After a delicious traditional breakfast [with the most amazing carrot juice ever!] at Don Deme, a local breakfast a short walk away from our apartment in Roma Norte, T and I set out on one of my favorite excursions during our time in Mexico: Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city just a 1.5 hour bus away from Mexico City. Teddy and I got there late in the afternoon, around 4:30pm, which actually ended up being the most perfect time to explore the magical ruins. The crowds were beginning to dissipate and the pyramids looked beautiful in the warm light of the late afternoon sun. There are two main pyramids at Teotihuacan: the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. The Pyramid of the Sun is the larger of the two, so T and I decided to climb that one to get the best view.
And a view is what we got. A long climb up while holding on to ropes was totally worth it for the breathtaking view at the top of the ancient city below. It was an experience unlike any other, which Teddy beautifully captured, along with several other travelers from near and far. The top of the pyramid was cameras galore, but who can resist such a fantastic photo opp?!
Outfit details: printed trousers: Zara similar // white tunic: Old Navy similar // boots: Frye similar
Photography by Teddy Wolff
I’m back from a most excellent adventure with T in Mexico City and am quickly springing back into my hectic DC life. Things are much colder here than in lovely 70-degree Mexico, but I always love coming home after a great trip. I told Teddy on our drive home from the airport, “the best part about coming home after a traveling to an amazing new place is how it puts my life back in perspective.” There really is so much more out there than the minutia of the everyday, which really brings a wave of positivity into my life.
Teddy and I stayed in Roma Norte, a neighborhood just west of Mexico City’s historic center, with a couple in a renovated apartment that we found on Airbnb. If you have plans to travel to Mexico City, I highly recommend using Airbnb [here is where we stayed!]. The neighborhood eerily paralleled the charming Capitol Hill and Bloomingdale areas of the District, with its brick facades, scattered parks, cute dogs, and young families. It is very walkable, which T and I took full advantage of. The primary focus of our trip was food photography for Teddy’s portfolio [check out his blog for awesome photos taken during our adventures of Mexican cuisine and culture!] and then eating said food, so walking to work off our frequent meals was an absolute must.
We arrived in Mexico in the afternoon, which left us a few hours to acquaint ourselves with our bustling street. After a few minutes of exploring, we found a nice french cafe with outdoor seating [basically every restaurant and bar has a patio that sometimes extend into the street] and quiet charm. It was only fitting to order tequila and mezcal as our first drinks in Mexico, which we quickly learned from locals is meant to be sipped, not taken as a shot. Sipping these strong drinks is made easier and more pleasant by a spice mix frequently used on fruit [and on the rim of cocktail glasses], called chile de árbol. We both absolutely love the spice, so I need to see where I can find it in the states!
Photography also by Teddy Wolff
I hope everyone had a marvelous Valentine’s Day, whether you celebrated with your beloved, best friends, or by your lonesome [with a great bottle of wine and chocolates I hope]! February has turned into a crazy month, with Valentine’s weekend as the mid-point of craziness, so T and I decided to have a cozy night in. We picked out a couple of lobsters [whom I naturally named Larry and Beatrice] from the Maine Avenue Fish Market, a.k.a “The Wharf”, in Southwest DC and tried our hand at preparing them ourselves at home. It was quite an experience cooking a meal of two 3-pound lobsters, complete with an escargot appetizer, a bottle of bubbly [followed by a bottle of our favorite red wine], and a homemade bread pudding. It was definitely a decadent night, but if you can’t indulge on Valentine’s Day, when can you?!
To share my love with family and friends this year I wanted to make my own cards. In the past I have mailed cards with my own drawings, collages, and paintings, but life has gotten in the way of me hand-making cards in the last couple years. But not this year! All of my spare time the week leading up to the big day was dedicated to creating little love notes and I was quite pleased with the turnout. The only supplies I needed to buy for this project were the paper cards and a cute “handmade by” stamp from Michael’s that I fell in love with [how appropriate]. I had the watercolors, pencils, and pens already at home!
Photography by Teddy Wolff
If you already craft at home, making cards can be easy for you too! Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, there are plenty of alternatives to drawing: like making a collage from magazine photos; using stamps and/or making your own [check out Poppytalk's DIY Buffalo Print]; or a mix of mediums [check out A Pair & A Spare's DIY Watercolour Valentine's]! Did you craft anything for Valentine’s Day this year? How did it turn out?
Every adult dreams of being able to dress up like a whimsical character from a great movie, book, or musical, just as we innocently did in our backyards as kids. Well I don’t know if everyone does, but I sure do, and I was able to fulfill my child-like fantasy on a trying-oh-so-hard-to-be sunny day in May. My friend and photographer, Traci Medlock of Traci J. Brooks Photography, had a vision of recreating the Wizard of Oz story with her friends portraying the characters. I was “cast” to be the Scarecrow and couldn’t have been more excited.
The talent of Suzanne Minskey of Faces by SAM completely transformed my everyday look into the face of the Scarecrow. I was literally shocked when I looked in the mirror and it made playing the part all the more fun! This was a “use what you have in your inventory” type of shoot, so I brought my most neutral plaid shirt, conjured my memories of the brave and genuine Scarecrow, and ran with it. With straw in my hair, we spent a magical day recreating the timeless story of friends on a journey together. The sky spit on us all afternoon at Algonkian Regional Park, but Traci was able to take some gorgeous shots before the rain!
Outfit details: plaid button-down: Hollister similar // jean shorts: American Eagle similar // boho floppy hat: Anthropologie similar // cognac short leather boots: Frye similar
Photos by Traci J. Brooks Photography
Our last craft night before the holidays featured “gold dipped” pine cones. I thought they would be an easy and festive decoration for friends to have on display in their homes, or to give as gifts! I found a couple of different ways to make DIY gold pine cones, but settled on the painting option [like this example from A Pear of Pears]. Michael’s has several types of metallic paint and inexpensive sets of paint brushes. Thankfully the paint eventually washes out but it took a little bit of scrubbing, so I wouldn’t suggest using your best brushes on this project!
Gold, silver, or copper liquid gilding paint
Fine tipped paint brushes
Pine cones [store bought or found outside]
Cover your workspace with newspaper or wax paper to make sure you don’t spill any paint on your furniture! You can paint only the tips of your pine cones, or paint them a solid metallic color. I did a mix of silver and gold and went for the store bought scented ones from Michael’s. Let dry for at least an hour. Put them in a bowl or vase and enjoy!
Lettering by Dan Rader
I am a sucker for stripes. Whether it’s summer or winter, the classic stripe is always in-style and [thankfully] a slimming pattern. The main reason it should be part of anyone’s “go-to” wardrobe is it’s versatility: you can pair black and navy stripes with bright colors, florals, leather, fur, and denim for a more relaxed look. Just search “stripes” on Pinterest and you’ll get every combination imaginable!
My nautical stripes were even more fitting on this cold Christmas Day in Annapolis, down by the water. We spent the day with Teddy’s family and family friends eating oysters and crab cakes and drinking home-brewed beer [delicious!].
Outfit details: striped dress [featured in Happy Flowers]: ModCloth // coral sweater [featured in Sunsets and Alleyways]: Madewell // boots: vintage // gold necklace [featured in Aqua + Gold]: ModCloth
Photography by Teddy Wolff
Since the holidays just aren’t complete without copious amounts of cooking, baking, and [inevitably] eating, I decided to use some of my treasured time at home to make a Dolan family traditional dish: French crepes. I grew up with my Grandmama frequently making crepes for me and my sister on mornings we spent with her. Natalie and I were crazy for them, and often had competitions on who could eat more, and more quickly. I think my record was 8 crepes as fast as Grandmama could crank them out.
Since Grandmama is no longer around, I enjoy making crepes in her memory. Although it will never be the same experience as sitting on the kitchen counter and handing her eggs to crack in the mixing bowl, I’m happy that a little piece of her lives on each time I create this dish.
Recently I have been adding a “secret ingredient” of orange zest to give the crepes an additional citrus element. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly suggest it! You won’t be disappointed…
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
orange zest to taste
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt, vanilla, orange zest, and butter; beat until smooth. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat [I suggest using a little bit of vegetable oil]. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until small bubbles appear in the batter [the bottom will be light brown]. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve warm and with your favorite fillings. My all-time favorite is just sugar, but maple syrup, Nutella, and assorted jams are delicious too!