Saturday, March 16, 2013

Random Saturday Musings

Happy Saturday Morning ALL!  Which always means the same thing: stuff rattling around my brain!

1) What do you REALLY wear?

While I would have previously had no opinion whatsoever or sense at all about a casual wardrobe, since all of my money was spent on work clothes (along with clothes for events that I really was never going to be invited to and which I enjoy (NOT!) looking at unworn in my closet even now), I am now reviewing the sartorial aspect of my three month sabbatical and I can say that unequivocally, here is What I (Mostly) Wore To The Winter Rest:

1) black and grey Paige Premium Ponte Pants, 1 pair skinny Joe Fresh jeans, 1 pair Joe Fresh boyfriend jeans
2) long sleeve black, grey and white tshirts (did I mention that I am now in the market for a new long sleeve black tshirt, having gotten bleach on my nice jersey t?  Amateur error for sure and I cannot for the life of me figure out how I did it, but I did!), Gap Paris tshirt, james perse grey tank,  james perse white tank.  White Gap Button-up
3) Brora blue cashmere cardigan, black cashmere cardigan, heather flax cashmere cardigan, navy tippi cardigan, grey tippi cardigan, pagoda blue cashmere
4) black leopard print blazer
4) lots of scarves and jewelry
5) Nougat London print dress and Alice and Olivia Dress, but only now and then.

Oh there were other odds and sods that I wore now and then, but in the main, this was it.   About 20 items.  There were other things in the closet that I could have picked, but I kept going for the comfortable pieces that fit well and made me feel chic.  They were almost all neutrals it turned out, and I got my colour from my scarves.  There were many other items that sat in my closet and simply looked at me.  I think my J Crew Cashmere crewneck sweaters each got worn once - i realized i like layering best and that cardigan over a t shirt or 2 are most comfortable and flattering for me.  At the end of the season, when I go to pack up my woollens, there will be some decisions to make....

So now I know that on a go-forward basis, following A Well Styled Life's great advice, next year I will need to replace the tees with the best quality I can afford, and begin to replace some of those cardigans with Brora ones, as I can already see that my Navy Tippi is lagging, and my black cashmere, new last season, is looking worn and pilly and already has a tear at the wrist.  The Brora on the other hand, has nary a pill and still looks new.  I would like a warm dress or really comfy skirt to wear around the house.  I have many winter skirts, but none feel comfortable - they were were fine for work, but they were not great for wearing around the house. 

And I hate to say this, but I found that the more expensive things that I had - the paige pants, the Brora cardigan, the ill-fated Michael Kors long black t (it's okay - it was 5 years old) were things I chose over and over again as they were so well constructed and felt most comfortable.  So the old dictum: "buy the best you can afford and buy less to be able to afford them" proved true for me for my winter seasonable wardrobe.

It is good to remember that this was "dead of winter" dressing.  Soon it will be April and I will need to determine my spring casual wardrobe and perhaps my spring work wardrobe.  I'll get back to you on that one!

2) Michelle Obama on Vogue

I read Vogue now and then, less and less than I used to, but I will probably take a look at this one, what with Mrs. O on the cover.

Just love that blue against that fabulous green wall.  Ever since I saw the green velvet wall in the Tory Burch wall, I have continued to be obsessed!!!!

But my favourite picture that I have seen on line has got to be this one:

Oh My, that is glamour.

What did you think of the pictures and of Mrs. O being back on Vogue?

3) Pinterest

For some reason, I am having technical difficulties with Polyvore on my computer, but my IPad and I are obsessed with pinterest.  I am getting lots of inspiration these days, especially as it relates to home decor and gardening.  If you are a visual person, like I am, it is a delight!  I seem to like pictures of clothes, gardens and bohemian interiors. I make it a point to NEVER repin exercise pins.  NEVER. 

Do you like Pinterest?  I know Dani and FFM do, as I follow them, but am wondering if any of the rest of you wonderful folks are also on?  I never cease to be delighted by the visual treat that is there!

4) Risotto

We like our Risotto, Chez WMM.  We are having friends over to dinner tonight and are planning a very simple menu:
  • First Course: Curry Squash Soup (my own recipe)
  • Second Course: a pear/spinach salad with a maple vinaigrette
  • Main Course: Wild Mushroom Risotto
  • Dessert: Cupcakes
  • Cheese and Maple Ice Wine
Very simple and not a lot of work, which I always like and these are are our oldest friends, so there is no pressure anyway!

Our favourite Risotto recipe is one by Ina Garten.  You know I love all Inas (Hey Ina!) and this recipe is the best one I have ever made.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Wild Mushroom Risotto


  • 1-ounce dried morel mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


Place the dried morels in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Scoop the morels from the water with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. You should have 2 cups; if not, add water to make 2 cups. Drain the morels and rinse once more. If some of the mushrooms are large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Pour the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel, discarding the gritty solids. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside separately.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems of the porcini and rub any dirt off the caps with a damp paper towel. Dont rinse them! Slice thickly and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the morels and porcini and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.

Wendy's note: I have done it without the dired morels, using fresh ones and it is still as good.  I often substitute proscuitto for the pancetta, as for some reason Barry and my daughter prefer that.    It is good with that as well and it is good without the meat.  It is just good!

5) Sherlock

I am always about 2 years behind the rest of the world, but we just discovered the British series Sherlock on Netflix.  It is wonderful.    I know, you have all already seen it, but I can't help but mention it anyway!  I don't watch much TV, and it is always exciting for me to find something worth watching!

And of course the nice segue here is vis-a-vis Martin Freeman, who plays Dr. Watson in the series, but who is of course also Bilbo Baggins in the The Hobbit, which comes out on DVD Tuesday.  I know this fact, because my son, who is a huge Tolkien fan, turns 18 on Tuesday and wants to see this sitting in a gift bag at the supper table that night!

Have a happy Saturday!  Anything big on the schedule?  Stay Safe Out There!


  1. Good morning Wendy - it appears I'm first up. I'll go in order like you.
    1. Good for you for figuring out what you like to wear and what feels good and what you grab from your closet. Brora is the best and since I found it through Dani - it's changed my "what to wear" life. I have a number of v-neck jumpers and wear them most days with jeans and a tee.
    2. I have to fly to Florida tomorrow to visit my MIL - so may buy the magazine. I tend to only buy them when I have to fly somewhere.
    3. Pinterest - At first I was pretty addicted and have now found myself a bit bored with it. But I still look at it some. How can I find you on it?
    4. I've heard so many times about Ina's wild mushroom risotto - must give it a try soon.
    5. Never have seen Sherlock. We've been watching the streaming series that Netflix did on their own - House of Cards - very good. Love when I can see episodes back to back.
    There's the Santa Monica Art Walk today, so I have open studios all day, and then a 99th birthday party for a fellow artist. He still paints most days.
    Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for having such a great blog.

    1. Kathy - I loved House of Cards and think you would like Sherlock - there are 6 90 minute episodes available so far, so it is a nice treat! I will find you on pinterest - I saw you under Dani's so will pick you up today! Have a great time at the open house - wish I was there! 99 is so significant - good for him!

  2. Thanks for the shout out Wendy:)

    So funny you should post a risotto recipe,because` i brought some arborio rice from italy and havent found a recipe that i liked(and is easy)!i will think i will try it out soon,when my husband is away,as he doesnt like `risotto.

    I have certain pieces that i wear over and over again and iam on the look out for the perfect tees also.Tried `all of jcrews basic ones and they are ok,but not perfect.
    We will make a homemade lasagne tonight,which i love with some red wine and a green salat!
    Enjoy your day!!

    1. From which of Ina's cookbooks did you get the recipe?

    2. Hey Ina, it's in her Back-to-Back Basics book as along with WMM, a friend of mine from her publishing company swears by it. Enjoy your lasagne!

    3. HI Ina- GF is right and it really is a great recipe, though my children prefer Mario Batalli's or that Big-Headed Italian - Gia!

      Have a great lasagna and a nice Saturday!

    4. Oh WMM, I keep meaning to try one of Giada's versions. Is it heretical to say she appeals to me bit more than Ina these days, not as much "butter factor" generally?

    5. GetFresh,this always amazed me when i watched Ina's cooking shows,how much butter and cream she uses:)

      I have to check my Mario and Giada cookbooks for their risotto recipes.

    6. It's fine to love Giada, too. Her lemon parmesan pssta is the best last minute dinner. Ina does use a lot of high fat dairy, but boy is it good-- on occasion.

    7. OH I love Giada! And a lot of times now I am switching Ina's butter to olive oil and no one knows the better. Ina goes WAY overboard on the butter!

  3. 20 items! Wow that's an eye opener isn't it. And look at the colour palette, well now you know what you like to wear in winter!
    Well you know what I actually wear, I've got my winter uniform pretty much set in stone. I could add some more Brora vneck sweaters, I have a black, brown and green, also a blue but that one keeps migrating over to my daughter's closet!
    Your boy has his birthday this week, yay! As you know my older daughter turns 18 in 2 weeks, we would have been at the park together back in the day!
    Your evening sounds perfect. We have friends and neighbours coming over for drinks and snacks at 5, not much effort which is good. I've been scouring my first floor and moving furniture around, I just need to chill some wine and go out to buy some cheese today.
    It's snowing again!

    1. I scrubbed like the dickens yesterday, so will be cooking today! Nice day for it! I would like some vbecks as well - that is lacking and will be added to over time for sure! My son is on the tail end of pisces, but a lot of time I think he could be Aries - he was due to arrive March 23rd, but showed up on the 19th! I will be curious to work on my spring wardrobe!!! Have fun with your friends! I am off to buy cheese now too!

    2. Dani - quick question. Would love to be able to have people over for drinks and snacks, but I honestly don't know how to make it clear it's not dinner. It's not the usual thing here, casually. There are dressy "cocktail" parties, around the holidays, but curious what you say when you invite them? Honestly, here, people (including my darling husband) would be expecting a full meal.

    3. Kathy I agree it's a tough one. I think you have to tailor it to the guests, we have some friends who we invite over often "for drinks" but I know from experience they are NOT leaving until I feed them. In that case I make sure I have sandwich fixings, I usually just arrange some good bread, roast beef, pickles, mustard and a salad on the dining table ahead of time. Then I tell them to help themselves but it is NOT a sit down dinner. That works. If I had to serve people dinner every time I invited someone over I would never invite anyone, I find it really tiring!
      These particular friends tonight don't want to stay very late as they are preparing for passover next week and the onslaught of a full house, I'll have nuts and cheese and things and something waiting in the fridge to feed my family once they leave at 7:30 or so.

    4. It was so common in NYC to invite people over for drinks, and they knew what you meant. They'd be off somewhere else by 7-7:30 - so normal. I don't think it would go over well in LA, it would be thought of as rude or something. Makes entertaining quite tiring.

    5. It is a dilemma here at times, too. Sometimes we invite people over at 8. We are always clear if it is dinner or drinks. I often say "come over on your way home for a glass of wine" and that seems to work okay!

    6. I think it is easier when you live in an apartment too. (People don't expect sit-down dinner or major meal as much re. space, although we do have an extendable dining table, for Thanksgiving etc.)

      That said, I still feel like I have to be really specific if I don't want some friends to stay all night, or feel pressured for a big spread. As in "why don't you stop by on your way home from work, before heading uptown...for a drink and a nibble (first)." Like Dani's sandwich idea, could see doing that with biscuits or something as well.

    7. Just asked my husband "why" - he thinks it's because LA is so big that no one wants to drive far unless they're getting fed the whole meal. No one is driving near you on their way home from work.

    8. Kind of makes sense if people feel they have to "make an effort" to trek then they feel "entitled" to settle in. However, I think anyone should be pleased to invited to someone's home these days and mind the hostess' preferences.

  4. Right, following Kathy's method:
    1. Agree, good tees make such a difference as a winter or summer layer. In addition to James Perse, I would also look for Splendid, Petit Bateau, Hanro (so soft & nice subtle scoop neck) and Theory via Nordstrom etc. I also have a couple of tees from Brora super-sale that have stood up well. For next fall/winter I am also going to suggest a stretch/ ponte knit pencil skirt like Eileen Fisher, which DBP and FFM got me on to - only one I really wear "at home."
    2. Vogue occasional for me depending on cover/ online content. Hefty for taking around.
    3. On Pintrest, but mostly look vs. populate.
    4. Risotto a DH away/ friends over or resto only, my fave is parmesan and spring peas. Salivating at your simply deliciousdinner menu!
    5. Glad you found Sherlock, finishing up UK House of Cards this weekend, much darker even in some ways.
    6. Will be madly beating 7 min. frosting for coconut snowball cupcakes to bring to a baby shower shortly. Other than, no major plans.

    1. Oh, I loved the old UK House of Cards. Diabolical, wasn't he ( the PM).

    2. That version is next on my list! I love 7 minute frosting is my favourite! I might even make it for these cupcakes tonight! Yummy! I definitely will be checking our Eileen Fisher this year - it could be one of my dresses for summer - ireally like the garnett hill one.

      Thanks for the tshirt advice - I have had theory in the past and spendid - never heard of Hanro at all!

    3. I'm trying to pack for Florida, leaving tomorrow and get ready for today's Art Walk/Open Studios - instead, hanging out on your blog. I think we'll watch the UK House of Cards next. I wear the same tees as GF, especially James Perse, and Petit Bateau. Also like Majestic.

    4. MY BEST WHITE TEE Hanro tees are a bit pricey ($60-$70) and more of an "under cardigan" piece, but they have a bit of stretch and launder like a dream (no pilling or bagging). Apparently Nigella is a fan (along w/ their boy shorts) as they have a few different cuts to accomodate chests, narrow shoulders etc.

    5. Do you order online or are you able to source them locally? They look fabulous!

  5. That new Sherlock-- so odd!

    All winter: cashmere cardigans over T's or thin turtlenecks, jeans/minnies or slim black Polartec pants. I have the brown ponte EF skirt and I wore that with thick grey ribbed heather tights and a grey cardigan, tall brown boots. Comfortable! The same skirt is here with me and with the matching tank, linen cardigan and my beloved Myrna Korkease sandals I can go pretty much anywhere.

    1. Lane, I've never seen that Myrna before your comment. Good to know they do a lower/ more "casual" wedge too. Have only found Kork-Ease in one store in Canada so they are unfortunately a mail order or US trip thing for me.

    2. Of all places, I saw them in the Sundance catalog-- not called Myrna ( tough name) but clearly the cork just over an inch wedges with crossed straps. You could walk NYC in these, no problem. Do you have Zappos? They had colored ones last year, not sure if they have the plain rust ones.

  6. korkease! Have to look into that! I think GF recommended them as well! I am starting to wear my British Khakhi minnies now that the days are getting lighter. It makes me feel so hopeful. And it is warm enough now that I can also wear ballet flat in the house without freezing, sans socks, though I hear we are getting a whollop of a storm this week, Lane - we may have to batten down the hatches! I just saw the Ogunquit Playhouse's summer season - if I can swing it, I would love to go see the Rat Pack homage, but it will be early in the season and not warm enough for my liking!

    1. Yes, both FFM and I like our Kork-Ease, although her sandal weather is here now-sih and I fear it will be a few many weeks until I am showing real toes. If you are ever looking for a really flattering and comfy thick strap wedge style I highly recommend the Bette. Better insoles/ comfort than the JC ones and no more pricey ($150 ish before sales.)

    2. Oh yes, Kork-Ease sandals are incredibly comfortable to wear! I have had numerous posts about them over the past several years on my blog, including this one, in which you can see one of the styles/colors I own. It's called the 'Bette'.

    3. I have a pair of Franco's that kind of look like them, but are not the same, definitely interested!

  7. I've just started on Pinterest but I'm not very good, I wasn't good at Twitter either.
    'Drinks' is quite common here, no one expects to be fed , thank God, it usually just involves a wee nibble handed round after the second glass, a few canapés, say blinis or something like that.

    1. Tabs, you reminded me about blinis. Somehow everyone scoffs them with a bit of salmon and something Boursin/ creme fraiche ish.

    2. Tabs - i am just learning myself, but it is a good way to get some neat ideas and remember things you like!

  8. My Vogue magazine has not arrived in the mail yet but I'm thrilled that Michelle Obama is gracing their pages again. The photo of her in the gown is just breathtaking. I tire of Vogue featuring actresses. I prefer professional models to actresses any day but I do get inspired when they feature women who are known for their intellectual achievements as well as their style like Michelle Obama.

    I am primarily a vegetarian so your diner party menu is exactly the kind of meal I would hope to be invited to enjoy! I also love cupcakes. They are fun and unexpected.

    I hope to buy a Brora cashmere sweater during their next sale this summer. I do have a pair of their bed socks that I bought on a super sale a few years ago and they are heavenly.

    1. Well I am a newbie to Brora too, but the quality is so remarkable compared with other cashmere, it is almost breathtaking! I have decided slow and steady wins the race and I am quite sure once you get your basic Brora colours you are set anyway, so ober the next three years I will be good to go for heavy cashmere for the next 10! I love Mrs. Obama - so smart and accomplished!

      I am getting to be more and more of a vegetarian, but do like the odd bit of chicken and not sure I could give up proscuitto!

      Dani has promised to keep us all up to date on when sales are and one things I did find was that the cashmere sweater I ordered in January never really went down further, so you don't have the feeling, as with other retailers that you should have just hung on!

  9. Happy Saturday WMM! So glad that you are enjoying being at home, and that your wardrobe is really shaping up for you these days. It is getting increasingly warmer here now, so I will will be switching out my winter wardrobe for the spring/summer one soon. This means my days will be spent in my lighter weight dresses, maxidresses, linen or cotton wide-leg pants paired with tops, tanks, or tees, and sandals. I must say at this point I am really looking forward to the wardrobe change, too. :)

    I do like Pinterest but do not have a lot of extra time to spend on there lately, unfortunately.

    This weekend we have some home projects to work on, and hopefully DH and I can get away for a 'date' at some point, too.

    Btw, GetFresh has a fantastic review of some LE dresses on my blog today, so be sure to stop by to check out her guest post. :)

    1. Forget to add that I am also a Sherlock fan. Do you remember Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Sherlock) from his role in War Horse?

    2. I Knew I knew him FFM! Was driving me mad! Our GetFresh is the best, and great reviews! I hope you get a bit of a date in! I wondered if you were a Sherlock fan, given your love of mysteries!

  10. HI WMM,
    1- I , too default to simple neutrals. and reach for the same pieces over and over. However, often I feel like I am in a rut when I do that. So , I try to balance those 20 pieces with less expected ones. I love the classics, but don't want to dress as if I am in an irrelevant fashion either. Re- Brora- I haven't tried it yet, and agree that timeless pieces are worth paying for- mine is an old Aqua cashmere from Bloomingdales- but I also find that the perfectly priced(on sale) merino cardigans from J Crew are the ones I reach for over and over, and are reasonably replaceable. I am not capricious, but I get bored after a while, too.
    2- Love Vogue, but rarely have time to read it. Mrs. O looks lovely and gracious.
    3- OMG- I can't go near Pinterest bc I would never get any work done. From time to time I allow myself a peek.
    4- Love risotto, but I am not a great cook, and rarely is it made in a vegetarian manner in restaurants.
    5-My oldest son has been reading Sherlock Holmes, and we have not watched Sherlock yet, but have been together enjoying Elementary on CBS. I find the actor who plays Sherlock very compelling.
    Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Knityarns - I make vegan risotto once a week because of son and he loves it as do the rest of us! I wish I could make you some as I can cook!

      I think it is good to have extras as well, and the scarves help, but I am shocked at how much so few items get worn and vice versa!

    2. BTW- just read an article in my local paper about an upcoming John Singer Sargent Watercolors exhibit- spring at the Brooklyn Museum (April 5–July 28, 2013) and in Boston at the Museum of Fine arts (October 13, 2013 - January 20, 2014). Maybe a fall trip?
      I find that if I hit on a perfect , easy combination with an unused piece, I wear it more. I had a bronzed twig cashmere cardigan languishing in my closet forever, until I grabbed it to keep warm. I was wearing a striped LS tee and metallic belt and now that is one of my favorite outfits.
      I would love to swing by for vegetarian risotto!

  11. OT I found this very interesting artikle on comfortable shoes that you might like

  12. Mrs. O looks fantastic.

    I'm at the hairdresser's getting my hair done and catching up on blogs.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Oh have fun! I love the hairdressers!

  13. 1. I do force myself to wear different things in my closet. If it gets thrown back on the hanger twice without me actually wearing it, it will most likely be a gonner.
    2. I find Vogue exhausting to look at. So many ads til you finally get to hardly any meat.
    3. I am on pinterest but I use it to pin things I see in mags and catalogs for future reference. I only follow my daughter for suggestions on presents. Do not really scan stuff others pinned. I guess I use more as organizational tool.
    4. We make a mean butternut squash and chicken risotto. Hubs will not eat fungi. He's a sensitive soul.
    5. Not seen Sherlock but love, love,love Luther on BBC. So good and the seasons are only 4-5 episodes. We are anxiously awaiting for the third and last season.

    P.S. Em found two swim suits, me zero. We shopped for her at Target and that is not where I need to get my bathing suit...although I looked boobaliscious in their size Large.

    1. Yay for Em! I am at point I need ruching here, butt raiser there, something to make me look like I have hips and a pulley system for the girls! I am getting tired thinking of it! Have not seen Luther!

  14. I've missed you, can I sneak in for dinner, wild mushroom risotto is one of my very favorites! What do I really wear? Mostly PJs and sweats/jeans on the weekends (confessing) and still trying to make business casual work during the weekdays. I'm trying to put blinders on re: pinterest, polyvore and blogging already a little too consuming. Michelle is a lovely woman and I love her style but still uncertain how I feel about her posing for fashion spreads and presenting academy awards. Agree your favorite pic is stunning. This may be terrible for me to wonder but I do wonder how much work was done on that photo for the cover and what that means for the self image of mere mortals.

    1. Great points Tiffany! My shallow, aspirational dressing self thought "where could I wear I skirt like that!" - but you are right! I did NOT like her giving an academy award at all. I am reading your comments in my PJs, so I can relate to what you really wear! And yes, by all means, pop over for dinner any time! I almost went to California yesterday to see Kathy's studio tour and I would have dropped round for a drink with you afterwards! Wish they would hurry up and finish that whole teleportation business!


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