Friday, July 29, 2011

Bow and kirtsy...

One of the blog updates I try to keep up with is DesignMom's site.  She up and moved to France for a year - how cool is that? Um, she has six children - how on earth does she manage that? And she's balances practical ideas with fanciful doodads..with six children.  Have I mentioned she has six children?

One of the other websites Gabrielle Blair, the one and only behind Design Mom, was called Kirtsy, which I tried taking a look at once or twice in its old form but confess I never really understood what it was.  A message board? A list serv? Was never really sure what to do with it though there seemed to be a lot going on.  This week though they've renewed and rebranded into a form that I think will make my daily morning coffee reading list.  The idea is to build a slideshow daily of several great images around a particular theme - kind of "the best of what's on the web" on this topic.  Notice how this is yet another balance of practical and fanciful. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one to see how it unfolds, but in the meantime, here are a few images from the slide shows already up to get you started.

The best of cakes.

The best of etsy.

The best of fashion.

The best of hair.

The best of "getting lost".

All images via Kirtsy.
First image on the best of hats.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mr. DeMille..we are ready for our close up...

So it looks like we're going to be on teee-veee - ha! We have been out and about, scouting out the new developments in our neighborhood in the three years that we've been gone.  One of them includes a lovely little restaurant called Birch&Barley/Churchkey.  The first is the more formal restaurant downstairs, the second is the less formal bar.

We did the bar this time around and they happened to be filming an episode of Unique Eats for the Cooking Channel right at the same time.  While we're in no way stars of the show, apparently we might have bit parts as we were told to "bite into these delicious burgers" and "act natural".  I was such a natural that I promptly dropped my food out of my mouth and into my lap so I'm hoping they will have the good sense to edit that in post-production.  It wasn't my most diplomatic audition.

Their claim to fame, other than their chef Kyle Bailey who's been racking up awards around town, is their 555 artisanal beers, which is more of a draw for diplo-husband than for me - for me, the biggest draw is likely their simplest item.  The tater tots - what's more exotic america than that? I serve tater tots at nearly every brunch party, as I've learned that they're a crowd pleaser no matter what else is on the menu.  At Churchkey they have a perfectly soft mashed potato center, nice crispy exterior.  They've apparently been known to get a wee bit pretentious at this restaurant but based on our one experience, I have to say thumbs up so far.  It was a slower time of day so they were very diplo-baby friendly - looks like we'll be back for some more tater tots.

Photos by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who are the people in your neighborhood...

In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood.  I don't know that we know the people quite yet, but are definitely observing some differences in the general look and feel between our home in Logan Circle and our home in Vienna.  Bizarre lawn art, large crosswalks (at least, they seem to be so in a post-Vienna world, garages and shelters on the verge of being converted into apartment buildings and a very nice patch of sunflowers...just a glimpse of what's in our neighborhood...

Photos by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diplo-Style: Super (Fashion) Mom

And since we were talking about Vogue yesterday, I couldn't help but post these shots of Sarah Jessica Parker today.  Yes, I know most mom's don't dress like that - including SJP herself (we've all seen the "Stars...they're just like us" in US Weekly), and while some might deride an Oscar, I see it in a different light.  Not as unrealistic, or frivolous or sending the wrong message.  For me, I see aspirational elegance and the notion that you can be a mom and convey someone who has their act together, even if there is a little chaos on the side (who doesn't like a little chaos on the side?). 

And besides, I don't read Vogue for the realism. I get enough of that in the day to day.  I read it for the fantasy.  And these are fantastic shots, fantastic clothes, and a fantastic hat thrown in for good measure.  And I love the last shot, the one with just the two of them.  You could swear that they storyboarded this shot from the quotation about love not being about gazing at each other with googly eyes but rather looking out together in the same direction.  Beautiful work, Mario Testino, beautiful work.

Photograhy by Mario Testino.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Ever since her lovely but understated wedding to Stephen Gaghan was featured in Town and Country, I've been on the lookout for Minne Mortimer.  She just seems like a cool girl, and I love the fact that her name is "Minnie".  Her home was just featured in APT with LSD and got my mind wandering to those beach houses I love so much.  Somewhere on the life list is to live in Southern California for awhile...I think I was a Beach Boys groupie in a prior life.  Love those sunny yellow pillows in the patio room.

Photography by Claiborne Swanson Frank via

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Slanted Door...

I'm one of those people that keeps a "list" - restaurants to try, bars to check out, exhibits worth a look...I have been for years.  And one of the restaurants that's been on my list for no joke about ten years has been The Slanted Door.  I somehow never made it between timings and bookings.  Since this trip was a bit last minute, I didn't get a chance to book ahead  - I called all the days we were there - no room, no room, and no room.  Finally, diplo-husband called our last day on a whim with a story about how his wife has been wanting to eat there for years (a true story) and lo and behold, a table!

Whenever you've been waiting on something for awhile, there's the chance it will disappoint but not so with the slanted door.  Farm fresh peppers flash fried with sea salt, a perfectly fried spring roll, scallops that melt as you eat them, and the famous "shaking beef" - cubes of filet mignon in a lime sauce.  We topped it off with the strawberry bread pudding - it read more like french toast to me but was still a great end to a great meal.

We also hit up another long-time listee in Zuni Cafe another night in town - unfortunately, with diplo-baby approaching her bedtime that evening, we didn't go for their trademark "perfect" roast chicken, as declared by Sheila Lukins.  It takes an hour to prepare in a brick oven and I didn't want to test the patience of the good patrons of San Francisco with a potential meltdown (which never occurred but still) We still had a wonderful meal, oysters, salmon for me and one of the best beef filets we've had in a long time for DH - besides, in the words of my mother, you always have to leave something to come back for so roast chicken next time around...

Photos by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Exotic America: If you are going, to San Francisco...

Be sure to wear your flowers in your hair...  Sure, flowers and a big fat parka - in July...  I knew it wouldn't be "hot" in San Francisco, but I didn't quite get the memo that it would only be in the 50's and 60's, so while I packed some layers, I didn't pack quite enough.  Poor diplo-baby was being dressed in about three onesies at once and her little fleece sweater over and over again - and we finally made an emergency stop to get another sweater for her.  I myself was wearing two cardigans over my work dresses at a time - so the multiple layers on all of us were giving us a very particular "you're not from around here, are you?" ragtag kind of look.  Of course, that seems positively refreshing considering what temperatures were waiting for us in the steam sauna of DC when we returned.

Here are a couple of scenes from around town...

Classic Exotic America: The Traveling Jesus Youth Choir

Photos by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And darling guess what? Balenciaga, it was...

Actually, Balenciaga it wasn't (and that line was from Kiss of the Spider Woman for the less Broadway inclined).  I was excited to catch the Balenciaga and Spain exhibit at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco during our trip since I had heard so much about it when it was in New York but we were still in Vienna.  Alas, it was not to be - timing-wise it didn't work out, but in researching the exhibit, I have to say I was a bit off-put by the can't miss proclamation of "Strollers not allowed in this exhibition" in large lettering.

Honestly, I'm okay with babies not being allowed everywhere - not everything is for babies, and probably not precariously balanced mannequins with very expensive vintage couture clothing.  But if I'm going to pay $25.00 to see these items- actually any items,  then I think something along the lines of, "Patrons, please note - due to the delicate nature of the items on display, strollers will not be allowed in this exhibit." is a bit more palatable, at least for my taste.  And if by no strollers they mean that children are also not allowed at all in the exhibit, then they should just go ahead and say so - if however, the question was about the actual stroller, then something like "But we invite you to enjoy the exhibit with your child in arm" would be a nice follow up.  Again, I'm actually okay with the fact that not everything is for kids or kid items, but why not go the extra mile and state it more politely? 

Maybe it's just me, but the deYoung could have managed this message a bit better.  So for this one, we'll have to enjoy the exhibit in pictures.  And stroller or no stroller, that first dress up top is diplo-style all the way.

All photos from google images.
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