Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spanish Avarcas

Avarcas sandals
For the past few summers, I've been looking to far off lands when it's come time to pick a pair of go-to sandals. There's no need to buy a plane ticket and pack a suitcase (though that would be nice), because eBay can take you almost anywhere. First it was Sweden. And then Greece and these classic, 70s  Jesus sandals (though I love what they're doing at Ancient Greek Sandals, too — like, whoa). This summer though, I let eBay take me to the shores of Barcelona, Spain from whence these perfectly pistachio Avarcas — or Abarcas, or Menorquinas. Whatever you want to call them, they're a Spanish leather sandal hailing from the island of Menorca where they've been worn by men, women, and children of all ages for decades — you can always trust a shoe that grandmas are known for wearing (see especially Worishofer). Avarcas are defined by their functionality, derived in large part from their non-slip soles which used to be made of actual recycled tires. They're totally minimal chic, you can walk in them, and I love them. I especially can't wait to take 'em boating.

Avarcas sandals

Avarcas sandals

Avarcas sandals

Avarcas sandals

Avarcas sandals
You can also pick up a pair from Avarcas USA — a company founded by a Spanish family living in San Diego who have brought Avarcas to the States — where there are a bunch of styles and colors to choose from including metallics and wedges. Vivavarcas!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dutch Tubs

El Cosmico Dutch Tub
Dutch Tub

How cool are these portable, wood-burning Dutch tubs by Weltevree? They weigh just 165 pounds, so you can cart one around with you (hitched to your bike, on top of your car, on a raft behind a canoe even!) and take an off-the-grid soak wherever you end up. The smart design allows a wood fire to heat a coil that causes hot water to rise and circulate into the tub while cold water flows into the coil to be heated. Plus, you can cook your dinner in a wok above the very fire that warms your tub. I discovered these when El Cosmico announced they were getting a couple — as if I needed another reason to get to Marfa, stat. 

Dutch Tub

Dutch TubDutch Tub


Wood Dutch Tub

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies

If I know you and you're getting married, just ask and I'll make you a batch of Mexican Wedding Cookies. They're small, tasty, and totally white-wedding-y. It's become kind of a tradition for me to make these for friends, and this past weekend we went to the third wedding I've made them for (not counting our own). I thought I'd share my official recipe, which correctly reminds us that Mexican Wedding Cookies are a delicious dessert any time of year. Using the real Mexican vanilla a friend brought me back from Oaxaca really took this batch to the next level!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
 Mexican Wedding Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + extra for coating 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raw pecans, toasted
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 and place the pecans on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until they're lightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool. In a medium bowl cream the butter, vanilla, and almond extracts together. Add the powdered sugar and mix in. Add flour a little at a time until it's fully blended in. When the pecans are cool, place them in a food processor or chop with a knife until fairly fine. Measure 1 cup of finely chopped pecans, and stir them in.

Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and then shape into 1 inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper about 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack. Roll the cookies in powdered sugar so they look like snowballs. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container. Recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

*Remember, Mexican Wedding Cookies are a delicious dessert anytime of year!

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Mexican Wedding Cookies

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wary Meyers Candles

Wary Meyers Candles

I've loved the designs of the duo behind Wary Meyers for quite a while. They do awesome, 70s-inspired interior design and art installations, and they also have a web shop where they sell rad original art prints and vintage books and things (like an amazing hammock chair, bullshit jeans, and a crazy wine tote). And now, apparently, they make candles. They're just as awesome, arty, and informed by the siren vibes of the 70s as their other projects, and they're hand-poured and made of food grade paraffin and soy wax with phthalate-free fragrances and essential oils. To top it off, the packaging and glass are made of recycled materials, and each glass holder is hand-painted with an adorable, one-of-a-kind, gold leaf emblem. Check out the far-out scents on offer:

Wary Meyers Coco Nuit Candle

"A deep, lush, Caribbean scent composed of beachy coconut, dark suntan oil, and fresh green cannabis. Takes you back to your beach chair when the hot day turns to hot night and you didn’t even realize it. Blissful and nostalgic."
Wary Meyers Milky Way Candle
"Farm-fresh milk and sweet cream with hints of brown sugar and a light cloud of warm leche. Has the creamy, cosmic mellowness of being poured by milk maids inside a warm honeycomb on the moon."

Wary Meyers Sea Melon Candle

"The sweet fragrant smell of a ripe summertime watermelon drenched in salty seawater and sliced open on a driftwood table on a seaweed-lined beach. Sweet, salty and refreshing."
Wary Meyers Mainely Manly Candle

"The rough-hewn balm of cedar and woodsmoke, drifting low and winding its way through the deep Maine hinterlands. Undertones of native balsam, burning pine, and primitive musk. Manly, yes, but with a soft, close whisper of patchouli on the bearskin rug in front of the fireplace."
Wary Meyers Sunshine Candle

"The enchanted scent of heliotrope, yellow dandelions, and fresh summer green grass with soft floral notes of weeping willow, buttercups & fairy dust. The hot air shimmers and the dragonflies hum on a lazy afternoon of daydreaming in a light-drenched, butterfly-filled meadow. The sun is out, the birds are singing."

I'm pretty excited to get my hands on one of them — as far as fancy, artisanal candles go they're a reasonable $28 — but it's hard to choose. Am I more in the mood for a seawater infused watermelon? Or cosmic moon leche? Which scent/vibe would you go for?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Messy messy v. Messy cute

Fishtail BraidIf you're like me, you usually have big ambitions for elaborate hairstyles and then procrastinate until it's almost time to leave the house to attempt them. Too many times, it ends up in disaster and brushing your hair back into the same old straight style. I've been trying to give myself more time, but also — more latitude, and that's where Messy messy v. Messy cute comes in. Perfection is usually boring anyways. If you can achieve Messy cute, I say go for it — own the few flyaways or the slightly asymmetrical angle. This Bumble and Bumble stylist had to muss his perfect fishtail braid, but we can probably just skip that step.

Pics via the Opening Ceremony blog.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Margarita Icebox Cake

Mood Maybe Margarita Icebox Cake

For summer editions of Ladies' Supper Club we usually come up with an outdoor theme, which allows us to enjoy the weather and gives ladies who don't have quite enough in-of-doors space the chance to host a Supper Club. This weekend we spent the afternoon at a beautiful spot in Tilden Park, and made 'icebox' recipes that could be prepared and chilled ahead. This Margarita Icebox Cake was a pretty big hit. It's not...unrich, but the brightness of the lime (and spike of tequila) keep it from being overpoweringly heavy. I made quite an effort to source some agar agar, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, but couldn't find it anywhere (not even Berkeley Bowl, hard to believe). Most vegetarians in attendance could remember having had a jello shot recently though (hey, we were all in Vegas just the other weekend), so exceptions were made.

Mood Maybe Margarita Icebox Cake

Margarita Icebox Cake
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest + 1 lime cut into thin slices
  •  3 cups pretzels
  • 6 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 tsps unflavored gelatin (or substitute agar agar)
  • 10 oz margarita mix*
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • *I made my own instead of using pre-made: mix 5 oz fresh lime juice, 5 oz water, and 2 tbsp agave nectar.

Directions
Crust: Heat oven to 350 and place rack in middle. Grease a 9" springform pan and line the perimeter with a 3' strip of parchment paper. Process coconut and lime zest in food processor until coarsely ground; reserve 1/2 cup. Add pretzels to remaining coconut mixture and process until finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling: Combine 1/4 cup of water and gelatin or agar agar in small saucepan and let sit until gelatin softens, about five minutes. Add margarita mix, tequila, and triple sec and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until gelatin dissolves, about five minutes.  Cool 15 minutes. Using mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form. Using clean bowl, whip sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese until combined. Add 1 cup margarita mixture and whip until incorporated. Fold in one-third whipped cream, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Refrigerate until just set, about 1 hour.

Topping: Stir remaining 1/2 cup water into remaining margarita mixture. Pour mixture through fine-mesh strainer into 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour over filling and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Remove sides of pan and parchment. Press reserved coconut mixture onto sides of cake and top with lime slices. Serve.

Mood Maybe Margarita Icebox Cake
Mood Maybe Margarita Icebox Cake


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pluie

Pluie Crescent CombPluie Crescent Comb
This crescent comb by Pluie is fueling my minimalist metals addiction. My Kathleen Whitaker stick earring and Miansai cuff are on heavy rotation and like those pieces, Pluie's comb is so simple yet striking at the same time. It has kind of a futuristic crown vibe, but also looks totally wearable. Plus, you could style it in so many ways depending on where you place it and how you do your hair. If you need tips, Pluie even has videos:



So the question is: is more more when you start out with less-is-more pieces? You can pick up the crescent plus more barrettes and combs at Pluie's site (they include a handmade pouch so you can carry your comb with you) or Shopbop. Plus, check out Pluie's dreamy lookbook video to see some of their other styles:

Friday, July 5, 2013

La La Las Vegas

Tropicana Pool Party
When I told a coworker it topped 117 degrees in Las Vegas last weekend while I was there for a bachelorette party, I mentioned that it broke records. "The bachelorette party?" he asked. Ha ha. Well, you know what they say, but what happened in Vegas has no need to stay there, so here's what we did while trying to avoid our shoes melting on the sidewalk of the strip (a true fate encountered by a girl we met in an elevator).


We rented a cabana by the pool where thankfully it was shady enough to hang out comfortably despite the furnace-level temps.

Wicked Spoon Brunch

We ate a delicious brunch at the Wicked Spoon in the Cosmopolitan. I believe I was quoted as saying "Your plate isn't done until you feel like a monster." Above: rice pudding with dulce de leche, strawberry cream puff, carrot cake, pistachio gelato in mini waffle cone bowl, raspberry rice crispy treat.

Vintage Las Vegas Polar Bear Girl

We traipsed around the Cosmopolitan admiring pictures of the vintage Vegas days and performers of yore. People just don't dress up like they used to.

Tropicana Las VegasWe stayed at the Tropicana, which people tended to grimace at when I mentioned, but it's been recently renovated. It may have “...this image as the place where my grandparents used to go,” but I love that about it. Mending is better than ending, and there are plenty of tacky new mega-resorts. Why not keep a place around that has some history but update it in a similar style? It did seem updated, and it was a great choice for a bunch of girls who wanted to hang out by the (giant, five-acre) pool.
Wynn Las Vegas

Of course, some of the newer resorts are pretty nice, particularly the Wynn, where we went in search of vegan food — did you know Steve Wynn is vegan? There are vegan options at all of the Wynn's numerous restaurants (including vegan room service!). I'm not vegan but I am pescetarian, and I'm always excited to find restaurants with healthier, meatless options in places that typically don't cater to vegans or vegetarians. Viva Las Vegan!

Wynn Waterfall
We also checked out several of the Wynn's impressive water features, which helped to make the outdoor heat bearable. Usually people are so over Vegas by the time the trip is over, and while the heat and constant fun-times were exhausting, I definitely would have spent another night and couple hours by the pool. I'm ready to go again — what are your favorite places in Vegas?