the beautiful things

{things i made} lemon shortbread sandwich cookies

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I love shortbread–like eat-an-entire-box-of-it love it, like want-to-try-different-varieties love it, like dream-of-going-to-Scotland-to-have-an-authentic-version love it–which is why I held my breath while making this olive oil-based recipe. Butter-less short-bread did not seem possible but I was pleasantly surprised after just one bite. These cookies are crunchy, crumbly, and oh-so tasty. The dough is a bit tricky to pull together, but with a little elbow-grease and refrigeration (when in doubt always refrigerate these, both raw and after filling, to firm things up) they are absolutely perfect. I love the lemon flavor throughout but would like to experiment with different add-ins, like orange or lavender.

 

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for the cookies:

3 cups flour
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup olive oil 
1 teaspoon salt
2 lemons, zested
​lemon curd, recipe below

1. Combine all ingredients, excluding the curd, with a fork. Finish mixing dough by hand (it will be crumbly).
2. Roll dough into a log shape in plastic wrap. Square edges of log by pressing each side against a surface to create long rectangular shape. Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes and cut into thin 24 slices.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, carefully avoiding browning. Let cool completely, then spread ​lemon curd on inside of one cookie to create twelve sandwiches.

 

for the curd:

2 large lemons, juiced and strained
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 tbsp lemon zest

1. Place strained lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on low and stir until sugar has dissolved.
2. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Remove lemon syrup from heat and pour slowly into beaten egg while stirring mixture with a whisk. Continue to whisk by hand for one minute.
3. Return mixture to saucepan; add lemon zest, and heat on low until it thickens, about two minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a container and cover, then refrigerate to firm (yield: 1 cup).

 

{things i wore} slitted maxi

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You know the drill–you head into Target for one thing and head out with something else entirely. That's the story behind this dress. Though needed some makeup refills, I promised m​yself one one qu​ick sweep through the clearance racks and found not one but three marked-down maxis. I loved the slinky, 90s, T by Alexander Wang look this tank dress had going for it–trendy without a big investment is my motto when it comes to Target clothing purchases. It was a perfect laid-back look for an impromptu weekend trip to Pennsylvania, especially considering the u​nexpected antiqu​e-car that show stole the day (it's the backdrop of these photos bu​t I'll share more pics soon!).

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Sleeveless V-Neck Maxi Dress, Mossimo [$30 $15, similar here and here] // Donna Washed Hobo in Ginger, Alexander Wang [similar// Large Metal Aviators Gold Frame, Ray Ban [$145] //  Thong Sandals, Nine West // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175] // 'Meet Me at Sunset' Nail Polish, Essie [here 

{things i did} ‘charles james: beyond fashion’ at the metropolitan museum of art

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I wanted to love Charles James: Beyond Fashion​, the Metropolitan Museum's inaugural exhibition of their newly-renovated Costume Institute, not only because it starred ball-gowns (swoon) but because it was the first time I had ever been behind the scenes for the Gala that opens the spring season (read more about that experience here). The sixty-five dresses–every last one of them–were truly gorgeous and James (1906–1978) was clearly wildly talented. However the presentation of the pieces was a bit lacking. Sure, I could understand the sentiment that must have been behind leaving each gown silhouetted with no scenery and dramatically spot-lit but considering past shows, I think it should have been one (bright and minimalist like Prada) or the other (heavy on the sets and moody like McQueen) and not both. The screens and cameras present in both galleries only hinted at the science and math that went into completing the innovative tailoring which was at some level already apparent in seeing the final product. Who the gowns were made for, what they looked like on, and the context women wore them in remained woefully left to the imagination–which in the end was not a problem as I couldld spend many hours dreaming about wearing each piece.

 

 

{things i wore} floral maxi

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This weekend my boyfriend and I got to spend some time with family friends–two of which were playful, adorable, and ​under the age of six. There really is nothing like childhood summers–I could have spent many more hours watching them run through the grass, splash in their pool, have Frozen sing-a-longs, or cu​ddle with my boyfriend (seriously, he was like cat-nip for them–too cu​te!). M​y outfit takes a backseat here, bu​t I can tell you​ this–it was two-year-old princess-in-training approved becau​se every time I twirled its fu​ll skirt, giggles ensu​ed.

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Easy Come Easy Go Dress, Free People [$128] // Jackie Cardigan, J.Crew [$65] // Thong Sandals, Nine West ( and toys! –  Beginner Six Player Wood Croquet Set, Overstock [$40] // Disney Princess Water Show Ariel Doll [$20] // Strong's Costume Lance, HABA Henry HABA [$20] // Prince Phillip Sword and Shield Set, Disney Store [$20])

 

 

{things i covet} try, buy, spy

try

by spy

 

{try}

dominique ansel is still baking pastry mash-ups–now you can try your hand at the randomness [spin]

spicy, boozy coconut ice pops [freeze]

a super simple six-ingredient pineapple avocado salsa that's tasty and healthy [recipe]

{buy}

The Body Scrub, Sara Happ at J.Crew [$30]

 Diamond and Gold Thin-Band Ring, Tate [$870]

 2Jours Printed Mini Tote Bag in Yellow, Fendi [$1,700]

{spy}

swoon-worthy celebrity pools [gawk]

disney princes and their real-life (british) doppelgangers [compare]

take a virtual look inside the plaza’s art-deco fitzgerald suite [tour]

 

{things i made) blueberry pie

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As I said yesterday on Instagram, this summer has belonged to blueberry pie–I've made this recipe three times so far, each time bringing it to a barbeque as part of my contribution to a dessert spread, and it's always been a big hit. The filling is the reason I'd say–it has layered flavors, starting of course with the in-season fruit, building to bursts of lemon, and finishing with subtle spices. If you haven't had luck with pies before, don't fret, this one's fool-proof: by mashing some of the blueberries with the sugar and flour, plus making sure the mixture boils, the filling won't run when sliced.

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For the crust: 

2 2/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil
6-8 tablespoons milk

1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Put the oil in a measuring cup. Add the milk without stirring. Quickly pour mixture into the flour and mix briefly. Do not refrigerate.
3. Flatten dough by rolling on floured surface or between two sheets of wax paper (the crust is easily repairable). Place in pan.
4. Repeat, using a second batch of above ingredients, to make a top crust. Roll to desired diameter. Cut vents of varying sizes into resulting circle. Set aside.

 
For the filling:
 
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbs.

lemon ​j

uice

¼ teaspoon salt
 

6 cups (30 oz.) fresh blueberries, rinsed, dried, and picked over for stems

1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
 
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and set a foil-lined heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Heat the oven to 425°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, lemon zest, spices, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Add 1 cup of the blueberries and crush them into the dry ingredients with a potato masher or fork to make a paste. Add the rest of the berries and toss to coat.
3. Scrape the filling into the prepared crust with a rubber spatula, spreading evenly.
4. Put the pie on the heated baking sheet and reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake until the edges are pale golden, about 30 minutes, then cover the edges with foil and continue to bake until the top is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling, another 30-40 minutes more. Let the pie cool on a rack to room temperature, about 3 hours, before serving.
 

{things i wore} tie-waist dress

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Head-to-toe black is a New York thing for sure, but it isn't an easy look to accom​plish in the summer. This dress makes things easier–it's so lightweight that even when it's sticky and steamy, I feel cool–plus it's simple enou​gh to let accessories shine (I'm looking at you Lux Tote). It's hard to believe its practically mid-August already, but while I would love to pull the breaks on summer, instead I'm trying to make the most of every gorgeous day.

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Dolman-Sleeve Collar Dress in Black, Joe Fresh // Archer Sandals in Black, DV by Dolce Vita [$69] // Saffiano Lux Double-Zip Tote Bag in Black, Prada [shop here] // Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Bracelet in Yellow Gold, Tiffany & Co. [$700, available here]; Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]

{things i learned} let the sunshine in

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[an other-worldly flower]

 

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[i am always so fascinated by these vintage shops]

 

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[incredibly delicious british mint chocolates]

 

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[marilyn in the 21st century]

 

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[ribs with a fruit-based sauce]

 

I still cannot figure out why this summer has been such a mild one–I hope winter is taking notes–with no heatwaves, record-breaking highs, or m​uggy streches. Still, there are a lot of things to be bright and cheerful about–good food and inspiring sights to name a few. The weekend is looking great, which is perfect since I am ready to relax. Happy August!

 

{things i wore} striped shirt

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I love a Brenton striped-top paired with good indigo denim–like a chambray shirt, it feels like a fashion cheat in that it styles itself. Still this look is for me about two new things:​ my nailpolish and sunglasses. It's hard for me to find a new favorite amoung Essie's bottles–'Russian Roulette' and 'Clambake' still work best for me–but this year's 'Meet Me at Sunset' is a great blend of red and orange perfect for a good summer pop of color. And can we talk about Wildfox's Le Femme Sunglasses? The brand–another summer staple itself–really nailed making a vintage exaggerated cat-eye seem modern.

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Navy and White Striped Shirt, J.Crew [similar] // Toothpick Ankle Jean in 'Classic Rinse Wash,' J.Crew [$115]// Holly Bag in Black, c/o Oushka London [$240] // Le Femme Sunglasses in Black, Wildfox [$169] // Emmie Flats in Black, Lucky Brand [$59] // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; 'Meet Me at Sunset' Nail Polish, Essie [here 

 

 

{things i shopped} sunbathing essentials

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Three cheers for summer and all its fun accessories! My favorite beach/pool bag as of late has been my Neverfull. The reason's right there in the title–so much can fit inside–but it also matches everything and folds down flat when I need it too. While I will swap out it out for something less precious if I know things will be getting super sandy/sweaty/splashy, what stays constant are the things I am sure to take with me. Read below for why what you see above is always in my bag when I plan on spending a day relaxing in the sun.

{clockwise:}

1. Aviator Classic, Ray-Ban [$155] – These are my go-to sunglasses during the summer–I love the gold color against tan skin and their casual look. I like to leave all my pricer plastic frames at home and away from scratchy sand.

2. Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100, Neutrogena [$10] – This has been my favorite sun-block for a long time. It smells great but more importantly goes on evenly and without any residue.

3. Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, Fresh [$22.50] – This is my favorite summer lip balm–it smells great, moisturizes, and exfoliates while also giving me some peace of mind with SPF protection. Plus, the sleek packaging is gorgeous and easy-to-spot.

4. Slim Rubber Flip Flops, Havaianas [$26] – I've have these shoes in black and beige and love them both. They're comfortable (whoever invented the foot-bed deserves an award), easy to walk in, and can get wet or grimy without staining.

5. Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula, Clinique [$16.50] – I'm guilty of wearing makeup to pools and beaches–it never interferes with my enjoyment of the day and I'm always happier with any photos taken of me. Still, I go a little lighter with most products and swap out some that I know will last longer. This mascara can get tiresome with everyday wear but is–it's a "tubing" mascara that stays put with exposure to water and never runs into my eyes but rubs off effortlessly without makeup remover.

6.  iPad Air 16GB  in Silver/White, Apple [$499] – I never thought I could really, really love a piece of technology but I'd be lost without my iPad and its music, books, and browser. I have no trouble using it in the sun and if I'm somewhere with WiFi I feel like I have the world at my finger-tips in something that's incredibly light to carry and hold.

7. Ultrabraid XL Brim Hat, San Diego Hat Company [$38] – My boyfriend bought this hat for me on a whim during one vacation and it was a really smart move. The weave is flexible and not brittle meaning it can be flattened to pack without it ever losing shape. It keeps sun out and has the exact dramatic look I love without being too over-the-top.

 




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