The Penicillin Cocktail

Last winter while in Chicago I spent an enchanted evening tucked into a velvet booth at the Violet Hour, Wicker Park’s dimly-lit speakeasy. From the secret entrance to the oversized wingbacks to the floor-to-ceiling drapes, the bar has a sort…

Succulent container gardens

I love succulents and more generally sedums. They have two-three weeks of beautiful blooms, but really they look beautiful all year round. I can never have enough of their juicy little leaves in my garden. And neither can the bees….

BLT Bread Salad with Avocado

No one can deny the simple and seductive appeal of the BLT. The combination of smoky bacon, crisp romaine, and garden-fresh tomatoes … it’s just hard to beat. Unless of course you add avocado. And mayo. And make it into…

Hosting an Open Garden: Feasting like a Roman, plating like a boss

Every summer our neighborhood association hosts a garden tour. There are a lot of older homes with smallish yards like ours so it’s a great place for inspiration. I’ve been going since before I lived here, but 2013 was slated…

A Perfect Match: Repurposing Wedding Invitations for Cocktail Parties

Weddings have changed a lot since I got married — or, rather — I’ve become more aware of wedding culture and the level of detail and planning that is required. I still can’t decide if I’m filled with relief or…

Of Pride and Perennials

Lately I’ve been indulging in a little ritual called ogling spring. More specifically, I’ve been ogling the ish out of my own yards, everyday at 7:30 and 5:30 like clockwork. I’m literally bookending my work day (okay that makes no…

How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party

Most of my party theme ideas involve romanticizing and ultimately misunderstanding a cultural tradition or geographic region. “Oooh we will have a Luau with, um, ham… and… yeah pineapple. Pizza. Let’s have ham and pineapple pizza. And piña coladas.” My…

Affordable + Elegant Paper Table Linens

I’ve often heard that visualization is a good way to assess your goals and priorities in life. Close your eyes and picture yourself (either at work or at home) in your ideal future. Look around and take it all in….

Smoky Turkey Chili with Avocado + Bacon

The weather forecast predicted a high today of 63 degrees, but we woke to mid-30s and a precipitous snowfall that is only now (at 1:30) giving way to rain. In honor of what I sincerely hope to be the last…

Sushi-inspired Japanese Menu

I created this menu for a small dinner party we had this spring. It was inspired by a dish at a local sushi restaraunt, Mikado, called the “Ahi Tower.” Every time you order the tower — a beautiful stack of…