trimmed and tied, always ongoing

with 2 Comments

black sweater, blue denim, suede flat, lots of green

Still getting settled after Thanksgiving week and now entering holiday mode, oh, boy. We’ve done this before, yet there’s always those moments of uncertainty when you think you just can’t get there. One year when staging and decorating for husband’s office Christmas party with major event designer sister from CA, she said, ‘you can never be done’, and I still think of that. Any party or event or dinner or holiday or even wedding planning could just keep going and going. Now I tell myself to give it a really good strong effort and then at some point just let it be enough.

We’ve got trees, some decorated, some not. Some with skirts, and some without. Twenty year old daughter hung some of the ornaments while home from break and I wasn’t even in the room with her. We chatted, room to room, her hanging, me cooking, and I just let her be. Years past or even recent years I might have micro-managed, this tree decorating I can totally let go.

Card writing is giving me anxiety, and we’ve even got a great photo or two this year. The actual card is on order, and that’s two steps ahead of where we usually are in this production process. We’ve looked at stamps, no decision yet. Details details.

easiest dinner ever is to have your butcher trim and tie a whole tenderloin, pop it in a super hot oven for 22 minutes or so, let rest, and carve

We had a full house, and I cooked and baked my head off. Tenderloin, ham, turkey. Potatoes, beans, pasta. Cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes. Bacon bacon and bacon. Wine wine and more wine. Can you tell where this is going?

probably spent 16+ hours or so in an apron

new French food processor, needs to go back, Pulse button not working!

This most wonderful time of the year is by any stretch not easy. Trimmed and tied, perhaps, yet always ongoing….

big chunk of blue and chopped tarragon

birthday wedge and bolognese for fourteen, kind of standard. this was after Thanksgiving and there wasn’t a clean white linen left in the house, so, mismatched it was

bought two $40 bouquets at grocery and had oldest daughter cut them down into 11 small arrangements in canning jars, a look she totally dismissed for wedding vibe, hahaha (and agree) 

Merry merry, hustle hustle.

always happy and forever in blue jeans baby

Every day dress, xoxo.

 

set stylist

with 5 Comments

While my first inclination was to name this post ‘home stylist’, couldn’t get myself to do it while I’m being extravagant in wake of the California wildfires. We’ve been dealing with  house-wide flooding issues and some serious health stuff, yet nothing comes close to neighborhoods being leveled, lives being lost, children wearing face masks, and our hearts are with those in one of our favorite states.

You know we’re about good clothes and great food, and creating a lifestyle that speaks to luxury, whatever that may mean to each of us. One of our current favorite aspirational brands is Gucci, and their recent statement to me by email reads:

In solidarity with Gucci employees, clients, and friends in California, we are supporting the relief efforts in the local communities that have been affected by the devastating California wildfires.

Gucci has donated to the following organizations, and you can join us by making your pledge to the charity of your choice.

American Red Cross

Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation

The Humane Society of the United States

Malibu Foundation

United Way of Northern California

Gucci Equilibrium

This is the heart of Gucci’s mission to bring positive change in order to secure our collective future.

Gucci, you moved me to give. Please know you’re in the lineup for some of my Christmas gift spending dollars, thank you.

We here at every day dress can’t move mountains or put out fires, we do want we can and always try to make small things better. Wardrobe, food, home, or set stylist, it’s kind of our thing.

Two college daughters and newlyweds arrive home tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we just can’t wait to put our arms around them and be in their face.

In preparation I almost get manic, try to make things nice, and runaround securing supplies for both indoor and outdoor spaces. As a ‘set stylist’, current project is the 10 outdoor planters scattered about the city house. Thought long and hard and even pulled the trigger on pre-made and decorated grocery planters, and bought 10 yesterday morning while at market. Got them home, and while beautiful, they just weren’t giving me the look or feeling I was after. Back they went, all within an hour and 15 minutes.

Decided to YouTube outdoor planters, and with some new inspiration pulled out the iPhone and called around to local nurseries for fresh-cut greens, and in particular red twig dogwood branches. Found a source, thank you Elber’s, and off we went. An SUV full later, two planters in, and we’re on our way to a natural, pretty, and evergreen holiday look for the outside of our still standing home.

California, wishing you peace, calm, and recovery.

Every day dress, xoxo.

all photos iPhone / MacBook Pro went black / in for video card repair

 

dressing the bird

with 10 Comments

Yeah, the blog has taken a backseat to life’s happenings, and I miss it. Writing here is honestly a bit of a creative exercise, and exercise is always better when it’s a regular thing, wink wink.  

With Thanksgiving Day a week from tomorrow, thought it might be a good time for reentry by sharing my first published piece, Dressing the Bird. Never mind it’s a neighborhood publication, it feels good to have something I wrote actually in hard copy print, thank you Megan. We’re all about trying new things, putting yourself out there a little, and taking small risks. So, here we go, sharing with you my submission for Delaware Park Living magazine:

Dressing the Bird

First Thanksgiving dinner thirty-one November’s ago we brought to the table a partially frozen bird. Who knew you couldn’t make the Wednesday night bar rounds, sleep a few hours, wake up early, run the oldest foot race in America and do Thanksgiving dinner soup to nuts all in a few hours?
That was our first married holiday meal, and we invited guests. Mom showed up early afternoon and wondered why the turkey wasn’t in the oven and I really didn’t know why either. Simply jumped in with no experience and went to town. Can’t remember how I ever got dinner on the table and fed my people, yet it did happen, and it was memorable.
Now, three decades later, six kids, a new son-in-law, and we’ve got it down. There’s got to be two turkeys, (and now we cook them just fine), good old-fashioned bread stuffing, cooked cranberry sauce with cinnamon and orange, green beans, double amounts of mashed potatoes, candied yams with of course marshmallows on top, roasted Brussels sprouts, soft, buttery dinner rolls, triple amounts of scratch gravy, pumpkin, blueberry, and apple pies. When the kids were little I used to make them pick the berries, and froze them for our November and December holiday pies. Now I call the farm, order a flat or two, and freeze them in 6 to 8 cup zip-lock bags for pie on the ready. Crust has got be scratch, and only with butter, no white shortening in this kitchen, and that can be done early, and frozen before rolling out as well.
One turkey to carve and one to look at until dinner is done. The second bird is so we can send hearty leftovers home with family and friends and for sandwiches the next day. In the early years when Gourmet magazine was still a thing we jumped around with the stuffing, adding chestnuts, or weird things, always with complaints if there wasn’t old fashioned bread stuffing as well. Now we just go with the tried and true, cutting the crusts off of two or three loaves of Pepperidge Farm white and letting the bread dry on the countertop for a few days. In a pinch we’ve been known to throw it in the oven for the speedier version.
The only Thanksgiving dinner I didn’t cook in the last three plus decades was the year I was pregnant with our fourth child, it was her real due date on the big turkey day, and husband and I with our eldest son and our twins were invited for dinner at mom’s house. Walked the Turkey Trot that day, (no drinks the night before), me pushing a double stroller and husband pushing a single, and went for dinner. Second son Maxwell who was two then pushed back from the table after it was all over and declared, ‘I’m loaded’: we still laugh about that today. Helped with dishes that night, told husband it was time to go, left the three wee ones with the grandmom, went and birthed Sarah. Sarah is now turning twenty-six this Thanksgiving season, and we are forever grateful, and still serving basically the same meal.
This family of ours now depends on tradition, and the food that goes with it. They can come home and know the bird will be dressed with old-fashioned bread stuffing, and that there will be gravy and pie, and all the fixings. It’s a secure feeling, and we are thankful for the bounty of this beautiful land, and for the soulful and good feeling of coming to table and breaking bread with those we love.
Wishing you all a holiday season of honest food, and a full heart.
Every day dress, and dressing the bird. xoxo

everything takes longer

with 4 Comments

tomato and roasted red pepper soup

Okay, so we’re desperately working on finishing professional plant-based cooking curriculum at Rouxbe, and it’s as expected in our world taking longer than what’s expected. We even paid extra for extra time to finish, a 30 day extension for $129.99 to be precise. As we have only 9 days left to finish, upload and send 28 graded activities, we’re most likely definitely looking at another extension for another chunk of cash. We’ve got life to tend to, the fall garden, the small business, and the family.

We’ve always been a non-traditional student. Night school non-matriculated courses at State University of New York at Buffalo served as our college introduction, and that entire process evolved over seven years, with an eighteen month old and twin newborns in the arms of my husband on graduation day.

This Professional Plant-Based Certification Course is intense. Designed as a six month foundational instruction in plant-based culinary arts, it focuses on the core techniques found in a plant-based kitchen. The course forces me to explore and practice a variety of recipes and flavors from around the world that I might never experience without having to leave my home. It’s all online, love that, and you receive ongoing chef instruction and support. I am consistently challenged to master technique, and those skills will now stay with me forever.

You might recall I was enrolled in the Rouxbe Professional Cook Certification, and that course took me longer to complete than the expected six-months as well. For us, everything seems to take longer, and that’s okay. A few of the lessons are repeated in the Plant-Based curriculum, such as knife skills and dicing practice, and I could upload my earlier work to move the process along. Thought about it, and then thought not. I’m here to learn, and get better, and by doing it again I’ll only get better. Doing things again and over and over to make a more pleasing, satisfying outcome, is the basic tenet of our every day dress lifestyle. It takes work, and it can take a long time, and like I said before we don’t always get it right.

simple cabbage soup with heat from cayenne

confetti quinoa salad – big hit with twenty-six year old daughter

While prepping plant-based soup and salad a few days ago I’m sure I swore and eye rolled a few times as plant things seem to take way longer to bring to table than throwing a tenderloin of any kind into a hot oven. Simple Cabbage Soup with scratch vegetable stock and Confetti Quinoa Salad with garlic fried quinoa will take every flat surface and probably every bowl and several pots and pans in your kitchen.

It’s a journey, and we’re definitely learning new things, and that’s kind of what life is all about anyways.

 

As for the what to wear where, we’re about adding some color to the rotation. If we’re doing new things in the kitchen why not add some new dimension to the wardrobe.

Every day dress all the time and why does everything always take longer than what we expect?

thirty one

with 4 Comments

Woke up this morning, had some coffee, hit the gym, and made the bed. Thirty one years ago today and almost all of those days in between I’ve followed pretty much the same routine, although that specific day I married the man of my dreams, the love of my life.

I knew at first sight that he was the one, he thought I was way too young. Kind of positioned myself so he would notice. Notice he did: a bride at twenty-two, a mom at twenty-three; we’re still here, still loving.

Good habits and aligned values have helped us endure. Family first, lots of exercise, shared meals.

taller than my man, and wore Azzedine Alaïa for church ceremony

We created our wedding day and have created every day since. Even then I loved clothes, and made the wedding dress, and the dresses for five bridesmaids, and two flower girls. Sewing my clothing was a self-taught skill, a hobby, and a necessity back then. Crazy girl, yet crazy kind of got me here today, thankful. Still love clothes, yet finding I need less, and want better. Even so I’m often most comfortable in husbands shirt, rolled sleeves, and worn in blue jeans.

Sure we still love to dress up, and celebrate. We celebrated large for oldest daughter’s wedding a month or so ago, and felt it fitting to share photos of that day, on this day, as both days celebrate love.

Thirty one and more, and every day dress. xoxo

all photos | Sarah Bridgeman

Yes, I wrote this post on our thirty-first wedding anniversary day, yesterday. Sarah Bridgeman, our daughter’s wedding photographer, compiled over 1,700 photos for us, each one seemingly better than the last. As you can imagine it takes hours to sort through, and wanted to post some of her images here, as to us they are just so magical. We hope you too can feel the love. Thank you, Sarah. 

where we’re at

with No Comments

late summer quick chicken with tomato garlic compote | all vegetables from farm share

2000 miles via auto and air and 8 states in 7 days and now we’re back in the studio and making dinner at home, woot woot.

today in the studio trying on plaid, these are size 6

love this look 

leopard and plaid denim and red pumps, yes please

I’ll be in the studio until the morning of September 11th, and for the record kind of all about these plaid denim pants.

Hoping everyone out there is hitting their stride with all new season stuff: back to school, back to work; and the world spins on….

molasses cookies with vanilla and sea salt caramel ice cream, why not, still summer, still living, this was desert for 3

kitchen goods | me

clothing items | Worth New York 

xoxo

the very best blur

with 4 Comments

Two weeks ago Saturday oldest daughter was married and it was a very best day and the very best blur. Of course we have crystal clear memories, yet honestly it was all so magical and all so fast, kind of like all best days, leaving an indelible and permanent feeling of euphoria on the mind and in the soul.

Yes, it was a very best day: two families and the gods and the stars aligned. A singular new little family of two was formed, and our two respective families and friends grew exponentially.  Love all around.

To get to that day and place required each and everyone of us put forth our very best efforts. The team was immense, intimately intertwined, and planning started the very next breath after the giddy engagement, November 5th. If my math is right, it was exactly 40 weeks of planning and preparation, equal to what goes into a birth, which are my other best days, each one internally tattooed.

Proper ceremony was in the city, and beautiful reception in the country. Husband and I moved  ourselves into our summer house the last week of June and gardened our hearts out until the very morning of August 11th, it was heaven on earth.

Today is Monday and there are new beginnings happening all around us. Fifth child starting her collegiate sophomore year and sixth and youngest beginning her first. Oldest son soon to celebrate his third decade, and newlyweds moving from NYC to Boston next weekend.

Thankful for life, and all of its idiosyncrasies. Wishing everyone their very best blurs.

xoxo

professional photos | Sarah Bridgeman @ sarahbridgemanphoto.com

all others | iPhone

 

cooking at home

with 3 Comments

Four of us are on the road, one Providence College move in and drop off, circle home quick then out and a Furman University drop.

Road food has been great, been thinking about that lobster roll all summer long. Girls and I love and enjoy food, and any shared meal is often our favorite part of the day.

We’ve been cooking at home for as long as we can remember, and honestly feel it’s a kind of super glue. Cooking at home brings us together and creates unbreakable bonds, the kind that make college drop offs unbelievably bittersweet.

get back to it

with 6 Comments

No better way to break the ice than to simply get back to it and sink in. We’ve been out, and loving every minute. Not every day that a child gets married, and we put our all into it to make it happen. Happen it did, it was amazing, in so many out of the world ways. Wedding post coming, need to gather resources, stay tuned.

What we really do most days is aim to wear good clothes, cook and eat good food, and try our best to think good thoughts. With that, we did a kind of Sunday dinner on a Tuesday, and broke bread with those we love. Every day things.

Every day dress, after an epic wedding push, trying to get back to it. xoxo

44 days…

with 5 Comments

6:59 am text to oldest daughter, bride to be, ‘is it really 44 days away or did I count wrong’. Her immediate reply, ‘you counted correct’. Holy moly.

Tuesday we planted 5 more hydrangea, weeded a ton, organized furniture, and did basic life. Wednesday we went and got more hydrangea, weeded forever, (even the driveway because no one I know is going to weed the driveway), and loaded in 15 cases of wine that arrived from last out-of-town excursion until after this wedding day. Now Thursday, and we’re staying put, and head is down.

We love doing parties, and this will be our biggest yet. Nothing like throwing a party to get you in gear to do stuff you’ve thought of doing. We’re renovating, for sure. Completely redoing a barn, recovering cushions, digging a second well, redoing decks, establishing new garden beds. It’s not every day we get to receive 200+ most favorite humans, some from as far away as Brazil, for a celebratory dinner out in the country-side. Kind of feel like I’m living my best life, because really I like my hands in the dirt.

While in the weed patch today I was thinking of this site, and thinking I should simply chronicle what’s going on for the next 44 days as weddings are big life events. Thank you for hanging in, we’ve kind of got mountains to move, and when I blink I know it will have come and gone, and that’s the circle of this wonderful life.

all photos by Alexis, dear friend of the bride to be, coming to celebrate with us from San Diego

dress | W by Worth

shoes | Christian Louboutin

ps. turning 53 in a week or so and have decided here, in this space, it can be what it needs to be, different at different times, kind of like when you roll through the decades. Also, no filter. 🙂

Every day dress, 44 days…..xoxo

 

1 2 3 4 7