I could not be more in love with the ceramic creations of Stepanka Ceramics. Everything in the line is gorg, handmade and classically chic with an updated edge.
Example: the ceramic crinkle mugs with gold polka dots, that I am lucky enough to call my own. Check out these stunners. They are perfect as additions to your every day collection of plateware, but especially beautiful for a White Christmas!
Need a gift for someone who has great taste AND has it all? You just found it.
I love when we get to know more about the makers behind the items we love, so get to know Stepanka!
Stepanka is an NYC-based ceramic artist whose relationships with nature and with those around her inspires all of her pieces.
Always trusting her intuition, Stepanka knew from an early age that she had to follow any dream she had. This motivated her to move from her small town in the Czech Republic to Prague as a teenager, and then to New York City five years later. Her new life in America prompted her to pursue something she has always loved - ceramics. She enrolled in classes at a local Y, and soon began creating pieces for neighborhood art fairs. By trusting her intuition for her art and for her life, she was moved to make her passion her livelihood.
Energized and inspired by the world and people around her, Stepanka’s work echoes her determination, generosity, and curiosity. Her ceramic pieces reflect the calm and tranquility she observes, and the dynamism and transformation she has experienced. With clean forms, classic colors and playful designs, Stepanka’s work embraces the milieu between functional and sculptural.
Having access to one of a only a few gas kilns in NYC, Stepanka relishes in the unpredictability and excitement that firing her porcelain pieces in this kiln can bring. Her earnest dedication and patience to her ceramic art is seen in all of her pieces. She creates to bring joy to those around her; she creates to give back to the world.
I think I'm in love. Healthy, delicious, low-carb, seasonal AND a cocktail list that means business? True Food Kitchen is a welcome addition to my East Bay life! Their new location in Broadway Plaza is a stunning open space that is perfect for a casual dinner that doesn't require a sacrifice in food quality in exchange for that low-key atmosphere.
Open daily for lunch and dinner and weekend brunch, True Food Kitchen is known for its healthy, seasonal fare. My friend Lynn (from the fab blog All Gussied Up) and I recently checked out the restaurant and had some memorably tasty drinks and dishes that I can't wait to share with you!
The cocktails were right up my alley, and by that I mean they taste like I could drink about 30 of them. BEWARE! in a good way though...
Thai Grapefruit Martini // Thai basil, grapefruit, organic vodka
Wild Caught Albacore Tataki // avocado, jalapeño, toasted sesame, yuzu ponzu
Edamame Dumplings // dashi, white truffle oil, asian herbs
Scottish Steelhead “Salmon” // smoked onion farro, arugula, roasted beet, cilantro pumpkin seed pesto.
Here is a post that has been a long time coming and one I am thrilled to be sharing, finally! I am lucky enough to have an amazing friend name Emily, who knows how to throw a killer party and is kind enough to let me assist in her doing so! This year was the second annual Friendsgiving at Emily's house, and it was an affair to remember!
The decor was (as always) gorgeous, the food was incredible and the company was unbeatable.
When thinking of what I could bring to the (literal) table this year, I decided that I wanted to do something that would act as not only something to eat, but an interactive and engaging part of the party, to get everyone chatting and gathered together, prior to dinner.
As fate would have it, my friends at Cowgirl Creamery JUST came out with a wonderful 'Fondue Redux' collection, and I was inspired to try my hand at a full-blown fondue set up! I was instantly in love, and plan to show you more fondue fun in the future!
I am happy to say that everyone seemed to love the fondue table, and it was a great place for everyone to gather before dinner. I will be doing it again for sure! I did the fondue from the collection and recipe in the Cowgirl Creamery Fondue Redux Collection, as well as the Emmi Pre-Made Fondue, with a number of accompaniments.
With the fondue I served: Dill pickles, sweet baguette, sour baguette, sugared-currant breadsticks, roasted garlic, grapes, grape tomatoes, green apples, new potatoes+ broccoli.
I know it sounds like a lot, but it was so fun to be able to try all of the different combinations and I would recommend any and all of the options we went with.
Now through December 10th, 2016, use the code 'DBSHOLIDAY' at the mlejay Etsy shop for 20% off your entire order!
Another special touch from the table that I was in LOVE with, was this Wood Slice Art from mlejay on Etsy! I am so in awe of the work she does, and can't wait to show you more from her, in the wonderful world of holiday decor! BUT, the good news is that you don't have to wait to start shopping! Now through December 10th, 2016, use the code 'DBSHOLIDAY' at the mlejay Etsy shop for 20% off your entire order!
What's not to love about a subscription box? Every month, a little mini-Christmas, just for you! I am totally hooked on these things, with PopSugar Must Have and FabFitFun being my favorite of the big boys in this department. However, the only complaint I have about those boxes, is while I love great finds they send through to me, by the time they have made it into one of those boxes, they are anything but unique. Those boxes have SO many subscribers, that is becomes easy to spot something that came from one of them, while out and about. So, while I do not plan to get rid of those subscriptions any time soon (and I will be sharing some favorite items from them in the near future), I did want to seek out something a little more special and unique. Enter, The Handmade California Box!
Each month, the box makers put together a gorgeous and oh-so-California collection of goodies made right here in the Golden State. Here is what I found when I opened the September box! And yes, I am 100% #dbsobsessed!
You need this waffle iron. That is really all there is to say. This photo of leftover garlic bread with cheese and ham should pretty much confirm that fact.
There's nothing like a visit to New England to motivate me to share some of my favorite obsessions with all of you. Due to a wonderful turn of events that included me having the opportunity to work in the Boston area from time to time, along with a wonderfully beautiful wedding I was invited to, I had the pleasure of recently taking a trip to Massachusetts and visiting some wonderful places along the way.
Of course, I thoroughly documented the experience so that I could share it with all of you! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as I tell you about some of my favorite parts of a summer trip to New England. Warning: while I usually try to keep things all about the obsessions and strictly positive, there are a few items of note from my experience that I felt compelled to share with you, regardless of the fact that they were less than positive. I can't be sending you a way to Boston all willy-nilly with these horrible experiences lurking for you to potentially stumble upon, can I?! I think not.
First of all the trip started with a bang. Virgin America had made a mistake and accidentally refunded my entire ticket, unbeknownst to me, rather than just the portion that I had canceled due to some travel changes. While this resulted in me having to wait around and twiddle my thumbs for a while, it all paid off. For my nonstop flight to Boston I was upgraded to first class and starting things off just as DBS likes to, in the lap of luxury.
In keeping with the luxurious morning, I stopped by Cat Cora's airport bar for Mimosa and some early-morning pre-vacation work. Things were looking great!
My flight was delayed which ended up meaning that original dinner plans did not work out as planned, but everything went perfectly. I had noticed in some recent news stories that the Boston Park Plaza Hotel had just, and I mean just, completed a $100,000,000 major renovation that had been in the works for some time. Loving its location, I looked at what their rates were and was thrilled to see that there were some incredible deals for the hotel. So, I decided to stay there for the first two nights of my trip.
As my friend Sue so aptly pointed out, the new Boston Park Plaza vibe is a very Las Vegas. It smells like Vegas, in a good way, it's lively, very open and bright. I was greeted at the check-in desk by a lovely man named Peter. Yes, lovely… As in good looking. However, he was also a pleasure to speak with, incredibly helpful and professional.
While many city rooms can be very closet-like, I was thrilled to see that I had a corner room with a king bed, a small but effective bathroom space, and a large closet. Even better, views out of both windows, including one of the Smith & Wollensky castle, a restaurant with which I have many fond memories.
Everything is so new in the hotel that you get a clean feeling unlike most hotel experiences. I'm sorry, but regardless of how nice a hotel is, there's no avoiding the fact that many many people have been in your room and in your bed prior to you. It was a real treat to be in a newly renovated room. On top of that, the service was impeccable. That first evening a cheese plate and a bottle of chilled white wine were sent up to my room. What a kind gesture from the front desk, having heard about how excited I was to return to Boston after five years away and how my dinner plans had fallen through due to a delay.
Now, when I arrived I asked Peter at the front desk where a good place would be for me to meet with my friends and not be the only person above 30 years old. He recommended STRIP by Strega, within the hotel itself. I was less than thrilled at the idea but ultimately decided that proximity was key, due to a long day of travel.
I'm so glad that I listened to Peter because that place was awesome! I ended up meeting with two friends there on Friday evening and returning again the following evening with a group of friends. It was lively with fun 90's and 2000's music playing, good food, even better drinks, and a truly delightful staff. I spoke with many people who worked there during the time that I was there and each one was nicer than the last. Not only that, but the decor was on point! As you may have seen in past posts of mine, I love me a picture of a 90's-era supermodel. Well, they're all over the place here. Most notably, a three-piece series of giant black-and-white photos of I believe Christy Turlington, Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell acting out the 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' signs. Legitimately could not be more #dbsobsessed with that.
Oh, being that this was Fourth of July weekend, I don't want to say too much about the crowds that were out because I don't think that they were indicative of what a regular Friday night in the city would look like. It was probably a little less crowded, probably a more random mix of people, and undoubtedly fewer locals.
Up next, Colleen and I headed to an old haunt of ours, Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square. While I can't say I love it anymore, because I was so disappointed in the attitude of the staff and a complete holier-than-thou vibe coming from every employee, it cannot be denied that they have amazing drinks and food. So, here are some favorites.
The Boston Park Plaza did an amazing job of helping me recover from jet lag and too many cocktails, with this killer breakfast, which I enjoyed before taking off to Newbury Street... Stay tuned for more from the trip!
I am 100% #dbsobsessed with my new 4-quart Staub Essential French Oven from Food52. It could not be more simply elegant AND functional. The new white collection is stunning, and a wonderful addition to any kitchen.
And they are not minty at all! I remember that my mom often had these when I was little, and when I recently came across them in a little French shop, I was reminded of just how much I love these unique Violet Mints.
Low Carb CauliTortillas by Sarah Dover
Holy cau-liflower, Batman! Cauliflower is definitely the in veggie right now. It’s often an overlooked option but packed with plenty of nutrients and minerals, low in calories, and provides detox and anti-inflammatory benefits, along with many others! With such an emphasis on low carb and low/no sugar shifts in eating habits, (I won’t use the D-word because it really is a lifestyle change, not a fad or quick fix) cauliflower is re-emerging quickly as a superstar in the culinary arena.
Recently, I saw a recipe for cauliflower tortillas. While I usually scroll and pin, pin and scroll on my favorite time-waster, Pinterest, this one caught my attention as I had just been talking with a friend about missing bread and tortillas. Now I don’t miss them because of the taste or I can’t live without carbs in my everyday meals – in fact, I normally don’t go after bread at restaurants, order sandwiches, or reach for a loaf on Sunday mornings for toast. What I missed was the versatility of them – to make sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, tacos, etc. So I clicked on the recipe and scanned through. Pretty interesting? Yes. Somewhat easy? Potentially. And the best part? I had all the ingredients: cauliflower, eggs, salt and pepper. So off I went.
I have usually gotten well over a cup of water for an entire head of cauliflower. Once the water is as squeezed out as much as possible, return the cauli-rice back to the bowl. Since I used an entire head of cauliflower, I upped the egg count to 3 instead of 2 to help with binding. Crack your eggs and add the salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix it all together until well combined. The recipe I was following said “S+P to taste.” Again, not sure how I was supposed to know how to taste it, as the cauliflower was now mixed with raw egg. So I measured out ½ tablespoon of garlic salt (regular salt works just as well, just less garlic flavor which is no Bueno for me!) and ¼ tablespoon of pepper. I’m not a pepper person so that’s why I added less, though if you love it, knock yourself out!
I tried two methods for the cookie sheets – parchment paper and a silpat mat. Once both sheets were lined, I lightly sprayed Pam on both just in case and believe me, I’m glad I did! Once all the ingredients were mixed together, you’re ready to start “sheeting” your tortillas! BE READY FOR THI: The mixture will be a little runny. I know, I know… I thought to myself, “I squeezed my you-know-what off to get all that water out!” But this is just because of the egg and the salt. It’s all good!
The original recipe said this amount would make about 6 tortillas – I decide to make mine a bit smaller so that I could get more out of all my hard work! I grabbed a medium-sized chunk and balled it in my hand to give me some sort of similarity in size. I wanted my tortillas to be about the size of my palm, think corn-tortilla sized. Ok, maybe a little bigger than my palm. But about that size once the ball of cauliflower was pressed down into a circle. And you don’t want to make them too thin or they will rip when you’re trying to flip them – I lost a few the first time! Think about ¼ of an inch thick. They did shrink a little after baking so that is something to take into account as well.
Once my “tortillas” were laid out on the parchment or silpat covered cookie sheets, I popped them in an oven that had been pre-heated to 375 degrees. Leave it for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes had passed, I took them out and sprayed another light mist of Pam over the tortillas before very carefully flipping them over. When all those babies were flipped over, I put them back in the oven for 7 minutes more. At the buzzer, I removed the tortillas and placed them on a cooling rack to to cool just a bit.
The final part is to “toast” them in a pan – which I HIGHLY recommend as it gives it another dimension of flavor, think toasty like toasted almonds. You can either do this part once they’ve cooled a little or you can do it right before you eat them. Either way, they’re delicious! All I did to toast them was place them in a single layer in a pan and let them sizzle, pressing down lightly with a spatula. After 2-3 minutes, flip them to toast the other side and voila, you are done! I was amazed at how they tasted, how they kept (I ziplocked them and kept stored in the fridge for over a week), and the various ways I could use them! I dared a grilled cheese “sandwich,” a ham and Swiss Panini, and even open-faced mini-tacos!
4 cauli-tortillas per serving, depending on what I was making. I’ve even taken them to go, making a few mini “tacos” of deli meat and cheese and sandwiches! The uses are unstoppable! And sometimes I have to pinch myself because no I’m not dreaming, these babies are LOW CARB but not low deliciousness At the size I wrote about, they’re not big enough for a traditional wrap but I guess that’s just another cauli-adventure to attempt. Enjoy!
Cauliflower Tortilla Recipe:
• 1 medium cauliflower head, riced about 2 cups packed
• 3 eggs
• ½ T salt
• ¼ T pepper - or S+P to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
2. Put ½ head of raw cauliflower, cut up, and pulse until you get a texture slightly finer than rice. (Once it’s riced, measure it to make sure you have 2 cups packed.)
3. Place in bowl and microwave for 2 minutes and stir, then another two minutes and stir again.
4. Next place in a thin dish towel and squeeze excess water out as hard as you can. (Get out as much water as you can and be careful not to burn yourself because it’s going to be very hot.)
5. Place drained cauliflower back in bowl and add three eggs, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
a. Note: It will be a little bit runny but shouldn't be pure liquid either. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet into small fairly flat circles about ¼ inch thick.
6. Place in the oven for 10 minutes then carefully peel them off the parchment and flip them and place back in the oven for 5-7 more minutes.
7. Once they’re done place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.
8. Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat and place the tortillas into the pan pressing down slightly and brown them to your liking.
a. Don’t skip this step because it gives them a wonderfully nutty taste!
9. Makes roughly 20 small tortillas.
Recipe adapted from www.ondietandhealth.com
drew bailey scott
My raison d'etre: Seeking and experiencing that which improves my life in all areas. The purpose of this blog: to share those incredible discoveries with others, hopefully making their lives even better!