Girl Crush: A Piece of Toast

July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

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If you haven’t discovered the sweet piece of Texas that is A Piece of Toast, then you need to get in the know! I had the pleasure of working with this sisterly blogging duo earlier this summer, and can personally tell you they’re truly some of the sweetest people you’ll ever encounter. A few email exchanges in and I knew I had a new girl crush! Read below to learn how these two balance a full time blog and jobs, strategically share a closet, and discover the eye lash curler they can’t live without:

You guys currently reside in Dallas. Have you always lived there? Where did you grow up?
We grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Sally went to college in Fort Worth, TX and Molly went to a school in Ohio. We both ended up finding jobs in Dallas after we graduated and we’ve actually been living together for the past two years! 

Even in this highly saturated blog world, the concept of running a blog with your sibling feels so novel. How did you guys come up with the idea?
We talk to each other at least 3-5 times a day and most of the time we communicate it’s so share things we’ve seen that we love, inspiration that we’ve been churning over in our heads, or catch up on general thoughts and life stuff. We come from a creative family and have always loved beautiful things, so we thought “why not start a blog a a visual scrapbook to store all the stuff we love?” Both of us have similar tastes and there’s no one we trust more than each other so it was a no-brainer for us to venture into the blogging work as a sister team. 

We love the aesthetic of A Piece of Toast, from the actual blog design to your imagery. How did you guys come up with the design?
Thank you so much!! When we were first conceptualizing the blog back in November of 2010 we had an aesthetic in mind that we knew we wanted to follow… It’s nothing we wrote down but more of a standard we always wanted our content to live up to. Originally, Molly created the logo and worked on the layout – but we worked with a great graphic designer and web developer at the beginning of 2013 to formally “brand” the site and re-design the layout. We love clean, un-fussy graphics and we’re really happy with how it turned out!

Not only do you guys run a blog full time, you work full time! How do you balance the demands of both?
Haha – the million dollar question! Writing daily blog posts has become second nature… What’s truly demanding is the time we spend responding to emails, working on collaborations, creating original content, etc. We’re SO lucky that we have so many incredible opportunities offered that it doesn’t feel like work and we both really, really enjoy our careers as well. We make time to do the blog before and after work, things slip through the cracks (often!), and it’s not as balanced as it seems but so far so good 🙂 

Ok… how do go about sharing a closet?
Very easily. We each have our own closets but we’re the same size in everything and we are good about sharing pieces. As long as you take care of each other’s things, return them back cleaned, and respect boundaries (shoes, jeans, and never-before-worn items are no-no’s) it’s smooth sailing.

What’s your morning routine like?
Snooze our alarms a few times, rise, shower, eat breakfast while watching the Today Show and finalizing blog posts, get dressed and ready, and get out the door!

How do you decompress? Sweatpants afterwork – always. Bravo TV and couch time and reading before bed.

Three products you can’t live without: Tarte’s lash curler, Ray-Ban aviators, and  nail polish (in lots of colors)!

TV Addictions: Bravo everything, Kardashian anything, Law & Order: SVU, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and Revenge.

Your favorite part of summer in Texas: Pool time – it’s the only way to be outside comfortably!

Something about you most people wouldn’t realize or know: We’re 15 months apart and Sally is older. Molly has never colored or highlighted her hair. Sometimes we fight but we get over things quickly. We never pass on desert and sometimes we eat it for breakfast 🙂

Thanks so much, girls! Texas has definitely stolen a piece of this East Coaster’s heart.

On Our Bookshelf |July|

July 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Between summer traveling and lazy Sundays spent reading in the sun, I’ve been picking up a few more books than usual lately. Although I’m happy to be past the days of required summer reading, (I’m still not entirely sure how I made it through The Odyssey) the fact remains that summer and reading go hand in hand. We’d love to know, what books have you picked up lately?


851678 Clara
 // What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love: A few weeks back a friend recommended this book to me and my first thought was, “Can a book written by a real housewife really be good?” She assured me it was, so I gave it a shot. I happily inhaled it in less than four days.What Remains is the memoir of Carole Radziwill, the former wife of prince Anthony Radziwill (cousin of the late JFK Jr.), who lost her husband to cancer and close friend Carolyn Besette Kennedy all within a three week span. Her depiction of these tragic events, with her working class upbringing and career as an award winning television producer all weaved in, make for not only an incredible story but refreshing commentary on the fragility of life and what’s most important.

 

13642950Sarah // The Aviator’s Wife: History has long been one of my lesser subjects, so I rarely find myself picking up books from the historical fiction genre. However, the Aviator’s Wife — the story of Charles and Anne Lindbergh — was an interesting look at what the family’s life was like behind the scenes. Although Charles was a national hero for advances in aviation, his peculiarities left much to be desired for those closest to him. This book proved not only to be enlightening (remember the Lindbergh Trial?) but also incredibly well-written.

 

tumblr_m66fcuezWU1r5ik1zo1_500Lauren // Beautiful Ruins: — I’ll be honest: I judged this book by its cover. I initially grabbed it off the bestsellers shelf at the bookstore a few weeks ago because of its beautiful Italian coastal cover. And then upon a closer look, NPR’s claim that it is “a literary miracle” (plus other reviews on the back and inside covers) sold me. As it turns out, that enticing cover and glowing set of reviews didn’t lie–Beautiful Ruins is one finely crafted story. Starting with the arrival of an American actress in an Italian seaside village in 1962, where she catches the eye of a young innkeeper, the book then jumps ahead 50 years to present-day Hollywood. It has an inventive plot that spans both continents and decades, making for an engrossing summer read.

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Linguine with Clams, Thyme, and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

July 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Over the weekend I calculated how many lobsters we had eaten in the past two weeks. My count was five, Brandon’s was six. A pretty good run, if you ask me! But as much as I love lobster, I can’t do a trip to the sea without indulging in a mountain of steamed clams. Add white wine to the cooking method and there’s truly nothing better. So when I received an email a few weeks back asking if I wanted to create a custom recipe for pairing with Robert Mondavi’s new Private Selection wines, I first thought- sign me up, and then I thought- clams! Inspired by their Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc wines, I created a simple but lick your plate clean delicious version of the traditional linguine with clam sauce dish. If you’ve never cooked with shell fish before- not to worry! Clams are super easy, and I’ve outlined everything (from cleaning them to serving) step by step below. It’s a must make this summer!

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Linguine with Clams, Thyme, and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 4 people

  • 1 lb linguine
  • 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 3 dozen fresh clams
  • 1 cup white wine of your choice
  • 4 T salted butter
  • 4 T olive
  • 3 T minced garlic
  • handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • large pinch red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Clean the Clams: 1-2 hours before cooking, place your clams in a large bowl and fill with tap water. Let rest in fridge for at least one hour. This allows the clams to release all their sand. After soaking drain the clams, scrub quickly with a rough sponge, and rinse well in a colander. Place back in fridge until ready to cook.

Preheat your oven to 400°. Place your cherry tomatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss gently with two tablespoons of the olive oil, a large pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until their blister, wrinkled, and some are bursting open.

Place a large pot of water to boil. Cook your pasta until just al dente- approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and toss with bit of olive oil.

Set a deep frying pan or pot to medium heat. Add in the butter and remaining olive oil. Once melted add in the minced garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and slightly softened. Add in the wine and thyme and bring to a boil. Once boiling add in the clams. Put the lid on a cook, shake the pot occasionally, for 7-10 minutes until all the clams have opened. Once cooked remove all the clams and thyme sprigs from the pot. While you’re separating the clams from the shells, let the sauce simmer strongly until it’s reduced by one third. Once reduced add back in the clams (without their shells) and cherry tomatoes. Toss to combine and heat through. Add in the pasta and toss to combine, cooking until just piping hot.

Serve pasta in shallow bowls with a hefty dose of broth and a glass of Robert Mondavi Private Selection on the side!

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Robert Mondavi. Thank you for supporting the brands that make CC possible!

Weekend Wishes

July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Weekend wishes 8

Eat: the perfect grilled cheese — with tomato! (I look forward to tomato season because of this sandwich. My secret is adding honey mustard as well. Do you have any grilled cheese secrets?)

Enjoy: a chocolate milkshake (To go with that sandwich, of course. Joy knows a thing or two on this subject.)

Wearbreezy basics (Lazy summer days call for t-shirts and a minimal amount of effort.)

What are you up to on this late summer weekend?

Life Lately | July 26th |

July 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

channeling-contessa-portland-lobster-roll

Today marks our second to last day in Maine. Tomorrow we head home well rested and ready to get back into our lives in New York. Even though this trip was a work-cation, I felt like I really got the benefits of both. The last two weeks have been a vacation in the sense that we spent more time in the sun, had adventurous weekends, ate out more than usual, and read a ton. But my work also felt surprisingly productive. I’ve been really focused on business plans for the future and ways I can make the most of the rest of this year.  Suffice it to say August is going to be a hot mess of meetings, but I’m feeling really ready! And with that here are a few observations and fun things from the week:

  • On the fun front, omg sales sales SALES. I’m really trying not to succumb and only make necessary purchases. These booties were a necessary purchase.
  • I felt like I struck gold this week on Jacquelyn’s blog with her insanely brilliant but simple Photoshop tutorial. I experimented with her technique on all the photos in this post- you have to try it!
  • One of the things I noticed most about the last two weeks was that even though I was physically working less hours- spending more time outdoors, working out, and not working on the weekends- I was more productive. The trip really showed me the value of intentional time away from my computer. Making this habit a priority when we get home!
  • I need this Buttermilk Ranch from Food 52 in my life stat.
  • Did you catch Sarah’s recap of her time in Colorado? Such a fun trip!
  • Love how Kate rocked her baby bump after leaving the hospital. And that is all I’m going to say about the Royal Baby.
  • sea salt pocket tin? I need this.
  • If you guys aren’t reading Ashley’s “Dating My Husband” series, you need to be. Her honesty is so refreshing. I can’t wait until her cookbook version of this column comes out.
  • Loved this article on why being an eternal newbie leads to awesome work.
  • Aaaand you should be making pancakes this weekend.

I’m off to enjoy my final lobster roll of the trip. And then we’re carting lobsters home more seafood tomorrow to have a feast with my mom! Deeelish. Have a great weekend! xx

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Shop Spotlight: Brika

July 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

shop-brika-5
I recently came across the online boutique Brika. Have you guys heard of it? If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed by Etsy (this girl right here), you will fall hard for Brika.  Though they sell the work of independent artisans, their approach is completely different- and in my mind, way better. As opposed to highlighting the story of one maker, they highlight them all. Individual attention to the story, roots, and unique craft is given to each artisan so you truly get a sense of why their products are so special.

The shop curation is really helpful, too- with dedicated shops for baby showersbridesmaid’s gifts, and earth-friendly items to name a few. I’m utterly smitten with the baby shop! Wouldn’t you love to give your best gal pal that handmade bunny above? And as if it could get any better, they also offer discounted prices on the goods of each seller. From a business perspective, I love the mutually beneficial relationship they’ve built with these artisans. Pretty cool, huh? Below are a few pics of my favorite items and pics from the site …

(ps: and this is not a sponsored post! simply love this site.)

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All images from brika.com

Setting the Table: By the Sea

July 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Channeling Contessa By the Sea

I think we can all go ahead and be a tiny bit jealous of anyone who lives by the beach. That is, unless you’re somehow not a fan of endless ocean breezes, seafood that actually tastes like the sea, and a view that looks a little something like this. (I didn’t think so.)

In any case, whether you’re headed for the coast any time soon or not, a beach-inspired table setting can work for any summer get-together. The shades of blue, textures of coral and shell, and sandy, sun-bleached hues manage to be elegant and low-key at the same time. If you have any seashells lying around, they’ll add undeniable dimension to your centerpiece, while the menu can be kept as simple as you’d like.

| Menu | Lobster rolls (mini ones would be adorable – as an appetizer!), Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil,  Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Basil QuinoaHomemade Ice Cream Cake

CC products

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Images: tablecrab cakescoralshellsjars

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