Apologies for the long absence, y’all. I’ve been dreaming of summer and haven’t felt much like cooking lately, but with lovely produce and the sun finally shining in Brooklyn, I’m excited to get back into the kitchen. First, however, I have a DIY tutorial that I came up with a few weeks ago. Bored by the hand-me-down floor lamp we had in the living room, I decided it was about time I found something with a little more personality — but after some searching, it’s hard to find a good floor lamp for less the a couple hundred dollars.
Instead, I decided to try my hand at creating my own floor lamp with materials that you could find at any hardware store — and altogether, everything was less than $50. It’s definitely not perfect (the cords to plug it into the wall are kind of awkward), but I’m really happy with how it turned out overall. For the price breakdown and step by step instructions, click below.
One of my favorite parts of warm weather, hand’s down, is eating outside. And one of the foods I associate most with eating outside is barbecue. In New York, I’m fortunate enough to be near some excellent restaurants, but I had never tried my hand at making pulled pork. It always seemed far too complicated, and I never planned far enough in advance. But one Sunday I woke up, and knew that I just needed some pulled pork. My favorite versions are piled with coleslaw and served with pickles, and I found a recipe that includes both of those in one. The pork itself did take a while and called to be marinated overnight (I marinated it for four hours), but I have seen some great-looking recipes that can just be thrown in a slow-cooker which would make it really easy for a weeknight dinner. Of course, I think the best pulled pork sandwiches have an inherent smokiness from a wood fire, but until I have my hands on a grill, the oven works perfectly well.
I followed this recipe from Food & Wine for the pulled pork exactly, and this recipe from Bon Appétit for the slaw, which I modified slightly by adding 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar for more acidity and 1/2 cup mayo for creaminess. Serve sandwiches on a picnic table with a cold beer, slathered in barbecue sauce.
Also, I’m very excited to announce that I am collaborating with my friend Max, who started the amazing site Wine & Bowties. It is pretty much the go-to site for everything that’s cool in music, art, style and culture, and I am incredibly excited to begin a recipe series with them. My first recipe (the guacamole that I posted here) went up on Monday night, and you can look for more new recipes every couple of weeks. Wine & Bowties also has a ton of other fascinating content, so be sure to check out their other features as well.
When I was growing up, I painted (or rather, helped my mom paint) my bedroom a lovely, sunny ochre. My comforter cover was covered in stripes of different colors, and I painted the frame of my mirror bright blue. Sounds like a lot, I know, but somehow it all worked. In recent years, however, my tastes have become much more subdued and now I tend to gravitate much more to neutral colors — but the one exception is gold (you can see my love for it here). When we were furnishing our apartment, we looked to Craigslist for many of the items as often you can find more unique items, and we didn’t want to spend a ton of money. So when we found the below dresser from Ikea on Craigslist for $70, we decided to go for it, even though red is not really my color. I figured I would make it over somehow, and while pouring through the Design*Sponge archives one day, I came across this amazing copper-trimmed table.
Right then and there, I decided to change my dresser from a mediocre red to dramatic black and gold. I like the look of chalkboard paint but I didn’t want to actually write on the dresser, so I picked up some matte black paint from Benjamin Moore, along with some primer. I already had some Rustoleum gold spray paint from a previous project for the knobs, and I bought all of the gold leaf supplies (Leaf, Adhesive, and Sealant) from a local art store (it was around $30 total, as I needed two packets of gold leaf to cover the top of the dresser). See the step by step process and “after” pictures after the jump. Continue reading
We have been having a lot of smoothies lately for breakfast — which is great, but in an effort to switch things up a bit from the routine, while still being healthy, I decided to try out this chia seed pudding recipe from Food & Wine. It couldn’t have been easier. Ari was not as big of a fan — I will admit, the texture takes a little getting used to, but it pretty much just tasted like vanilla almond milk — so, delicious. I used maple syrup (my dad makes it!) instead of agave, and vanilla almond milk (from Trader Joe’s — it’s SO good), and served it with diced mango and just a touch of maple syrup drizzled on top. My note would be to make sure that you shake it occasionally while refrigerating — the chia seeds in mine were a little unevenly distributed, making some parts more liquidy than others. Overall, it made a delicious, healthy , and filling breakfast — and I always love anything that you can make the night before to make getting out the door in the morning that much quicker.
I love fresh flowers. One of the loveliest parts about visiting my parent’s house in the spring and summer is the abundance of peonies, lilacs and hydrangeas in their gardens. But having no outdoor space at my apartment, buying fresh flowers every week can get a little expensive. I recently saw these gorgeous paper flowers at West Elm, but even those were a little pricy at $5 apiece. So when I stumbled across this amazing tutorial on The Elli Blog, I couldn’t have been happier — and all you need is a color printer, some wire, and a glue gun.
It did take me a couple of hours (I made 10), but in the end I think it was definitely worth it. I of course won’t be giving up fresh flowers completely, but in the meantime, these make a great alternative that last all year-round. Note that the ugly phone in the picture above is one of the unfortunate parts about living in a rented apartment, but I think that the anemones brighten up my little entry way considerably.
Be sure to check out The Elli Blog for more amazing tutorials!
If you are anything like me, there are nights that you simply don’t want to go to the grocery store (although mine is a block and a half away, so I don’t have much of an excuse). This recipe uses ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand, and can be adapted really easily to suit your tastes — you could add in some chicken sausage, sprinkle lettuce or cotija cheese on top, make scrambled eggs instead of poached. But in any case, this is an easy, cheap option for weeknight dinners or weekend brunches — and even if it’s still a little cold here in New York (although, compared to what my family is experiencing in Minnesota, it’s practically summer here), I can almost imagine sitting on a beach, maragarita in hand, devouring these tostadas.
Disclaimer: Ari told me that I had to tell you that this is very messy to eat. We tried our luck with forks but ended up just picking up the whole tostada at once. It still tastes good, in any case.
West Elm, $79
Martha Stewart Living, August 2010
I’ve been working on a few projects lately to spruce up the apartment (more to come!) This definitely isn’t turning into a DIY blog, but given my love of design I figured I would share a few of these projects with you. The first one is really simple: all you need is a basket, one or two colors or paint, and some painter’s tape. Using these pictures as inspiration, I decided to capitalize on the color-blocking trend and take this red-hued basket (not really my style) to a much more modern black and white. Here are the steps I followed:
First, choose your base color (alternatively, if you like the original color of the basket, you can skip this step). I used white spray paint, and sprayed about 4 coats on the exterior and interior of the basket until I had covered it completely. Let dry between coats, and let dry fully (1-2 days) before moving on to the next step.
Next, tape your basket about a third of the way up from the bottom. Carefully paint sides and bottom of basket (below tape) with your second color, and let dry fully. Remove tape.
That’s it! Super easy. I also think it would be really fun to use silver or gold for the second color to add a bit of glamour. What do you think? Would you be interested to see more projects like this?
As you may have noticed, we’ve been pretty into kale lately. Unfortunately, this may be conforming to many stereotypes about Brooklyn residents, but I guess at this point, I’ve lived here for almost three years so there’s nothing to be done. In any case, apart from being the latest vegetable trend, kale really is very good for you, and quite tasty in a variety of preparations. I happen to like it for salad, since you can mix it ahead of time and you don’t need to worry about the leaves wilting. This salad makes a great lunch or light dinner, and you could certainly mix in other vegetables — I just happen to be of the belief that avocados make everything better. (No really, they do.)
I am really ready for spring. I’m definitely sick of all of my winter clothes, and I would be pretty happy if I didn’t have to wear my winter coat for at least six months. We’ve had a few glimpses of spring in New York, but then it inevitably starts snowing again. So until I can find asparagus, ramps, and any fruit besides apples, I’ll have to tide myself over with this (non-vegetable filled) open-faced sandwich. (Note: it makes an excellent pre- or post-St. Patrick’s Day breakfast if you aren’t feeling the best). This sandwich was inspired by a really wonderful café in my old neighborhood called Milk Bar, and I would recommend serving it with a latte, like I would have there. Or a mimosa. You know, whatever appeals to you.
Confession: I did a juice cleanse last week. As an avid lover of butter, wine, and pretty much anything crunchy, I’m not going to lie — it was REALLY hard. (And probably nearly as hard for Ari, who had to listen to me whine, “I’m so hungry!” for three days straight. Why do such a thing, you might ask? Turns out, too much fried chicken, cake for someone’s birthday, and butter can catch up to you, and I felt like my system needed a break. While the juice itself was good, I’m not sure if I’ll be committing to one again — but it did make me think more about what I eat on a day to day basis. These super simple kale chips give me the crunch I love while still being a much healthier alternative to potato chips. Plus, they taste better and are much cheaper than the ones you can buy at the store.