Tuesday, March 23, 2010

financial fatigue

i saw a story recently on the colbert report (if i remember right) that said that americans are experiencing "financial fatigue." they stated that we are so exhausted from scrimping and saving during the recession that we are starting to break down and buy nice things for ourselves. why not buy yourself some beautiful vintage? i am listing some things in my shop today that i LOVE.

everything is super bright and colorful for spring and colorblock is really in (apparently. i just started subscribing to refinery 29's email list and i am getting quite the education from it.)

sister dresses:

pink [UPDATE: SOLD] and orange


red and pink

confession: i had originally planned on listing the silk top in the bottom two photos, as well, but i couldn't bear to part with it.

let me know if you're interested in anything, i am happy to hold!

xo audrey

Monday, March 22, 2010

the best of everything

hello! forgive my absence - i've been with my tall, dark, and handsome fiancé in florida for the past few days and i made the executive decision not to bring my computer. i anticipated the vacation the way you sometimes have to pee. i was fine to wait for weeks leading up to it, but for the last few days i was so excited i could barely wait to go. the weather wasn't exactly what i expected - new york city and naples florida seemed to change climates for a few days, and we got their cold and rainy while new york was bestowed with sunny, warm weather, but by friday the sun came out and i got plenty of it. too much, in fact, and i'm still pretty flushed with a slowly-fading sunburn. despite all that, we had a really wonderful time; i learned how to fish (and discovered i'm either kind of good at it or just had some awesome beginner's luck,) swam almost every day and got some quality thrifting in. i should have a few good pieces for the shop this week, this one included.

also while in florida i discovered (or rather, was led to) a store called "the best of everything," which is basically just a gigantic room filled with every style of necklace, ring, and clutch purse you can imagine for next to nothing. it was extremely overwhelming (and poor sam was the only guy in the entire place) so i panicked and picked a single brooch, which i'm actually pretty delighted with. i'll post that and other thrifted finds later this week. in the meantime, though, in keeping with that theme, here is a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookie i've ever tasted.

i snagged this one directly from cooks illustrated. my only change to their incredible recipe is to use kosher salt instead of table salt; i like things a little on the salty side, though, so it may not be for you.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
3/4 cup chopped pecan or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

you can find the recipe, and related notes, here.

okay. i think i have comments to respond to and whatnot, but i wanted to do a quick post just to get me back to reality. much love and more soon!

xo audrey

Saturday, March 13, 2010

rainbow brite

hello everyone! i hope you're having a lovely saturday. i am most definitely spending mine inside, as new york has been drenched in a cold, weepy rain for the last 36 hours. i did venture out last night, though, and i got a little gussied up to do so.

i don't know what it is about the cold, rainy weather that makes people dress in blacks and browns. looking down the subway platform last night, i felt like a sore thumb in my tiffany blue coat and bright yellow shoes; we mourn winter in funeral gear and don't bring out the bright colors and fun patterns until it gets nice outside. i think this is all wrong. certainly, i was walking to the subway to go home last night with my teeth all a-chatter and my knees practically knocking together, but dressing in dark colors all the time is just too much of a bummer.

dress: anthropologie
silk jacket: guy baxter
knee highs: american apparel
shoes: shop in union square
belt: anthropologie
necklace: ebay
purse: kate spade

i think i'm going to have to start wearing my glasses more. i really should wear them every day but i am in that weird in between zone of people who really SHOULD wear glasses but can totally get by without them - i have trouble identifying friends in bars, for example, but it's not like i'm driving, or trying to copy notes from a blackboard, so i've just kind of gone without them. i haven't ever gotten used to the way the world looks through them and i find myself taking them off and putting them on constantly throughout the day, so i tend to just leave them behind. it is nice to be able to see things, though. i should probably make a habit of it.

so, sam has been a vegetarian for years but i have finally worn him down to the point that he's agreed to eat seafood. i went seafood insane this week as a result; i started sunday night with homemade lobster thermidor, a super old-fashioned meal that is incredibly decadent and not very good for you but oh so delicious. i got my recipe from the red cat cookbook - one i got as a gift from my little sister a few years ago and i HIGHLY recommend to any home chefs looking for some not-too-complicated but absolutely beautiful and delicious recipes. it's never let me down. (try the peach and pancetta risotto. do it.) i made many adjustments to the recipe, as i went grocery shopping for it from memory and without a shopping list; i kind of improvised along the way, and i think it turned out very nicely. i guess you could call this a poor-man's thermidor - i substituted dried herbs for fresh in many cases, and subbed brandy for cognac, etc. recipe follows.

poor man's lobster thermidor*

*relatively poor. it still ran us about $32 for two pound-and-a-half lobsters.

estimated prep time: 45 minutes
cook time: 10-15 minutes

2 1-1/2 lb lobsters
about a cup of cream
2 T olive oil
1/2 small sweet yellow onion, diced
1 T dried, ground fennel
8-10 button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced (i always just clean off mushrooms with a dry towel - i think my older sister told me that if you wash them in water, they soak it all in and get rubbery when you cook them.)
about 1/4 cup dry white wine (i used a pinot grigio)
2 T cheap, cheap brandy (or nicer stuff, or cognac)
about 1 t chopped fresh thyme
1 t dried tarragon
couple dashes of cayenne (to your taste)
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1 T butter, melted
a couple handfuls of finely grated pecorino-romano cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon

preheat the oven to 400. bring the biggest pot of water you can find to boil. drop the lobsters in, LIVE, and cook 'em for about a minute to kill them. let them cool enough that you can handle them, then flip 'em tummy open and cut through the meat all the way (but not through the bottom shell, if you can help it.) spread them wide open. clean out the stuff that looks like it should be removed - there are clearly intestines and muck in there you wouldn't want to eat. when you're done it should be clean and white inside.

twist off the claws and drop them back in the boiling water for about 5 minutes; use a slotted spoon to scoop 'em out and set them aside to cool.

put the lobsters tummy-side up on a sheet pan and pour a little bit of the cream into them, just enough to fill the bottom of the shell. put them in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, then let them cool elsewhere.

i used a nutcracker (and sam) to break open the claws and remove all the meat. remove it from the tail as well. cut all this meat into 1 inch dice. start the oil heating in the sauté pan and add the yellow onion, cooking it at a medium heat for a minute or two before adding the mushrooms. cook them until they start to get soft and then add the wine and brandy, and cook until most of the liquid is gone. add the cream and reduce until there is just a few tablespoons of liquid left. add the thyme, ground fennel, cayenne, and tarragon. add the lobster meat and lemon juice and season, cook for just a minute or two, then scoop the mixture into the cooled lobster shells. top with the cheese and the tablespoon of butter. bake for about 10 minutes, and bam. a most delicious meal.

all right. i've got beer to brew, chores to do, and i am suddenly itching to bake a layer cake today, so i've got to get a-running. lots of cooking happened this week, though, so more posts soon!

have a lovely evening!

xo audrey

Monday, March 8, 2010


hello! happy monday! i'm a bit behind and had a lovely weekend, so i'll just start today with the first day of it - thursday night. i met up with christine from my style pill to head to an event at the home of miss josie natori. the event included a preview of her essentials collection (absolutely elegant and beautiful,) her playing her grand piano (mindblowing) and fabulous company. i was also fortunate enough to receive a gift basket filled with beautiful things from natori, including this beautiful shirt, which may be the most flattering top i've ever owned. it fits like a glove and has this beautiful black lace overlay. i am not a big wearer of black as a rule, but this is definitely going to become a regular exception.

top: josie natori
skirt: quail dress as skirt
shoes: small shop in union square
earrings: 80s purple

many thanks to christine and karen for the invite (and the goodies!) much more from the weekend soon to come.

xo audrey

Thursday, March 4, 2010


hello everyone! it's my weekend woooo! this month i'm working at 5 am both wednesday and thursday, so by thursday afternoon i am SO ready for a couple of days off. i'm kicking this one off right with some ramen and a homebrew. yes, when i have no one to cook for, ramen is my not-so-secret indulgence. sometimes when i'm feeling really nutty i fry an egg on top. yum.

so THS is actually the DIY i was talking about. i've had this bird necklace for ages but it was always a kind of awkward length, and then it broke, but i could never bring myself to throw it away ("i could never bring myself to throw it away" will probably be the subtitle of my biography someday.) i'd kind of half-destroyed it, thinking i might incorporate it into one of those fabulous cluttered collars marni showed on last year's runways, but never wore it or really thought about it again. until now. no necklace seemed quite right with this top, so i just sewed this one right onto it.

top: anthropologie
shorts: mary meyer
tights: cynthia rowley (via gilt)
shoes: vintage, etsy'd

these tights have these amazing freckled black studs in the back of them - you can kind of see them on my right leg a bit here. they remind me a lot of some of the detailing of bebaroque tights that i love oh so much but can't really afford - but i had a gilt credit so these puppies were free!

a word about vintage shoes. i have NEVER bought a pair of vintage shoes, from anyone, anywhere, that didn't fall apart in one way or another in very short order. whether it's a strap breaking, the heel falling apart, or the sole wearing through in a matter of days, this is such a source of frustration for me. these ones i've sewn up by hand time and again and they continue to sprout new holes. does anyone have a reliable place to buy vintage shoes? or is this just how it goes? i do walk alot, and it makes sense that something that gets so much wear and tear would fall apart a lot faster than, say, a dress; but damn, i've pretty much given up on secondhand shoes. it doesn't seem worth it to get them all re-heeled a week after i bought them in the first place.

tonight i'm heading out with christine from my style pill for a bit of a girl's night - there will be wine, sushi, and dancing involved, and, of course, as much dressing up as i can manage in this sub-par weather.

ive had a couple of questions about macarons - i have been trying out a few recipes to find the best one, so i'll report back this weekend. i just got a new scale so i can more accurately test things, and i have been VERY impatiently waiting for this to arrive:

but it seems to be on backorder. cross your fingers for me. i didn't go to culinary school for nothing, though, so i certainly have some tips to share and will do so when i post the recipe for the next batch.

have a wonderful weekend, everyone! until next time -

xo audrey