Filtering by Category: FOOD + DRINK

South End Summer Day

DSC01266 One of my favorite things to do in Boston is to just plunk down in a favorite neighborhood with no plan except to wander and explore. The South End is always a really good place for that, and especially in the summer or fall when you can savor the architecture and bustling streets without much weather-related discomfort. Tons of independent places to eat, drink and window (or really) shop, notoriously queer but far less boisterous than the Castro. Sedate without being dull.

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On this day we started at one of our favorite boutiques for home, Hudson, and ended up at Uniform, a well-curated men's shop for the casually urbane and in between we stopped for brunch and ice cream.

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This was just a simple sunny day outfit I threw on for aimless roaming, and when we stopped at this little plaza on Tremont by the theaters with its cheerful flowers bursting higher than our heads it was an easy backdrop choice, bumblebees and all.

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On an unrelated note, I desperately need motivation to finish the slew of books I'm currently reading. That they are not motivation enough saddens me. I am spreading myself far too thin between at least a half dozen; Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington, Speedboat by Renata Adler, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and an equestrian book as well as one or two style books.

They are nearly all worthy reads but to be honest, all I want to do is sink back into an old and beloved Salter or reread Hemingway's The Garden of Eden. Do I just hide the others while I power through one, make M take the whole stack away save one, and only release another if I surrender it finished? I need some sort of strategy because the stack has gotten out of hand, though perhaps the coming change of season will spur me on.

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Brunch was at Aquitane, a place most people recommended but that we just hadn't quite made it to yet. The cocktails were very well done and the croque-madame and croque-monsieur we ordered were fantastic.

I'm also excited to try Petit Robert after seeing my traditional favorites on the menu - I'm a sucker for a good coq au vin or beef bourguignon and my attempts to make them at home have failed miserably. Until the temps come down from the 90s, though, I'm touching neither with a ten-foot pole!

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Striped Shorts – J. Crew | The Drape Tank in Cream – Everlane x Langley | Galia Sandal - Kensie | Canvas Tote - Hipp & Kirk | Raffia Necklace - Anthropologie | Dean Sunglasses in English Oak - Warby Parker | Bracelets (left to right) - Madewell, J. Crew, Brandy Melville | Druzy Claw Ring - Lauren Wolf

Full disclaimer: I was lucky enough to win the Hipp & Kirk tote from a giveaway they did earlier this summer. It has since become my everyday bag! I love it and have found it so useful and versatile for slinging around town, to the beach or running errands. It's surprised me how often I use it, but it's a true story and as a company who makes their products in California, they're a brand close to my heart. Check them out!

XOXO, FFAF

Crane Beach

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I'm back from A-Camp! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. It was pretty incredible, and I am pretty spent, even after a full night's sleep.

The tomboy whisked me home from the airport late last night, then whipped me up a cocktail and sat me down to hear about all the Mt. Feelings things and stories, but when we finally stood up for bed, my body said, "Girl. Sleep. Now. And for a very long while." It may take a day or two to catch up and feel fully restored, but I'm  savoring little luxuries like overcomplicated coffee orders and warm breakfast pastries and silence but for the birds singing, watching Gunny sleep and the curtains billow gently in the wind.

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My brain doesn't quite know how to cope with a living room that's bigger than the cabin I was sharing with four other incredible (and I mean truly, truly incredible) people for the past seven days. I've never ever had a roommate but they all made it…well, wonderful.

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I am ever so glad to be back home with this one and the rest of our brood, however. You might be thinking, "Silly Jonesey, these aren't camp photos!" and you'd be right; they're from Mother's Day, which feels like ancient history.

But it was a beautiful day, so I'll share them even though some time has passed.

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Crane Beach is just north of Cape Ann, about an hour from Boston, and minutes from Russell Orchards, one our favorite places to get hot cider and cider donuts in New England. The road getting to the beach was jammed with cars packed full of people thrilled at the first beach day of the season after a long and miserable winter, and the four-mile stretch of sandy beach speckled with deliriously happy New Englanders.

Seriously, everyone was so happy that day. We were so happy that day. The water was Pacific Ocean-cold, but it hardly mattered.

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About that sea life.

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I love how effortlessly M just throws on an all-white casual outfit like it's nothing at all. I'm pretty sure she had on navy boat shoes that day, which is the nautical cherry on top. Also beachy waves.

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Like, where are our sunglasses??!

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We ended the day trip on a ridiculously high note at Salt Kitchen + Rum Bar in Ipswich, MA. What you need to know about Ipswich while you drool in front of your computer screens is that it's a very wee quintessential coastal town settled in 1633 just north of Boston, with a population just over 13,000. Melissa Ferrick grew up there, but aside from that these kinds of little towns rarely host dining establishments that could be picked up and dropped into, say, San Francisco or Oakland or New York or either Portland and do very well, but Salt is an all-around gem, with magical food and wonderfully balanced rum cocktails, both on and off menu.

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So anyone visiting Boston who wants a taste of coastal life would do well to do as we did - breakfast and a leisurely drive up the coast, pop into Russell Orchards for snacks and souvenirs, frolic on the beach all afternoon long and enjoy a long and locally inspired meal at Salt. Locals, I can enthusiastically say that it's worth the drive.

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'Spanish Nights' Dress – Ruche | 'Sparkle Lemon' iPhone Case and Idiom Charm Necklace – Kate Spade | Shark Tattoo - Gordon Combs (who just - and I mean just - left Seventh Son in SF and also did my Oakland/SF tattoo)

That's it for now, I hope everyone had a fantastical holiday weekend and for all the awesome campers I met this past week - I love you and you're incredible and I'm so glad we have one another and let's don't be strangers.

XOXO, FFAF

Encore!

01-DSC03934 Back from an unintentional two-week break with some news: First, we celebrated my birthday this weekend! It was wonderful. Second - and this explains my extended absence - I did the unthinkable and got a perm.

Or more accurately a body wave, but in case you were wondering neither the process nor the chemicals have changed (much) since the perm heyday of the 1980s; what differentiates one from the other is simply the size of the rods your salon uses. Mine alternated between the biggest and second-biggest, and the results are pure beachy wave goodness.

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I'll talk about it more in-depth soon over at Qwear for the Path to Perfect Tresses series finale, but in the meantime you should head over there to check out the Sunday style inspiration post I put together for them last weekend. Lots of excellent spring fever vibes! Speaking of, check out the tomboy's dapper outfit - perfect for a blustery early spring day in New England. We took these photos on the steps outside of Trinity Church. Details below:

Pinstripe 'Producer' Suit Pant - Men's Express | Striped Sweater - Gant (similar here) | Contrast Trim Blazer – H&M (similar here, here and here - the Ted Baker blue is my favorite!) | Wingtips (not pictured) - John Varvatos Star USA

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Let's get on with this outfit! I love this sheer, almost neon blue skirt, I love my new minty fresh faux-leather biker jacket, and I love my perfect anytime, anywhere Everlane cashmere. I would say the jacket tones down the femininity of the bright floral skirt, but it's a pastel mint and who are we kidding? We'll say it gives it a little edge instead.

Not that it needs it. The simplicity (and practicality - it ain't that warm here yet) of the sweater is precisely why they make staples. It could be a tank or a t-shirt and it would have the same effect.

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I liked the warm tomato red nail polish against the cooler tones.

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Isn't this pattern killer? I wrestle with the miniskirt fit of the 'modesty' layer, but that's such an easy fix at the tailor.

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I wore this necklace because it felt simple and sweet with the rest of the get-up, and I swept my hair back into a messy twist for the same reason. (And when we stepped out into the Back Bay wind on our way to brunch, I thanked myself for doing so!) Updos seem 100x easier now that my hair has all this texture to it! Now to brunch...

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This is the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen at the Fairmont. It's a gorgeous, over-the-top space in an old world sort of way, the food and cocktails are consistently well-made and often subtly inventive, and the service is great. That pile of happiness up there is chocolate hazelnut french toast with berries and vanilla custard. FYI, their peach bellinis are a mile high and full of rum. YUM.

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Everyone loves these shoes! I guess there's something a little risque about them - I like that they kind of swaddle the foot, have a tiny hidden platform wedge, and zip up the back like a corset. About corsets...

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The next stop was Agent Provocateur, and as luck would have it we had the place all to ourselves - including poured champagne and decadent truffles. So much fun! I fell in love with the springy embroidered tulle of the Petunia range from their Spring Summer 2014 Collection, and what's a trip to a lingerie shop without seamed stockings, hm?

You might notice there was a little wardrobe change - I slipped out of the floral skirt and into this insanely dramatic midi ball skirt from H&M to fend off the chill outside.

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That's better! And so on and so forth went the entire lovely weekend, full of sweet surprises and lots of love from family and friends near and far. We wrapped things up by pairing a bottle of Moët with a JP Licks ice cream cake last night, and it was a splendid way to kick off my 34th year.

Blue Skirt - Topshop (similar here and here) | Cashmere Sweater - Everlane | Faux Leather Moto Jacket – BCBGeneration | Suede Wedge Sandals - B. Makowsky | Bow Necklace - Marc by Marc Jacobs | Rose Gold Mixed Metal Watch - Bulova | Nail Polish - Ciate 'Encore'

Hope you enjoyed the post!

XOXO, FFAF

To Gather: Thanksgiving at FFAF's house

1-P2900479 We had a really, really wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I hope you did, too! I know it wasn't an easy one for everyone, and that's okay. We've been there, too! Plus, it wasn't all sunshine and roses - my tried-and-true pumpkin cheesecake recipe went awry somehow. It was so sad! Even though I've always ignored the unsalted butter thing and it's turned out delicious, this year I was true to the recipe and it came out...weirdly salty. Inedible! Our pal KA brought over a painstakingly made pumpkin pie, and that was off as well. No one could quite put a finger on it, but it was a disaster. So it's a good thing dinner was aces and left us totally stuffed, because both desserts were losers with a capital L.

Speaking of dinner, the photo above captures the magic turkey butter that gets shoved under the skin, rubbed on the inside of the bird, and then last but not least over the top of the skin, after our Ninja blender pulverizes it altogether. It's a cup or so of melted (salted) butter, a handful of fresh garlic, dollop of olive oil, lots of sea salt, and fistfuls of fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, marjoram and sage. So good.

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More fresh herbs, celery, onion, carrots, apples, oranges, lemon all get tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper before getting stuffed into the bird. Then it goes breast-down in the roasting pan and given an ale bath like I mentioned in the last post. Ours came out wonderful and we still haven't made a dent in the leftovers. We're having Thanksgiving poutine tonight, and maybe you should, too! Anything left is getting tossed into the pot of turkey stock I set to simmer last night and made into spicy turkey gumbo.

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The vulgar and obligatory raw turkey shot. We named it Roger.

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The booze cart, topped with a single but stunning stem of rust amaryllis. We thrifted it in Jamaica Plain earlier this year, and I found these gold trays at Target that were a perfect match and solved the teeth-rattling problem of setting glass down on glass (we can't be the only ones who really hate that sound, can we?). The vintage beer bowl on the bottom there, in glass, is a great vessel for holding tiny tinctures and bitters bottles.

Also, I'm in love with these skinny exposed pipes in our dining room. I should wrap tiny white Christmas lights around them for some festive ambient light!

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Putting the finishing touches on the centerpiece and making the best of the goth chandelier we inherited when we bought the house! I still have to finish rubbing it with the antique gold Rub 'n Buff I bought months ago - I think it could save the thing and keep us from having to replace it. The acorns and little bird nests I made brought in just enough whimsy, and the centerpiece was customized with flowers that complemented our vintage English china, and surrounded with evergreen boughs. I think it all turned out perfect and very "us" - a lot of vintage, some shiny new bits from West Elm (like the stemless flutes), all grounded with pretty and budget-friendly steals from Target.

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Tick-tock...before the turkey was done. Dark outside and ready to eat but the waiting, and waiting, and waiting! Takes awhile to finish a 15-lb. bird. When I talked to my mama, even with the time change she had hers in before we put ours in. Rookie mistakes!

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I have another post on the way for my outfit, but some of you might recognize my Winter Kate dress. It's such an easy and comfortable thing to throw on, but it always feels special and pretty. The painterly pattern isn't quite paisley or peacock, but I adore the colors.

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I also adore the moody light in this one, and of course Bird's floppy face hiding out on the bottom right. Our friends slept the night in the guest room and we've been hanging out lazily all day, snacking on leftovers and drinking "ciderosas" (a genius mix of apple cider and cava). It's freezing out and our fireplace is beckoning, so I'm enjoying it while I can because I miss the horses and plan to brave the cold tomorrow for a nice long hack through the woods!

XOXO, FFAF

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