Tonight’s Emmy red carpet is basically a play by play of all of my favourite things – OR how ruffles can be purposeful.

Darlings,

This little space of mine on the internet, which started as an amalgamation of everything I love (namely food and fashion) has really  turned into my little hub for recipes and ramblings of my day to day life. I suppose it’s just changing with me.

The one thing I can promise you, however, is that my love for the red carpet has not left me. And, darlings, you know I love the red carpet.

And what a red carpet it was tonight at the Emmys. Over a heaping helping of deliciously buttery shrimp pasta (that LE HUBS MADE FOR ME! Lucky, lucky gal) and the last gamay of the summer, I poured over the photos. Some made me so happy, some made me weep and some made me laugh out loud.

This year more than ever, I noticed quite a few themes on the carpet, so I’ve rounded up my faves (and some not-so-faves) based on theme. But, really what this is this year is a celebration of women. Because even the looks I don’t personally love are being worn by some of the most amazing public figures. So just keep that in mind, darlings.

Without further a due, I bring to you the XOXOLCF Emmys Roundup 2016.

THE CLASSIC BLACK DRESS, REIMAGINED.

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Kerry Washington. Photo:Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press
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Neve Campbell. Photo: Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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Natasha Lyonne. Photo: Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Look, darlings, I have to admit that in general, I think all three of these women are pretty fabulous. I was a late comer to Scandal, but now can’t imagine living without it, a huge fan of Party of Five (and the Scream franchise, thank you very much) and have pretty much loved Natasha since the era of “I watched them before I probably should have” movies that she was in including “The Slums of Beverly Hills” and “But, I’m a Cheerleader.”

And darlings, you know I go back and forth between wanting five children and zero children. What I can say for certain is that if I ever do carry a child, I’d like to look like Kerry Washington whilst I do it. This piece is one of the more fantastic ways I’ve seen to show off a pregnancy. It is sexy, it is sophisticated and it feels like it’s made of one beautifully comfortable piece of fabric wrapped in all of the right ways. And of course, darlings, as a fellow big haired lady, I appreciate the impeccable lions mane. Really and truly, I am not worthy.

Neve’s dress is a classic silhouette for a classic beauty. You wonder what she does on a daily basis to look the same way she looked when I truly believed her and Jeremy London were going to run off into the sunset together. This looks like a Carolina Herrera, but I cannot find confirmation. What I love about this dress the most is that it is truly a stunning evening gown without being overly feminine. There is something about even the placement of the lace at the neckline that is purposeful and serious. Two things that you can rarely say about a mermaid dress with ruffles. But darlings, I’m saying it right here  and right now: This ruffled dress is strong, it’s powerful and it makes a lot of sense based on her new place in the “House of Cards” family.

Darlings, you know that there is little that I love more than a cape. Give me a cape, a decent bottle of red wine and some terrible TV and I will have little to complain about (just kidding, I always can find something!) In this cape dress, Natasha is giving some kind of alternative glamour – the sorts of which I am lost for words to describe. And like myself and Kerry, Natasha is a naturally big haired badass, but has toned it down to get to a kind of high femme, old Hollywood sleekness. And it looks amazing.

 

GREEN (and then VELVET)

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Kathryn Hahn. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images. Dress: Wai Ming
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Amy Poehler. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press
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Tina Fey: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

Darlings, green is my favourite color and so I was so pleased to see so much turn up on the carpet this year (especially one, which you can scroll down to Best in Show for, if you must). HOWEVER, above are three of my favourite ladies in show business and in my humble opinion, darlings, only one delivered.

Amy Poehler’s dress reminded me too much of Kate Hudson’s schmata from the 2001 Academy Awards when she dressed up as a country music star taking fashion cues from the Victorian era  in the 60s or 80s. 15 years later, I’m still uncertain. Need a memory jog?

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So you know I love a cape, but feel opposite about a “capelet” which you will recognize on both Amy and Kate. And although based on historical opinion, I should adore this glittery long sleeved greenness, it really seems more to me like a great option if you decided to go to a halloween party as “a glamorous asparagus stalk.” (note to self, maybe this year?)

And all I’m going to say about Tina is something I may have said before. This looks like a bridesmaid dress from a bride that considers herself “pretty progressive and cost conscientious” because she lets you pick out your silhouette and shade of green from J. Crew’s bridal shop, so you can, you know, wear it again.

On the other hand, Kathryn Hahn made me want to run upstairs and put every single piece of velvet I own on. I will admit that I am biased. I have an almost two decades long love affair with velvet. Stemming from two key pieces as a 12 year old:

 

 

The second of which was especially special to me. I bought it at MANDEE, which of course, was the height of WOMANLY SOPHISTICATION and came with the Cucumber Melon scent basically attached and I wore it to my best friend’s bat mitzvah, for which I also got my hair ( darlings, imagine it for yourself: a blonde pixie cut with butterfly clips) and makeup PROFESSIONALLY (well, at Jean Madeline Institute of B E A U TAY) done.

I also have a very very soft spot for hunter green. In fact, in 4th grade, I’m pretty sure I got through the winter months in ONLY hunter green overalls, hunter green turtlenecks and hunter green leggings. I also wouldn’t mind a hunter green MG. But that’s a whole other story.

So Kathryn Hahn, not only are you one of my favourite working actresses, the only likeable character on Transparent, but you have also made my night with your pseudo-90s blunt low cut neckline, hunter green, velvet dress. If best in show hadn’t showed up, it would have been yours. Hands down.

Hold on, speaking of velvet. I don’t really have a category for this next red carpet starlet.

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Gaby Hoffman. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press. Dress: Vintage

Much to many readers chagrin, darlings, Gaby Hoffman will probably always make it onto this list. Today I believe her eyebrows look amazing, her velvet platforms I’d like to steal and make my own and you can see the yellowing of her vintage shirt/dress possibly once worn by Lord Byron himself, and I appreciate the embrace of aging. And more or less, I’m just in love with her. So there is that, also.

LONG SLEEVES. But let’s be honest. It’s so much more.

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Judith Light. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
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Lily Tomlin. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that there are a few absolute truths about these red carpet lists. One is that long sleeved dresses almost always make me swoon, another is that if there is a belt on your dress, I’m almost always all in ( especially if there is also a collar and sleeves) and third, if you are Judith Light, I love your style.

Now this year, my girl Judith changed it up a little bit. Usually we see her in something more structured and as Saint Andy Cohen reminded us all on WWHL, she really, really loves a white pantsuit, which I admire more than you or she could ever know.

*starts at about 3:41

But as you also know, a dress that resembles anything Halston would have designed in his hey-day, and I’m not talking Off the Rack Halston Heritage, works for me. And darlings, this. This dress. My mom has a hard time with her character on Transparent, because she thinks she’s too much of a caricature of a Bubby, too concerned, too annoying. And on this red carpet, a stereotypical Bubby she is not (nor was mine, in case you were wondering, darlings. She was really quite something).

I love Lily Tomlin’s dress and I’ll tell you why. If I ever have a vow renewal ceremony, I’d like to wear Lily’s dress. Maybe in white, but let’s be honest darling, probably in green.

OTHER THOUGHTS

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Kristen Bell. Photo: Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Dress: Zuhair Murad

Kristen Bell’s dress reminds me of extremely expensive silk wallpaper – something I aspire to coat my entire home in one day. I love it.

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Tracee Ellis Ross. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press. Dress: Ralph Lauren

I love this dress because it reminds me of what I imagined Nancy Kerrigan would wear to her wedding. Basically a figure skating outfit with just so much extra fabric. And darlings, I say this seriously, in the best of ways. Because I love figure skating, I love figure skating costumes and I love how happy this amazing woman looks in this dress.

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Angela Basset. Photo: Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

This dress is essentially a cleaned up caftan. One that I very much approve of. Darlings, I will find this dress, in a more muted color, and I will wear it the next time I need a gown. Rest assured.

 

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Lily Taylor. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

I love Lily Taylor. Most specifically I love Lily Taylor because she always plays crazy girlfriends and I’d like to think that if I weren’t married, I would have spent the last decade being a crazy girlfriend. And honestly, I doubt this is her fault because (sorry le hubs), there is really little more attractive than a woman in a well tailored suit. But this is not well tailored. I’d like to see the jacket unbuttoned and the pants with a little less of a flare. Because the top of the pant and the underlay on top look just wonderful.

 

My least favorite. 

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Mandy Moore. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

New York Magazine has just recently told me that Mandy Moore is making a comeback this year. I would beg her not to come back in pumpkin orange. Because all of us millenials may have been missing her like candy all of these years, we certainly don’t need her to look like it.

 

My personal Best in Show. 

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Sarah Paulson. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press. Dress: Prada

As if it is even a question.

Green.

3/4 sleeves.

Sequined.

Plunging.

Epic.

Eyebrows.

Claire Hair.

It’s all there.

Until our next red carpet roundup, darlings.

xoxo lcf

 

September in Maine or Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Darlings,

I can’t believe I’m putting this down on paper – but I have to tell you that there is something magical about post labor day weekend in Portland. All of a sudden the city clears out and everything is quiet and you can get a table at any restaurant you want again! And for about 4 weeks, it stays warm. And the warmth feels even better than it does in the height of summer, because it has become so incredibly obvious that it’s fleeting.

As happens every summer, in mid-July, you can’t even remember Maine (or yourself) in a state other than sun drenched, saltwater soaked and lobster-full. There is a sense of immortality that comes with the Maine summer because if you think too much about what’s lurking just around the corner, it’s impossible to enjoy the present tense.

So September nights are important. I rush home to catch the sun in the garden before it sets, trying to absorb as much natural Vitamin D as possible before I have to start taking it three times a day by the handful just in order to maintain my own humanity. September is quiet and bright, but the nights come quicker and the mornings are colder.

Which for me, means a very special time for food. Our garden is still producing beautiful and delicious tomatoes, but there’s a chill in the air, which to me signifies “TIME FOR BUTTER.” Sure, there will be a few more nights where a piece of grilled fish and a fresh salad will be the perfect meal, but they will become few and far between until next May. September is for combining the summer and the impending self created warmth that is so pivotal over the next 7 months.

This year especially, we have an empty house (well, the three of us) for the first time in about a month and I for one, have been needing extra love, extra comfort and extra indulgence to make up for the lack of backyard conversation, random hugs and the general swelling of the heart that I get when our dining room table is full. Le hubs knows that this sentiment has absolutely nothing to do with him, just that I feel the most LCF when there are extra people to care for. And in fact this weekend le hubs indulged me in watching my most favorite movie “The Big Chill,” which is basically what our life looked like all the time (I mean, other than having an  old friend commit suicide) and has been stealing extra little besos in order to fill a bit of that void

And so, I give you a recipe that holds up any time of the year, but one that I believe is certainly most needed and appreciated from September 1 – 30 in Maine. It provides brightness and comfort in one dish, which is unusual, but so important.

Gnocchi with Garden Fresh Tomatoes and Butter.

INGREDIENTS 

1 12oz package gnocchi (I know, darlings, I could absolutely make my own gnocchi, but in this instance, I chose instead to soak up as much of the late summer sun as I could)

6 of the most succulent garden variety tomatoes you can find, cut in quarters or eighths depending on size (I trust you darlings) . This does not call for heirlooms, nothing fancy. Just big bright red tomatoes most preferably from your garden or a friends

1 sweet onion, sliced in half and then as thin as possible (but don’t get the mandolin out, no need for more dishes and it’s just not that serious)

6 garlic cloves, halved

A slab of butter. Yes darling. I said a slab. Do with that vernacular what you will.

Fresh basil, torn

Olive Oil

Salt

Parmesan, freshly grated if possible.

OPTIONAL

4 thinly sliced chicken breasts

1/2 c. breadcrumbs, lightly seasoned

2 eggs & 1/2 c milk (whole) combined

METHOD

  1. As always, grab your wine. For this I suggest nothing fancy, some Gamay to soak up the summer. (And if you want to drink it on ice, I’m OK with that too) and put some music on, I’m a walking cliche and prefer sappy, melancholy acoustic music this time of year.

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  1. Put a pot of water on to boil for the gnocchi.
  2. Throw half a slab of butter into a pan on medium heat and let melt down.
  3. Add your onions and garlic to the butter and cook, stirring to prevent burn, until they are translucent and make your house smell like the best place in the world.
  4. Add those tomatoes, sprinkle with salt. Wait for the magic to happen.
  5. Let the tomatoes break down – this will take about 10-12 minutes. This will resolve in an amazing light red saucey-ness.
  6. If you are going to make chicken, prep it now by dipping each cutlet into egg/milk and then dredging it in breadcrumbs. You’ll need to set up another pan with olive oil to cook them off.
  7. Once you get to a good saucey level, add the other half of your butter slab as well as a splash of olive oil and let simmer, creating a level of homogenous harmony that is usually only found in cult-like entities in the middle of the country.
  8. Throw your gnocchi into the boiling water and let them float to the top and then wait for a minute more. That’s when they are done.
  9. Cook your chicken to a golden brown on each side – they should be thin enough that there’s no worry of whether or not they are cooked through, but as always if you are a stickler, 165 with no pink is the way to be.
  10. Toss your gnocchi in your sauce and top with basil and parmesan. Enjoy the sweetness of the tomatoes, the lusciousness of the gnocchi and the salty cut of the parmesan and love the one you’re with. img_3996

 

xoxo

lcf

 

Please don’t confuse ‘Camp’ with ‘Camping’ – OR the life-changing power of camp love.

Darlings,

As you may or may not (have you been living under a rock for the past five and a half years?!) know, camp is incredibly important to me.

Now, let’s get one thing squared away before we begin. Camp is different from camping.

I don’t love camping. I don’t love sleeping in tents, I don’t love peeing outside and I certainly don’t love being so far away from the rest of the world. In fact, the only thing I do love about camp is the campfire, more specifically the marshmallows and the singalongs.

I do love camp. I’ve loved camp from the moment my dad dropped me off at camp in 1999. I’ll never forget it. We drove up to Maine from Philadelphia in a minivan and we stopped for a lobster roll at McDonalds (darlings, it’s a real thing up here). We got to camp, we walked into the lodge, I saw the Diet Coke free flowing from the fountains (alas, this is no longer) and I decided I was done with my dad. So as soon as he helped me unpack my bags (and darlings, there were ALWAYS a lot of bags), he was off, back to Philadelphia in the minivan. And there I was. Heaven on Earth.

Over the course of almost twenty summers, camp has been the place where I met the majority of my greatest friends, made some of the greatest memories and of course, met the man who would (quickly) become my husband.

Camp for me was comfortable. It was a reprieve from life. From the summer I was an awkward 13 year old with a blonde pixie cut who no boys wanted to make out with at home, but whose weirdness was welcomed on the pond to the summer I found my raison de etre in something as silly as power-walking to the summer that the isthmus under the stars re-affirmed our marriage.

It has always allowed time to think, time to breathe, time to be.

As a kid, camp was Maine Teen Camp – a camp for teenagers, all of whom it seemed, were just a few degrees from normal, which was a dream for a weirdo like me, darlings. Camp was important when I was growing up, but in my opinion, it’s even more important now. A place for kids to find a new point of view, void of their crutch, their screens.

For me,  it was  life-changing.

 

As an adult, camp began to include something else that would have one of the largest impacts on my life. When I started working at MTC in college, I had the rare opportunity to join the Camp Camp community. An LGBT adult summer camp –  it is an incredible week-long experience full of so much love.

The love at Camp Camp is life-changing.

Camp Camp love is warm and unwavering. It stands the test of 51 weeks a year without physical engagement, but when summoned, it returns immediately and immensely. When you are around it, the love is all encompassing and when you have to leave it, it physically hurts. The love reminds you that who you are could quite possibly be the best version of you and to not let people make you think differently if you don’t want to. Camp camp love is the love found between people who have known each other for the quickest, most intense 7 days of their lives and the love found between people who have known each other for 20 years. It’s a love that’s built to last.

At Camp camp, you became family.

Leaving each summer became harder and harder. The bonds became stronger. And life outside of camp became more real. Jobs replaced school, a mortgage replaced the cheapest rent we could find and a little brooding canine joined our clan. And so for a few years, I eschewed the need for that love, just because, you know, #reallife.

As a kid, there is a magic to meeting people on Stanley Pond. As an adult, the magic is exponential, because the context of life creates more of a demand for appreciation for whatever time there you get to spend.

 

And this year, I went back. It just happened to work. And darlings, it worked.

So tonight, I’m going to share with you a recipe for pork chops. A strange recipe based on my experience at camp, you might say? Well, not entirely. This recipe takes advantage of the late harvest of the Maine summer, embraces the buttery skillet of the south (where many of our CC friends hail from) and provides a decadence that you sometimes need on a weeknight to remember that it’s fun to break routine.

Or as Hannah Horvath  would say:

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The Perfect InBetweenSeason Pork Chop. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Bone-in Pork Chops

1 cup button mushrooms, quartered

3 medium sized tomatoes (mine came from the garden, so I suggest the sweetest you can find)

A bunch of carrots (Darlings, you know I hate precision), cut into thirds and simmered until tender, but still firm.

1 onion, thinly sliced

Some kind of pepper (I used a few shisitos from our garden)

A few green onions (I used scapes instead)

A few cloves garlic, 5 or 6, rough chop

Butter, lots of it

About 1.5 cups of whatever wine you’ve got lurking (it should still taste good enough to drink, but if you have another bottle that you’ve hoped to open, this is a good excuse to do so)

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Shisitos and Tomatoes from our Garden!

METHOD

  1. Well first, if you are making this, it’s probably the end of summer. It’s probably dangerously close to fall. So if I were you, I might pour myself a glass and a half of maybe a Sancerre Rouge and either put on an episode of BH90210 (I’m on Season 3, so very close to getting to run around the house chanting “Donna Martin GRADUATES”) OR some music that evens you out. For me, it’s Regina Spektor or Dandy Livingstone.
  2. Take your pork out of the fridge. Don’t be silly, you (probably) won’t die from bacteria from letting your meat come up to room temperature. And it will make your meat cook evenly.
  3. Now, get your life together (for this recipe, at least). Get your vegetables ready (I know you haven’t yet) – quarter your mushrooms, slice your onions, take a knife to the garlic and get your carrots softened.
  4. That pork? Season it. Salt and Pepper. Both sides. Thoroughly. Otherwise, even with the sauce, it’s going to taste bland.
  5. Now grab your skillet. Make it hot. Melt some butter.
  6. Add your onion and garlic to the butter, saute until transluscent, over high heat.
  7. Remove your onion and garlic from the butter. Add your pork to the pan and sear each side for about 3 minutes.
  8. Return the onion and garlic to the pan, along with the rest of your vegetables and your wine (not the bottle you’re drinking, the bottle you were drinking earlier this week and now are cooking with). img_3964
  9. Turn the heat down, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. You shouldn’t have any problem at all getting here, but this is just a friendly reminder that the luscious pork chop should read 145 degrees before it is ingested by anyone who you care about.
  10. Serve it up! I served mine with a dollop of goat cheese, lemon and pistachio. img_3968

Darlings, enjoy it. If you have any questions ask.

And forget about the pork. Love tonight and love tomorrow. 

Love hard and mean it always. 

xoxo

lcf

 

The Pink Flower Snapchat Filter Cake or why Cardamom and Rose make me swoon.

Darlings,

Happy Summer, my personal favorite season.

One of my favorite things about summer is outdoor entertaining. I just love having friends over when the sun is still high in the sky,  cooking a big dinner, pouring endless glasses of rose and drinking them through dusk and spending the night around a fire-pit.

Darlings, even though I don’t love dessert, I do believe that if you invite someone to your home, you can’t leave them hanging after dinner. You’ve got to leave them with a sweet something. And in the summer, it’s a bit tricky because you don’t want to overwhelm the gentleness of the stars and the fire and you don’t want anything to be too heavy on a warm summer night, and it obviously has to be complementary to Rose. Or else, what’s the point.

That’s why I love this cake – it’s spongey and elegant and creamy without being heavy. It’s my take on a cake with a storied background – a Persian love cake is based on the tale that once upon a time, a woman fell in love with a prince and she baked him this (well a much more traditional version of this) filled with magical powers to make him fall in love with her. It worked and thank goodness, because this cake is truly magical.

I happen to really really love the flavors of Iran – which makes this a perfect cake for my home. I also love the fact that those who aren’t familiar with Iran’s cuisine get a serious surprise while experiencing the unusual combination of flavors such as cardamom (also said to be an aphrodisiac, if you are truly using this cake for it’s historical purposes), rose (which, darlings, is one of my all time favorite flavors) and saffron (I keep a few threads in the house, always, just in case).

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This cake is the food version of this snapchat filter – it just makes everything better. And yes, darlings, I am always halfway to “duck face” and have been since birth. I hope you won’t judge too hard. 

Now, this is the recipe that I use when I have a few hours before people will eat it. If I had more time, I’d use a candied rose petal garnish and more traditional pistachios instead of berries. But in the summer, I like the tang of the berries against the savory spice of the cardamom and silkiness of the saffron.

 A Maine variation on a Love Cake 

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 14 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 Tsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 Tsp. cardamom

Frosting

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. Rose Water
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar
  • few threads saffron
  • berries for decor.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Prepare 2 8″ cake pans with canola spray and flour.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and 7 Tbsp of the sugar in a large bowl.
    • Add yolks to the dry mix until smooth.
  • Beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form
    • Add the remaining 7 Tbsp of the sugar to the egg whites and continue to beat until it becomes thick and shiny.
  • Fold whites into the existing batter in 2 sections.
  • Divide batter between two pans and bake for 25 minutes.
  • While cakes are baking, make your frosting.
    • In a large bowl, beat your whipping cream, powdered sugar, saffron and rose water until stiff peaks form, refrigerate.
  • Cool cakes for about an hour and frost! Frost the flat side of your first cake and put the flat side of the second cake on top. Use the rest of the frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Add berries for garnish if desired.
  • Chill for at least an hour or so.
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Notice the lettuce leaf on the top left – we had tacos for dinner! 

More soon darlings,

xoxo lcf

ps – Happy Summer!

May feels nothing like Cabaret or please just let me have my preferred rosè.

Darlings,

It is the middle of May. Can you believe it? The winter – supposedly over! Can you even believe it? If history was any indication, my mood would have switched from sassy to just a little less so two weeks ago. However, during this, my fifth spring in Maine, it isn’t. It’s cold. We’ve had a few days of sunshine, but somehow it feels like the real warmth can’t make it this year. It’s wet, it’s grey.

And the only way I like my May to have anything to do with grey is if it’s Joel Grey welcoming me to May like he does to the cabaret, telling me to leave my problems outside, that inside is warm and welcoming and full of beauty and debauchery.

 

So I’m trying to will it, as I do every year. I’ve switched over my closet from all black to white and blue. I’ve let the lions mane embrace it’s natural form. I’ve started shaving my legs (regularly, you know). I put the seedlings in the raised bed. And we’ve been sleeping with the window open (and the heat on, and an extra blanket.)

And I’m willing.

And willing

And willing.

And all I can really say is…Let the sun shine.

Also, darlings, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Treat Williams. What a hunk.

But there’s really only so many times I can spin the Hair soundtrack before le hubs wants to kick me out of the house. So let’s be positive for a second (ridiculous, I know) and think about one of the best things that will happen, once you know, the sun shines.

Rosè. 

Well, darlings, first thing is first. Aside from having a regular reason to get a pedicure every 2 weeks, rosè is probably the best part of summer. And of course, I am a total snob when it comes to rosè.

I like my rosè bone dry, from Provence, and not a shade darker than the blush of a ballet slipper.

To me, it’s not rosè if it’s not from Provence.

To me, a rosè by any other name does in fact smell too sweet.

It’s rosato, rosado, white zindfandel (god forbid).

Now listen darlings, this is not a Champagne/Cava/Prosecco situation. Rosè in fact has nothing to do with provence, but instead with process. Rosè can be made from skin contact (most utilized, skins are discarded after 1-3 days), saginee (liquid is bled after a few days ), or blending (which is pretty much illegal in France *except for sparkling rosè* when it comes to their rosè).

But darlings, little ever has to do with fact. It’s all about opinion. And to me, on this subject, I know what I like. My favorite every day rosès are easy to drink and go with just about anything you would deign to eat from May to September.

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Bieler Pere el Fils Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose is a good one and with a price tag of just about $11, you can’t go wrong.

 

Oh, one other thing darlings, this magnificent beverage deserves to be served very chilled in one of two glassware options. You either give me a tumbler full or you serve it in the most delicate stemware you have. I’ve been known to refuse a glass of rosè if the wine glass is too thick. Again darlings, I know what I want. When it comes to rosè at least.

We use these in our house:

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Nattie White wine glass, Crate and Barrel, $3.95

Again, doing things the right way doesn’t always mean the expensive way. I mean, usually it does. But sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway darlings. More on summer soon. I promise.

xoxo

lcf

Gwen as a Permanent Idol, Sappy Songs Sung Significantly and Pie or why can’t Sunday be Neverending?

Good Morning Darlings,

It’s Sunday and a little rainy here. So I thought I might write to you about a few things that have been keeping the rainy day blues away from me for a while.

One newer, one not as new, and one, well timeless. Well actually darlings, I would say that all of these things are timeless, so let’s begin.

Number One: Gwen.

Darlings, you can have Beyonce. Perhaps it’s sac-relig for me to say, but I don’t need Beyonce. I don’t need Beyonce because I get all my girl power from Gwen, I always have. I like Gwen’s version of feminism, which might be watered down to some, but is perfect for me. It’s not that I don’t believe that “leaning in” is right for some people, it’s just not for me. I like Gwen’s version of feminism because it’s not so overt, and to me it speaks louder than screaming it.

And darlings, I’m not saying that Gwen is a beacon for women’s rights, but I am saying that she’s been singing to me since I was about 9 and taught me a lot about what it means to be a strong woman, but also why vulnerability is a part of that strength and how we can use that to our advantage. She talks about love lost without placing blame, she talks about the dreams she has and the life she imagines for herself all the while knowing that these dreams might not come true. She’s kind of real, that Gwen. I like that since I’ve been listening to her sing, her emotions become her. She’s not angry – she’s strong. 98fd5583c33e425183483b5856490026

No Doubt got me through every heartbreak and unsavory life experience. But Gwen made me understand just how OK it was to march to the beat of your own drum. I’ve never been normal, and although I think I have mostly my mom to thank for that, Gwen made me understand just how cool that was. And of course I love Gwen for the reasons all other little bit left of center, kinda sorta punk rock Girls did and do. She embodies this innate ability to maintain a incredibly strong personal style while her aesthetic continually changes. Because every time her aesthetic changes, it’s not for anybody else. It’s genuine, and that’s how her own style continues to permeate our culture. And my life.

I think this photo is from Spin magazine. I don't have an actual credit - I'm sorry!

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But darlings, it’s not about her style or reminiscing about the good old days of the horn section. A few months ago, my girl Gwen released a new album on the heels of her divorce. And I have to say, I’ve never been too blown away by her solo music. I like it, but it doesn’t really make me feel much. Well, except for a few tracks here and there – let’s go back 11 years to the last solo piece that really made me feel.

Now fast forward to 2016. Gwen gets hurt (let’s remember the last time Gwen really got hurt resulted in Tragic Kingdom) and she makes an album in what feels like 16 hours. And it’s really really really good.

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Listening to this album is like drinking a perfect Petite Sirah from the Russian River Valley. To me, there is no silkier liquid than a perfect Petite Sirah from that particular region. And unlike so many other wines, it feels like with every sip, this varietal gets better and better.

Every track on this album makes me feel something. And yes, it’s pop, but it’s really really really good pop, darlings. The album makes sense. It’s got that vulnerability that I was speaking of before, that vulnerability that so many female artists feel like they can’t have any more. But here, the vulnerability is strength and finding the ability to take control of what’s next. She doesn’t apologize and she doesn’t place blame. She is just a woman trying to make sense of what that means. And it’s interesting because she’s mourning the loss of a life defining relationship while cautiously engaging in something new and exciting, but real (not that I’m a fan darlings).

Anyway darlings, if you need a little cry and a little uplifting, this is your album. It’s pretty perfect.

 

Number Two: Alan

I love Alan Cumming. Darlings, you know this – he always ends up on my best dressed list and you know, he’s just such a rare renaissance man – with the most exquisite ability to entertain.

And with the February release of Alan Cumming sings Sappy Songs, it’s almost like he’s in your living room with you, singing you the songs that you sing to yourself when you think no one is listening. And wouldn’t that just be so wonderful?

Darlings, I have a confession to make – when I was 16 I met my soon to be first boyfriend at an Avril Lavinge concert. I was there kind of as a joke, I didn’t pay for the tickets, obviously. Now, I look back at that moment in time and the relationship in general and laugh. But for a while, I couldn’t believe that the song that was playing the moment I met this guy was “Complicated.”  I couldn’t tell anyone that, what a way to lose cred. But really and truly – Alan Cumming covers it on this album and I wish I knew then that we shared such a guilty pleasure, because, well, I guess it at least makes it something of a high brow guilty pleasure.

But what I love the most on this album is the incredibly emotional cover of “And So It Goes,” by Billy Joel. Darlings, you know that as a Mid Atlantic-er, I have no choice but to love Billy Joel more than most things in life. But this. This is such a completely captivating version of an already, well, sappy, song.

Buy this album now and listen to it always. But listen to it especially when you want to know that there is someone else out there who wants to sing Miley Cyrus to an audience (just, you know, much better than you or I, darlings).

Number Three: Spring Tease Berry Pies

Darlings, you know how much I loathe the winter. Although this winter was not very terrible, it was long and seemingly keeps getting longer. It’s still too cold to not shiver in the morning and all of my navy and whites are sitting longingly in a rubbermaid tub in our upstairs hallway waiting for me to move them into the closet. But darlings, I just don’t know when that will happen.

So really, I thought I might take matters into my own hands. And even though I had no business doing so (these berries certainly aren’t REALLY in season for some time), I did it anyway.

To celebrate a dear friend visiting for 12 hours and to will summer to please, please, please let me get what I want, I made some berry hand pies. And they were delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe with you darlings – it’s just so easy (too easy, really) and delicious.

Simple berry hand pie

INGREDIENTS

1.5 c. chopped strawberries

1 c. chopped blackberries

Zest from one lemon

1 tsp. grated ginger

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 pre-rolled pie crusts (I mean, you can make your own, but yesterday, I just didn’t feel like it)

1 egg, beaten

METHOD

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, mix your berries.

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To the mix of berries, add your lemon zest, ginger, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cornstarch, sugar and salt.

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Put the mixture aside and let sit for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, roll out your pie crusts, and cut out circles about 6in in diameter – I used a small bowl as my guide.

When you have as many circles as your dough will yield, bring back the bowl of berries and let’s start putting these babies together.

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Each circle of crust should get about 3 tablespoons of filling. Lubricate one side of the circle with a little water to help adhere. Cover the filling and attach the ends to each other – use a fork to ensure closure.

Brush the top of each pie with a bit of beaten egg and vent each pie with three slits.

Place the pies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn the baking sheet 180 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more or until golden brown.

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Enjoy.


handpiesBut don’t forget to share with your friends!

So enjoy your Sunday, listen to some tunes and why not make a pie or two?

xoxo lcf

Everything in life is finite or why the most important things in life are family and linguine.

Darlings,

You know what makes me so absolutely happy? The fact that it is almost May. That’s right – it’s almost time for white pants, sailor stripes and a never ending irresponsible smattering of freckles on noses all across America.

But what doesn’t make me so happy is when it snows just a few short days before said May appears.

I’ll tell you a story darlings – I was at home in Philadelphia (which, yes, even after living here in Maine for five long years, I consider home) for Passover.

It was a glorious long weekend, full of 72 degree weather, Bravo marathons with mom, lots of quality time spent with friends and family and a quick trip to NY for work. The sun shined every day, the animal statues in all the squares served as the perfect jungle gym for center city kids and I even had a quintessential Philadelphia moment when Questlove and I reached for the same handle at the neighborhood fro-yo place. No joke, darlings.

But when I returned to Portland, which is a lovely city in it’s own right, it was snowing. And darlings, I’m not talking some cute late season flurries, I’m talking Narnia. In just a 300 mile span, the weather changed my mood from happy to sad.

Well, darlings, maybe it’s not just the weather. Maybe it’s because I just turned 30, but this trip really put life into perspective – what matters. And I think it’s something so simple. Family matters.

Maybe the mortality complex kicks in at 30, but this trip home, I realized that family as we know it is such a finite entity. That although by nature, families grow and take new shape, they can never stay the same as you remember them.

Constant change in both growth and decline, as we are born and we die. Even in life, there are such ebbs and flows that how could we ever expect something as precious and close to stay? And darlings, I’m certainly not opposed to change, but I do believe that sometimes we don’t realize what is standing in front of us until it’s gone, or so Joni Mitchell would have us believe.

The cultivation of these relationships over the years – those who start as family, your mother, your father, their families – is I think the most important. Growing into new relationships with each person as our lives change, as our minds change and as our souls grow – this is what is so important. And of course, when I say family, I mean at the most basic level those with whom we have some kind of nurtured tie, be it genetic or purposeful in another way, but also is meant to include those with whom we have chosen to surround ourselves with over the course of our lives.

Those relationships where the essence of the relationship has grown as each individual has, those are the relationships that find a way to continue to fit and serve a purpose in life – no matter how far apart, or how long it’s been. These are the relationships in life built on the foundation of soul and made even stronger by intermittent tangible interchanges.

Maybe I’m having a hard time articulating it, darlings. What I mean to say is that as I get older, I’m realizing that it’s not just our lives that will end some day, it’s our lives as we know it, and that, I think, is much more difficult to come to terms with.

And all we can really do in the meantime is enjoy those with whom we choose to surround ourselves, and understand that each of those people have had a hand in who we’ve all become. I am a Jewish woman – a writer, a cook, an admirer – but none of these things have defined me as much as the decades old or very new relationships that I choose to keep and have purposefully maintained. This is what matters.

It’s so simple, but it’s too complex.

And so, to celebrate the (hopeful) onset of the renewal which Spring (supposedly) brings, I thought I would entice you with a simple, yet entirely complex dish which is perfect for the nights where it is just a little too cold to eat outside, but you couldn’t possibly eat another piece of anything roasted.

Spring Pasta #1

Ingredients

1 lb linguine ( darlings, I know that there is rice pasta and corn pasta and spelt pasta, but I really really think that your run of the mill Barilla is the best option for this dish), cooked a bit past al dente

1/4 c. Dill, chopped

1/4 c. mint, julienne

1/4c . basil, julienne

4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 oz chevre, unflavored

1 lemon, juiced

Salt

Good Unfiltered Olive Oil

Method

Darlings, would you believe me if I told you all you have to do to achieve this zippy, tangy and sweet pasta dish is to cook the pasta and mix it with the rest of the ingredients while it’s still hot so that the garlic mellows a bit and the cheese melts and coats it?

 

Well, believe me. That’s all. See – so simple, but so complex.

I hope to write more darlings.

xoxo

lcf

On naked ankles, covered arms and knowing what you want.

Good Evening Darlings,

So sorry to drop the ball last week. I’m working on a big project at work and honestly if I had updated at all, it probably wouldn’t have been much to read.

But here we are, darlings. Oscar night. One of my favorite nights of the year – although this year, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve hardly seen any of the nominated films (I did, however, see The Big Short which was incredible).

And you know that this year, I’m trying to be a nicer person and see the positive in things (although the meditation lasted for about the first 5 days of 2016 before I realized I had other things to do first thing in the morning). So you won’t see any overly negative or worst dressed lists this year.

I mean. Except for this. I’m just going to leave this here:

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Auf Wiedersehen

But this red carpet heralded a great number of showstoppers. I was really blown away by the amount of looks that not only were stunning, but also interesting.

Let’s start somewhere I usually deign to go – bright colors on the red carpet.

Darlings, I don’t know if I’ve said it out loud (or written) before, but I am usually unimpressed by bright colors on the red carpet. I know you can tell as most all of my best dressed picks are usually either black, white, navy or jewel toned. But I have to tell you, these two dresses really captured the excitement of a bright color at such a big event.  I am most impressed by both the simplicity and purposefulness of the silhouettes.

In a more neutral tone you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the shadows of the fold that Munn’s cape-ish sleeve makes, nor would you really be able to see that Theron’s beautiful skin is as much a part of the look as her dress is. In a neutral, these details get lost. And although they are details, they are anything but small. Knowing how to wear color well is certainly a talent, something that many mere mortals aren’t good at, but also something that a lot of celebrities can’t actualize in an effective way.

Anyway, these two get my vote tonight, for their looks, but also for proving me wrong.

Next, I’d like to talk about Pharrell.

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I’ve given Pharrell a lot of slack in the past for his red carpet looks. I mean I think he wore shorts one year. But darlings, when you are a man it’s hard to stand out in a sea of perfectly tailored black (well, navy too – my personal fave) tuxes. And I happen to find bare ankles not only incredibly sexy, but also a way to wear a trend that still nods to the formality of the occasion. I like the shawl lapel, the bare ankles and the imperfect bowtie. It seems like a most appropriate look for a musician at the Oscars.

Darlings, you know what I really love? Simple black dresses.

I love these two looks for very different reasons.

Jennifer Garner is one classy broad. I respect the fact that although this is the first year she is showing up to the red carpet without “the love of her life,” Ben Affleck, she remains ladylike and austere, in the best way possible.

Although I haven’t read the interview yet, it seems that she got very candid with Vanity Fair, saying about Affleck: “He’s the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.’ But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.”

So losing the love of your life in such a public way, that seems like it would be terrible, and that one might prefer to show off too much leg, too much cleave or wear something completely out of character. Not Jen. She chose to subtly mourn the loss of this chapter of her life by completely killing it in black. And darlings, mourning looks and I imagine feels much better in Armani.

Now, Whoopi’s look I love because it is just so regal. And Whoopi is royalty. She looks like Whoopi and she looks comfortable. And darlings, you know I love a sleeve on formalwear.

I also just love Whoopi. And I especially love Whoopi in Corrina, Corrina. 

 

But I digress.

Let’s talk JLaw for a second.

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Jennifer Lawrence in Dior. 

The first thing I thought of when I saw this dress was Gwyneth’s goth disaster from 2002.

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But looking at them again, side by side, I realize they aren’t that similar. And that I really do like the entire look JLaw’s got going on.

Now darlings, this is kind of shocking because as you know, I am not a fan of Gwyneth’s and usually I’m not a fan of JLaw’s. Except in American Hustle. I freaking loved her in that. I usually find her “I’m just like you” schtick to be grating and her wildly public friendship with Amy Schumer to be obnoxious.

Ladies, We get it, you like to talk about farting and sex. 

To that I say, in the immortal words of Gina from Empire Records,:

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But I really thought that this look worked for her tonight. While I’m still shocked that she’s up for an award for Joy, which was pretty disappointing as a whole, I think maybe she’s now such an old pro at being nominated that she can go a little casual. Tonight she looks a little bit more like: “I’m here to drink champagne” and a little less like “this gown is so big that I’m definitely going to remind people how down to earth and normal I am by tripping on my way up to the stage.”

The best part of the look, though? the hair. It’s just so beautifully simple.

I love love love her platinum lob and depending on how much chutzpah I have upon entering the salon next Saturday for the last time in my 20s, I might just say DO THIS (don’t worry Mom, I probably won’t).

But let’s talk about something with less caveats. In fact, let’s talk about some things with no caveats. 

Let’s talk about my favorite looks of the night. 

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Margot Robie in Tom Ford. Photo: Jason Merritt Getty Images.

You knew I would choose this look, didn’t you darlings? It’s right in my wheelhouse. It’s so perfect, I don’t have much to say about it at all – other than of course, how beautiful is this woman and how perfect does she look in this gown?! A glowing golden statue. Even her face is perfectly neutral and just golden enough.

And then we’ve got Amy.

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Amy Poehler in Andrew Gn. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty. 

Ok Amy, here’s the deal. Your hair is making me crazy. But you are wearing a bedazzled caftan with kimono sleeves to the Oscars. So you know what? All is forgiven and You win and can I please have that dress?

But my favorite look of the night?

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Dede Gardner in ???

Dede Gardner is a producer and the president of Plan B entertainment which produced The Big Short (which as you can see above, I loved).

I happen to love female producers and cite one in particular as a mentor, idol and friend. They are decisive and strong willed and physical and work so hard to create so much magic behind the scenes. And although I’m sure Dede has plenty of people working for her and that her days of running are behind her – she’s still making magic.

I love this dress because she is a powerful woman and she dresses the part. This is not a girls dress, this is not an actress’s dress – this is a woman’s dress. She looks like a modern day Cleopatra, and she should. This is a dress for winning.

This whole look screams I know who I am, I know what I want and I know how I’m going to get it – As a producer, as a woman, as a human being.

 

Anyway darlings, that’s it for now. Until next award season…just kidding…until Wednesday when we’re talking risotto and 30th birthdays.

xoxo

lcf

five years.

Darlings,

Five years ago (plus a few weeks), I started this blog. It was a whim – needing something to fill some time, to burn off some creative energy, to say things to the ether that I didn’t have anyone to say out loud to.

But five years is a long time. So much has changed. Five years ago, I was on the verge of 25, doing the most ridiculous job in the world, studying to get my masters in education, in the middle of a marriage crisis and an affinity for drinking too much wine on school nights. You, darlings, have been with me through my last summer at camp, through leaving Philadelphia, through starting a new life in Maine, through taking a job that would ultimately become my career (well aside from talking to you, darlings), through the last half of my twenties, through countless red carpets and meatball variations.

When I started this project, I really had no idea what I wanted it to be, and I still don’t. Some days I question if it makes sense to continue on, with no real goal in mind…but I think that’s the whole point of it – it’s my stream of conscious and it comes and goes. And even though a lot has changed in five years, so much has stayed the same – my love of red lipstick, experiments in the kitchen, Saks and my mom.

I think more than anything, this gave me a voice to the ether and now the ether isn’t just an ether – it’s you, darlings. And as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. And even if you don’t keep reading, I’ll probably keep writing.

And maybe I’ll even put pen to paper and start putting a cookbook together. Or a lifestyle guide for those who don’t believe in lifestyle guides. Who knows?!

Anyway, I know this is a lame Monday morning post, but I’ll leave you with another one of my undying loves, Gwen Stefani, who doesn’t age, can perpetually bleach her hair with no repercussions and who has changed over the course of her career, but somehow still maintains the punk rock ethos that made me fall in love with her 20 years ago.

 

So thank you, darlings, for listening. You’re truly the best. 

Here’s to five more years of food, fashion, vice and sass, darlings!

xoxo

lcf

Food/Fashion/Vice: Passion fruit makes everything better.

Darlings,

When I first started this blog FIVE YEARS ago, there was a section called: Food/Fashion/Vice to which I have decided to return.

I think that Fridays hence forth shall be Food/Fashion/Vice Fridays, sound delicious, darlings?

Food

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Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. Well, that’s not entirely true because it kind of tastes like a tangy guava. It does, however, have a mouthfeel like no other. What I love the most about passionfruit is that the uglier it is on the outside, the sweeter it is on the inside. When you smell this weird wrinkly pod, you get a whiff of the tropics that even bain de soleil can’t give you. And it’s so much fun to eat. You can eat it straight from the pod (my preference) or add it to anything to make it even better.

Fashion

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Jimmy Choo, Abel. White Patent Leather.

 

Maybe it’s because the ground is covered in snow, but all I want right now is a pair of perfectly shredded boyfriend jeans, a navy blazer with elbows holes and a pair of white patent leather pumps. The most ridiculously unwearable shoes outside of a towncar in LA. But they look so good, darlings, don’t they? Even better with blonde hair and a tan.

Vice

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Ilegal Mezcal 

Darlings, I fucking love Mezcal. I’ve loved it for a long time, but lately I’ve been especially digging it. Perhaps it’s because I quit smoking (ALMOST A YEAR AGO!) and I need to get that smoky fix somewhere. For the uninformed (and darlings, let’s be honest, I kind of do this for a living, so I know more than the average darling about agave based spirits) – mezcal is tequila’s smokier sibling. Mezcal is made from the maguey plant (a form of agave) and often attributed to Oaxaca, although unlike tequila, mezcal does not have a definitive provenance.

Culturally, however, mezcal is most at home in Oaxaca.

Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también” is a famous Oaxacan saying – loosely translated to “For all your ills, mezcal, and for all that is good, also.” 

I love this saying and vow to use it more often in life. 

The mash for mezcal is made of the hearts of the Maguey leaves, roasted over hot rocks – this is essentially what gives it the smoky flavor. And then you have the joven/blano, reposado and anejo varities – dependent on how long they’ve been aged.

Anyway, somehow Ilegal finds a way to be smoky and smooth all at once. I really really love their product and although I’ve had many mezcals, this one seems to always take the cake. I always come back to Ilegal.

So in summation, it looks like all of these things elicit feelings about warmer weather, tropical lifestyle, sunshine and an ocean that is warm enough to swim. Go figure.

Happy Weekend darlings.

xoxo

lcf