STYLE } Plan A Pretty Picnic

There was a T magazine article last spring that really stuck with me examining why we're drawn to eating outside. Of the Victorian's penchant for picnicking, Tamar Adler wrote about "the pleasurable collision between human refinements and the places and energies in the natural world ..."

"Those overly decent people instinctively knew the frisson of performing petty formalities amid beetle and toad, and so they happily trudged in waistcoat and bustle through field and stream for lunch," Adler writes.

While happily trudging in a forgiving flowy dress rather than a waistcoat, I had a fun opportunity to pull together a picnic look for The Washington Post's Local Living section last week. For me it's all about bringing some elements of interior style out into the grass.

Here's a little behind-the-scenes peek, and be sure to check out the full story here, along with all of the local sources for the pieces I used. Also check out the transcript from my chat on the Post's site here.


STYLE } Bar Styling Tips with Framebridge


I've always been noncommittal when it come to putting anything on my walls. Art? Photos? Prints? But what if I change my mind? Add the hassle of framing something and voila, a growing pile of unframed prints and photos gathers dust on a shelf.

So I much appreciated a recent gentle nudge from friends at Framebridge, a DC-based company that's making it easier and less expensive to get those pretty-if-neglected pieces framed and on display.

We hung out at my place, whipped up some Green Hat gin and tonics, and I shared tips for stocking and styling your bar at home. (Any old table will do!) And yes, I actually put a nail in the wall and hung a print.

Head this way for my full interview with Framebridge. Cheers!

all photos by Laura Metzler Photography for Framebridge


DRINK } Holiday Cocktail Recipes at Rent the Runway

I had a blast hosting a Holiday Cocktail Lab recently at Rent the Runway's beautiful Georgetown shop. Getting to wear a fabulous Missoni for the evening was icing on the cake. Scroll on for a few photos, and of course, the recipes, including the classic Adonis, my spin on a Jack Rose, and a punch from my friend Dan Searing.


COOK } Favorite Fall Recipes

District Doughnut's brown butter doughnut at Union Market, 
with a little urban astroturf pumpkin patch in the background.

Where did October go? I was just beginning to embrace these crisp, cool days dotted with pumpkin sightings and now the calendar rolls over into November. But I'll be keeping the pumpkins around post jack o' lantern with favorite fall recipes from the archives (plus a few other goodies you should be making now):

Cream of Pumpkin Soup: From master chef Alain Ducasse but super simple.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes: A birthday treat for my October-born husband.

Rustic Fig Crostata: An elegant and not too sweet finish to a meal.

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

Hot Buttered Apple Cider with Rum: A delightful mash-up of hot buttered rum and cider.

Aperol Bourbon Sour: The perfect cocktail to bridge summer and fall.


ENTERTAIN } For The Love Of Salt

I'm bidding a reluctant adieu to summer on this first day of fall and looking back with fond memories on one of the season's highlights — our Summer Salt Fest at the Gordy's Pickle Jar headquarters.

Ever since opening Salt & Sundry three years ago, I've been dreaming of a down-home party that celebrates all things salty. With the perfect partners in crime, Sarah and Sheila of Gordy's, and my phenomenal team at Salt & Sundry, we hosted a gathering of good friends and toasted our shared love of salt.

The feast included fried chicken, boiled peanuts (made by my husband!), Rappahannock's Olde Salt oysters, deviled eggs topped with Gordy's Sweet Pepper Relish, and probably the best fried pickles I've ever eaten (yes, I've eaten a lot) ... Gordy's Sweet Chips and Cajun Okra dipped in roasted garlic aioli. There was crisp Virginia rosé from Early Mountain Vineyards, local brews from 3 Stars and DC Brau, and a watermelon cooler that Sheila whipped up with Green Hat Gin.

As DJ Cassidy Karakorn spun tunes late into the night, out came the salted caramel gelato push-pops from our friends at Dolcezza. The push-pop, by the way, is the perfect mode to eat ice cream while dancing like a maniac. Guests went home with jars of sweet and spicy pickled watermelon rind the Gordy's team cooked up just for the party. Thinking we'll have to do it again next summer ...

photos 4, 6-11 by the fabulous Morgan Hungerford West


STYLE } Mint Chocolate Chip + Brass

Right about 4 p.m. most afternoons at Union Market, the ice cream procession starts. Shoppers casually stroll into Salt & Sundry toting tempting cones and thick milkshakes filled with flavors from our market neighbors Trickling Springs Creamery. Resistance is futile.

I'm partial to mint chocolate chip. And I'm crazy about the gorgeous new brass jewelry that just arrived at S&S from Portland-based designers Betsy & Iya. Come see me soon and check out both!


DRINK } Sherry Temple

I know I'm not the only one who often makes it to a point in the (late) afternoon only to realize that I've been chugging coffee without so much as a thought to hydration. On the hottest summer days, when I'm over-caffeinated and plenty parched, I crave this pleasantly tart thirst quencher from Rappahannock Oyster Bar. It's a grown-up — but still booze-free — take on a childhood favorite.

Sherry Temple
makes 1 drink

1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz grenadine*
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 bar spoon sherry vinegar

Shake with ice, strain over fresh ice and finish with sparkling water and a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

* For the grenadine, I love DC-made True Syrup's version or the slightly earthier Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. version, both available at Salt & Sundry.