Mesmerizing Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe, 1954 on Long Island.  Photo by Eve Arnold.

I love this image of Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses for 3 reasons:

  • It dispels stereotypes that beauty and intelligence do not go hand-in-hand. (Have you ever read Ulysses?  This book is no joke.)
  • It shows me that sometimes its okay to just read a book.  (Sometimes I forget to take time do the things just for the act of doing them, without any ulterior motive.  Reading a book falls into this category).
  • It shows that the unexpected is sometimes the most interesting. (Marilyn Monroe, arguably the ultimate sex symbol, isn’t posed or even paying attention- yet she is completely captivating).



What are you reading right now?  What does getting lost in a book mean to you?




Grad Gifts

This week my baby sister graduated from high school!!!  Which of course is totally surreal for me as I am supposed to be celebrating my 10-year reunion this year— but I digress.  She isn’t getting a gift from me for a couple of months (I want to determine what she REALLY needs right before she leaves for college), but I know lots of people are purchasing these sorts of gifts right now.  The challenge here is always to maintain some sort of budget, be unique and of above all else: functional.  I know, not a super glitzy word, but so essential when purchasing for either the high school or college graduate who is stepping out into a new phase in life.  So, after polling friends and family members, I have assembled some of the perfect gifts for any alum.

Stanley 65-piece General Homeowner's Tool Set ($44.59),

A Tool Box. I know, strange.  But moving out of your parent’s home or college dorm means its time to start hanging things on walls, fixing shelves and a whole host of other fix-it problems.  I received one when I graduated high school and I can’t tell you how often I used the hammer or had a neighbor borrow a screwdriver.  Seriously useful and clever…


Western Digital 1TB External Hard Drive ($69.99),

An External Hard Drive. Because their computer will crash.  And it will happen just as they finish a twenty-page research paper or their first big project at a new job.  But, instead of crying tears of despair, they will be crying tears of joy.  After all, your gift will have saved them.

TimeSmart Self-Setting Alarm Clock ($39.95),

Self-Setting Alarm Clock. Now that mom is no longer around to wake them up for class on time (I am particularly worried for my sister!), they are going to need an alarm clock.  This is so fantastic, because it sets itself when you plug it in and if the electricity goes out it resets itself.  Which means they’ll have no excuse to miss their 8am class/breakfast meeting.

"Where's Mom Now That I Need Her?" By: Kent P. Fransden ($15.21),

“Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her?” by Kent P Fransden. This is perfect for the pampered grad.  The one who has never cooked a meal or done laundry.  Not only is it a recipe book, but it also offers advice on how to get rid of stains, grocery shopping on a budget and so much more.  This way your grad will know that even if their pepperoni and mushroom pizza represents the food groups it isn’t necessarily nutritious!


Ina Garten Fills Our Tummies

For Christmas I received Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips by Ina Garten.  I’ve really enjoyed this cookbook, because it makes otherwise intimidating dishes incredibly simple and accessible.  There are also great kitchen/cooking tips that capitalize on functionality.  In fact, I regularly refer to it for dinner inspiration.  We’ve actually used it twice in the past week: once to roast a whole chicken and the second is the recipe below.  Needless to say, these dishes are great for a casual night or even a dinner party.  I highly recommend it!

Last night was another adventure with Ina Garten’s book. This time we decided to tackle the “Baked Fontina.”  This dish was great because not only is it simple, but super quick as well.  Within 15 minutes of entering the kitchen, dinner was on the table.  Plus it is a great vegetarian option that is both filling and sophisticated.

Of course, I made some minor adjustments (I just can’t help myself!) and it is that adaptation I want to share with you today:

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 3/4 lb. Fontal Cheese, rind removed and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Thyme, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Rustic Sourdough Loaf


  1. Position top oven rack about six inches from the heat and preheat the broiler.
  2. Scatter the Fontal cheese cubes throughout an 8-inch cast iron pan.
  3. Sprinkle the EVOO evenly over the cheese.
  4. Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Once well combined, scatter the mixture over the cheese.
  5. Put the pan in the oven and broil for 6-8 minutes (the cheese should be melted, bubbling and starting to brown.

Serve with slices of sourdough.  We also ate this with a big mixed green salad as suggested in the book.  Bon Appetit!

A Few Things To Dwell On…

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the LA event for Dwell Studios’ Christiane Lemieux’s new book, Undecorate: The No Rules Approach To Interior Design.  The book is fantastically beautiful- everything I could hope for from the design house that has brought some of my favorite textiles.  Undecorate gives readers a peek inside 20 homes across the country.   And these aren’t your uptight designer showcase homes!  These are, warm, welcoming and relaxing environments that still have the polished element that makes them print worthy.  Needless to say, Jessica (yes, that Jessica!), Jay (her man), Lukus (my man) and myself were ooing and awwing as we flipped through the pages.  So much so that I know what’s on my birthday list (PS- we are just under 2 weeks out, feel free to send gifts 😉 )!

Without further ado, check out the book, some of my fav Dwell merchandise and a couple photos from the party below:

The Book:

"Undecorate" by Christiane Lemieux available on ($40).

One of the 200+ images from "Undecorate"


The Merchandise:

So many great textiles at Dwell Studio-- I may NEED one of the metallic throw pillows. All products available at


The Party:

Myself and Christiane Lemieux. Photo by Jessica Wenger and her iPhone (like a fool I forgot my camera!)

Lukus and myself. Again, photo by Jessica Wenger (because of my epic forgetfulness!)

Modernizing “Water For Elephants”

I am really excited about the upcoming film: Water For Elephants based on the novel by the same name. And no, I do not have an obsession with Twilight’s Robert Pattinson (I’ve never read the books/ seen the movie- just not my thing!).  But seriously, this film looks wonderful!  And I am not just talking storyline/ acting, but also the actual images.  Set around a circus in the 1930’s, the trailer is glamorous, lush and utterly absorbing.  I can’t get it out of my head!  So obsessed that I have been trying to figure out how to translate it into contemporary life.  From the beaded gowns Reese Witherspoon’s character wears, to the iconic red ringmaster jacket, I would love to bring a little of that charm into my everyday- without becoming costume-y.

The result??? Something like this:

Check out the trailer here:


Mood Board images: