This month was a blur. Lots of making food, shooting food, remaking food and shooting it again. The days were long but they left me energized. My body sort of started to ache after a few days but every day my mind was still going strong. This stuff makes me happy. I’m grateful I can actually call it my job.
These monthly round-ups are kind of my favorite because usually I think my life is super boring and plain and then when I go to write them and search through my photos, they make me stop and go, hey! this month was kinda kewl! But not this month. I took no photos on my phone. None. I was too busy with my head down.
I love cookbooks. LOVE. There’s a gigantic part of me that wishes I could edit cookbooks, that’s how much I love them. I want to read, gaze and cook from every single one that catches my eye. Most of the cookbooks you see above aren’t out yet, but they will be soon, so feel free to get your pre-order on!
1. Bar Tartine. I went last month for the second time (the first time was years ago) and it was incredible. Josh of course geeked out on the server and we ended up leaving with three loaves of free bread. I’m not kidding. The free bread isn’t want makes me want this book. I just know that the book will be full to the brim with perfectly written recipes that will wow anyone who comes over when I make them. Also, dat font on da cover.
2. Prune. Ions ago I read Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter and loved it. Every single time I go to New York, I make a promise to go to Prune and then something happens and I don’t. Now I can just open up the book and be transported there instead.
3. Homemade Decadence. Joy was the first blogger I got an internet crush on. I was like, I want to eat all the baked goods she makes AND be her friend. I’m really excited about all the indulgent things I get to bake this season. And I imagine her witty sense of humor and heart will be in this book too. How can it not be?
4. Make It Ahead – Oh Ina. She can do no wrong, except when she bakes with extra large eggs and tells me to cook with fancy red wine. Why??? If it’s fancy then I want to drink it, not put it in my coq au vin. Besides that, she’s the queen. Her food is beautiful and simple. And I want to grow up to have that barn! Also, Jeffrey! I love Jeffrey.
5. Flour and Water. I have a dream and it is to be able to make pasta at home in a super legit way. Most of the pasta I’ve made (and it has been on very rare occasion), has been really awful. I went to a restaurant a few months ago, which will remain nameless, and their homemade pasta was so terrible that I compared it to my homemade pasta. Not ok. This cookbook should fix my issues.
6. A Kitchen in France. Mimi lives a life that doesn’t seem real. Me, over here in my one-bedroom apartment with way too much dog hair accumulating near the wall’s baseboards…very real. Mimi? Not so much. But who cares, that’s why I read her blog and am so fascinated with her whole shebang: life a farm, with a ton of kids, a handsome husband and even more animals than kids. It’s fascinating! I want to jump in the book and cook with her.
7. Ovenly – One lesson I’ve learned over the years is always go to meetings with treats. Always. It’s a really simple gesture that goes such a long way. It’s your way of saying, Hey you, Tuesdays suck, here’s a cookie. When I was in New York last fall for a few meetings, I went to Ovenly and picked up an array of cookies. Everyone loved everything! Luckily in the cab ride over, I was smart enough to eat a shortbread cookie studded with caraway seeds and dried cherries…bomb. P.S. I love the cover so freaking much.
8. Thug Kitchen. The f-word might be my most used word. It’s true. I love it. And in this space of lifestyle, food blogging, da internets, I feel like everyone is trying to be the next Martha Stewart. Everyone acts so dang perfect. And it drives me crazy. Really, it makes me want to say fuck. A lot. I’m excited about this book because apparently the f-word shows up a lot, along with some fun recipes.
9. Dominique Ansel. The cronut was the thing to eat in 2014. And apparently it still is in 2015. I never understood the fascination. Deep-fried croissant dough? Lots of people can do that…but then I visited his bakery last fall (pictured here) and can honestly say the rest of his pastries are really what’s special. They were magical, perfect and really, REALLY beautiful. It felt like I walked into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, except Ansel wasn’t some mad man tyrant, but instead an actual real pastry chef who constructs all these delicate little prizes of sugar. If anything, the cronut has brought attention to his bakery, but it’s his other pastries that really are worthy of the obsessive 5am hoards of people.
10. Heritage. This is on this list because I’m obsessed with his laugh. It’s this, like, southern laugh that reminds me of my uncle. I can’t describe it. Awesome laugh aside, Husk is at the very top of my must-visit restaurants. His episodes of PBS’s Mind of a Chef are my absolute favorite and his approach to food and story is what draws me in.
Am I missing any? Are there a few that are on your list?
I think it’s safe to say that August was a pretty rough month for the entire world. There was a lot of stuff going on; a lot of sad stuff.
For me on a personal level, it was pretty work-focused. I’ve been plugging away at finalizing the recipes and DIYs for The Year of Cozy and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m excited and nervous, but mostly just crossing my fingers you’ll like everything as much as I do.
The first half of this month was maybe the worst two weeks of the year. Luckily things only went up from there and the last two weeks have been so much better; they’ve been full of lots of hope and better news. I’m still super deep in recipe testing for da book (aka The Year of Cozy) and am having lots of fun. Right now it’s all about Christmas cookies which is sort of strange considering I’m wearing nothing but tank tops and shorts.
The month kicked off with lunch at Gracias Madre with Kimberley and Gaby. I ordered the ginger ale thinking it was gonna be on the lines of like Canadian Dry and then this beautiful arrived and I was like WHOA!
I ate this delicious canele. It was full of these cute little craters.
Phew! I don’t always say this but I CANNOT believe June is already over. I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could do it all over again. June was pretty cool. I feel like April was a big gigantic downer but June was different. It was full of a lot of productive work on my book. Lots of failed recipes. I’m talking TONS, but a few really good winners.
In between work and more work, were moments that were pretty amazing, mainly CORG-A-BUNGA. We’ll get to that later, but first…
I want to share a picture of the pie that bugged me to no end. After a million times making it I realized it wasn’t my fault. Peaches leech way too much water and it messes up the custard over and over again. So goodbye, peach custard pie. Goodbye, I will not miss you.
I’m writing a book! (I’m currently doing jazz hands in Amelia’s face! She hates it/loves it.)
The book will be called The Year of Cozy. It’ll take you through an entire year of recipes, DIYs (oh yeh, we’re getting crafty!) and ideas on how to make the best of the small, seemingly insignificant moments. (I know that last part sounds hippie-dippy and maybe it is a little, but I swear it’ll make sense.)
The book is being published by Rodale and I’m lucky enough to be working with my dream editor, Dervla Kelly (who also happens to write a super fun blog, The Curator)!! Over the course of the next year, I’ll be putting this book together, glue gun and rolling pin in hand, and will be sharing sneak peaks via my favorite social media channel ever, Instagram. I’ll be sure to be a good social media user and hashtag everything properly with #TheYearofCozy. I used to boycott hashtags because I thought they were cheesy but look at me now! (P.S.: I’ve already shared some stuff because I couldn’t help myself.)
The book will feature pictures of my favorite animal and roommate. And a few dog-friendly recipes (hello doggie doughnuts!) will also appear.
There will be kitchen crafts and projects (like this Breakfast in a Box) so your holidays can be cute.
A lot of the recipes will be project-oriented; some easy-breezy and some that will be more involved. I promise that all of them will be delicious.
I don’t want to give away too much but there will be ice cream because what else are we supposed to eat for dinner during those summer days that are too hot to cook?!
But in all seriousness, I wanted to thank you so very much for coming to this lil’ blog to read, comment and hang out. You all really are the best. I sincerely appreciate your continued support. Thank you, thank you!
This month was a bit of a mixed bag. There was strep throat, hella stressful days, the most horrific heatwave to date…all weaved throughout some really good days. All in all, I’m glad May is over and I’m super excited for June and just summer in general. Go summer!
May kicked off with a trip to Palm Springs.
Amelia gets really nervous when people are swimming in the pool. So, she figures if she jumps in to be near you, all will be ok. Look at that form!
I mean, those toes. I can stare at this picture all day long.
Sometimes I do this thing where I write everything down that I’d ever want out of life. I do it without thinking—just thoughts to paper. And you know what, it’s a scary fucking list. I look at it and I feel greedy, like I expect too much out of this life. My dad once told me that; that my expectations are simply too high. I think there’s a fine line between being grateful for what you have and the desire to grow and move forward. It’s hard to find that balance. This month I feel like I found it…at least for a little bit. Something I’ve been working toward for a long time finally fell into place, in a way that was unexpected and completely coincidental.
This month I’ve learned that sometimes you need to let the coincidences in life happen to you. Listen and let them lead you. If I’m sounding all hippie-dippie, you can blame it on my new Birkenstocks. I’m sorry.
But in all seriousness, this month has been wonderful.
I spent this past weekend in one of my favorite cities, Palm Springs. It’s about an hour and half-long drive east of Los Angeles, making it the most perfect weekend getaway to Angelenos. I really really love it out there, even in the summers when the temperatures soar above a hundred. In terms of aesthetics, it doesn’t get more beautiful. It’s a dreamy combination of mid-century meets Moroccan meets Spanish. Palm trees and bougainvilleas line the streets while old cars drive up and down quiet neighborhood roads. It’s a special place.
I know a lot of people (I’m not one of them) are headed to Palm Springs for Coachella. I thought it might be a good time to give you guys a guide, listing some of my favorite places in Palm Springs. This isn’t entirely comprehensive; mainly because I spend the majority of my time sitting by the pool and shopping. If you go to Palm Springs you should focus on doing absolutely nothing. It’s a good do-nothing vacation.
(P.S. My friend Claire from The Kitchy Kitchen posted her guide to Palm Springs just this past weekend. Check it out Part 1 and Part 2!)
Where to Eat
For me, Palm Springs is mainly about sitting by the pool, drinking cocktails, reading and thrifting. I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a food destination the way, say, New York or San Francisco are, but there are a few places I really love (and plenty that I have yet to visit).
Tyler’s Burgers – Their burgers are delicious. The place is classic, charming, casual and in a sea of “fancy,” very mediocre restaurants, it’s a total stand-out.
El Jefe – Located in the Saguaro Hotel, super convenient to everything and overall pretty casual. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for margaritas, some beer and good tacos, though the nachos are my fav.
P.S. There’s nothing better than eating a s’mores while poolside.
Norma’s (at The Parker Hotel) – In terms of the food, I’ve had a few mixed experiences: rubbery pancakes one time and pretty solid eggs benedict another time, but if we’re being honest, The Parker is mainly about the decor, the colors, the vibe. Everything is so freaking beautiful. However, prepare to pay for the prettiness (hello $18 pancakes!).
Tinto – Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant, located right next to El Jefe in the Saguaro Hotel. If you’re looking for a nice place to go, eat a few Spanish appetizers and sip on a few glasses of wine, come here!
Hadley Fruit Orchards – On the way out of Palm Springs, stopping for a Hadley date shake is kinda fun. The banana and date is the move. And order a small because they’re just so dang sweet that you won’t be able to finish a medium.
Where to Stay
My boyfriend’s dad has a vacation house in Palm Springs so I’m super lucky in that I don’t have to search for a place to stay. It makes going out there on a whim a reality, which is pretty awesome. In the past, I have stayed at a few hotels in Palm Springs and most of them are pretty lovely. If you’re going with a group, however, I recommend renting a house (see above picture of homemade s’mores). The house rental options are pretty amazing and it’s definitely the more affordable route.
The Parker – Jonathan Adler designed hotel that is so impeccably designed. You won’t be able to walk through the lobby and not want to take at least five Instagram photos. It’s hard! Their lemonade stand out back is dreamy, their pool is divine and beautiful peacocks roam the grounds. It’s on the higher end of hotels, but I say if you can swing it, do!
The Ace Hotel – I love how the rooms at The Ace are decorated. It was one of the first boutique hotels to pop up in the area and I remember going for the first time and being to-die in love with it.
The Saguaro Hotel- I’ve stayed here a few times and the best part about it is that the beds are comfy and the prices are pretty affordable. The rooms inside are, well, bright. Very very bright.
Korakia Pensione – A gorgeous bed and breakfast that is definitely priced on the upper high end of hotels but man, it is so beautiful. While The Ace is party-central, the Korakia has a different vibe. This is the kind of place you book if you’re looking for rest, relaxation and tasty spa water. Isn’t spa water the best?!
Where to Shop
Honestly, this is my favorite thing to do in Palm Springs; and this comes from someone who isn’t a shopper. I sort of despise shopping, but in Palm Springs it feels different. I always get the sense like I’m on the verge of stumbling upon a treasure that’s been long forgotten about. Here are the places where I treasure hunt:
Sunny Dunes Antique Mall – A large store filled to the brim with everything from furniture to housewares (lamps, plates, etc.). Most things you come across you won’t find appealing but that’s ok, because that’s sort of the name of the game. There will be a few things, though, and it’ll make it all worth it.
The Fine Art of Design – A beautifully curated store that will make you think you’ve stepped into Edith Head’s costume shop. This isn’t necessarily a place where you hunt for treasures; everything is a treasure. Owner, Nicholas Delgado, has done all the work for you. All of the clothes are breathtaking, in mint-condition and really fairly priced, especially considering it’s high-end vintage.
Dazzles – This one is new-to-me and was actually recommended to me by my friend Whitney (who found out about it from Claire). The picture above of that crazy mid-century dog house is from their “pool area.” Located in an old motel, this places is packed refurbished furniture and tons of glassware.
Victoria’s Attic – I always get lucky when I come to this antique mall. Most of the vintage-y looking props that I use on this blog come from Victoria’s Attic. This place is fully stocked with cool plates, retro glassware and fun vintage kitchen gear.
Vintage Sunday Market – I went for the first time this past weekend and whoa, it’s soooo good. I scored a beautiful Afghani hand-woven rug for a song. I was on a bit of a time crunch or else I would’ve purchased a gajillion other things. It’s not overly crowded, vendors don’t have tons of stuff you have to sift through and everything is fairly priced–you’re bound to find some treasures!
My dad paid me a visit in late February, while on a 2-day layover to Kuala Lampur. I drove him to the airport where he boarded his Malaysian Airlines flight. Ten hours later I received a text from him telling me his flight to Tokyo was the worst of his life. He then took the second leg of the flight and said it was even worse. The pilot flew the plane straight through a bad snowstorm; the plane jolted up and down for about an hour while the plane’s lights flickered on and off. He said he had never been so scared for his life. For his return flight, he booked another flight on another airline, despite knowing he wouldn’t be reimbursed from Malaysian Airlines. Luckily he made it home safe and sound.
About a week later, the Malaysian Airline Flight 370 disappeared and has yet to show a trace. When I heard the news I started crying. All of the what-ifs played over and over again in my mind. On one hand I felt so happy that my dad wasn’t on that flight to Beijing, but I also felt so terrible for the people whose family members are still missing.
Needless to say, March started off on a super grateful note.