The Breakfast Club

On the first day of my trip, I arrived in one of my most favorite cities in the world, London, running on about two hours of sleep after an overnight flight.  As is always the case when you really want to check in to your hotel, our room wasn’t ready, but we were told that if we hurried, we could probably make the tail end of breakfast in the dining room.  Luckily, we made it with almost seconds to spare, and instantly after placing my order, there was hot a piping hot cup of much needed coffee in front of me.  This was when the fun began.  First: when you ask for cream with your coffee in London, they really mean CREAM.  It’s full on (read: FULL FAT) that is so dense it almost reminds me of the consistency of melted ice cream.  In other words, it was perfection.  I had ordered a full English breakfast, because…you know: “When in Rome” and all that.  To make a long story short, while the breakfast was fabulous, I’m really glad I only looked up the details of black pudding long after I ate it (Click the link if you really want to know, but I’ll spare you the details.  You’re welcome.)

Royal guards on The Mall

Royal guards on The Mall

So after this auspicious kickoff, when I came across the blog The London Review of Breakfasts, I knew I had my perfect post-trip blog.  The blog has been around for a while, but don’t let the simple layout and lack of ads fool you: this is quality content.  It’s full of great recommendations, and wittily written (sometimes scathing) reviews, from a team that has essentially declared a war on bad breakfast in London, claiming that they’ve “had enoeuf” (if you don’t get that joke, please stop reading this blog immediately).

lrb

You can browse by areacontributor and restaurant name.  The site also features a “Special Dispatches” section with a selection of breakfasts from around the UK (Bedford to York), and even around the World (Australia to the US).  Another section titled “Opinions & Eggitorials” features an Open Letter to the most recent  US presidential candidates inviting them to a breakfast in Ohio, and requesting that they “please contact us soon to ensure that your schedule can be arranged to accommodate ours.”  It is this sarcastic, blatantly British humor that makes TLROB such a winning site.  Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE breakfast.  I’ve been known to throw quite the brunch (I assure you–it’s mind-blowing).  But at the end of the day, despite the bravado, The London Review of Breakfasts knows it’s a breakfast site. But why shouldn’t it be taken very seriously.  After all: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Bon Voyage

In deciding what blog to blog about this week, I thought it would be completely apropos to find a travel blog, as I’m getting ready to set off on a trip myself.  If nothing else I figured it would serve as a great inspiration for my plans.  I was looking for lush vistas, inspiring views, and dreamy beaches, but instead what I got was a lot of bare bones, blah sites.  That is until I came across Canvas of Light.  To be fair, this is actually a travel blog that sits along side the bloggers personal photography website, but it’s nonetheless extremely engaging.

photosite

As I mentioned, I had very specific ideas as to what I was looking for in a travel blog, so when I read about him on The Huffington Post, saying he was the “Best travel photographer on the internet. There is no reason to beat around the bush”, I had a feeling I was on the right track.  Add that to the fact that he adores Paris, and I was in blogger-love.

photosite 2

I consider myself fairly well-traveled, but I still have a zillion places on my wish list, and know that realistically I will probably never make it to a lot of them.  That’s where a site like Canvas of Light comes in.  The photos are so beautifully shot, you feel like you took the trip, and were lucky enough to go to insert location here on the best day of the whole year.  He captures the best colors of my favorite season (Fall) in the US, in such perfection that the east coast tourism boards should be begging him for shots for their Fall Foliage campaigns (they really should – he even includes a handy link to buy his images for commercial use).  Plus, if you see something that really calls to you, you can buy a print, or even send it as a card OR ecard (how’s that for a multi-service site?)

Fall

He lives in Thailand, so he has the benefit of drawing from an exotic locale everyday, but that said there is still quite a bit of variety.  From Grenada,  to the French Countryside, and even to some great photo tutorials, there is something to view for every kind of traveler.  It’s definitely been a site that’s made me add a few new spots to my bucket list.

The Bride Wore White

Over the weekend, one of my closest friends got married! The wedding (and all the events leading up to it) was everything you’d hope for your best friend; there was fabulous food, crazy relatives, shuttle bus crashers, emotional speeches,  power outages, and hashtagable quotes from the altar.  In short: it was an extremely memorable event from start to finish.

Weddings are always the best excuse for a reunion

Weddings are always the best excuse for a reunion

As I set forth this week to find a blog to feature, I got started thinking about wedding etiquette.  Should you wear white to a wedding? (No)  Should you assume you’re invited just because you’ve known the bride for 20 years (No)  Should you take a Xanax if you’re planning on drinking? (questionable)  With all these questions swirling in my head, I thought I would aim to find a blog about wedding etiquette.  Yet a quick search for “wedding etiquette blog” retrieved results for Emily Post, and a variety of subpages on the knot, but no blog that actually specialized in “Wedding Etiquette”.  I did find one post on Oh Lovely Day that spoke specifically to Wedding Guest Etiquette, but the space is otherwise pretty barren (nudge nudge to anyone looking to fill an open niche). On a side note, in my quest, I also learned more than I ever needed to know about Monogramming Etiquette.  Apparently it’s a really big thing.

EP

So, as I had already been weeding through a variety of wedding blogs in a vain attempt to find the elusive “Wedding Etiquette” blog, I did stumble across quite a few really stellar sites.  For an industry that makes close to $50 BILLION in annual revenue, it’s no surprise that there are nearly just as many blogs out there with tips on everything from the perfect “Something Blue”, to the best way to arrange the napkins at your reception’s place settings.

Through all the noise, there was one blog which really rose to the top for me: Grey Likes Weddings.  Brought to the web by the anonymous “Miss Grey” (the real life blogger is actually named Summer Watkins), the quirky About section of the blog (cleverly titled “Grey You Say“) reveals a penchant “for the charms of a well-healed woman”.  At this point, I should mention that while I may be a city girl, 11 years of living in the South did rub off on me a bit, so anything preppy, girly, and involving WASP-y customs is right up my alley. Hence, my instant affinity for this site.

GLW

From the “Rockin’ a New Rock” section, with it’s guide for the newly engaged, to the tiny details (to encourage you to share a post, they use the quippy “Won’t you be a gem, and share this with your ladies”), this blog covers all the bases.  So much so, that they’re in the process of building a new online community, aptly titled “The Ladies Society of Matrimonial Finery”  that aims to be a social network for the budding bride, and everyone looking to share in her special day.

The site strikes a good balance between content, and imagery, and while it contains a TON on information, it isn’t nearly as daunting (or saccharine-y) as “The Knot”.  Any bride-to-be would be smart to add it to her blog role.

A little bit of Sass

If you’ve read the “About” page on this blog (and if you haven’t–please head on over and get to know a BIT about me), you know that this blog has been about 5 years in the making.  And long story short, in all the time that I have spent trying to find an idea for what to blog about, I’ve read A LOT of blogs. But, I’ve only been faithful to only a select handful, and one that has consistently held my attention over the years has been “Sass + Veracity“.

SassandV

Sass + Veracity is a charming food blog written by a totally relatable Northern California mom.  Her recipes are phenomenal, but the thing that really hooked me initially was her photography.  She was one of the first blogs I read that really made her imagery just as important as her content.  When I started reading, I also happened to be at a point in my life when I was becoming slightly obsessed with cooking, so her farm fresh ingredient shots inspired me not only to  make a wide variety of new dishes, but made my local farm market a must-stop every week.

The recipe that seriously turned me into a convert, was her Danish Braids recipe from the Daring Bakers challenge.  To give you a bit of background about the Daring Bakers, they began in November of 2006 when Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves by baking pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it. After the first posts success, they decided to make it a monthly thing, with new members joining in each time.  Eventually they had such a legit following, that they decided to name the group, and thus “The Daring Bakers” became a thing (and they now have a fab, blown out site called “The Daring Kitchen” you should definitely check out).

sv2

But back to Sass + Veracity, and the Daring Bakers challenge…. Before I became I self proclaimed foodie, I grew up only baking.  My dad was always the cook in the family, so I figured it was a skill I didn’t really need to work on.  Instead, I was the family baker (ask anyone: I make KILLER brownies).  So when I heard about this so-called “Daring Bakers” challenge, I thought “I can TOTALLY do this”….well I quickly found out I was totally wrong.  These recipes are hard core.  The Danish Braids recipe involves hand stretching the dough on a flour covered table cloth until it’s “approximately 2 feet x 3 feet”.  Yes–I said feet.  Instead,  I made a slightly modified version that just involved rolling the dough out a bit, and using her recipe for the filling (delicious nonetheless).

But don’t let the Daring Bakers Challenge scare you.  There are tons of simple, yet still utterly fabulous, recipes to choose from.  Some of my favorites (that have become a standard in my repertoire)  include the 3-Onion Leek Tart (which I’ve also done as a 3-Mushroom Shallot Tart), the German Chocolate Cake: Inside Out (although my icing skills need some serious practice), and the Five Onion Confit (a real hit at parties). On top of all that, take note: she has a killer blog role too!

What do you think? Does Sass + Veracity make your blog role?

“Chic Looks” or “Fab Cooks”

I live in a somewhat bi-polar world–I’m a toal foodie (hence the TWO food categories on my blog role), but I work in the fashion industry (“Would you like a piece of marinated lettuce?”).  Finding the balance between the two can sometimes be a little tricky (although you would be surprised not only how much Fashion Girls can eat, but how much they will actually eat in front of other people).  While my co-workers use their free time to online shop, I have a split screen between foodporn (thanks foodgawker), and the latest sale at Saks.

splitscreen

That said, in choosing the subject of my first REAL post, it came to the age old question: Food, or Fashion? Luckily, with the chic brûlée I don’t have to choose.  From a Lucky Magazine contributor, this site serves up recipes, runway shots,  and even restaurant recommendations (the blogger lives in NYC and recaps some pretty swank spots).

chicb

Her recipes are amazing too (Fudgy Brownie Bites anyone?). Although the Almond Butter Rice Cakes (really–Rice Cake + Almond Butter + Sliced Bananas = Recipe?) were probably more suited for the more fashion inclined who head to the site.  Bust into the archives for some pretty great Christmas Cookie recipes, and then seamlessly transition to her take on holiday fashion.

One gripe – the site isn’t updated SUPER frequently, so if you’re looking for a new daily read, this probably isn’t for you.  If you do love the concept though, snag my trick: when I find a blog that I LOVE, but I know they don’t update on the daily, I’ll sign up to get their latest entries delivered by email.  That way I don’t have to check in frequently (which chances are I’ll eventually forget about if they’re not updating all the time), and every once and a while there’s a nice surprise in my in-box of something I actually want to read.

What do you think–would The Chic Brûlée make it on your blog roll?

To tee it off? A Blog Role

I find that the best way to judge a blogger, is by what they’re reading. Note to other bloggers: please keep your blog role up to date.  If I click a link on your blog role, only to be led to a page that hasn’t been updated since 2008, chances are you aren’t reading it on the regular (and if you are, it’s time to let go).

My goal on this blog is to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest, but I thought the easiest way to kick things off would be to give you a quick snapshot of my daily reads (besides my horoscope of course. But while you’re asking, I read 4 daily: dailyhoroscopes.net/ , elle.com/horoscopes/glo.msn.com/horoscopes/sunsign/daily, and then monthly I read the bible: astrologyzone.com/  You can thank me later).

So here’s the top 3 in my top 5 categories:

Capture

Fashion blogs:
The Cut
The Business of Fashion
HuffPost Style

Healthy foodie blogs:
For The Love of Food
With Style and Grace
Young Married Chic

Decadent foodie blogs:
smitten kitchen
Food + Femininity
two loves studio

A bit of news/goss:
The Huffington Post
The Daily Mail
TMZ

A few randos:
SousStyle
Refinery29
BRIT + CO