Friday, March 26, 2010

A Walk In The Woods

Just another day in Maine walking the dog. 

Sharing A Poem: Trust And Faith

I had to read this one twice to really appreciate it. 

by Thomas R. Smith

It's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

The theft that could have happened doesn't.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address.

I think would have called it "Faith." I don't have prepackaged faith. As an atheist I don't automatically count things in. For most of my life it was a word I didn't associate myself with — I turned my nose up at it. But when the going got tough, real tough, I figured I should look into what all the fuss was about. It took some real probing before it materialized, before it could be articulated.  Afterall, if you don't have faith in god, what do you have faith in? You kind of have to finish the sentence for yourself. I think this poem approaches my idea.

Elle Decor, Why Not?

I had a moment when buying my new sheets via HSN. As I was checking out it asked me if I wanted to subscribe to Elle Decor for $7 a year, and I said why not? With all the cool shelter magazines going out of print, I have been tempted at least once to buy ED while waiting around in Penn Station. It's sort of like Vogue for your house — you're never going to live like that, nor can you afford anything in it, but sometimes you get good ideas. Anyway I figured if I bought it twice at the news stand, it would more make up for the cost of the subscription, so I clicked the yes button. 

I forgot about it for a while, then received two issues in two weeks. I've only ripped out a few things, but then I saw this London home, and it earned its keep. The home is still aspirational, but I can learn from the mix of old and new design eras, color and neutrals, clean lines and crazy textiles. 

These are things I can work with. 

Yellow! Built-ins!

Bleached grey floors! Ikat pillows!

And you don't need to be an heir to a cosmetics dynasty to appreciate hugs. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kennwegoback To Kennebunkport?

It's March, which means it's time for the SevPrez family's annual trip up to Maine. We actually thought about going to Mexico this year, but we decided we'd rather not get on a plane, we'd rather spend our money on our kitchen renovation, we'd rather hang out with family all-stars instead of drunk spring-breakers, and well, we just really love Maine. 

This year's trip is completely different than the 2009 version, when the ground was covered with three feet of snow. We had planned to shorten the drive up with a stop at Kennebunkport, and it was really fantastic to have some 70 degree weather for our coastal activities. A lot of which entailed laying in our king size bed (upgraded because there were so few guests) at The Breakwater Inn and gazing out upon the water.
Yeah, I could do that all day. 

Which we did, into the night. As life long East-Coasters, it was hard to wrap our brains around how we were watching a sunset over the water, but we think it has something to do with the way the coast juts out and our position on the bay. You can't make them out , but there were about a half dozen surfers entertaining us out there.

I highly recommend this spot to all you readers who love New England. It was big enough that you felt you had some anonymity but small enough that you felt like you had it all to yourselves. The rooms were quite crisp (not like staying at a B&B that evokes the guest bedroom of your crazy aunt who loves angel figurines and doilies).

The bed was like sleeping on a cloud. Seriously, I have never enjoyed sleeping so much. And the bar house infuses their tequila with pineapples and hot peppers, which makes for a very smooth margarita. Hmm, maybe that's why I slept like a baby. 

We were only there for about two hours before I was planning on coming back. That's my problem with traveling, I fall in love with places and can't bear the idea that I'll never be there again. Luckily we have lots of reasons to keep coming back to Maine, and with the drive to Orono being at least eight hours, we have lots of reasons to stop in Kennebunkport again.

And if you were planning on trying popover at Jordan Pond this summer, it makes sense for you too!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sharp Edges

The eggs that went into the Greek frittata, decorated with a vast collection of Sharpies.
Click for full image.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Swedish Fit

I need to go to Sweden. First I was really feeling their interior decor, then I ordered a new pair of Sven clogs,  and finally I devoured The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Now I feel I need to decamp to a one room cabin in a Swedish fishing village and drink coffee and eat open faced sandwiches all day. 

But since I won't be moving any time soon, the next best thing would be ripping up my carpet (it's been on the list anyway) and bleaching my hardwood floors. The hallmark of many Swedish homes is there whiteness -- with those long nights and long winters, you could see why the Swedes would want their homes to glow. White is clean and simple, a good backdrop for the clean lines of Swedish design. Take a look...

via KML design.

via designfragment.

This home's in Brooklyn, not Sweden, but still. 
via DesignSponge.

via Skoden Hem.

I'm asking myself why I didn't paint the back room floor white when I had the chance. Or light grey. It had occurred to me but I was shamed out of it again and went with dark grey. I do remember reading something about the floor bleaching process in Martha Stewart Living and thinking it sounded really involved and expensive. Still, I can dream. 

For more Swedish inspiration, check out these blogs and websites.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Let me just say that I have never made a recipe authored by Martha Rose Shulman that I didn't love. To boot the end product is always both delicious and healthy, as she writes "Recipes for Health" for the New York Times. Her Greek Baked Squash Omelet (it's really a fritatta) was no exception.

(This is the perfect time of year for fritatta recipes, if you have any plans to decorate Easter eggs. More on that next week!)

I want to go out on a limb and say this recipe is un-mess-up-able. I ad-libbed to make it a one skillet recipe and it still turned out well. I did all my vegetable sautéing in the same cast iron skillet that I added the egg mixture to and popped into the oven. Realizing it was a much bigger skillet than she called for, I used a dozen eggs instead of eight, since I had them ready anyway from my easter egg project, and threw in about a quarter cup more greek yogurt. I was a little nervous that it was going to be too thin but after checking it in the oven and seeing it all fluffy, I felt triumphant. 

It's good reheated in the microwave, but nothing compares to how it tastes and smells right out of the oven.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bed Linens Overshare

I think I've been plumbing too many design blogs, books, and magazines, because I feel the need to share my happiness upon finally assembling a cool look for our bed. Sometimes I have the urge to share something on the blog and I hold back, thinking, does anyone really need to know about my current mental state/new lipstick/lunch? Believe it or not, the thoughts you read here are carefully edited. 

Can I rationalize this editorial choice for a second? Our bedroom is really pretty small. It's a tiny room on the second floor of our little Cape, with low sloping ceilings and built-in shelves and drawers eliminating the need for any furniture beyond the bed. I have really grown to love our non-cluttered sleep sanctuary, however it means that the bed is really the only place to introduce some visual interest, so whatever is on the bed is the room.

You feel me? So... 

Remember the Alexander Girard duvet cover I thought had so much promise? Total bust. It wasn't big enough to hold our comforter, but of course I couldn't return it because I had already washed and dried it before I put it on. I am hoping to one day use it in the guest bedroom, which is only a full size bed. It is currently sans-duvet but that may change in the future. If not, it's drop cloth city and no looking back.

I'm always on the look out for cool sheets at a good price, so when I saw some interestingly patterned sheet sets at I jumped. I'm a little embarrassed that they are from Nate Berkus's line for HSN (that's Home Shopping Network for those out of the loop, which I used to be), and they could be a little softer, but at $50 the price was right and the look is great. 

It like the way it plays off my greek key bed skirt without making the bed look too much like an American flag. The red and purple number on top of the duvet is actually a rug from Ikea that used to serve no purpose on our wall-to-wall carpeted floor. Mr. SevPrez decided he couldn't take all the cat hair on the bed anymore, and demanded we put something down. (Did you know cats like to sit on stuff? Bags, socks, sweaters, pants, towels, it doesn't matter. They love having their own little piece of real estate.) Lacking a cool blanket I whipped out the rug (freshly laundered) from storage. He would like something a little bigger, but I am in love with the way it looks. I told him I'd buy a blanket, but I think I will conveniently forget. That's the bonus to being the shopper in the family.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lil' Sharkies

My second oldest niece turned eight last week and celebrated with a swimming party at an indoor pool. In her honor I baked Hello, Cupcake's shark attack themed cupcakes, even though 1) I was warned midweek there were already too many cupcakes from the school party and Grammy and 2) after eating cupcakes at the pool, the whole family was going back to her parents' house to have an ice cream party. 

But can I tell you something? That's a setup. I've been an aunt for enough years to know that you absolutely cannot upset the very delicate balance of power between sisters. As an aunt I was contractually obligated to go ahead with elaborate cupcake plan even though no one would probably eat any. So I did.

The sharks are made of Twinkies. The recipe in the book called for "dipping" them in melted grey icing, but that didn't work so hot. Thank god I had a silicon brush to paint the rest of the Twinkies.

Making this recipe required buying a large bag of small Swedish fish, a bag of Donettes, 3 packs of Twinkies, and 2 kinds of colored icing gel. I was also supposed to get red Fruit by the Foot and mallowmars (for puffing up the fish cupcakes), but I was so grossed out by everything going in my cart that I had to draw the line somewhere.

I'll admit I was kind of excited about the Twinkies (which I carried home from the supermarket cradled in my arms like a baby, so as to make sure they didn't get squooshed*). When I was a wee young lass my best friend and I used to split a pack of Twinkies for dessert after lunch. I remember them as being amazingly awesome, sort of how I feel about butterscotch krimpets to this day. I had to cut about an inch off the end of each Twinkie to make a shark, so I tried a piece. 

Let me tell you, those things are disgusting! I mean disgusting! It was a total gross out. They taste nothing like I remember which made me think that maybe they changed the formula? But now, after several in depth discussions with my family members, we decided there is an age cutoff for people who find Twinkies delicious.

My only addition to the Hello, Cupcake shark attack idea was to make Jaws-like cupcakes with just the fins. (I had to buy an entire package of chocolate wafer cookies and the recipe only used 2. Don't get me started). I know the 3D Twinkie Sharks are really the money 'cakes, but in the future I would dispense with them all together and just make my version. Way more practical, easy, and delicious.

That's all for the stunt baking for now. I need to get back to baking things that actually taste good and won't rot your insides. I'll keep you posted.

*Thanks, Wendy, for the editorial assist!