Friday, July 30, 2010

Find Us a Trapdoor, Find Us a Plane

I've been really into wearing floor-length maxi-dresses lately. There's an easy elegance to them that I love, especially when the sun is blazing outside and there's nothing to do but take long walks in the park, popsicle in hand. The one in the pictures above is by Tucker, a fantastic clothing line that makes the breeziest little summer pieces in pretty, quirky little prints. And yes, that's my bedroom area--as you can see, I'm into an all-white decor. Also, I have lots of books.

Anyway, I'm headed out to Montauk for the weekend for some much-needed beach time. I plan to consume an ungodly amount of lobster rolls from Duryea's and fish tacos from The Hideaway and spend a lot of time on the deck at the Surf Lodge. See you guys on Monday--have a great weekend!

Photos by the one and only Mark Iantosca. xo

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tucker Fall 2010 Video

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a fun little commercial video shoot for Tucker. With a bunch of other gorgeous fashion girls (bloggers, editors, etc) including besties Maia Wojcik, Faran Krentcil, and Kelley Hoffman, I went to an amazing set in Long Island City that was designed to look like a beautiful old mansion, decaying slightly around the edges.

The shoot was inspired by Marie Antoinette, which was perfect for me, since the set design had to include a ridiculously decadent amount of pastries and champagne. The tables were seriously overflowing. And, of course, I was the one who had to take a big bite out of a luscious cream puff with every take, which seemed like a blessing until about 18 takes later.

In any case, the shoot was fun, the company was great, and most importantly, the clothes were gorgeous. The video is brilliant--watch it and tell me what you think! You'll also be able to see it in the backs of NYC taxis very soon. xo

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kotopoulo Me Dendrolivano (Or Rosemary Chicken)

When I'm in my mom's kitchen back home in Hawaii--the big, airy, sunlit, sprawling kitchen I grew up in--I like to take on culinary challenges. I'll spend an entire afternoon carefully spoon-measuring flour for a delicate savory souffle, or attempting to master a perfect pain au chocolat worthy of the ones I've bought in Paris, paid for and eaten straightaway, usually on the cobblestone street right outside of the patisserie. Those indulgent, day-long cooking experiments are among the slow pleasures a life in the suburbs (and on an island, no less!) can afford.

But here in the hectic whirlwind of NYC with it's almost-nonexistent slots of free time and even more nonexistent kitchens, my cooking goals are few: (1) find recipes with as few ingredients as humanly possible, (2) make things that are quick and easy, and (3) prepare relatively healthy meals. (Fashion girls do have to watch their figures, after all!)

Cooking, in and of itself, can be daunting. Factor in a scarcity of time and counter space, and it can seem downright impossible. But it's not. Cooking a good, hot, homemade dinner made with your own two hands (even if it's just for yourself) is important. It's good for the soul. But that said, it should be a piece of cake (both literally and figuratively). And that's where recipes like this one come in. It's always been my goal at Milk & Mode to offer up super easy recipes that anyone can make without a whole lot of effort. Think of it as Martha Stewart Living for the younger, hard-living, short-on-time set. And this delicious recipe for Kotopoulo Me Dendrolivano (or, in plain English, rosemary chicken) fits the bill neatly. I found it the other night while thumbing through an issue of Saveur and set about making it for my very next meal. It's something that Greek home cooks make all the time and I can see why: it's healthy and satisfying, delicious and (most importantly) easy as pie to put together.

Try it and let me know what you think. xo

Kotopoulo Me Dendrolivano
Adapted from Saveur

4 whole skin-on chicken legs
Kosher salt and freshly ground
   black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup flour, for dredging
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 425˚. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Put flour on a plate and dredge chicken in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add wine, rosemary, and bay leaves. Return pan to heat and cook until wine reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1⁄2 cups water and bring to a boil.

Cover skillet, transfer to oven, and cook until chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and let chicken skin crisp, 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven; stir in lemon juice. Serve chicken with the pan sauce. 

SERVES 2 – 4

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Everybody, Everybody Just Wanna Fall in Love

And my obsession with all-white summer ensembles continues. I cannot stop picking up white pieces, it's the only color (non-color?) I want to wear. It's like my winter black fixation did a 180 degree turn as soon as the sun came out and came to a screeching halt at the other end of the spectrum. Anyway, I'm in love with this snow white Kimberly Ovitz dress--as is usually the case with her clothes, she takes a really simple shape and adds a subversive twist (hence, the fabric that looks like it took a couple of turns inside a paper shredder). It's the perfect late summer cocktail dress, don't you think?

Photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stella McCartney Fall 2010

I love Stella McCartney's new ad campaign for fall, starring Natalia Vodianova and shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. The little cartoons, drawn by British artist Barry Reigate, are the cutest little drawings I've ever seen AND the three pieces that are featured are amazing. They are literally (1) the perfect red cocktail dress, (2) the perfect coat and (3) the perfect cardigan. Three simple-as-can-be staple fall pieces. Love.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Potato Salad

Being in NYC isn’t always easy. The work hours are long, the crowds are intense, the noise can be deafening, the pace relentless, and the boys are an anomaly in and of themselves. I won’t sugarcoat it; sometimes, I get home after 10 hours of work, two hours at an event, and half an hour stuck in traffic trying to make it back to my apartment, and I just want to collapse, throw in the proverbial towel, so to speak.

Times like that, times when everything seems to be going wrong; that’s when you need a little comfort. Those are the times when a dry little green salad just won’t cut it. You need something that will sustain you. You need something that you have to put a little muscle into, something solid and soothing, something that reminds you of home, of lazy summer picnics on the beach, of sweet childhood love, and of most of all, something that reminds you of mom. That’s when this potato salad comes sweeping in, with all it’s bacon and gorgonzola fanfare. It’s dense and creamy, flavorful and meaty in a way that some potato salads never quite are. (I have a thing against those thin, watery, vinegary potato salads you see sometimes at certain delis--what's the point?)

This recipe will make enough for two, but it’s also good for one (with leftovers to last you through a busy work week). Also, while you can (and should) eat this salad right away, it’s even better the next day after all the ingredients have had a chance to mingle and meld together overnight.

Old-Fashioned Creamy Potato Salad

2 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups low-fat mayonnaise, divided (trust me, low-fat is just as good)
10 strips of bacon
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to same pot. Place over very low heat just until excess moisture evaporates, about 1 minute. Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and cool for at least 20 minutes. Mix in 1 cup of mayonnaise.

Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat, turning frequently, until nicely browned and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Cool bacon and tear into little pieces.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, cheese, green onions, parsley, and most of the bacon into potatoes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining bacon.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There's No Glitter in the Gutter, There's No Twilight Galaxy

We've hit the middle of summer and I have yet to do so many things I told myself I would: ocean skinny-dipping at night, finishing The Fountainhead, mastering the poached egg, hosting a fancy terrace dinner party, and for that matter, decorating my terrace with plants and tables and actual places to sit. Oh well. There's always August. 

In the meantime, at the very least, my terrace is a good place for wearing ensembles that would never see the light of day otherwise. Take, for instance, this itty bitty Miu Miu bra top that's been stashed in a bottom drawer since last June. In concept, it's adorable. In practice? Not so much. Unless my goal is an indecent exposure rap. Just goes to show that runway really doesn't always translate so well to realway. But that's what the terrace is for. I'm wearing a Rebecca Taylor skirt, Jessica Simpson shoes and a stack of friendship bracelets, mostly from Montauk. Photos by my fave shutterbug, Mark Iantosca. xo

Friday, July 16, 2010

Banana Bread

There's nothing quite as comforting and easy to bake as a simple loaf of banana bread. Whenever I'm expecting guests to my little downtown studio apartment, I like to whip up the batter for this bread and then pop it into the oven about an hour before they're expected to arrive. It's a quick last-minute hostess trick I picked up (1) from Clueless (i.e. "Whenever a boy comes over you should always have something baking." Just kidding. Kind of.) and (2) from my mom, who makes this kind of thing seem like a sixth sense.

Anyway, this banana bread is doubly amazing because not only does it make my whole apartment smell really homey and warm and delicious, but it also looks a lot more impressive than it actually is. This particular recipe comes together so easily that it's literally almost effortless. Plus, you'll most likely have 90% of the ingredients handily in your pantry already.

Last Minute Banana Bread
Adapted from Saveur
Butter, for greasing pan
1 cup flour, plus more for pan
3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup canola oil
1⁄3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2⁄3 cup chopped pecans
3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 5" x 
2 3⁄4" loaf pan with butter and dust with flour; set pan aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Whisk together sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add pecans and mashed bananas and whisk gently to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Sun is Slowly Changing Sides

No one does a cocktail dress quite like Dior. I've always loved a bright shot of yellow for evening (think Michelle Williams in that iconic yellow Vera Wang gown with a slick of red lipstick for the Oscars a few years back), and this dress had that plus a sheer lingerie vibe, which is another thing I love for evening. It's basically perfection packaged in lace and silk chiffon. Another upside to adding some color to your nighttime ensemble: you'll definitely stand out in a sea of boring little black dresses. Photos by Joey D'Arco.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Preemptive Fall Shoe Shopping

I know it's a little early to be thinking "Time to go fall shoe shopping!" the way I've been lately, but hey, I'm still undergoing some light trauma from waiting too long to purchase a particular pair of navy silk/camel leather Miu Miu clogs from spring '10, thus resulting in my not being able to find them anywhere on this continent in my annoyingly hard-to-find size 36. After calling (read: stalking) my friendly neighborhood Bergdorf Goodman sales associate on his cell phone about 17 times in a single afternoon desperately pleading with him to perform some sort of retail miracle and FIND MY SHOE, I realized that I had become a cliche of a cautionary tale. I may as well have drafted a sign that read: Do not let this happen to you.

Anyway, back to the point. Which is....SHOE PORN! As usual, I'm loving the shoes for fall that Acne has slowly been rolling out on their site as of late. Especially, especially, especially, those ridiculously high, stirrup wedge boots. I would wear those boots day in and day out, with everything and anything. What other shoe could you possibly need? (Besides those quirky tan lace-up wedges, of course).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gwyneth Paltrow, Domestic Goddess (Cookbook Being Released!)

No one personifies the crossroads of food and fashion to me the way Gwyneth Paltrow does. I know that GOOP has gotten it's fair share of criticism, but I really appreciate the way Paltrow moves seamlessly between topics like style, spirituality, travel, and most of all, cooking, and somehow makes it all work together.

I've had people ask me curious questions about Milk & Mode. I remember reading an email from a book editor one morning over my daily steaming cup of green tea; she had written, "The mixing and mingling of food and fashion is difficult for me to believe. I mean, really, aren't fashion people typically afraid to death of food?" I shook my head and moved onto the next. The idea that women (and men, for that matter) who work in the fashion industry are prone to starving themselves to near death is one of the most dated and infuriating stereotypes I've had to contend with.

Fashion is an art, food is an art. Fashion requires taste, food requires taste. Fashion is a major part of our cultural ethos. So is food. So why is it so hard to believe that the same type of person who knows her Comme des Garcons from her Ann Demeulemeester would be the very same one who can appreciate a heaping scoop of good caviar or, better yet, a simple, perfectly cooked roast chicken? It's sensory pleasure, it's good taste, it's appreciation for beauty--call it what you will, but food and fashion share all of these things and more. These are the things that Paltrow understands and the reasons, I suspect, she isn't afraid to combine the two.

Anyhow, that's just one of the reasons I was psyched to see her on the cover of August's Vogue playing the role of domestic kitchen goddess, as shot by Mario Testino. Another is that the inside profile revealed that her cookbook, all 144 recipes of it, is coming out and hitting bookstores in April 2011. I've made a LOT of the recipes she's published on GOOP since I started reading it about a year ago, and none of them have ever failed me. They are consistently as simple and straightforward as they are completely delicious. And I seriously can't wait to go through every one of them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bright Lights Big City Pasta

Over last weekend, I found an old copy of "Bright Lights Big City," by Jay McInerney at the Montauk book fair and spent a long, sun-soaked afternoon reading it from cover to cover. There's a reason it's such a classic--between the nighttime adventures in 80s Manhattan, the rampant drug use, the comedic/tragic hangovers at the desk of an illustrious magazine (one which seemed as though it had to have been based on The New Yorker), and the sordid, twisted romance of it all, it was a tough one to put down.

At one point in the tale, when our young hero is just about at his lowest point (fired from his venerable magazine job, left by his model wife, addicted to cocaine), an old co-worker named Megan takes him out and instead of choosing to eat at a restaurant, she takes his hand and says, "I'm going to teach you how to purchase and make a meal."And she does. They go to the deli and the bakery and the vegetable stand, and then she leads him to her cozy little studio apartment and teaches him how to make "the world's easiest meal." She teaches him how to make a pasta with homemade sauce from scratch. It was my favorite part of the book. That night was a starting point to turning it all around for him.

Being able to make a meal--just one meal without referring to a recipe--when the occasion rises, is a skill that everyone should have. There's something reassuring about knowing that you can do this, that you can produce a delicious, simple, restorative dinner with just a little memory and your own two hands. Because, really, we all get a little lost sometimes, especially in a city as intense and all-encompassing as NYC--I know I definitely do. We stumble around in the dark, trying not to fall, to do the right thing, make time for everything, meet all of the demands we put on ourselves, and that others put upon us. And sometimes, we fail. Those are the times when a quiet night in with a few key ingredients, a good friend and a couple of glasses of wine may be just the thing you need.

Here's my own version of Bright Lights Big City Pasta.

The World's Easiest Meal for Two

1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole unpeeled tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 big basil leaves
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
8-10 large pieces wild shrimp
Box of pasta (linguine or rigatoni will both work, depending on your preference)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of grated parmesan (optional)

In a large saucepan, slowly cook six cloves of thinly sliced garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes over low heat.  Add two large, fresh basil leaves and stir for a minute.  Add the 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes along with their juice and two more whole basil leaves.  Bring the sauce to a boil, turn down the heat, season with salt and pepper and let it bubble away on low heat for 30 minutes. Add in the shrimp. Cook for 15 minutes longer.

In the meantime, set a large pot of water on to boil and season with a few big pinches of salt. Boil the pasta for two minutes less than the package tells you to or until perfectly al dente. Drain the pasta. Stir the pasta and sauce together and let it cook on low heat for two minutes, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water if necessary. You want the pasta to be just coated by the sauce, not swimming in it.

Serve with a dusting of freshly grated parmesan if desired.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Givenchy Fall 2010 Couture

"A romantic way to see death." -Riccardo Tisci on his latest couture collection for Givenchy

Words cannot express how enamored I am with Riccardo Tisci's newly unveiled couture collection for Givenchy, which he showed in an intimate presentation in Paris this week. The dresses were extraordinarily detailed with pearls and crystals, lace and feathers, and tiny ceramic skulls. They were made with the human skeleton in mind--hence the romantic way of seeing death that Tisci mentioned. If I could dream up the exact perfect wedding dress and make it come to life, this would be it. Love, love, love.

Why Would I Hitch a Ride, I Can Drive

These pictures were taken months and months ago by Joey D'Arco, one of my most favorite photographers. I tend to wear a lot of slouchy white tanks in the summer months, this one above being one of the best. It's by Citizens of Humanity and it hangs just right in the back, with the armholes being long and wide enough to make it casually sexy. The skirt is on old one from Topshop, the scarf is Michael Stars and the shoes are Marni.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July (or Wet Hot American Summer)

Photos by Zac Sebastian

I just got back from one of the best 4th of July weekends I can remember. We started out in Montauk, went to a private Pete Yorn concert at Sole East, ate a lot of great seafood, went to Ben Watts' big annual 4th of July party, took in tons of pooltime, then headed over to Southampton for Kanon Organic Vodka's party hosted by Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte of The Smile. Pictures above are from that party. It was basically a quintessential all-American pool party with a never-ending supply of vodka cocktails, loads of delicious food, hot girls and boys in their swimsuits, water guns, firecrackers, American flag, awesome DJs (Binki Shapiro, Chrissie Miller, Harley Viera-Newton, etc.), ping-pong tables, adorable dogs running around (i.e. Suz, duh), and most importantly, lots of good friends. 

(1) Me in my all-white party ensemble; (2) Party guests walking up the steep hill towards the summer house; (3) This girl and her insane Acne shoes; (4) Faran and Rayna; (5) Part of the brunch that The Smile served; (6) Harley Viera-Newton; (7) Binki Shapiro DJing; (8) Matt getting into the spirit; (9) Me, Becka and Rayna hanging out on the lawn; (10) The scene of the party; (11) The Americans performing on the porch of the house; (12) Matt, Becka and Carlos; (13) Harry Beee and Chrissie; (14) Suz!; (15) Everyone poolside; (16) Todd in his awesome red shades; (17) Watermelon break