So here I am, in glasses!  Fake glasses to be exact (explanation in a minute). For those of you who have to wear glasses, you probably think I’m insane for purchasing and actually sporting fake ones, and you’re right. But I just couldn’t help myself. I’m totally into them.  I may even take them on my vacation.  That would most definitely make me a crazy person. But am I alone here? Would you wear them just for style?

I realize a picture of me in glasses is not the norm around here, but recently I’ve felt more inclined to go beyond food and share other aspects of my life on this little blog.  What finally inspired me to do it was Ashley, over at Not Without Salt, who dedicates every Friday to posting pictures from her camera that showcase her family and recent happenings in her life.  Full disclosure, it is challenging taking self photographs! I can’t tell you how many pictures I took before I had a few mildly acceptable ones.  If I continue with these types of posts, I’ll have to enlist a helper.  And of course it would be nice to have photos that don’t include my actual camera.

I hope your weekend plans are far more relaxing than mine.  I have a to do list a mile long of things to get done before our trip, and then a six hour solo drive back to DC.  Can it be Monday already?

Friends, have you had a cucumber cocktail?  I am obsessed with them.  While I was out to dinner last week I had one consisting of cucumber vodka, basil simple syrup, and lemon juice.  It was beyond refreshing!  I’m eager to test out my own version at home.  Here are a few flavor combinations I find most inspiring:

1. Cucumber and Ginger: Cucumber infused gin, fresh ginger simple syrup, and a splash of soda

2. Cucumber and Cantaloupe Cooler: Cucumber and cantaloupe infused vodka, lime simple syrup, and a splash of soda

3. Cucumber Mojito: Cucumber infused rum, fresh lime juice, and mint simple syrup

What would you add to your cucumber cocktail?

It has been a week. I took on way too much. There may have been several meltdowns.  Consider yourself lucky you weren’t there…. oh my poor mom.

Do you ever do that?  Just take on too much? And then you find yourself deep in this to do list rut and all you want to do is sit around and watch House Hunters and Real Housewives? But here’s the thing.  This time around, I was so sure it wasn’t too much.  I was so sure this past month would be leisurely and relaxed.  I’d be cooking.  I’d get a tan.  I’d do yoga all the time. Turns out, not so much.

Luckily the worst of the craziness is over and our vacation is only days away.  Of course that too is stressing me out! All the prep and packing, and all I can think about is bringing enough underwear and getting my hairdryer to work in Asia. Lame.

I’m going to work on that, not being so lame.  And hopefully in these last few days at home they’ll be some time for cooking and a yoga class or two.  In the end, I get to see this guy so soon!

Growing up, we never had air conditioning in our house.  Because of the way it was designed, the house managed to stay pretty cool, but on back to back super hot days, the temperature would start to rise.  It mostly affected the upstairs, so we always had a slew a fans going at night. Because of that I got pretty used to sleeping in the heat, and also pretty addicted to sleeping with the sound of a fan running in the background.  To this day I sleep with a fan running each and every night.  Even in the dead of winter (at that time though, it’s not blowing on me).  Luckily Brandon enjoys sleeping with a fan too, or else things may have ended a long time ago!

The east coast is getting hit with another heat wave this week, so in preparation, we’re keeping things nice and light with easy dinners that don’t require turning on the oven.  To kick things off I made this simple salad last night that consists of avocado, grapefruit, and an easy lemon vinaigrette.  I feel like the Contessa has been a little absent around here lately, so this recipe is even more timely. Enjoy!

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Serves 2

1 large ripe avocado

2 grapefruits

juice of a 1/4 of a lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

several grinds fresh black pepper

I like to serve this as an arranged salad, not tossed.  It’s not only easier, but showcases the ingredients best.  Also, this can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate more guests.

Begin by peeling and slicing the grapefruit into segments.  Next slice each avocado half lengthwise.  Place the avocado on the platter first, creating a thin layer down the middle.  Place the grapefruit segments evenly on both sides. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing, and pour evenly over the avocado.  Can be served immediately or within the next hour of making.

Having recently been made a maid of honor, I’ve become much more aware of all things wedding. This past weekend I went to a bridal shower brunch for my dear friend Aliza (held here), and was totally smitten with the favors they gave out. Each guest got a jar of her mother’s homemade strawberry preserves and two delicate heart shaped sugar cookies baked by one of her bridesmaids.  The gifts had a personal yet elegant feel, how all shower gifts should be.

Naturally, it got me thinking about what types of gifts would work well for the shower I’ll be planning. It’s obvious I’d gravitate towards food related favors, but I think what makes them so nice is that it allows you to give guests something meaningful without spending a fortune. Items like decadent homemade granola, individually wrapped fleur de sel caramels, or even something like these homemade crackers would make for perfect gifts.

So tell me, what would you give?  I’m in need of more ideas!