I dream of things shagreen!

We are having a moment with shagreen.  It all started with these beautiful Marcesa pillow-cases.

Shagreen Pillow Cases

Then it morphed into an all out obsession.  Suddenly this funny sounding pattern was appearing in everything we saw – from coffee mugs to iPhone cases, shagreen has infiltrated our lives and we’re loving it.  Named after the patterned skin of either a shark or a stingray, shagreen offers the color and texture combination that seems to perfectly accent any accessory. 

Shagreen Dream

Wedgewood Tea Cup, Leather Desk, Mint Clutch, iPhone cases, Leopard Cuff, Pillow Covers, Sally Rosen Card Holder

Wild Mushroom Risotto


Wild Mushroom Risotto

This recipe is so simple and delicious, you cannot not make this – pardon the double negative.  It really only involves a few ingredients and the directions worked so well, I’m choosing to copy them verbatim below.  Besides, it’s a Giada recipe – and based on her gorgeous husband and Malibu pad, clearly she knows what she’s doing.


  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional


Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


This Weekend in Pictures

August Weekend_1
Clockwise from top left: Baha’I Temple, Belgian Waffle with over-easy eggs and applewood smoked bacon, Wilmette Beach, bright purse on a fun night out, the park at Belmont Harbor, perfectly ripe green mangoes.
August Weekend_2
Clockwise from top left: Bridgehouse tavern for mimosas and brunch, fresh flowers from the farmer’s market, Laura’s drop-back dress, summer sky, churros from Xoco.

Happy Friday!

> image of Randolph Street Market via Michigan Avenue Magazine

We have been bad bloggers and haven’t done our “Happy Friday” posts in a while – but it IS Friday and I AM awfully happy about that, so here we go! We’re both pretty pooped from a long work week, but we MADE it and we’re ready for a good balance of fun and relaxation starting…. now.

Some fun reads that caught our eye or made us laugh:

Fall Two Ways

It has officially happened.  The point in the summer has come that I am just summer-ed out. I don’t want to put on a bathing suit, I want to not feel guilty about skipping a beautiful night’s opportunity to eat outdoors, I want my hair to be normal just for ONCE without the added oomph of Chicago’s humidity.

Besides the fact that it was unseasonably warm as early as May and its been summer-y for a third of the year now (not complaining!), I really do love the seasons. I will admit that January and February are typically pretty bleak, but I think it makes me that much more appreciative of these beautiful, glorious summer months.

But now, as I’m setting work appointments for September and the sun is going down a tiny bit earlier, I’m feeling ready.

So all of this means… fall clothes!

Stumbling across these two Fall 2012 lookbooks this evening definitely didn’t help matters. On one hand, I feel all Michael Kors-y, like I’m SO ready to curl up in a big white sweater and get my leopard on, but thennnn I see Ann Taylor’s black and white with pops of color and I’m just itching for a peplum top.

What designers are getting you excited for fall?

Michael Kors

Photos via TrendHunter.com

Ann Taylor

Photos via JustJared.com

The Air & Water Show By Sea



I love the Air and Water show. I do not love the crowds at the beach.

This year, I crossed a major To Do off of my bucket list, and joined 18 friends on a boat for an incredible summer Sunday that I will never, ever forget. There’s a thumb in the picture of me diving into the water in my shorts and tank top (we thought it was going to be too cold to swim), but you better believe that happened.


Quartino’s New Second Story Outdoor Patio

> Photo via Eater Chicago

Thanks to this handy tip from Eater Chicago, I was raring to check out Quartino’s new second-level patio. Quartino is a long time DEUX on our list. (How do we not use that pun more often?) It’s the perfect spot for happy hour with the girls or a loud group dinner. Wine by the carafe? Cheese by the mountain? Olives by the bucket? Exceptionally reasonable prices? Yes, please!

Ali and I twisted arms, bribed and threatened with bodily harm last week so the girls would drag themselves out on a Tuesday (read: proclaimed, “new outdoor patio at Quartino!” to an extremely receptive and enthusiastic reception)  to experience it for ourselves, and while it was much smaller and far more narrow than the above picture lets on, it was absolutely lovely. In the future, I’d stick to a smaller group of two or three, but the five of us spent a great evening catching up over chilled white wine, grilled octopus and gorgonzola dolce, blissfully perched above the madness of State and Ontario.

FYI: It’s first come first serve, and we had to specify that we wanted to sit upstairs.

Cheers to another al fresco dining option, Chicago!