a recipe borrowed

March 16, 2012

Somewhere along the line my fun-filled Friday nights turned domestic.  I love staying in more than I do going out! Tonight I had things to get done in the kitchen since we have some friends coming over tomorrow night for a St. Patty’s Day dinner party.  It will be my first attempt at a traditional Irish ‘Boiled Dinner’ and while I still have some details to figure out, I got the big stuff {grocery shop & kitchen prep} done! I even threw baking a cake into the plans…I had to. Dessert wasn’t really on my radar until this morning when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks, & saw this recipe for a chocolate bundt cake made with stout.  I knew immediately that I would bake that bundt. And I did!  Luckily we had plenty of Guinness on hand so that’s what I used.  It calls for other delicious things like maple syrup, cocoa powder, eggs {from our sweet hennies}, and whole fat yogurt. Here’s a peek at my evening & the cake as baked:

Chocolate Bundt cake making

Cocoa, Maple syrup, simmering stout

Fresh eggs, cocoa & stout mixture

Batter-filled bundt pan & Anthropologie kitchen timer

Chocolate frosting

Chocolate Bundt Cake!

What are your St. Patty’s Day plans?  Do you stay in or go out? Will you be eating a traditional Irish meal?  Will I see you around town wearing all green & looking like you’ve had too many pints already…at 10 o’clock in the morning?!

Happy Birthday to ME!!

March 15, 2012

On this day, 192 years ago, Maine became the 23rd state. Woo-hoo!!!

Happy Birthday Maine!

We love you!


On NPR this morning they read from a letter that a kid in Austin wrote to a local meteorologist who’d recently visited his classroom.  When I heard what this boy, Flint, had written I laughed out loud!  Only a kid could come up with this:

“Thank you for coming to our school and teaching us about weather.  Some day when I become supreme ultra-Lord of the universe I will not make you a slave, you will live in my 200 story castle where unicorn servants will feed you doughnuts off their horns.”

At the end of his letter he tells the meteorologist “And in case you didn’t know, that’s pretty dang sweet”!

Kid writes letter to meteorologist

Austin kid writes letter to meteorologist: drawing

It’s a reminder to all of us grown ups that once upon-a-time we all entertained silly thoughts that read more like Mad Libs than Real Life.

{And sometimes we still do, thank goodness!}

Rainy Day Ready!

March 14, 2012

Hello! There is a fine mist coming down on us today that is sure to turn into  big, fat raindrops.  I’ve always liked rainy days.  There is something calming about them, even if the wind is blowing hard and the rain is coming down sideways, there is something comforting about being able to hunker in if you want to or venture out.  On a sunny day I can’t stand staying inside.  So, I guess for me a rainy day is a free day, and in the end I don’t mind being out in the wet weather! Being dressed for it is key, especially in mud season…here are some pieces that traverse fashion and function; misty days and raining-cats-and-dogs days:

Hunter Boots, Daughter's of the Liberations  Anorak, Marc Jacobs Spectacle Umbrella

Hunter Wellies, Daughter's of the Liberation Anorak, Marc Jacobs Umbrella

 A pop of color at the foot and head with a polka-dotted anorak in between! I think wellies are best in brights and an umbrella is always fun in an unexpected print.  Being a practical gal myself I would typically opt for the key piece {the anorak} in a multi-tasking print & color combo.  Cannot go wrong with a classic dot and navy & white combo.  Maybe an umbrella as cool as this would help me to not leave it at home, which I tend to do!  How do you take on a rainy day?



The American woman’s obsession with French style continues…between the topknot and the ballet flats is this very particular way of looking chic and insouciant at the same time that we love to emulate {yours truly included}.  They have a certain je nais se quois! These are the ladies who wear red lipstick and skirts while effortlessly biking about Paris.  {I’d be a grubby little mess attempting such a feat, and I’d be doing it in a pair of workout pants.  Gauche, not Gamine.}

Lately there has been a buzz about the parenting style of the French & who hasn’t heard of their knack for staying slim?  In the outtakes of the movie Bridesmaids there are scenes of Lillian and Helen biking around Paris with baguettes.  Our cultural conscious is speaking French!

French Style

These pieces are the foundation of French style.

Woody Allen’s recent film Midnight in Paris shows France’s own First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy looking pared down, but brilliant:

I’ve been a fan of Amelie since it came out in 2001 {the DVD was also my very first Ebay purchase}.  Audrey Tautou plays that quirky, do-gooder of a character while the cinematography captures the streets of Paris beautifully.  See it if you haven’t! Her hairstyle in that movie sent many American girls to the salon.

Audrey Tautou and Marion Cotillard are just two modern day examples of the cult of c’est chic and they certainly inspire a girl to make the effort, but not to try too hard:

Audrey Tautou

Monday, Monday

March 12, 2012

Daylight savings has given me a kick in the pants! I feel like starting new projects, going for a run, planting, getting my toes painted a bright color…you get the idea.  Invigorated, I am.  How about you?

How cool would these planters be in your yard or on your porch?

If I were to take off today for a vacation, I’d go here.

Yummy lite lunch.

Birds are beautiful.

Looking forward to doing something different like watch movies in our backyard this summer.

This bedside table is pretty cool.

Words to live by.

Have a fabulous day!

a nature walk

March 11, 2012

Was it a sunny, gorgeous day where you are, too?  It was so nice outside that we decided to get out & enjoy it!

Tree line

First we tidied up the barn & chicken coup to which Ruby protested. What a devil!

Ruby the Rooster

Then went for a walk in and out of the woods behind our house following a small brook that runs along the edge of the fields.  It was good to see nature waking up and thawing out!  We stirred up some grouse & ducks and saw deer tracks & the sun shined like crazy.



Just listen to the babbling…

Highlight: Luke noticed that a teeny tiny brook trout was trapped in a small pool, and after he caught the little thing in his hands he freed it into the brook.  Good deed of the day!

Hope you had a carefree & sunshiny Sunday, too!

An Overnight in Portland

March 10, 2012

Portland Maine skyline

Did you know that Portland boasts a pretty great selection of amazing restaurants?  Bon Appetit called it “America’s Foodiest Small Town” in 2009. Some of the more well-known restaurants include Fore StreetHugo’s, and Street & Co.they are all fantastic, but I tend toward more under-the-radar places.

One of my favorites is Caiola’s in Portland’s West End neighborhood {also my favorite ‘end’ of the city}.  Getting the same dish there every time is sort of hard to resist: they make the best paella!  They have a delicious burger and once a gnocchi special made me unbelievably happy! Walter’s is always my go-to place for drinks & the calamari with girlfriends.

If you visit the city and want to stay somewhere distinct, slightly tucked away, and indicative of this city’s celebration of art then you should consider the Pomegranate Inn {also in the West End}.  It’s beautiful, whimsical, and elegant; every single room and nook and wall and thing in there is artfully selected or art itself.  They have a veritable gallery throughout the halls & rooms!  I promise you will love it there!

Something to take home & remember Portland by:  Chart Metalworks  makes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, cuff links and more using nautical maps of all places in Maine {and anywhere, really}.   I gave my husband a key ring with a map of Popham Beach, where we were married.

Portland has it going on!  It’s so dear to me and has grown to be a very hip, happening little city.  This is the first of many Portland mentions and just a few of my recommendations…more later!  Have a happy weekend!

Morning Y’all!  It’s sunny & chilly here.  After the full moon yesterday I feel a little more like myself.  Ever have a devil on your back {stole that line from Florence & the Machine, thankyouverymuch} that you just can’t shake?

Speaking of women with amazing voices, are any of you Adele fans out there?

Adele Grammy Acceptance 2012

Do you fight back tears when you listen to her songs?  I do!  And in that moment I recognize that the scene in the song isn’t my burden to carry, it’s not my heartbreak, but honestly it’s just so moving!  Her lyrics are passionate and the way she sings them is, too.  Listening to NPR the other night I was given an explanation for the tears.  It’s the effect of a note called appoggiatura which is heard in the chorus of Adele’s “Someone Like You.”  It is apparently not what our ear expects to hear and this causes a release of emotion.  You and me, we’re not emotional wrecks, we’re emotional beings.  Phew!

p.s.  I wrote a guest blog for MainelyMara about Fall trends that I observed at Fashion Coterie!  {If you are a Mainer and like a good deal on anything worth it’s salt then sign up for MainelyMara’s local offers & check in on her local style notes!}

Have a lovely Friday!

Signs of Spring!

March 8, 2012

Hello!  Did anyone else experience Spring today?  We had temps near 60 in Maine and most of the snow in my backyard has melted…I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch was melting: it’s glorious to see it go!

Our chickens have been cluckin’ & peckin’ up a storm on the newly uncovered ground.  And, the best thing going is that the woodcock have returned to our little field for their spring mating dance!!!

American Woodcock

It is just beyond awesome to hear their “peeent” call and then the twirly whistling they do once they take flight, far above the clouds, in attempt to attract a mate.  When they land they go back to the same spot and start their “peeenting” again.  They are at the back edge of our field and last year we had one on the side of our driveway. Check it:

Since we moved here over a year ago we have experienced a plethora of birds.  Yep, a plethora.  Bluebirds nested here last spring and hung around all summer, sometimes lining the roof of our barn. They are beauties!

Blue Bird

Every morning chipper Chickadees hang out at our feeders and lately we’ve had a Cardinal and a Titmouse.

There have been other signs of Spring, too, like people are smiling and the sidewalks in Portland had lots of traffic today.  The shop is full of colorful clothes like this and these and this. I got my new red shoes delivered today.  Loveliness! Strangely at work today we wrote orders for Trina Turk’s fall collection.  It was an all around frenetic day and wouldn’t you know~ it’s a full moon!

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