Sunday, February 27, 2011

Red Shoes

In honor of Natalie Portman's Oscar for "Black Swan," I thought I'd share a few photos from pointe class this weekend at the Studio.


I took my camera to class mainly because I was obsessed with these red pointe shoes that one of the ladies wore.  But I was also thrilled to have an excuse to duck out of 36 of about ten million echappes.



The ladies were such good sports about my photographing mid-class. 


And two were even lovely enough to let me snap a few posed shots.


How gorgeous are they!  Not bad for a bunch of no-longer-14-year-olds, right?


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So You Wish You Could Dance Sundays

This I love as much for the choreography as for the cover of "You're the One that I Want."


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mezuzah Fail

Last week, right before our Chinese New Year party, we finally put up our mezuzah.  We've lived in our house for over a year, and we kept missing opportunities to put up our mezuzah: every time we remembered, it was either shabbat (when you're not supposed to do "work," like installing things) or too late in the evening to be hammering things outdoors.  Since we were thinking of our party as a kind of open house, we really wanted to get our mezuzah up before the soiree.


A mezuzah is a small decorative box that contains a parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah.  It's installed on the doorframe to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of a Jewish prayer, called the Shema, "on the doorposts of your house."  It's a significant marker of a Jewish household, so we were particularly embarrassed/sad that we hadn't gotten ours up yet.  (According to Jewish law, you're supposed to affix the mezuzah within 30 days of moving in.)


Jellyby, as you can see, was pretty excited about our putting up the mezuzah.


But not as excited as me!  Especially when I managed to locate the blessing you're supposed to say on the occasion of putting up a mezuzah.  (Many thanks to our friend Geri for documenting the process with photos!)


My Hebrew, though, is pretty egregious, so I needed quite a bit of coaching.


After saying the blessing for the mezuzah, we nailed it on the doorpost.  And we said the Shehecheyanu, which is one of my favorite prayers, as it's the one you say to mark a special occasion.


The most important part of the mezuzah is the parchment scroll, which is not visible from this angle, as it's tucked away inside the container.  But it helps that the visible parts of the mezuzah are pretty!  I love the copper, which will hopefully weather and develop a nice patina.  And do you see the purple bits of glass in the tube at the front of our mezuzah?  Any idea where that's from?


It's the glass we broke at the wedding!

I'm happy the mezuzah is up, but we need to move it soon.  In our haste to get the mezuzah up, we nailed it to the left side of the doorframe.  Alas, it's actually supposed to go on the right side.  Since the mitzvah of putting up the mezuzah is not fulfilled unless the mezuzah is installed correctly, we're technically no further along than when we started.  

Total fail.  We feel like complete morons since my husband is a former Hebrew School teacher, and we've installed mezuzahs in our previous homes.

Wish us better luck next time.  Oh, did I mention that we have at least three more mezuzahs to put up?  (One for our back door, one for the patio door, and another for our master bedroom door.)  Please let me get smarter between now and the next round of mezuzah installations!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All Hail the Princess

Jellyby had a grooming appointment today.


Yes, those are mini jeweled crowns on her pigtails.


As if her ego wasn't big enough already.  Sigh.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Schill Me Now

Here's the deal: I'm not big into labels.  I like my logos hidden or subtle.  Heck, I won't even wear the strap that came with my camera, because I don't like schilling for Canon.  But recently I saw two items -- two overtly-schilling-for-some-brand-or-another items -- for which I would totally tattoo a big label on my forehead.



First of all, did you see this gorgeous mixer that Kitchenaid customized for  the Pioneer Woman?


I heart the orange, and the vintage graphics, and the flowers, and the pretty doily, and the shiny bowl, and the . . . . Ok, there is nothing I don't love about this mixer.


Apparently, they only created a handful of them.  And they're not for sale.  And if you want one (I do! I do!) you have to win it through Rhee's blog.  And I never win anything, so I'm SOL.

Image Source

Nor do I have a hope of getting my hot little hands on this adorable Orla Kiely Citreon DS3.  They lent it to Susie Bubble for London Fashion Week.  


Look at the fabulous details, like Orla's signature leaf graphic on the rear windshield.


And the same leaf pattern stitched into the leather headrests.  

Image Source

Apparently, the car comes in four patterns, so if you love it too, we don't have to fight over the green one.  But since I'm owning this only in my dreams, I'd totally give you a ride in it.

Hope you're enjoying the long weekend!!

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So You Wish You Could Dance Sundays

A sassy little number with some SYTYCD alums.



Watching Ade shake his booty . . . hilarious and kind of adorbs.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dear Reem Acra,

Lady Gaga and Andre Talley called.  They want their caftan back.


But seriously?  Seriously?  Who wants a caftan in gold lamé?  Who wants a caftan, period?  And who wants to spend $999 to look like a giant condom?

That's all.  Thanks.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Doubly Happy Chinese New Year: The Food

For all the fuss I made over the decor for our Chinese New Year party, I knew probably like two of our guests would notice.  Let's face it, when people come over to our house, what they want . . . need . . . expect is food.  Lots and lots of food.


And I wasn't about to disappoint.  Though there was a small part of me that didn't want to sully my "tablescape" with actual food, we put together a menu of symbolic foods that would bring on good luck for the new year.


We ended up purchasing most of the food, but I couldn't not bake something.  So I made Hong-Kong-style Portuguese egg tarts (recipe to come later this week).  Eggs are a symbol of fertility.


From a Chinatown bakery, I bought custard buns and lotus-filled moon cakes.  The latter are usually eaten for the Mid-Autumn Festival, but some also serve them for New Year, in honor of the lunar year.  I also got nian gow, sweet sticky rice cakes, which I fried up with some eggs a la minute.


We also served noodles (for long life), mixed vegetable moo shu (for family harmony), scallion pancakes (a sub for green onions, which signify an everlasting life), and egg rolls (which, because they look like gold bars, symbolize wealth).


We also served veggie dumplings and mandarin oranges, which both also symbolize wealth.  Chinese people are real serious about wealth!!!  We served everything with some ice cold Tsingtao beer and lots of Chinese candy.

Part of me wishes I had the time to make more of the food, but I have to admit that it was pretty awesome to have a party where I didn't have to spend days in the kitchen beforehand to ensure that people were fed.  And clean-up was also super easy, with nothing more than a few cupcake tins and a pan or two to worry about washing.

I wasn't sure whether a Chinese New Year party would be fun or stressful, but I have to admit that I had such a fun time planning and executing this with my husband.  He was so excited (sometimes overly so!) about this, and I'm so touched that he was so passionate about celebrating both aspects of our Chewism. I can't wait to plan the next one!

Happy 4079 everyone!!

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Reason #830 my sister cracks me up

Your eyes are not deceiving you: that is one GIANT bowl of pho.  My sister accompanied four of her friends as they took on the Pho Real Challenge, which apparently involves eating a trough of meat and noodles in under an hour.


I love pho, but I've vicariously had my fill after watching these guys.  That's right . . . my sister documented the insanity on video.  Watch with an empty stomach.


Read the play-by-play at her blog here.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm BHLDN. Seriously, seriously bhldn.

Today is a very, very special day.  A day full of love and beauty and sunshine and rainbows.

Today is the debut of Anthro's wedding line.

(Oh, and it's also Valentine's Day, I guess.)

But let's go back to the debut of Anthro's wedding line.

Tulle Era Dress

For my next wedding (don't worry, husband, it'll still be to you), I'll be wearing this charming little retro dress.


Agave Peep Toes

With this pair of amazing shoes.


Gin Fizz Shift

But maybe if the second wedding doesn't come soon enough, perhaps I can make do with this darling shift.

On a Wing Heels

Or maybe just this sexy, whimsical pair of heels.

Sigh.

I'm in love.

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Doubly Happy Chinese New Year

One of our Chewish goals is to have a gathering to celebrate each of the three New Years: Jan. 1st, Chinese New Year, and Rosh Hashanah.  This weekend, ten days into year 4079, we finally had our Chinese New Year party.  (Better late than never, right?)


I've been busy with work, so we decided we'd order most of the food from a local Chinese restaurant. But there was no way I was going to contract out the funnest part of party prep -- the decor!


The cold temperatures made it difficult to get fresh branches, so I used artificial branches from Pier One for our money tree.  They're so much sturdier than real branches and were perfect for hanging the ornaments I imported from Hong Kong.


I also hauled a ginormous bag of candy from Hong Kong: chocolate coins (like Hanukkah gelt, but with Hong Kong coin denominations); adorable little plastic pineapples, fortune cats, pigs, and gold ingots with chocolates inside; and red firecrackers with little candies inside.


As with Rosh Hashanah, Chinese New Year tradition is to eat lots of sweets.  My mom sent along some peanut and sesame candies from LA, and I added some giant chocolate Pocky.


I made a few simple red tissue poms,


hung a "Happy New Year" pennant, and got a giant paper dragon from the local party supply store.  I started to realize I might have been getting a bit too much into the decorating thing when my husband looked up from his computer and observed that our living room seemed to be shrinking.  What can I say?  I lack self control around pretty things.

Next up: the food.

Are you an over-decorator when it comes to parties?   Come on, surely I'm not the only one who gets a little cray-cray around tissue paper?

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

So You Wish You Could Dance Sundays, Valentine's Edition

I hate the message of "Single Ladies," but I find it totally irresistible when Sara Bareilles sings and Melinda Sullivan does a cheeky little tap number.



Hope this brings a little sass to your Valentine's Day.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Work gets in the way

The bad news: work has been crazy hectic.  The good news: this is the view out my office window.


The bad news still overwhelms the good news though.  Sad face.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I've gone a little bit country

Thanks to Monique, I've become slightly obsessed with Mumford and Sons.



Happy Tuesday!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Monday

I know, I know.  It's Monday.  But I bet you I know what would make you feel better . . . .


Macarons.  And cupcakes.  And a flying puppy.  With a purple bow!



These images are from a whimsical, gorgeous campaign that Yoann Lemoine directed for Lipton.


Don't miss the full video.  It'll make your day.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

So You Wish You Could Dance Sundays

I am spellbound by Justin Giles' choreography: his pieces are so intricate, masterful, and gorgeous.



The same piece, performed in two different settings . . . kind of amazing how different they appear.


The mirroring around min. 3 is . . . wow.


And the fusion of ballet and hip hop here is just breathtaking.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

新年快樂!

Happy Year of the Rabbit from our Chewish household to yours!


It's been a busy week at work, so I haven't had much of a chance to decorate for the New Year yet.  But here's a photo of our bunny giving her best "bitch, please" face while guarding the money tree.  May your bunny year be prosperous, healthy, and memorable!

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Diary of a Secret Housewife: Hamersley's Bistro's Roast Chicken (kind of)

According to this post on Serious Eats, the roast chicken at Boston's Hamersley's Bistro "is probably the most well documented dish in the city."  That makes me feel like a total loser, as I've never heard of it, never tried it, never experienced the poultry dish that Boston Magazine says is so popular that it makes up 20 to 30 percent of the dinner orders every night at the restaurant.  This chicken is allegedly so in demand that even though the chef is totally over it, diners threaten to riot if he takes it off the menu.

Image Source: Boston Globe

Of course, for the sake of the blog, I had to try it.  Unfortunately, the Snowpocalypse made it impossible to motivate to get out of the house.  So I decided to try it out at home instead.  I didn't have the actual recipe (which is available in Gordon Hamersley's Bistro Cooking at Home cookbook), but from various sources I cobbled together the method (wet rub, followed by a mid-temp roasting, and a final bit of crisping under the broiler) by which Hamersley's prepares its chicken and created my own riff on the recipe.  While the chicken itself doesn't beat the one yielded by best chicken recipe of all time, the gravy produced by Hamersley's version is amazing: a gorgeous sauce that's garlicky, herby, mustardy, chickeny.



To make this riff on Hamersley's chicken, first prepare the wet rub/marinade.  I finely minced a handful (five or six full sprigs) of fresh sage and a few sprigs of fresh tarragon.  To these herbs, I added 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons (or so) of olive oil, 1.5 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, zest from one lemon, 1.5 teaspoons of dried herbs de Provence, and about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  You can use a food processor to process this to a paste, or kick it old school like me and use a mortar and pestle.  The marinade should be sticky enough to adhere to the chicken but not too wet or oily.


Coat a small kosher chicken with the paste, slipping some of the marinade under the skin and in the cavities of the chicken.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.


Roast the chicken for 1.5 hours (or until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees) on a pan just barely big enough to fit the chicken.  Wrap a full head of garlic in foil and roast it alongside the chicken.  When the chicken is cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  (This is crucial -- it allows the juices to be reabsorbed.)

Reserve pan juices in the roasting pan. Add about 1 cup of chicken broth and two or three tablespoons of lemon juice.  Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into broth mixture.  Whisk, stirring to loosen brown bits, and simmer until slightly thickened.  Add about a teaspoon or so of cornstarch, stirring vigorously until the cornstarch is well incorporated and the gravy comes to a desirable consistency.

In the meantime, carve the chicken.  Place the pieces skin-side up on a baking sheet under a broiler for a minute or so, until the skin is golden brown and crispy.  Serve on a platter and spoon the gravy on top.  Try to remember to take photos of it that aren't over-exposed and sucky.  Devour.  Lick the sauce from the platter.  Talk knowingly about how "well documented" and "popular" the chicken is.

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