31 March 2012

Ballet Flats and a Brass Bicycle

I haven't shopped at Banana Republic in years, but this skirt I love. When I come down a flight of stairs, it splays out like something out of Marilyn Monroe's wardrobe. And it has pockets. I have a major thing for dresses and skirts with pockets.

30 March 2012

Risotto, daffodils, and pigeon hunting

Julian and I went to a nice little playground on Tuesday, and apparently he's the Pigeon Whisperer (or Herder/Hunter/Tormenter?). He's officially obsessed with them, and it's hilarious. The other parents at the park thought so, too, but I was too focused on him to take pictures of them laughing at him. See below for pictorial representation.

The weather we've been getting is unreal, and the new produce at the supermarket has put me in a culinarily summery spirit. I bought my first basil plant of the year, stuck it in our sunny conservatory, and threw together a risotto with cooked chestnuts, zucchini, basil, spinach, and green onion. It was surprisingly good; sometimes those everythinginmykitchenisgoinginhere recipes are just what one needs to get out of the followingtherecipe trap.

29 March 2012

Amsterdam on a Saturday: Pigeons and Protests

A is for Amsterdam. And action. I love going to this bustling city, for its color and its sea of bicycles (in Den Haag we have a steadily flowing tributary of them), for the fact that I can find a grim reaper in a puddle of pigeons, and for the great breadth of its canals and the openness they impart on the city's aesthetic.

28 March 2012

27 March 2012

Lines and Textures in Leiden

As I mentioned earlier, we went to Leiden over the weekend. To a certain extent, a certain aesthetic thread runs through all Dutch cities, although I really love the subtle differences between them. Leiden, for me, was all about texture. I wanted to touch everything.

26 March 2012

Secret Agent

We went to Leiden over the weekend, which is a really great city, and a fifteen minute train ride from Den Haag. I normally do most of my shopping online, but I fell in love with a little shop, Via Mio. Their displays were tasteful and collected, and I wanted to leave with most everything I touched. There was one piece that I couldn't walk away without, though- this dress, by Moscow; it's silky and elegant but casual enough for a romp in the park. The buttons are wooden and contrast so nicely against the hazy blue color. And, as you can see, the fabric  can handle grubby baby fingers.

25 March 2012

Beachy Keen

Our beach at Scheveningen Pier in The Hague is part Atlantic City, part Coney Island, and part Carribean resort. It's weird, sort of tacky, but really wonderful. The actual beach is gigantic and goes on and on before melting into rolling, grassy dunes. 

A quick meditation on seagulls: they are awful in theory; they eat garbage, pick on the other birds, and have a mean eye.

24 March 2012

Düsseldorf: bunless bratwurst, bunnies in a stroller, and a bomb

My cousin and I hopped on a train over the border to Germany on Monday. The ride was painless (just short of three hours), our hotel was fancy (and free, thanks to her Hyatt employee perks!), and the weather was shiny and bright. We spent the entire first day walking around the newly built downtown area of the city, both propagating a growing feeling of regret that we'd chosen a really. boring. city to tour around. 

Just when our hope was down to a trickle that we'd find anything photograph- or attention-worthy, we turned onto a small street that fed into a sprawling daily outdoor market and into the old section of town. It was like we'd entered a different city, full of altbier and mustard and pastries and schnitzel and bratwurst and cobblestones and gorgeous buildings, exactly what we came for.

I suspected that a section of the city had been bombed out in WWII; I likened it a few times to Rotterdam, which has only a small neighborhood retaining its original aesthetic.

16 March 2012

Symmetry, in Cacao and White

My cousin flew in this morning from Chicago! We celebrated tonight with a flourless chocolate cake. It was a raving success- rich, dense, and cheesecake-moist (recipe below).

15 March 2012

You had me at sunshine.

Three things on this Thursday:

1. Spring has absolutely, positively, officially arrived!  Glorious weather brings out the best in everyone, except for maybe angler fish, which live deep, deep in the ocean. I don't think they know what the sun is, grumpy little things. I returned to the beach again, to an entirely different scene. Yesterday, everyone was packed into cafes, snuggled up next to fireplaces. Today, dogs bounded into roiling waves, kids darted between couples holding hands, and bicyclists pedaled just a bit slower. 

14 March 2012

Get a little closer.

Today's sunny forecast was a flop, but I met a friend for lunch at the beach anyway, at a cafe. Julian fussed the entire time, and her kiddo peed on the floor a little (day nine of potty training). At the time, I was completely bewildered at the opinionated little creature my baby is becoming and trying to converse while trying to keep objects from going onto the floor, inedible ones out of his mouth, herd edible objects into it, and keep the wailing to a minimum. I can only imagine how my friend was feeling. Now that I look back, it was riotous. 

13 March 2012

Fly Away

This getup is light and airy, and the colors are candy-sweet; I wanted to capture it in motion outdoors, but Julian had his vaccinations this morning and spent most of the day in bed, poor little fellow. So, I was relegated to again shooting against our gorgeous second (first for you Europeans) floor master bedroom window. 

12 March 2012

Brunch is best.

Today I celebrated the arrival of my friends' teeny tiny little girl into the world, in the best way I know how, with a full Sunday brunch spread in tow. I've decided to make or bake most gifts from here on out; it gives me a thoughtful excuse to preheat my oven. I had to fight the urge to make a quiche; it's my token brunch recipe, but I wanted to play with a recipe for arancini on the BBC's fabulous food site.

11 March 2012

Home, undefined

Home is an ambiguous concept these days; I'm living in a foreign country in a house filled with things that are someone else's. We brought with us our three dogs, our four-week old baby, and suitcases filled with minimal clothing. 

10 March 2012

Snip snip

I have a habit of cutting my hair often. My husband jokes that there's a Yeti in the house, because our very white porcelain bathroom sink is permanently covered in a fine dusting of hair clippings. It started when I first cut myself some bangs, about two years ago. I am perpetually displeased with them. Some pieces that should up fall down, there's always a stray long hair, etc. It's especially bad when I get a professional haircut. They never seem to get it exactly right. So, here I was, a week after a grossly expensive visit to the salon, preparing my very sharp little scissors for battle. 

09 March 2012

Decadently blue, perfectly done

I was in the mood for something sweet and warm and good with coffee, so I baked a batch of French Breakfast Muffins. They're simple and perfect for a rainy day. I usually opt for healthy ingredients and substitutions (i.e. agave nectar, coconut oil, whole wheat flour, cut the sugar in half, etc.), but I was having a craving for the other kind of baking.   

08 March 2012

Brugge in the winter

I just returned from three days in Brugge, Belgium with my 10-month old baby, my friend, and her 11-month old baby. 

We laughed ourselves silly at our errs, ate copious amounts of sweet things, met some really interesting characters, and walked and walked until our babies were quiet and our eyes were full to the brim of beautiful buildings, colorblocked pastel walls, and serene, ivy-coated side streets. (The hues of the city were so stylistically inspiring; I thought so many times that the shades on a wall would be equally great on a person.) 

07 March 2012

That which glitters may just be a spray-painted sweater.

I've always been drawn to people with an interesting aesthetic. I just thought I could never be one of those people, for one reason or another. My excuses were extensive and could not be argued with. My face is too [insert adjective] for that haircut, my body is too out of proportion to rock a [insert article of clothing].  Moving to Europe was revelatory.