsummer with Matt Kays last night. Great excuse to pile flowers into your hair. I highly recommend adopting the holiday. Except stay away from the 80 proof mystery liquor that tastes like black licorice. Trust.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

View from the Top

Me with one of my favorite girls, Krystal Simpson, who writes What Is Reality Anyway

Another favorite girl, Vanna Youngstein

Friends Becka Diamond and Matt Kays (hearts)

Stef Skinner (more hearts)

The view from Le Bain (picture by John Del Signore/Gothamist)

The awesome staircase leading up to Le Bain--the stairs were covered in what looked like glitter puffy paint. Obviously, I was obsessed.

I headed to the long-awaited grand opening of Le Bain, The Standard hotel's rooftop (or what everyone was calling Boom Boom's roof) last night, heady with anticipation. All I'd heard beforehand was "pink waterbeds." I mean, who wouldn't get excited over that? Well, ladies and gentleman, it was all that I had hoped for and more. 

Not only did Le Bain deliver on the aforementioned pink waterbeds, it was also covered in lush green astroturf that actually felt like real grass and it boasted the same breathtaking views as the 18th floor (otherwise known as Boom) except with no glass between you and the sky, making it all the more impressive. Add in a few dozen of the chicest friends you have, overflowing champagne glasses and a dance-happy crowd, and you've got one of the best parties of the summer so far.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Passed Under the Moonlight, Moved Out of the Searchlight

These pictures were taken forever ago by super-talented photographer Joseph D'Arco. The lace top I'm wearing is actually an old Christian Dior corset that is totally meant to be worn under real clothing. I think it's way too pretty to hide, don't you? The skirt is something that I picked up in college that probably cost about $25 and that I wore so many times that if you actually calculated the cost per wear, it would end up being way less than a penny. I don't have it anymore--it retired. But talk about value.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

White Out

All I want to wear lately is white. White shorts with white tanks, white floor-length t-shirt dresses, white mini dresses, white long-sleeved boyfriend button-downs. I swear, the new LBD is the LWD--there's nothing fresher. Best of all? It seems that with the sudden insurgence of pre-fall in stores, all the barely-there little white dresses are now on sale. It's all I can do to stop myself from snatching up every single one. It's almost enough to make me want to take up tennis. Almost.

Above, some of my favorite white-encompassing editorials from recent months, plus a few stellar pieces you can buy now.

(1) Olga Sherer shot by Philip Gay for Zoo Summer 2010 (2) Blake Lively shot by Mario Testino for Vogue June 2010 (3) Olga Sherer shot by Philip Gay for Zoo magazine Summer 2010 (4) Maison Martin Margiela dress, $415, at (5) Julia Stegner shot by Carter Smith for Vogue Nippon February 2007 (6) Princess Tam Tam Swimwear 2010 (7) Hilary Rhoda shot by Paola Kudacki for UK Harper's Bazaar July 2010 (8) Olga Sherer shot by Philip Gay for Zoo Summer 2010 (9) Alexander Wang cut-out dress, $310, at (10) Photo by Craig McDean for W February 2009 (11) Anu Koski shot by Emma Tempest for Playing Fashion May/June 2010 (12) Blake Lively shot by Mario Testino for Vogue June 2010 (13) Preen dress, $829.50, at

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homemade Popcorn

My favorite food smell in the entire world is the scent of freshly popped popcorn, hands down. There's nothing quite like it. Sometimes, I think that I go to the movies more for the popcorn than for the actual movie. In fact, I know I do. I'll avoid some theaters completely because of their stale, from-a-big-plastic-bag popcorn. And I'll go out of my way to frequent some theaters simply because they have superior corn (see: Angelika Film Center, Film Forum, Battery Park).

Because of this weird obsession of mine, I've learned how to make my very own homemade popcorn. It took me about two years of popping corn at least once a week to perfect the recipe. That's a lot of popcorn. But I was using the wrong oil the whole time. You see, I started off using extra virgin olive oil. I thought that was pretty good. But then I mixed the olive oil with a few drops of white truffle oil, taking the taste of the final product up a few notches. And then I decided to experiment with safflower oil, which made for a more satisfying pop and a different taste (although not necessarily better). And finally, just last week, I stumbled upon The One; the perfect oil partner to my corn. It's simple, really: good old-fashioned canola oil. It produces that signature, mouth-watering movie theater popcorn taste that we all crave, and it does it without all the additives, fake salt, and the extra 1600 calories.

Looking back, I can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner. In retrospect, it was the obvious choice, the right choice, the choice that made perfect sense. But sometimes, I guess you can't see what's right in front of you. It's like suddenly falling in love with the person who's been your best friend, by your side, all along. Or something like that. Anyway, now that I've finally realized the error of my ways, I feel comfortable and confident enough in my popcorn recipe to share it with all of you. Happy munching. xo

Homemade Popcorn

1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels (I like Arrowhead Mills)
2 tbsp organic Canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp butter
Sea salt

Heat oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Drop in three kernels of popcorn. When they pop, pour in the rest of the popcorn and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook on medium heat until kernels stop popping. Be sure to give the pot a good shake every minute or so to make sure the kernels are popping evenly. In the meantime, melt butter in a separate pan or in the microwave. When popcorn is done popping, remove from heat immediately, pour butter over, and sprinkle with sea salt. Put on a movie, and eat.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Want to Make It Right, Some Future in My Eyes (Bright)

Just reminiscing a little. This was one of my favorite party dresses ever ever (and I've been through A LOT of party dresses). Jill Stuart was kind enough to loan it to me for an event I had a few months back (I've forgotten the event by now, but never the dress). I still have yet to find another cocktail number that has that same perfect, slick, gunmetal-silver thing down pat. I still rue the day I had to send it back. The equally amazing mirror gladiators are Christian Louboutin.

I took these pictures with my long-standing preferred photog Mark Iantosca. Hearts.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Croque Monsieur

Do you remember the scene in the movie It's Complicated when Steve Martin's character is over at Meryl Streep's character's home working on some architectural plans for a new addition and it gets late and he decides to stay over for dinner and she nonchalantly whips up a few croque monsieur sandwiches and he proceeds to falls madly in love over the kitchen island? Well. I certainly do. I mean, who wouldn't fall in love with a woman who can stroll into her kitchen, glance cursorily over the contents of her refrigerator and produce something as heart-stoppingly delicious as the best ham and cheese sandwich ever invented?

I watched the movie for the first time on Sunday when I was too wilted (read: hungover) from Saturday night's escapades to do much else. By the time the credits were rolling, I had resolved to learn how to make this French standard--I would perfect the croque monsieur, no matter how many attempts it took. (Incidentally, I also couldn't really think of anything better to cure my vodka-induced headache.)

Surprisingly, it only took two recipes/two tries to produce a flawless croque monsieur. My first attempt was a bit too salty, a little too rich. But the second--oh, the second. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. The crispy coating of lightly toasted cheese on the outside gave way to a steaming hot, melt-in-your-mouth layer of Black Forest ham and melted Gruyère on the inside. It's comfort in a sandwich.

Believe me, you want this recipe in your arsenal. You want to make this for your boyfriend when he comes over late at night, tired and cranky after a long day at the office. You want to fix it up for your best friend when she's crying on your shoulder over whatever the latest life crisis happens to be. And you'll want to know how to make it if a chance meeting suddenly morphs unexpectedly into a first date a la Martin and Streep. All around, knowing how to make it will make you a better person. And that's a pretty hard argument to resist. Just like a perfect croque monsieur.

Croque Monsieur
Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf

4 slices firm white sandwich bread
4 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest ham
4 ounces sliced Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Place 2 bread slices on work surface. Top each with half of ham and sliced Gruyère. Top with remaining bread. Heat heavy large skillet over low heat. Brush sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add to skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to small baking sheet. Spoon sauce, then grated cheese over sandwiches. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Resort 2011: Best in Show (So Far)

01. Balenciaga

02. Calvin Klein

03. Oscar de la Renta

04. Alexander Wang

05. Thakoon

06. Stella McCartney