I almost never wear black. I lived in San Francisco for nine years after college and wore it quite a bit. When I moved to New York I was determined not to be an all black cliche, so I embraced color. This tuxedo inspired long sleeve t-shirt comes in navy as well, but I decided to go with a non-basic (for me) and go for the black. I styled it with my lace pants, glitter heels, blue velvet clutch, Ryan Sunglasses and an Hermes scarf for my son’s school holiday program.
I’ve taken on a few new roles this year. One of them is Recording Secretary for the PTA at my son’s school. Although this blouse is not called a “Secretary Blouse” as many other J. Crew selections are (such as this one or this one), it has the same feel. I have styled it with my favorite leopard flats (naturally) and basic black.
As I wrote yesterday in Shoes Tell the Story, my blog had it’s six month anniversary last week, so there was cause for celebration.
This week I am baking my chocolate chip cookies for another event. Since I first posted this five months ago, I have made a couple of changes to ingredients and a couple of the tools and ingredients are on sale. My blog will have it’s sixth month anniversary on Friday, so it seemed like a good time to update this.
The original post (with updated links):
I love baking chocolate chip cookies for my family and they are my go-to for events and fundraisers at my son’s school. The challenge in the past was that when I needed to make them, I needed at least three to four dozen. A certain amount for the fundraiser, my husband’s office, my office and of course the ones we want to eat right out of the oven.
I love Alton Brown’s recipe The Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. As he states, his recipe is essentially a hack of the Nestle recipe. You melt the butter, so you don’t have to bring it to room temperature. You do need to chill the dough for one hour before baking, so it involves some planning and time management. When I made the cookies after work it was a long night. After some practice with the recipe, I streamlined a few things and created a few of my own hacks, so that I can make two batches more efficiently.
Last Mother’s Day I received a KitchenAid stand mixer in my favorite color of navy blue (the color is called blueberry). My other stand mixer was on its last legs. I now have two mixing bowls. This is key. You can always buy a second bowl. This allows me to quickly make two batches at once and not wait for the mixing bowl while the dough is chilling.
I measure all the ingredients ahead of time and do them two at a time. Two sets of flour, the sugars, and the egg mixture. That way I can get the first bowl in the refrigerator and start making the next batch immediately. Both batches can then chill together.
I know I am not to first to say this, but it really is all about the quality of the ingredients starting with the vanilla. I use Nielsen-Massey which is currently 20% off at Williams Sonoma.
These cookie sheets from Williams-Sonoma have made all the difference in baking a perfect cookie. I use them only for cookies along with this ice cream scoop which I have in both small and medium. Today I am using the small size.
This scale is so easy to use. You weigh all the ingredients for this recipe.
Having the right equipment (and enough of it) along with the best ingredients makes these cookies perfect every time.
This summer we visited the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. It is so well put together with great interactive exhibits for kids. I highly recommend it. My son loved it and we visited two weeks in a row. I also loved the adobe building, so on our second visit I took advantage and shot this fall look.
When I came home with my J. Crew for NET-A-PORTER purchases my husband said “Another striped long sleeve tee?”. I am afraid to do an inventory count. Then he saw the sequined dog and said, “THAT is a keeper”, which is something he rarely says. His side (or should I say third of a side) of our closet it a carefully curated selection. He is ruthless when it comes to cleaning out his closet. If they had a men’s version of this t-shirt, he might be adding one more to his collection.
The tee-shirt is super soft. I styled it with my J. Crew lookout high rise jeans, Panama hat and, of course, leopard flats. We headed to a new favorite spot for coffee, tea and pastries, Georgie, in Beverly Hills. My son says they make the BEST croissants.
Our end of the Summer mini-vacation included an amazing meal at Plow and Angel at the San Ysidro Ranch. It is just so beautiful there. I wore a J. Crew dress that I featured in Stripes and Paisley on the Vineyard. This time swapping the pops of pink for my favorite leopard print. The dress is so easy to wear and is a great neutral shirting stripe that can be styled so many ways.
Enjoying the beautiful grounds after dinner.
Dinner at or absolute favorite restaurant. It is rare to find a place with such amazing food for adults and healthy options that are appealing to kids too.
Then we headed back to Butterfly Beach and The Biltmore for sunset.
On our recent trip to Santa Barbara we explored the El Presidio real de Santa Barbara after a delicious dinner (and margaritas) at nearby Playa AzulPlaya Azul. The Presidio contains an original adobe structure called El Cuartel, that is the second oldest surviving building in California and was built by Spain in 1782, with the mission of defending the Second Military District in California. The chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano, known as “Father Serra’s Church”, is the only surviign building in California that is older.
I went to college in Santa Barbara at UCSB and did not spend that much time exploring touristy spots. It has been fun to explore with my son. There are so many great sites to see and if you like Mexican food, Playa Azul is a must.
It is nearly impossible not to feel “in the pink” in Santa Barbara, especially at The Biltmore, overlooking Butterfly Beach. The Biltmore was built in 1928 and epitomized Southern California glamour and was a favorite retreat of old Hollywood. The grounds are just so beautiful and Butterfly Beach is a favorite of ours. The butterflies actually left soon after the construction and care was put it to the landscaping and trees so that they would return. We learned about this in the beautiful children’s book “Butterfly Beach” by Polly Caldwell Bookwalter that we purchased in the gift shop for vacation bedtime reading. We spotted a few butterflies on one of our morning walks. The beach walks were so beautiful that I even managed to win my weekly Fitbit step contest against several competitive New Yorkers.
This summer we did a fair amount of traveling and also made an effort to explore our home town. We managed to hit a lot of museums in Los Angeles. One of my all-time favorites is The Getty Center. We spent a great Sunday afternoon there a couple of weeks ago. The views are spectacular. My son especially loves The Family Room where he can have a hands on experience (I managed to do so, as well). We all enjoyed the “London Calling” exhibit and had a fun lunch there as well.