27 February 2012


Bravo on this year's Academy Awards all around. I thought it was delightfully entertaining and elegant, with deserving winners and great fashion.

There were so many nominees for best dressed-- Penelope, Angelina, Cameron, Tina, Natalie. But my vote is for Gwyneth. The cape was bold, but appropriate for a cool February evening. She just glowed, and her gown fit her svelte silhouette like a glove. I think I need to pay attention to my weekly Goop letter a little closer to learn her secrets.

And without the cape. Stunning.

16 February 2012

Oh, Macaron

Thought I'd share our dessert from Valentine's Day dinner-- a perfectly sweet ending to the French-themed meal.

Earlier that day, baby and I ventured to Millvale to the only bakery in town of which I am aware makes the Parisian macaron, Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery. A tiny storefront with an entrance too narrow for the stroller, the bakery's inside was filled with delectable baked goods, including a rainbow assortment of these delicate, round sandwich cookies. Which by the way, are gluten free!

My husband and I had fun sampling several of the flavors that night-- marzipan, rose raspberry, nutella, salted caramel and vanilla. While I am a nutella fan, it was a bit too rich as a filling. Our agreed upon favorite was the vanilla bean-- a sweet compliment to the light chewy little cookie. We verbally mmm'd in agreement, reminding us of an afternoon in Paris when we stopped in Ladurée-- a heavenly experience. Apparently their newly-opened NYC location has a line out the door most days. (The NYTimes reviewed macarons around the city a while back-- what a fun assignment.)

There are a few good macaroons to be had in Pittsburgh, but they are different from the macaron-- apparently both begin with a meringue base, the former has coconut, and the latter a fine almond powder, giving it that perfect dome shape on the outside and chewiness on the inside. I am no pastry chef, but I have a refined sweet tooth and these macarons, well, take the cake.

14 February 2012

Filled with Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cluster of colorful balloons + Paris backdrop = uplifting, romantic feel.

I feel especially uplifted this year with not one, but two loves in my life. We usually take the holiday lightheartedly and I've planned a French inspired menu for tonight including dessert.

Speaking of the most romantic city-- in a little over a month, the direct PIT to Paris flight resumes and continues through the summer. So glad it remains!

Print found here. Image above from here.

09 February 2012

Outside the Box

Most new state-of-the-art refrigerators tout digital screens and other technological features. Temperature control is great, but apparently not everything should be kept at the same chilled level. And isn't it a shame when you buy beautiful strawberries, gourmet cheese or other epicurean delights and stash it all away (sometimes forgetting that you put it in there?)

A talented design student from Eindhoven created the Refrigerator 02, a mini fridge with a cheese dome-like glass top. Perfect little countertop display. I have a feeling that only crumbs would be left in ours most of the time.

08 February 2012

Our Style of Living

As I've scoured decor blogs and pinboards for general interior ideas, and now, baby-friendly decor inspiration, I've always been curious about the homes with a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair. This is the only highchair on the market that actually blends in with decor (leave it to the Scandinavians, of course). I wonder with a little one residing, do these picture perfect rooms remain so on a daily basis, or  have sticky fingerprints and toys strewn about.
I love this kitchen. Of course I do, because it's white and gray.

I wonder this because I am on the verge of baby proofing. After one close baby roll-over, I listed our glass coffee table on e-bay. Now with an open space in the living room, I am wondering how to replace it with something aesthetically pleasing and accident-proof. Many recommend a storage ottoman, but I also do not want to encourage that our living room become a play room. I've also considered a solid round wood table, but I hear about scratches. I'd love a smooth white lacquer table, but I should probably avoid sharp edges. What to do?

I'm sure I'll find a compromise at some point. When choosing baby items during registry, I started to feel guilty when I picked the least garish for my own taste, rather than go with what might be best for baby (and best for wallet.) I absolutely wanted a Stokke in our kitchen. But when adding up all the accessories to make this adjustable seat usable for a baby, it doubled the price. I also heard about toddlers tipping them once they can kick the table.

Instead, I found a very sturdy and well-designed alternative, the Oxo Tot Sprout. Baby sits securely and happily, it's easy to clean and grows with the child. It looks more like a cute baby chair and not a modern accent. But that's okay-- a baby lives here-- it fits our style of living.

Oxo, can you make a great coffee table for me, too?

04 February 2012

Love letters

Valentine's Day is only 10 days away. I am in love with these illustrated cupid postcards and almost everything from Rifle Paper Co. I discovered the charming stationery brand when seeking a birthday card in Shadyside last month. Just off Walnut Street on Filbert is Scribe, a carefully curated collection of paper goods including pretty letterpress, too.

The thought of giving my husband this valentine made me chuckle.

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