Crush List - June

June has come to a close, so it's Crush List time. Here's a few things that have caught my eye lately. Enjoy!

1 - Polaroid PIC-300P Instant Film Analog Camera from Amazon
2 - Colorful Gem Brooch from The Limited
3 - Small Gourd Accent Table Lamp from Lamps Plus
4 - Radial Jewelry Stand from Anthropologie
5 - Paris Mini Prints from Etsy


Vegetable of the Month - Artichoke Part Two

I totally copped out on this second artichoke recipe, but it looked soooo good that I couldn't help myself! This experiment is supposed to be about trying new recipes in an attempt to include more healthy vegetables in all our diets. Not, this one though. Nope, this one was all about taste for me.

Vegetable - Artichoke
Recipe - Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pizza
I love spinach artichoke dip and I love pizza; so I guessed I would love this, and boy was I right. It is really easy to prepare, and was incredibly delicious. It's a really heavy pizza though, and I was completely full after 1½ pieces. Any health benefit of the artichoke (and spinach) is most likely completely obliterated by all the cheese, sour cream, and bread; but man is it good!
I thought the kids would gobble this one down; but, of course, neither liked it. Seamus loves pizza, but he wouldn't even touch it. Madeleine ate a few bites at our insistence. At bite three she started gagging, so I told her she didn't have to eat any more. Geesh!

Any ideas for next month's vegetable?


The Real Slim Shady

The kids went about a week in their newly painted rooms with no window coverings whatsoever, which meant they were up super early every day. Needless to say, Bill and I were thrilled when the new shades came and he installed them immediately.
So, let's talk shades!
I decided to do shades for a few different reasons. Their rooms are small, but I want them to feel as open and light as possible. In Madeleine's room, her full sized bed is right up against the wall; so "floor length" drapes were definitely out. I debated doing "sill length" (curtains that hang to the window sill) or apron length (curtains that hang 4-6 inches below the window sill), but still; with the bed right there - it seemed like it would be too much. In Seamus' room, I'm not sure yet on final furniture placement, so again I didn't want to do curtains.
That left shades, blinds, or shutters. I find blinds annoying (so hard to clean) and shutters aren't really my style; plus I don't think either are really great at blocking light. Shades had the streamlined look I was going for and could keep the light out. So, shades it was.
I wanted the shade to disappear into the wall, almost as if they weren't even there. I couldn't find exact matches to the wall colors, so I went just a tad darker with each.

(Note to self: next time I try to achieve this look, pick shade fabric first then wall color to match.)
The next decision I had to make was inside mount or outside. I chose outside.
I don't love the windows in our house. I'm a fan of window trim, and it bugs me that none of the windows in the house have it. It is on my list to eventually add window sills and trim to all our windows, but for now the goal (as always) is to work with what I have and disguise what I don't like as much as possible. 
Second, as I said, these rooms are small and so is the window. Mounting the shades on the outside makes the windows appear larger. The addition of the valance over the shade helps anchor the window on the wall and gives it presence.
I got the shades from The Shade Store. They are both part of their Blackout collection. Madeleine's is the Hudson material in the color Lime and Seamus' is the Flock material in the color Canyon. I used this company for our custom drapery in our living/dining room (see here), and had such a great experience. The second time around was no exception.
As a product, I'm very pleased with them. They seem really well made and block the light really well. It's not pitch black in the rooms when the shades are down, but there is only the faintest of faint glow around the perimeter. The kids have definitely been sleeping later due to these shades.

From a design perspective, I'm mostly pleased. I'm torn if I made the right call on the color with Madeleine's shade. I love the color of Seamus', but should I have maybe gotten the silver chain instead of antique bronze? Actually, the chains bug on both of them. I knew I had to get them, but in my head I was expecting not to really see them. I was thinking they would lay along the inside of the window and you wouldn't really see them. Obviously that's not an option with outside mount shades though. Are they a little distracting, or is it just me?


Powder Room Progress

In addition to the kids' rooms (see here and here), we finally got around to painting the downstairs powder room too. About time!
I know what you're thinking, "I can't believe you painted over that gorgeous navy blue decorative sponge paint job." I don't know, I guess we were just tired of feeling like we were in outer space whenever we were in there. Did I mention the ceiling was painted the same dark blue? Yeah, it had to go, like yesterday.
We color matched the painters' paint to Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, and used a flat finish again. The ceiling, doors, and trim went the same Pure White by Benjamin Moore like the rest of the house (flat finish for the ceiling and satin on the door/trim).
We also had them remove the gigantic mirror. Seriously, a room this small does not need a mirror that size. It took up the entire wall above the sink! What we really needed was a medicine cabinet for some much needed and more practical storage.
Here's where we had to make some decisions. I have a vision of what I want this room to look like, but I don't have the funds to get it there yet. Right now, my top choice for a medicine cabinet is this one here or something similar. Did I really want to drop $400+ now when I wouldn't be able to complete the rest of the room for a long while, or do we buy something cheap that I don't love at all, but works with what is already there?

Decisions, decisions.

Ultimately, we decided to go with the latter and picked up a super cheap medicine cabinet from Home Depot (see here). It matches the oak vanity, and gives us the above sink storage that we were lacking, but it's not very pretty.
I think I'm going to paint the vanity and medicine cabinet yet. At first I thought I would just paint them both white...but if we do that then the off-white vanity top will really stand I'd want to get a new vanity top...but if I did that I might as well get a new vanity...and then the medicine cabinet won't match!!  Ugh! Piece-by-piece decorating, it's a vicious circle. So, for now I'm trying to think of a fun color to paint them both instead and saving my pennies until I can re-do it proper.

Speaking of which, here's my vision of where I'd eventually like to go with this tiny little room.
McKimm | Kristin Marie | Linda Bergroth
I kept imagining a cool triangle mosaic floor in white, gray, black, and yellow - very specific, I know. It's also hard to articulate, so when I saw the image on the left I was like - pin, pin, pin, pin! The mosaic wall tile is the closest thing I've seen yet to what I'm envisioning. Love the dark grout against the white tile too.

Then, I definitely want to bring in bronze/brass (honed not shiny) for the faucets, hardware, and medicine cabinet. For the vanity, I want one that goes all the way to the floor (no open space underneath) and it has to have both a cabinet and drawers. At first I thought I wanted a mid-century look to the vanity like the image on the right, but that black vanity in the middle really makes a statement. Plus, I've had no luck finding a mid-century style vanity that goes all the way to the floor yet.

What I do love about the image on the right is that chunky sink. In my head I want a thick white counter top and sink, but I'm not sold on it for sure. I love the floor in the image on the right too. The powder room we had growing up had a pretty funky floor (that my parents still have by the way), so maybe that's where this craving is coming from.

So, it shouldn't be too expensive - just new floors, paint, vanity, sink, faucet, medicine cabinet, toilet, lights, towels, baseboards, and door. No biggie, right?


Let's Go To The Movies - Inside Out

First off, I have to say a big "HELLO" to any new readers who found my little blog by way of this Design Mom post (kind of love her, see here). It was such an honor to be featured on her blog, and I hope now that you've found me you continue to stop by regularly. Thanks!

Moving on now...

I took Madeleine to see the new Pixar film, Inside Out over the weekend. With "Excessive Heat Warnings" daily here in Phoenix, a movie is always a great way for us to get out of the house and beat the heat for a little while.

Have you ever wondered what is going on inside your head? Well, it turns out your emotions are actually little creatures who run everything you think, feel, and even dream from their command center located in your head. It's a big job, and sometimes things get complicated in there; especially when you're an 11-year old girl named Riley who just moved from the only life she's ever known in Minnesota to the strange and new San Francisco. When Riley's core memories are threatened, her emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) have to pull together like they've never done before to make sure they get Riley on the right path to live the best possible life she can.

Damn you, Pixar!! Why do you always make me cry!!

Seriously, aren't Pixar movies the best? This one was no exception. It's colorful and fun, but, like always, it was the deeper message that really brought it home for me. Emotions are hard, and it's okay not to feel happy all the time. It's also perfectly normal to feel multiple emotions at the same time. You can be both happy, yet sad or excited, yet scared. Inside Out explains this all so perfectly while still remaining a really entertaining story at its center. The film is such a great tool to help kids of all ages in learning to process their emotions. Most importantly, it lets them know they shouldn't be trying to figure it all out on their own. When things get hard and you're not feeling like your normal joyful self, talk to those who love you most. In Riley's case, it was her parents; and as a parent, that's a message I want my kids to hear.

Such a great film.


Building A Wardrobe - Easy, Breezy Tops

I went out shopping again, this time at Banana Republic. As I browsed, I really thought I wasn't going to find anything. Nothing was looking to me like it would work for my body, but I decided to try a bunch of stuff on anyway and see what happened. I'm glad I did, because I actually found a few cute tops.

First up, the Ikat Popover Blouse. It's so light weight and great for work. It's actually a little long on me, and looking back I should have probably ordered the petite size online instead. I'm also a little torn as I don't think it is truly my style. I got it mostly because it fits, but it feels a bit too bohemian to me. I still like it enough for now though (although I'll probably get it hemmed).

Next, the Linen Trapeze Tank, which is my favorite of the three. It's super flattering and again, light weight. So far, it's been strictly a weekend top for me, but with the right styling I bet I could make it work for work too. I also love it because it washes really well. I'm thinking of picking this up in another color.

For the Drapey Pocket Tee, it was the color that drew me to it. I love jewel tones, and the emerald green on this is so saturated and rich. This one is actually the most versatile of the three for me so far. It very easily dresses up or down. I've worn it with both dress pants and jeans. The material is so soft and...say it with me now...light weight. I'm thinking of picking this one up in light pink as well.

Finally, I picked up a pair of earrings too!

These are super cute. They are very, very tiny actually and just look a little staple in my ear. I will give a word of warning about the backs though. The first time I wore them I almost lost one because the back fell right off. I switched them out though, and they've been fine since. These have become my new everyday earrings. They go with everything!

So, that's Banana Republic. Where should I check out next?

Just for the record, this was not a paid for or sponsored post (I wish).  I just wanted to share.


Vegetable of the Month - Artichoke

This month we're tackling artichokes. I've never in my life bought an artichoke, although I have enjoyed them at restaurants and of course in spinach artichoke dips over the years. I decided it was high time to finally take a few artichokes home with me, and give them a try.

Vegetable - Artichoke
Recipe - Parmesan Stuffed Artichokes
This is a recipe that looks difficult, but is actually pretty easy and impressive. Don't they look good? They'd make an excellent addition to the table at your next dinner party. As far as taste, I thought they were only okay, but I think I maybe didn't have the best artichokes. There didn't seem to be much meat on the leaves at all. As we scraped them along our teeth we were mostly just tasted the stuffing mixture. It was fine, but I tasted no artichoke flavor at all. I definitely need to do some research on how to pick a good artichoke before I attempt again.

Surprisingly enough, Seamus actually ate a bit of this. I showed him how to scrape the leaves on his teeth, and he tried about three of them. Like I said though, he essentially was just eating bread crumbs, but at least he gave it a try! Baby steps, right?


Let's Go To The Movies - Jurassic World

I really, really wanted to see Jurassic World. I don't know if it was the nostalgia factor (22 years since the original) or maybe I was just in the mood for a big budget summer blockbuster (or maybe I was just in the mood for Chris Pratt). Who knows? Anyway, I decided I just couldn't wait any longer. I texted the babysitter, who was actually available, and Bill bought the tickets for the IMAX 3D evening show. We went from no plans to a planned date night in about 10 minutes. How's that for spontaneity?

The long ago dream of an amusement park with real live dinosaurs as the attractions has been up and running for years now. "Jurassic World" is still a pretty hot tourist destination, but apparently even dinosaurs can get old. Instructed to create a bigger, scarier dinosaur to rejuvenate sales, the park has manufactured its first genetically engineered attraction - the Indominus Rex. With DNA spliced and diced from a number of different dinosaurs (and other animals), the Indominus Rex proves more than the park can handle when it escapes its enclosure. It's up to the uptight park executive (Bryce Dallas Howard) and rugged dinosaur trainer (Chris Pratt) to stop it before it reaches the main park and its 20,000 guests!

I loved, loved Jurassic World! It was everything I hoped it would be, which was fun. Chris Pratt is a bonafide movie star now (which he totally deserves). He's handsome, funny, believable, and has a great every man quality that Hollywood sorely needs. He, and his Velociraptor "pets" made this film for me.

I also really appreciated all the little nods to the original Jurassic Park film, which I cannot believe was 22 years ago. I still remember sitting in that movie theater and how I screamed when that Velociraptor broke through the wall after Laura Dern got the power back on...(said in my best Chris Farley impression) "Ummm, remember that?"
Which leads me to my first criticism of the film. It wasn't really scary. Just like the complaint of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) in the film, dinosaurs are nothing special anymore. I saw this film, and saw it done well 22 years ago. There was no sense of amazement, fear, or anticipation this time around. It continually lacked that fun, eerie feeling of suspense where you know something is going to pop out and scare you, but you just don't know when.

My other complaint was that there was no real character development in the film. Other than Chris Pratt, I was not emotionally invested in any of the characters. In fact, I was extremely surprised how early in the film the Indominus Rex escapes, as once that happens there's not a whole lot get to know you time for the characters anymore, you know? As a result, there were a lot of missed opportunities. For example, you have a genetically engineered dinosaur that is a hybrid of a bunch of other dinosaurs and an autistic-type, genius kid who knows everything about dinosaurs. Why not have the kid help figure out what the "dinosaur" is and help save the day a bit. Literally, all the kids did was run and hide from the dinosaur the entire film. They were actually pretty pointless characters. I felt the same about the funny and nerdy control room operators - missed opportunity.

Despite its flaws though, I still had a fun movie-going experience. This one is all about the dinosaurs, which was fine with me. I don't want to give anything away, but I liked the whole fighting fire with fire concept eventually used to get the job done. Don't expect much in the way of characters or story line and just enjoy it for what it is. Lots of teeth!

Did you see Jurassic World this weekend? What did you think? Did you also wonder how Claire could outrun a dinosaur wearing high heels in the muddy jungle, or was that just me? How did she make it the whole movie in those heels. A movie about genetically engineered dinosaurs, and that was seriously the most unbelievable part for me. Hah!


The Disney Project - Melody Time and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Next up in The Disney Project (see here for details and past movies) is 1948's Melody Time and 1949's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

First up, Melody Time.
Melody Time is another Disney film comprised of a number of shorts, and not a full-length feature film.

"Once Upon a Wintertime" - tells the story of two young lovers in winter; all set to music (no dialogue). We see the couple go through an array of winter activities (mimicked by an adorable little rabbit couple). The young man starts showing off on the ice, irritates the young girl, she storms off unaware of a thin ice warning, and a harrowing rescue follows. It's very cute, and the animation style is a favorite of mine. I remember watching this short a ton as a kid.

"Bumble Boogie" - a fast paced bumble bee adventure set to a jazz version of the classic Flight of the Bumble Bee by Rimsky-Korsakov. It's a favorite song of mine, and a fun little cartoon.

"The Legend of Johnny Appleseed" - Another favorite of mine from childhood, the American folk-tale about the American pioneer, John Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed. A classic tale, and a classic Disney short.

"Little Toot" - A fun little tale about a little tugboat who can't seem to stay out of trouble. Very cute.

"Trees" - The retelling of the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer over scenes of the changing of the seasons. This is definitely the weakest segment of the film. It's not too long though, so the momentum of the film is only disrupted for a moment.

"Blame It on the Samba" - Donald Duck and Jose (the parrot from Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros) are introduced to the Samba by the Aracuan Bird (also from The Three Caballeros). Not these guys again! I seriously don't understand what the draw of these characters was back then. I wasn't a fan, but at least it was upbeat.

"Pecos Bill" - The final short is the retelling of Pecos Bill, his loyal horse Widowmaker, and the woman who comes between them, Slue-Foot Sue. It starts off live-action with famous cowboys Roy Rogers telling the story to Disney child stars Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten (remember from here, here, and here). Then it moves to the animated story, and it is such a great little short. Disney actually edited all scenes of Pecos Bill smoking from the current release. It's a shame, but I don't think it detracts too much. It's still one of my favorite Disney shorts of all time. I just love when Slue-Foot Sue's bustle gets the best of her.

All in all, Melody Time, is a great film comprised of some of the best Disney shorts available.

Moving on to The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
This film is made up of two stories, the first is based on characters from the book, The Wind in the Willows, and tells the story of J. Thaddeus Toad aka Mr. Toad. His latest mania is riding around recklessly on his horse and cart with little attention paid to all the damage he's doing. The bills for destruction of property are adding up, and Toad Hall is on the brink of bankruptcy. His friends, MacBadger, Ratty, and Moley try to help, but things only get worse when Mr. Toad decides he now wants a motor car! Will they be able to save Mr. Toad from himself before it's too late?!

Exciting stuff, right? It's a cute enough cartoon, but I think the story is a little hard to follow. Madeleine thought Mr. Toad was silly, but I think the whole plot line involving deeds and ownership of property probably made no sense to her. She seemed to enjoy it though. I thought it was only okay.

The real winner of this film is the second segment, a re-telling of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The tall and lanky, Ichabod Crane, moves to Sleep Hollow to become the local schoolmaster. He is soon winning the hearts of all the women in town to the dismay of all, including local stud, Brom Bones. When even the wealthy and beautiful, Katrina van Tassel seems to prefer Ichabod to him, Brom decides to use Ichabod's superstitious nature to his advantage. He recounts the story of the Headless Horseman at the big Halloween party. It spooks Ichabod, and he becomes quite paranoid on his ride home from the party. Along the way he encounters the Horseman and a mad chase scene ensues. Will Ichabod escape from the Horseman's clutches and win the heart of Katrina, or will the Headless Horseman (if he even is that) prevail?!

I loved this segment. I always have, and always will. It's such a fun little cartoon. What I didn't know until I watched it again now, was that it is narrated by Bing Crosby! He narrates and sings all the songs in it. Now I think I like it even more. It's funny, innocent, exciting, and a little spooky. Like I mentioned here, it's a really great Halloween story for kids and one I'll be happy to watch each October.

And with that I'm officially 15 movies into my Disney Project. Woohoo! I'm officially done with all the movies from the 30's and 40's. Bring on the 1950's!


Madeleine Style

Madeleine has not been a fan of wearing her hair up lately, or even brushing it for that matter. We've already hit a few 100+ degrees days here in Phoenix already, so we thought a haircut was in order.
I had been wanting to get her an angled bob for a while now, so we just went for it. Her first words after she was done were, "I hope Daddy likes it." He definitely does, and I do too. She looks so cute!
I'm actually a little jealous. Her straight hair and natural side part really lends itself to this cut. I would have to straighten my hair daily to achieve her naturally sleek look.

We're also excited to be starting Kindergarten in August. She'll be going to a school that requires uniforms, so I picked up a few items from J. Crew Factory when they had a huge sale a few days ago. I love the peter pan collar on the polos, and of course bermuda shorts for my active little girl.
I also picked up some new shoes for her too. I'm usually not a fan of licensed characters on clothing, but I thought these Disney Vans were adorable. The pattern is such that from far away you can't tell that it's actually all the Disney princesses. They just look like a fun and colorful pattern. I love that they go with everything too, and Madeleine really loves them.
So, that's what's up on the style front for Madeleine lately.

Does your child wear a uniform to school? Do you/they like it? I'm thinking it will really make our mornings quicker. I'm a big fan of anything I can put on auto-pilot to make life easier.


Date Night - Cooking Class

Bill and I have been long overdue for a date night. We were talking about what we wanted to, dinner (same old, same old); and I thought, we can do better than that. So, I signed us up for a cooking class!
Specifically we took the "Gourmet Couples" class at Sweet Basil in Scottsdale.

We arrived not knowing what to expect. We had taken a cooking class back in Milwaukee a few years ago, but we didn't actually get to cook at it (it was this one here that was more of an observation cooking class). We also noticed that we were quite a bit younger than the rest of the class. There was one couple around our age, but the rest of the class was all in their mid-60's at least.

We took our seats, and the instructor (Chef Dane Smith) explained that each couple would prepare a different recipe for the entire group. All in all we'd end up with a full three course meal for everybody. Here was our menu:

Roasted Cauliflower & Sesame Spread
Jicama & Mango Slaw
(served with Bay Moon, Sauvigonon Blanc 2013)

Mixed Seafood Grill with Paprika Lemon Dressing
Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes
Creamed Corn with Bacon & Leeks
Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa
(served with Black Mountain, Pinot Noir 2013)

Cherries with Cinnamon Dumplings

Bill and I volunteered to make the "Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes" side dish. Everybody got to work; but we soon realized that our dish would only take about 10 minutes to prepare, and we were probably a good hour and half from when we needed to even start it.

So, what to do?

We noticed another couple brought their own bottle of wine in, and we decided to follow suit. We ran next door to Safeway and picked up a bottle of Pinot Noir from Bill's favorite winery (see here). When we got back we opened up the bottle and shared with everyone. Boy, did that get the party started!

Everyone who wasn't cooking started drinking and talking, and I soon found myself having a great time with a bunch of people twice my age. I don't know if it was the booze, the company, or that we were all making something together, but I have never felt so at ease with a group of strangers before. After us, a few other couples decided to make wine-runs too, and everybody shared with everybody. It was actually pretty amazing.

The time flew by, and suddenly the first course was ready.
Roasted Cauliflower & Sesame Spread / Jicama & Mango Slaw
You may have noticed I only posted one cauliflower recipe last month (see here) for my Vegetable of the Month series. That's because I knew we would be doing this and decided to make the "Roasted Cauliflower & Sesame Spread" our second cauliflower recipe for the month (see end of post for the full recipe).

I thought the cauliflower spread ended up being only okay. I think I'm just not a huge fan of the cauliflower flavor, and it seems to be a really hard flavor to mask. I definitely liked the slaw better. I loved the jicama and mango flavors together. There was pepper in it too, but I'm not a pepper fan. I ended up just eating around those.

Pretty soon it was our turn to prepare the asparagus that would go with the entrée. It was super easy, and turned out great. Bill and I ended up "plating" all the entrées for everybody too.
Mixed Seafood Grill with Paprika lemon Dressing / Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes / Creamed Corn with Bacon & Leeks / Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa
The shrimp and calamari were delicious. There was also halibut (can't really see it on the plate here) that was only okay - kind of bland. The creamed corn was pretty good (the bacon helped), but I wasn't a fan of the quinoa. I've just never cared for it, and this dish was no exception. Obviously, the asparagus was delicious and by far the best side dish.

I should note that the entire class stopped to watch how the calamari was prepared. We were all mesmerized, and I can honestly say I would attempt making it from scratch now.  It's messy work, but I definitely think I could successfully remove the bones and ink sac from a squid. Never thought I'd be able to say that.

Finally, it was time for dessert.
Cherries with Cinnamon Dumplings
This was my favorite dish of the night! The homemade ice cream was delicious as is, but combining it with cinnamon dumplings and topping the entire thing with hot cherries - fabulous!!

All in all, this was a great date. It was social, interactive, fun, and we got a great meal out of it too! I can't recommend this class enough. If you're not local, I strongly suggest finding a cooking classes in your neighborhood for your next date night. You won't regret it!

Here's the cauliflower recipe, as promised. If we decide to make any of the other recipes from that night again, I'll be sure to post those too. Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower & Sesame Spread
1 head of cauliflower (2lbs), halved crosswise and thinly sliced
¼ cup vegetable oil
1½ TBSP minced fresh ginger
1½ tsp ground coriander
Kosher Salt
3 TBSP tahini (sesame) paste
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP chopped cilantro
Sesame seeds
Pita bread or chips, for serving

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment.
2.  In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the oil, ginger and coriander, and season with salt. Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and lightly browned in spots. Let cool slightly.
3.  Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add the tahini and lemon juice and pulse to a chunky puree; season with salt. Add the cilantro and pulse just until incorporated. Transfer the spread to a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm with pita bread or chips.
Make ahead: The sesame-cauliflower spread can be refrigerated overnight.


Dress the Part - The Age of Adaline

I can't seem to get The Age of Adaline and those beautiful costumes out of my head (see my review of the film here). So, I decided to examine them more closely, and see if I could recreate them with a more modern twist. It might not be your idea of fun, but it's definitely mine. I had so much fun putting this post together (and have more planned). Enjoy!

First let's look back at the costume from the twenties. We're told Adaline is born in 1908, and I'd say she is supposed to be about 20 years old in the below picture, so we're looking at probably around 1928 here - basically, the height of 20's fashion.
Image from here.
Here's my modern interpretation. I loved the color combination of nude/blush, mustard yellow, and grey. I would never have thought to wear them together, but they do look pretty great combined.

Remember, if you're looking for twenties inspired pieces, you're searching for things like drop waists, cloche hats, and pearls.

Also, I realized the inspiration dress above is a little pricey, so here are a few more affordable options that have the same sort of feel - nude/blush and flowy. 

There are also a ton of cute "flapper" dresses out there, but be careful with those. You don't want to look like you're wearing a costume.

Moving onto the next decade when Adaline gets married. 
Image from here.
Actually, I'm not sure if her wedding occurred in the 20's or 30's, but I'm going with 30's - early 30's though, so there would still be a lot of 20's influence in the attire.
Earrings | ClutchDress | Veil |  | Shoes

If you're looking for your wedding ensemble to have a late 20's / early 30's vibe, then you're looking for sleek lines, satin, Juliet Cap veils, t-strap shoes, and fun Art Deco accessories.

Finally, also in the 30's, we see this lovely springtime dress Adaline wears for her daughter's christening.
Image from here.
For this look, I focused my search on floral chiffon dresses (with sleeves), and then brought in the 30's inspiration by way of accessories.

Since it's Springtime, there are a ton of floral chiffon dresses out there. Here are a few more shopping pleasure. If you're daring, search for pretty fascinators to go with them.

The 20's and 30's were two great decades for fashion. A lot of beautiful pieces in a lot of beautiful cuts and fabrics. I think it is a testament to the times that you can still find traces of so many of the styles pioneered then in clothing from today. There's a reason people still love these vintage looks. There was an elegance and sophistication to clothing of that time that is severely lacking in modern fashion. Also, there were hats. Why did we ever stop wearing hats!


2015 Father's Day Gift Guide

Father's Day is just three weeks away. If you're stumped on what to get all the great father's in your life, here's a few ideas I rounded up for you. Enjoy!
This toiletry bag from Nordstrom ($68) is great for all those dads that travel often for business. He'll have a fun little reminder of how much you love him each time he reaches for his deodorant or razor.

Speaking of razors, how about a subscription to the Dollar Shave Club ($1-$9/month)? I love the idea of taking something as mundane as buying razors and not only putting it on auto-pilot, but turning it into a little monthly treat for that special dad in your life too.

If dad is a reader, then a nice hard copy edition of his favorite book is always thoughtful. The Folio Society has a great collection of beautifully bound and illustrated books (prices vary). I love their books, and they look great on the bookshelf too. 

Bring on the nostalgia with these Old Skool Vans ($55). Then, get the kids a matching pair. They'll be so excited to have shoes just like their daddy's.

A GoPro camera ($129.99 - $499.99) is great for all those dads on the go. The picture on these things is pretty amazing, and there are all sorts of gadgets and mounts that go with it. He'll have fun building a collection, and making all sorts of crazy home videos you'll all enjoy for years to come. 

What are you planning on getting your dad or husband this year? I'm always looking for good ideas. 


Let's Go To The Movies - Aloha

Some friends and I went to see Aloha over the weekend. It was a pretty stellar cast and written/directed by Cameron Crowe. I had high hopes, but did it deliver?

Down and out military contractor, Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) gets one last shot at redemption as he travels to Hawaii to oversee negotiations with native Hawaiians on behalf of the military and billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray), both of whom need land from the Hawaiians in order to expand their space exploration projects. Gilcrest is forced to confront his past with his ex-girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), as well as her new husband Woody (John Krasinski); all the while dealing with the peppy and overly optimistic Captain Ng (Emma Stone) assigned to watch over him and keep him out of trouble.

My initial reaction upon leaving the theater was that this movie was...strangely good? I think? The story was a little hard to follow. There were plot points that were just not explained well; mostly due to characters not communicating with each other (surprising for a Cameron Crowe flick). John Krasinski's character, Woody, literally would not communicate; which was a good running gag throughout the movie, but when your wife straight up asks you what is wrong and you still can't muster any just doesn't make sense. I also went the entire movie thinking Bradley Cooper's character, Brian Gilcrest, was a former pilot or something and he ended up doing something with computers. I still don't really know exactly. Actually, the entire climactic "launch" scene was confusing and rushed.


I judge a movie on its ability to entertain me, and I was entertained by Aloha. Emma Stone, as Captain Ng, made the film for me. Her quirky and passionate, yet super by the book character was funny and charming. Every scene she was in I enjoyed (especially her awesome dance with Bill Murray - lucky girl!) Her and Bradley Cooper (despite the 13 year age difference) even had pretty descent chemistry. If you're an Emma Stone fan, you'll enjoy this movie.

I'd say the rest of the cast did as good as could be expected with the material. Good performances all around, but the writing was lacking. Overall, yes there were confusing parts, but there were enough funny parts and sweet parts and romantic parts to make up for least for me.