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9/25/15

77. weekend to-do's



li:
  1. take note. i love bringing a small notebook with me when i travel. it allows me to jot down my thoughts, record memories and list places that i would like to recommend or return to. postalco's notebooks are sophisticated, beautifully made and the perfect size to fit in your carry-on bag.
  2. coffee break, reykjavik-style. we are reaching the end of our adventure and there is nothing more welcome to a couple of weary travelers than a great cup of coffee. reykjavik roasters is serious about providing the perfect brew. i can't wait to try one of their expertly crafted espresso drinks.
  3. snug souvenir. no trip to iceland is complete without picking up one of their famously beautiful sweaters. farmer's market makes some of my favorites. now to decide on which one to cozy up to this fall...

liz:
  1. weekend sweets. after a long week, i'm going to treat myself and walk down to union square donuts for a decadent and well deserved fluffanutta donut. this locally owned boutique shop has the best flavor combinations and this weekend they are celebrating fluff festival with a special flavor. delish!
  2. ferry ride. this saturday, save the harbor is hosting a free fall cruise to spectacle island. this national park boasts the highest hill in the harbor so the view looking back to the city is pretty awesome. i plan on packing a little picnic and taking full advantage of the beautiful fall weather we're supposed to have.
  3. dumpling delights. the central square festival of dumplings is back for the fourth year in a row on sunday. restaurants will be selling their dumplings for $1 between 1:00 - 3:00 pm. don't miss it!

9/22/15

76. seven ways to make your bedroom cozy for fall


hygge (pronounced hyooguh) is a danish tradition that roughly translates to feeling cozy throughout the colder seasons. the concept can be as simple as a comforting cup of tea and the warmth of good company. here are a few of our favorite ideas to bring hygge into your bedroom this fall: 

1. switch up the bedding. 
transitioning from summer to fall bedding can help create a sense of warmth and tranquility turning your bedroom into a sanctuary. we love linen for the colder months and parachute home's linen sheets are a favorite of ours. linen gets softer with time and its texture warms the bed as you crawl in.

2. add a fur blanket to the mix.
drape a fur (or faux fur) blanket over the end of your bed to add warmth and create a major cozy factor. the soft texture and dark charcoal color of restoration hardware's faux fur blanket adds visual depth while making you want to stay under the covers all day long.

3. layer the rugs.
add a lambskin throw rug to your bedside for an extra layer of warmth under your feet on those cold mornings. we've paired this fuzzy little guy with a patterned flat-weave rug to give a contrast of color and texture making your room a little more inviting.





4. engage your sense of smell.
a familiar and soothing scent can make your room more appealing for an evening indoors. we recommend pf candle's patchouli sweetgrass soywax candle. the glass amber container and the rich, woodsy scent reminds us of an autumn campfire. we also recommend paine's balsam fir incense and fig & yarrow's room mist for instant relaxation.

5. warm lighting.
we've placed a himalayan salt lamp by the bedside for a comforting, rose-colored glow. not only does it look beautiful, this lamp has health benefits as well, creating negative ions in the air to reduce indoor air pollution & allergens. it's also recommended to reduce stress and improve sleep.


6. bring the outdoors in.
a small collection of terracotta potted plants or a few tiny, weathered beach stones can be the perfect way to bring the outdoors inside.

7. wrap up in a cozy throw and put on some hot tea.
there's nothing better than curling up with a warm stoneware mug of tea while wrapping yourself in a soft throw. west elm's hand-loomed silk throw is the perfect size for lounging.




liana's wardrobe:
white button down: everlane
denim shorts: imogene + willie
clogs: birkenstock


9/18/15

75. weekend to-do's



li:
  1. red eye to reykjavik. andy and i are flying out for an icelandic adventure. we'll be traveling with the incredibly inspirational duo of jenn falk and steph zable for a yoga and herbalism retreat. i can't wait to return to this beautiful and special place.
  2. soak it up. our first stop in iceland will be the blue lagoon. what better way to ease the jet lag than with a soak in a geothermal hot spring. the spa, located in a lava field on the reykjanes peninsula, is one of the most visited attractions in iceland and listed as one of the 25 wonders of the world.
  3. see the light. having never had the experience of viewing the aurora borealis (or northern lights), i was thrilled to hear that i will likely get my chance while in iceland. stay tuned for photos (i will probably take hundreds...).

liz:
  1. modeling new jewels. i'm sitting in front of the camera for once this weekend. my good friend laura hajar is photographing some new pieces from bartholomew jewelry and i am excited to be modeling them for her. if they're anything like this druzy ring, i can't wait. be on the look out for these new pieces and follow laura's work on instagram.
  2. skin care overhaul. in response to the change of seasons, i am switching up my skin care products. the cooler and drier air moving in calls for a richer moisturizer and a nice face oil to increase circulation in the skin. my go-to place for all natural products is follain on charles street.
  3. toy camera take over. nave gallery in somerville is hosting their third annual toy camera festival featuring works by local, national, and international photographers. in addition to the exhibition, there's a street shooting workshop for all levels on sunday. getting my holga out as i write this!

9/15/15

74. heirloom tomato salad




join us in welcoming back our food + wine contributor, kimberly scott. she's making the most of her late-summer harvest and sharing a simple and delicious recipe for heirloom tomato salad:

a perfect moment - heirloom tomato salad and sparkling gamay:

when snow was above my head in every direction, the idea of summer seemed impossible. now, as the air is still thick and i am melting in the heat, those drifts seem like an impossibility. this is the dramatic seasonality of massachusetts. the arctic tundra turns lush and pours out a rich bounty of fruits and vegetables. now we drown in a waterfall of summer squash, corn, and the noble tomato. fall will soon be upon us. winter is coming. time to get cooking.

heirloom tomato salad with toasted sesame basil vinaigrette
it can't get much more simple than this. that said, a little extra attention to detail goes a long way, taking something from the everyday to the phenomenal.

when searching for the perfect tomato, look for a weight and a visceral suppleness to the flesh. resist bruising the fruit: instead, use your pinky, your weakest finger, to gently push on the surface. if there is a sense of give, this is ripeness. it will also have a scent, a blooming aroma off the skin. the trick to the most beautiful salad is to select several different colors and sizes, which will provide variety not only for the eye, but in flavor and texture.

i like to halve cherry-sized varieties and slice others to 1/3 of an inch. this provides just enough meatiness while staying delicate and absorbing a healthy amount of vinaigrette.


to make the vinaigrette:
15 basil leaves chiffonade
1 small shallot, small dice
2 teaspoons yuzu juice (found in some asian groceries, it can be replaced with lemon)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chinese rice cooking wine
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
pinch or two of salt

combine all ingredients and stir.



spoon the vinaigrette over the tomatoes in a bowl and then gently toss with your hands, avoiding bruising or breaking the tomatoes' flesh. let sit for five minutes.


while they sit, pick additional leaves of basil to garnish finished dish.

arrange tomatoes on the plate, mixing size and color to vary them, then spoon any of the juices from the bowl over them. top with additional basil leaves and arrive at your delicious destination.

serving this with cheese is optional. if you're going to serve this as a side dish instead of a centerpiece, it's not necessary. if you do opt for cheese, fresh mozzarella or feta is a classic, but feel free to experiment. a bloomy-rinded goat cheese or dollops of triple creme could also be divine. either way, the cheese goes last.


paired with domaine la boheme festejar
a beautiful sparkling rose made with gamay from the auvergne region of central france. from a tiny plot of old vines, this pet-nat is juicy and refreshing, mirroring the lushness of the tomatoes. fall may be upon us, but we can still fill our stomachs with summer.

as always, seek out the good people at the wine bottega for the selected wine. i warn you, prepare to leave with more than one bottle, as there are too many delicious things to explore there.






9/11/15

73. weekend to-do's



li:
  1. beachy bike ride. i'll be heading to maine this weekend for the new england parkinson's ride. proceeds from this ride benefit the michael j. fox foundation for parkinson's research. in fact, it's their largest single-day fundraising event. i'm so happy to be able to do my small part in raising awareness and funds for this great organization.
  2. famous fries. while i'm at old orchard beach, i have to take the opportunity to visit local landmark, pier french fries. their crispy, crinkle cut fries are rumored to be some of the best in new england. can't wait to see for myself!
  3. art lesson. mary karr is the author behind some of my favorite memoirs (i highly encourage everyone to read the liar's club and cherry if they haven't already). with her new book, the art of memoirshe uses her vast knowledge and talent to discuss her process, the medium itself and what makes particular stories resonate. i'm looking forward to getting a head start on the reading before i see her speak at the brattle theater on monday.
  4. channel my inner betty crocker. the annual bake sale is serious business at my office. everyone brings in something delicious to be sold for charity. cakes are always a big-ticket item, so i am planning to challenge myself with something extra-fancy this year. we're talking layered, piped and decorated. molly yeh's blog is filled with recipes and photos of beautiful, inventive cakes. it's a great first stop for some inspiration.

liz:
  1. open air market. the fourth annual american field pop-up market is coming back to boston for this weekend only. the vendors feature quality american made goods such as handcrafted furniture, lighting, dry goods, prints, watches, leather goods and so much more. our friends at the boston general store will be there featuring their home goods and i can't wait to stock up.
  2. taco time! i'm meeting up with a good friend for some delicious tacos and tortas from olecito in inman square. their yucateca torta is calling my name with braised pork, avocado sauce and queso fresco.
  3. binge on the valley. i've recently found myself wrapped up in the hilarious show, silicon valley. i've finished season one and since it's supposed to rain sunday, i plan on digging into season 2. the humor is witty and there's always a hook at the end that makes me want to hit play on the next episode. don't judge me if i get through the whole season in one sitting!




9/8/15

72. natural dyeing with black beans



as you can see from previous posts, we love the idea of dyeing and manipulating fabric to make it more unique and personal. for this project, we wanted to explore dyes that would be non-toxic and extra gentle to the environment. we discovered that there are a number of food-based dyes that yield great results. coffee and tea will give fabric a toasty antique look, onion skins provide a deep amber hue and beets create a bright fuchsia. in the end, we decided to go with the lovely lavender-gray effect achieved by dying with black beans. it's a simple, safe and cost-effective method that requires just a bit of time and effort to get it right.

materials
natural fiber fabric (we used an organic linen scarf)
soda ash
unsweetened plain soymilk
string
scissors
1 bag of dried black beans
an airtight dye pot (1/2 gallon mason jars work great)

to create the dye you'll need to soak your black beans - a ratio of two parts water to 1 part beans works well. cover and set aside for at least 24 hours.

in order for the fabric to be most receptive to the dye, you are going to want to wash it in soda ash. this will provide a deep cleaning of the fabric and will help to remove any hidden waxes or oils that can interfere with the penetration of the dye. soda ash (sodium carbonate) can be found in some laundry aisles and most art stores. we found ours at blick. in a large, non-reactive pot filled with warm water, simply soak the fabric and 1/2 cup of the soda ash. soak the fabric in the solution for about an hour and a half, occasionally providing gentle agitation. rinse well with clean water. (note: soda ash can be slightly caustic, so you may want to wear gloves for this part).



since fabrics made of protein-based fibers (think silk or wool) tend to absorb dye better than cellulose-based fabrics (think cotton or linen), we decided to pre-treat our linen fabric with a protein-rich solution of diluted soymilk. combine 1 part soymilk (look for brands that only contain water and soybeans, any additives can affect the dye process) to 4 parts water. submerge the fabric, cover and let stand overnight. once the fabric has soaked for an adequate amount of time, remove from the solution, wring out the excess and hang to dry out.


you are now ready to get dyeing! to create some subtle texture and variation, we used a simple scrunching technique. to duplicate this look, you'll need to lay the fabric out flat. cut some string or yarn slightly longer than the length of the fabric. begin folding the fabric over the string until you've created a tube. hold the string while pushing the fabric back - you will begin to create a scrunchie-like effect. once the entire length of the fabric is scrunched, tie the ends of the string tightly.


by now, the soaking beans should have created a deep purplish water. skim off any floating beans or particles. transfer the water into your dye pot using a ladle. you can reserve the beans and use them for dinner (we had black bean soup for days). place fabric into the dye pot. cover and let sit for at least 24 hours. the longer it sits in the dye, the deeper the hue.


when your fabric has reached the desired color, remove it from the dye pot and gently rinse in clean water. cut the string and open the length of the fabric to reveal the unique color and pattern you've created! rinse once more with clean water and hang to dry.




9/4/15

71. weekend to-do's




li:
  1. planning and packing. in two weeks, i'll be heading to one of my favorite places in the world - iceland! this will be my second time traveling to this magical island, and i've learned through experience that i need to be better prepared for the unpredictable weather. a new pair of sturdy hiking boots and some weatherproof outerwear should have me ready for whatever adventures await!
  2. mistress america matinee. ever since noah baumbach's debut film, "kicking and screaming", i've had an easy time relating to the characters that inhabit his coming of age stories. his newest, "mistress america" stars greta gerwig as the kinetic heroine.
  3. juice break. no low-key afternoon in kendall square is complete without stopping in for one of mother juice's delicious and healthy concoctions. it's hard to imagine a day not being improved by some unicorn blood (beet, carrot, celery, watermelon, pineapple) or sympathy for the devil (beet, carrot, celery, lemon, habanero).

liz:
  1. squeezing in summer. the beach is calling my name and i can't resist getting one last day trip in to sit by the ocean before fall comes this way. my friends have been raving about wingaersheek beach in gloucester so i'm headed north this long weekend. i'm looking forward to sticking my toes in the sand and breathing in some salty air.
  2. lobster delight. to continue my weekend theme of summer, i'm going to alive and kicking for a lobster sandwich and some steamers. the picnic table style dining makes this place feel like local roadside joint somewhere up the coast even though it's right in cambridge.
  3. shop local & stock up. i've been bopping around different local farmers markets the last few weeks and really love the veggies i've been getting. this weekend, i'm trying out the market at assembly row. they're open on sundays and offer goodies like farm fresh eggs, local honey, baked goods and even seafood. can't wait!

9/1/15

70. september playlist



no matter how old we get, september will always remind us of back to school. we thought we would honor this special season with a playlist inspired by the time when we would still be packing up our book bags and getting ready for classes to start - namely, the 90's. we hope these songs will make you excited for fall (and maybe a little bit nostalgic).