Fab Friday – Bloggy Boot Camp Edition

This weekend, some seriously fabulous bloggers will be visiting the City of Brotherly Love for Bloggy Boot Camp and I figured that, in honor of the SITS Girls‘ arrival to my fave city, we’d do a Fab Friday – Bloggy Boot Camp Style with things perfect for a blog conference.

 

Fab Friday - Bloggy Boot Camp Edition-Cooking In Stilettos

1. In any blog conference, comfort is key and, while flats and I are far from BFF until I get clearance, I still think they are an excellent choice for a blog conference because, stilettos for 8 hours in sessions and then to parties after – not a good look, imo. I love these Cole Haan Air Reesa Leather and Patent Ballet Flats – the neutral is perfect to rock with any outfit.

2. I know at some blog conferences, there are more laptops than outlets. I often bring my iPad (in addition to a small notebook) and having a cute case is always a plus. I love this kate spade new york iPad sleeve in this chick black and white floral. There is even a matching iPhone case.

3. Business cards are a must at these conferences.   I love these bright business card holders from Graphic Image that are functional and won’t get lost in a crowded bag.

4.  If pen and paper are more to your liking, I really love this kate spade new york organizer – such a great pop of color!  The girls at kate spade in King of Prussia must laugh because whenever I’m in there, I can’t resist heading to the back and looking at the organizers going “Hmmm… should I?” – maybe this summer I might treat myself – if I ever get out of these daggone sneakers.

5. Jen from One Curly Fry reminded me of the most important necessity for a blog conference – COFFEE! How could I have forgotten that (and, while I’m thinking of it – I better check to see where Starbucks is in relation to the hotel because me – that early in the am without coffee – oy vey!) I love this snazzy hot pink OXO Soft Works LiquiSeal™ Travel Mug.

6. There are some seriously great blogging books on the market. I have a few of them and have told you before about my adoration of Food Blogging for Dummies. Some others that are fabulous are ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, Professional Blogging For Dummies, and The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home. Both Audra McClellan and Colleen Padilla will be speaking at Bloggy Boot Camp tomorrow along with some fabulous speakers.

7. One of the things on my to-do list for June is to get another bookshelf because my cookbook collection is seriously out of control. One of my latest additions A Country Cook’s Kitchen: Time-Tested Kitchen Skills is focused on making things from scratch but not in a way that will make you scream for the hills (like the time I ruined the pie crust). In all seriousness, I can tell you their egg and bacon tart will be on the menu in the very near future (including a from-scratch pie crust that I hope to not kill). Who knows – I might even attempt to make my own puff pastry this year!

Have you attended a blog conference? What are some of your must-have necessities and any advice for anyone attending a blog conference?

[Disclosure – this post contains some affiliate links. My opinions, as always, are 100% my own]

Fab Friday – Sandal Obsessed Edition

Can you believe it is only a few weeks until summer’s unofficial kickoff – Memorial Day Weekend? Where does the time go? I have a few things planned this month but this summer – all bets are off. After being relegated to Cooking In Sneakers for the time being, I’m determined to get sandal ready for spring and add to my kitchen with some new lovelies. Come – take a peek at this week’s obsessions.

Cooking In Stilettos ~ Fab Friday ~ May Sandal Edition

Fab Friday ~ Pastels and Neons With A Dash of Rustic

What’s that saying ~ Everything Old is New Again? That applies to not only fashion but also to the home. With all that I’m seeing in the stores, if I just saved some of my neon and pastels from back in the day, I would be right on trend (at least shoe & accessory wise *LOL*). So, with this holiday weekend, I figured I’d give you a little eye-candy that might have you do a little virtual retail therapy.

Cooking in Stilettos: Fab Friday ~ Pastels and Neons With A Dash of Rustic

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Cooking In Sneakers All Thanks To The Trusty Ballet Flat

Yup – you read that right – this stiletto wench got served at the doctor’s today and given the worst news I could ever hear “Aly – until further notice, it’s sneakers for you.”

For the past 6 months, I had a bit of a “mishap” shall we say and my left foot has been driving me batty.  I invested in some of my favorite flats from Tory Burch and Cole Haan this winter and was stoked to be wearing them as I ran around Orlando next weekend for Food Blog Forum.    I know Disney is crazy and there was NO way I’d even venture in some stilettos for all day.  Now, I might break out a pair or two of my favorite wedges (again – Cole Haan and Tory Burch – what can I say – they are stylish and comfy!) but I figured flats were stylish for day to day.

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Shopping In Stilettos: Fab Monday – The Big 4-0 Edition

Yes, you guessed right, this gal hit the big 4-0 late last week and, I swear, with age comes memory loss. It’s been chaos this weekend in between a retro Dancin’ on Air taping for a special that will be airing this Thanksgiving on PHL17 to getting the SousPug ready for his stitch removal (hopefully this is the final stretch with his major health issues and he can just rest for a change). I definitely foresee some Cruzan in my immediate future after this roller coaster of a year.

Over the weekend, I decided to unplug and take a step back from the computer and gather my thoughts as well as think about what’s ahead in this new chapter of life. So, in true Aly form, I figured I’d shake things up a bit with a little Fab Monday action.  Here are a few things that I am obsessed with currently…

Fab Friday - Cooking In Stilettos Edition-11.7.11

 

1. These Mark + James Dannie boots caught my eye recently. I saw them in a teal color and am kicking myself now for not buying them when I saw them. Currently, my stilettos are crossed that these lovelies get put on the sale block at one of the sample sale sites.

2.  Confession: I am horrid to shop with sometimes. When it comes to big ticket items, I hesitate, channel my inner Suze Orman and, for the most part, can indeed behave (except when it comes to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table or cookbooks – after that, all bets are off!) There are some huge things that I am still obsessed with (like my favorite Crate & Barrel French Marble Island) but I can’t justify the expenses so close to the holidays.   After a recent excursion to NYC, I saw a couple Kate Spade bags that I could NOT get out of my head. Every time I would go into Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, etc., I would look at those bags (specifically the Kate Spade Maryanne and the Cobble Hill Leslie ) and would do a mental cost per wear depreciation in my head to see if it was, indeed, worth it. After getting an email about the Friends & Family sale currently happening at Bloomingdales along with 6% cash back from Ebates, I bought my first “40 and FABULOUS” bag – specifically, the Cobble Hill Leslie in this gorgeous stormy grey that will last a lifetime.

3. I did a little retail therapy this weekend and fell head over heels for this Marble Cheese Board from Crate and Barrel. They showed it up against my favorite Camden stoneware set that I’ve been lusting after forever and it just looked stunning – talk about a way to make a sale.

4. I’ve tried the French Press, the espresso maker and even a drip coffee maker and, confession time, my coffee making still leaves A LOT to be desired. This Chemex 6 cup coffee maker is gorgeous to look at and, I’m planning on using Anne Thornton’s Spiced Coffee recipe. If I fail with that – you have permission to slap me upside the head because, clearly, a coffee fiend that CAN’T make coffee – shameful *sigh*

5. After reading this article from Saveur about Whoopie Pie Pans, I decided that I could actually do more with it than just make the typical whoopie pie (which I have yet to attempt).  I picked up this Wilton Whoopie Pie Pan and I’m figuring that I might attempt making a few things like the “Muffin Tops” and other goodies with it around the holidays.

6. Speaking of bakeware, I am still on the fence about “purchase or not to purchase” this All Clad 8-in. Square Baking Pan. I’ve bought some typical 8×8 pans before and, after repeated use, they really don’t last as well as I would like them to. I have been seriously contemplating this All Clad Baking Pan for some time now – just a question of “Do I really want to spend THAT much and have it not work?” Has anyone used this and could maybe give a little insight?

7. I went a little “cookbook crazy” and picked up a few books that I just “had” to have. I know I will be using them like crazy over the holiday season and, of course, using a little recipe inspiration from them for here. One of the latest acquisitions was so good, I couldn’t wait for it to come over from the UK and bought it on the Kindle app for the iPad – Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy. If you haven’t caught her show, Simply Baking, on the Cooking Channel – you should. It definitely has shown me that the only complications that I associate with baking are clearly just in the mind – it’s not as difficult as I once thought. Her recipes are stellar and, you should be all set if you have a digital scale.  Her show definitely reminds me of some of the early Nigella episodes – very casual and a wealth of info.

Fab Friday – New York City Wine and Food Festival Edition

One thing I’m looking forward to is a day of R&R in one of my favorite cities – The Big Apple. This year’s Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival is set up a bit differently in that the demos are at the Grand Tasting Tents so the likelihood of me running around the city like a chicken with my head cut off like last year is null and void. The tents are near one of my favorite happy places, Chelsea Market, and, if time allows, perhaps a quick jaunt to the store with a shoe floor that has its own zip code might be on the agenda.

Fab Friday - NYCWFF Edition

 

1. I’m on the fence between sassy flat and wedgy boot. However, in a perfect world, what I would LOVE to wear is this Tory Burch Lawson bootie. I’m a sucker for wool and lace up details.  I know I know – when it comes to shoes, I will never learn.

2. Well, I can say that I learned my lesson last time and, in addition to NOT wearing 4″ stiletto boots, I will also not be lugging anything super heavy – whether it be cookbooks, magazines, etc. until I’m heading home.   It’s bad enough that the dslr cameras are a bit hefty.   One must item to take is my lovely iPad to do some blogging and writing in my travels and this Rebecca Minkoff Touch And Go iPad Case has been a lifesaver – chic and functional. I broke down and got the pink one but I will say that when I’m looking for my iPad among a slurry of books, binders and other items, I always can see the bright pink and smile.

Now – if only this gorgeous Jimmy Choo nude iPad case would be priced MUCH lower, I’d be a very happy stiletto wench. Sadly, it’s about the cost of a pair of stilettos *sigh* Oh well…

3. One of my must visit places is the Chelsea Market. Every time I head to the city, I drop by there to pick up a thing (or three) and I have definite plans on picking up some seriously delish pumpkin seed brittle from Jacques Torres, perusing the cookbooks at Posman Books, looking for intriguing cooking finds at Bowery Kitchen Supply and picking up this lovely Pembroke Salt Dish from Anthropologie for my Aleppo pepper.

4. One of the demos I’m excited about seeing is the Beekman Boys. They have a great cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation, that is garnering quite the buzz. Amazon has it but it was a bit of a wait time on delivery.  Luckily for me this weekend, Barnes & Noble had copies prominently displayed and a copy immediately went home for the cookbook arsenal.  This is a cookbook that will be treasured – beautifully photographed with vintage notepad touches and the recipes – oh the recipes. We’re talking seasonal recipes that scream comfort such as Beer Braised Beef with Onion Dumplings, Harvest Beef Chili with Pumpkin and Beans, Orange Gingerbread with Bourbon Custard and Jumbleberry Pie. Seriously – get this cookbook because I promise you will cook from it often. These are recipes that I’m sure are “Polka Spot The Llama Approved”.

5. Finally, after the chaos of the day to day and all that’s gone on with the Sous Pug recently, I reached my exasperation point and made an executive decision – the hair needed to be chopped. I’m a serial cheater when it comes to hairstylists and always have been. When I went to SOBE, the ‘do was the result of last minute rushing to someone I didn’t know and, when I saw the photos, I winced. Also, knowing that I was cutting off a ton of hair, I didn’t want my fabulous friend Heather to be put into a position of dealing with my crazy “Cut. It. Off.” moments as I adore her too much. Looking at my packed schedule, I made a call to Manayunk’s own Salon L’Etoile and begged the gals to see if my favorite stylist there, Jeff, had an opening. Thankfully there was one spot left and thanks to Jeff’s very skilled scissors, the hair is short (well for me) and sassy and will do fine in NYC. Jeff accepted me back with open arms and he’s aware of my stylist commitment issues but never judges.  Seriously, if you are in Philly and need a fab salon that will spoil you rotten, check them (and him) out.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Fab Friday – All Things Williams Sonoma

I think come November, you are going to think “Aly – c’mon – it’s WINTER – stop crowin’ about fall finds” but I figure that while I can showcase fall items, I’m going to do it

This week’s Fab Friday choices are from one of my favorite happy places – Williams-Sonoma.  I spent some serious time there this week fondling the new displays, kitchen islands, looking at new items, etc. and I have to say – GET THEE TO WILLIAMS-SONOMA STAT – even if it is to stock up on their famous Butternut Squash puree (which, btw, make EXCELLENT butternut squash ravioli – just a thought).

 

First of all, I am really miffed that the Nine West stores are no longer in Cherry Hill or King of Prussia malls. I would have LOVED to rock this Nine West Mavenue bootie for NYCWFF or for Tuesday’s book signing. Boots and I are funny friends – they have to fit and I can’t buy them sight unseen with certain brands because of size variances. Oh well – I’ll just have to order them for the day to day. Check out that detailing on the heel… Love!

Pieces from Williams-Sonoma’s Heirloom Pumpkin Serveware Collection – especially the Dipping Bowls – will be a must for the Thanksgiving table. Perfect colors – not too cutsey and, yes, I do have a pumpkin candy dish on an end table that I feel adds a touch of whimsy. I’m not going to pull a Sandra Lee and tell you to tablescape everything but if you like fall details, why not incorporate them into your décor, right? Who knows, I might even use the dipping bowls on a desk to hold odds and ends. All I know is that it makes me smile when I see it.

While we are on the subject of tableware, how stunning is this Venezia Wooden 3 Tier Stand. Simple yet elegant.

How do you store your onions, potatoes and garlic? I keep my onions and garlic in a bronze basket on my (little to no room) countertop and I have a potato canister that isn’t as elegant looking as this. I am over the moon about this Potato, Onion & Garlic Storage Canister Set that is on my “must get” list. If anything it will make my kitchen look just a bit more “together.”

You know I had to reference the pumpkin & butternut squash products again at WS, right? Well they are in stock and ready for your pantry. My favorites include the Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Sauce, the Pumpkin Curry Simmering Sauce, and, of course, the Butternut Squash puree. I stock up on these in the fall/winter because they often sell out and use them throughout the year. Who says pumpkin is only good for fall, right? They haven’t gotten their Apple Cranberry Orange relish in stores yet but when they do, my happy behind is adding that to the stockpile!

Finally, as I’ve said before, I cannot wait to add Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook to the cookbook shelf come Tuesday. Bobby will be at the Williams Sonoma in King of Prussia this Tuesday, so Philly peeps, hope to see you there. More details about his cookbook tour are HERE.

What are you obsessed with this week?