Every time I open a Vogue magazine or watch a runway show, my husband, Mikey says, “Who would wear that?”.  I’ve tried to explain it to him, and yet the question remains.  I’m gonna break it down for all of you who ask the same question when you see Gigi Hadid walking the runway with a bird’s nest on her head.

It isn’t meant to be worn.  These pieces aren’t for sale.  It’s wearable art.  Consider the runway a performance piece and Fashion Week the big opening reception.  The emphasis is on innovation and creativity, not functionality.  Do you question abstract expressionism (think Jackson Pollock)?  Some of you (like Mikey) probably do.  It’s very similar.  It simply exists to be art.  It’s about the paint itself and the action of painting.  So, color, line, texture, and mood are what you end up with.  You’re not supposed to see anything specific in the work.

Runway shows are more about publicity and selling the overall style/feel of a designer’s collection.  The theme will later translate to more wearable pieces.  What do I mean by “theme”?  The color palette, material, etc…  The runway is just a canvas for the designer to display their art and make a statement.  And you have to consider the entire package – the setting, makeup, music, etc.  Here is a good example – Rodarte.  Their collection was feminine, gothic, and a bit whimsical (yes, all of those adjectives in one).  You can view their Fall NYFW show here.

http://cdn.fashionisers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Rodarte_fall_winter_2016_2017_collection_New_York_Fashion_Week1.jpg

(photo courtesy of Vogue)
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(Marc Jacobs and Lady Gaga.  Photo credit Kevin Tachman)
Because these designers are so influential, their designs inspire every level of fashion.  What you find at Forever 21 was in fact introduced on the runway last year.  The person (fictional character, actually) who put it best was Miranda from “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets?  And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.”
With that being said, there are also a lot of wearable items shown at NYFW.  For example, Tom Ford and Versace.
Finally, to the point… Fur, leather, metallics, suede, florals, lace, chokers (or anything around the neck really), puffer jackets, elaborate embroidery, fringe, and fabrics inspired by upholstery.  Those are the trends this Fall.  Of course there are more but I personally do not like them, and this is my blog so I chose to omit.  Curious?  Go watch the shows and decide for yourself.  You may now have a slightly different view.
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Sunday Funday

Brunch is probably my favorite meal to have with friends.  Especially in the Fall.  It’s the perfect combination of many great things- something sweet, something savory, something “pumpkin spice”, and a good reason to drink bottomless mimosas before noon.  I try to dress fabulously appropriate, but I think showing up in the clothes that you wore  out the night before is equally appropriate, and probably makes for better conversation.  I have a friend, who will not be named (*cough* Julia Burns *cough*), who tends to find herself “too hungover” to make it to brunch.  She still doesn’t get it.  That is the POINT of brunch.  But, I digress… You can ask my husband, or many of my friends, I may not be the best cook when it comes to dinner, but I believe that I have masted the art of Brunch. If you’re hosting one at your home, here are a few tips:

1.) The Menu – A biscuit bar perhaps…  This could be made elaborate enough that you need not add anything else to accompany it.  You could choose to theme your menu around a specific season, for example, pumpkin pecan waffles in the Fall, or cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad croissants,  and fruit salads in the Summer.   Another fun idea: Head to a Farmer’s Market the day before (thank you, Atlanta!) and grab whatever fresh produce, meat, or cheeses that catch your eye.  Talk to the vendors – they will suggest things that you never thought of!  You can usually find good local honey and jams as well, and that is ALWAYS good- no matter what you’re serving.

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I feel like Quiche could have it’s own category, but I’ll mention it here… I almost always make a quiche. Who doesn’t like quiche? It’s so delicious, diverse, and easy to make! I change it up each time, to compliment the other menu items. When in doubt, make a quiche. See below for my latest creation…

2.)  Cocktails! – You can even get fancy with your cocktail menu!  Try a champagne bar with different juices and fruit purees.  Or, coffee bars are fun.  You can serve a variety of hot and iced coffees, flavored/regular or a range of roasts, and accompany with Kahlúa and Baileys.  Don’t forget the nutmeg, cinnamon, and whipped cream.  Now, my personal favorite is the Bloody Mary bar.  When done right, a “Bloody Bar” can double as part of the meal itself!  I’ll admit, my family gets carried away.  But that’s how we like it.  I better be drinking it through a meat stick or you can forget about my receiving my endorsements!

3.) Decor – Yes, no matter how intimate your brunch, you should consider the decor.  Do you have a theme?  At our last brunch, I went with a Kate Spade inspired tablescape (a simple version).  Black, white, gold, and berry.  Polka dots, crystal, even the food was black, white, and berry colored.  This can be done by switching out tablecloths, stemware, dishes, and adding florals.  It not as complicated as it sounds.  You don’t need to have a “sit down” formal meal.  Use appetizer plates and serve it buffet style, that way your guests can pick at the spread throughout the party, or sit and eat at their leisure.  I went with a white linen tablecloth, black “confetti dot” runner, and single stem knockout roses (picked from our yard).

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For an easy and inexpensive touch,  provide fun cocktail napkins.  I pick them up in random gift shops wherever I go, and even friends and family have brought me gifts of their own unique finds.  I assume it’s because I always seem to be passing out cocktails –  with an event appropriate cocktail napkin, of course!

Below is the full menu from this brunch, with recipes…

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Since it was the end of blueberry season, I served a LOT of blueberries.  What goes well with blueberries?  Everything… just kidding.  Honey!  My grandparents’ neighbors have hives that produce some amazing honey and we used it on several dishes.

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BlueberryCrostini.jpgI found the recipe on (you guessed it) PINTEREST!! This recipe originated from a food blog called Two Peas & Their Pod, and it is definitely a keeper.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup ricotta cheese
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
Additional honey, for drizzling

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place blueberries on a large baking sheet. Pour two tablespoons of the fresh lemon juice over the blueberries. Drizzle 1 tablespoon honey over blueberries. Gently toss the berries. Roast for 7-10 minutes or until blueberries are soft and almost ready to pop. You want to take them out of the oven before they pop. Let the blueberries cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread the baguette slices with the ricotta cheese mixture. Spoon roasted blueberries on top of the cheese. Drizzle each baguette slice with honey and serve.

Note-to toast baguette slices-preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place baguette slices on a large baking sheet and toast until edges are slightly golden and bread begins to toast, about 5 minutes.

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This is CRACK.  If you’ve never had candied bacon, stop what you’re doing and make this.  I have no real recipe, per se, I just know how it’s done.  When I was in graduate school, I interned for Turner Broadcasting.  One assignment was to assist on a photoshoot for CNN’s “Slow Food” Special, featuring Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch. He showed us how to make candied bacon in the kitchen of Restaurant Eugene, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Maybe that explains the root canal I had earlier today???

Buy some good, thick cut applewood smoked bacon, place on a baking sheet (I line with foil), pile brown sugar on each slice of bacon, and crack some fresh pepper.

Cook at 350 for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through, and adding more brown sugar.  It’s that easy.  And 20 minutes in an estimate.  I don’t even know really.  It will look like a sticky, bacony, delicious mess.  Don’t let it burn.

When you take it out, let it cool and it should be hard like CANDY.  This past brunch, I threaded the bacon on wooden skewers, it makes it easier to handle and much better presentation.

quiche.jpgI use pre-made Pillsbury pie crust.  It’s good, cheap, easy and comes in a pack of two.  For some reason, I don’t know how to make only one quiche.

Keep the pie crust frozen until you are ready to fill it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook vegetables on stovetop – this particular time I used garlic, red, yellow, and green bell peppers, and Vidalia onions.  I cooked it just until slightly soft with some olive oil and garlic, then added fresh basil, thyme, and julienned sun dried tomatoes (from a jar in oil and spices, drained).  I don’t know how much (a big handful)…

Next, spoon hot mixture evenly between two pie crusts, and then cover in shredded swiss cheese, about 1 cup each.

Next, mix 8 eggs with 3/4 cup half and half, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Whisk, and then pour evenly into each pie crust.

Finally, lightly sprinkle each pie with crumbled feta, and drop dollops of herb goat cheese (I buy the Publix brand, sold in the deli.) Yes, these pies have a lot of cheese.  I REALLY love cheese, ok!?

Cook for about 35- 40 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set but jiggles a little when you shake the pan.  I know, that is very scientific and precise.

Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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September (yes, I realize that we are officially a week in)…  September- for me– is a transitional month.  It is our gateway to Fall.  Atlanta, of course it is still hotter than hell on most days, but early mornings and some nights you can feel it creepin’.  This past Saturday was the first (Saturday) College Football game of the season.  Although I am not a fan by any means, I can appreciate the parties (thank you, Madeline!), the excitement that I see in my husband’s eyes (like a kid on Christmas), and the premature pumpkin spice everyyyything that comes with it.  That’s all the good things that I have to say about that.  Now, the countdown begins… until football season is over (151 more days).  Kiss your husbands goodbye for now.

At least we have “The September Issue”!

vogue1.jpgThis is the biggest, more important issue of the year.  September signifies a shift in our wardrobes.  I would argue that Fall fashion is the best fashion.  Scarves, boots, layers, a new, rich color palette, even your nails change their mood… You can switch from colors like “Cajun Shrimp” to “Lincoln Park After Dark”.  And this year- expect to see velvet everything.  Like anything else, so many 90s trends are returning/have returned.  I will embrace the velvet, but I refuse to wear those chunky block heels that I had in middle school, no matter how much the gurus try to tell us it’s cool.

September also feeds our souls with a little something called FASHION WEEK.  New York Fashion Week will officially commence tomorrow!  I should be there volunteering but unfortunately, I have not yet fulfilled my R.H.O.A. dreams, so alas, I will working my day job.  Next year, people.  NEXT YEAR.  In the meantime, I will be watching the shows online, and you can too.  You may view live streams here:  http://newyorkfashionweeklive.com

You’re welcome.

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