REVIEW: Atelier perfume


The promise:
“An electrical current runs through the subtle sweetness of vanilla, jasmine and fresh lime to bond with rich oak moss, woods and spicy coriander.”

The reality:
I started with Atelier because, duh, that description! I imagined a romantic midnight stroll through the lush gardens of Savannah in balmy June (something I’ve done countless times… okay, zero times). But it was SO cloyingly sweet. Imagine if you discovered an old cotton candy machine in your grandmother’s hot, stuffy farmhouse attic. Like old sugar. Next!


Sephora’s perfume sampler

I love these Perfume Samplers from Sephora. They’re $25, you get 7 samples of seasonal scents, and then you take a “Scent Certificate” back to the store to get a full-size rollerball of your favorite. Barrak got me this for an upcoming trip.

I’ll review each scent for you, and pick a winner at the end. I already one of these, but I’m always hoping to find a new favorite for warm weather. Stay tuned!


A week of dinners


Slow-cooker chicken tortilla soup

The story: This is Pioneer Woman’s recipe and I like it because you do almost NOTHING in advance. No browning of meat, or even cutting of meat, necessary. You put the raw chicken breasts straight in the pot with the spices, beans, tomatoes, etc., flip it on, and go to work. Okay, I did chop the onion and peppers the night before and throw them in a bag.) When you come home from work, school and kids’ soccer games 11 hours later, it’s ready to be ladled up and topped with avocado, sour cream, cilantro, cheese, whatever. We would normally top with tortilla chips but only had lunchbox-sized bags of Fritos, which actually worked better. In fact, I pitched this to the kids as “Frito Soup.” (They didn’t fall for it).


Grilled hot dogs and brats with Bush’s baked beans

The story: The Cleveland Indians were playing, Magnus had a soccer game AND then baseball practice til 8pm, and it was an unseasonably warm spring evening, so we did hot dogs and brats on the grill. I have to say, it hit the spot.


Slow-cooker Indian butter chicken

The story: I got this one from a blog I like called Dinner: A Love Story. It was really good. Again, no browning in advance. Just raw chicken breasts in the pot with fresh ginger, chopped onion, garlic, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices like curry, cinnamon and cumin. At the end, you stir in greek yogurt and fresh lemon juice. They also have you stir in peas but I kept them separate for anyone who would object to green in their chicken business. I didn’t have as much rice as I thought so the kids had theirs on pasta shells, which they preferred anyway.


Pizza from Cheshire Market, the local bait store and pizza carryout

The story: No explanation needed.


12 West, a cool little restaurant in Delaware

The story: Greta had a movie night at the school so we took Magnus out to dinner. 12 West specializes in modern Mexican. There was a 45-minute wait so we had a round of drinks: a Shirley Temple for Magnus, beer for Barrak, and for me, a Tijuana Sour, which is bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup topped with a little red wine. We shared a platter of really good nachos and then got seated at the bar. We ended up being too stuffed for our entrees (a burger for Mag, tacos for Barrak, a vegetarian tostada thing for me). Not sure Magnus was a fan.


Herbed faux-tisserie chicken with small Yukon Gold potatoes and roasted broccoli

The story: This is weekend cooking but I’m still sharing it because you should know this recipe. You know how roast chicken sometimes looks a little undercooked and pink in places? This recipe has you cook a seasoned bird low and slow (3 hours at 300 degrees) like a rotisserie, so the meat is falling-off-the-bones tender. You do a seasoning rub of ground fennel seed, thyme, marjoram, salt and olive oil and set the bird on a tray of Yukon Gold potatoes, so the chicken fat drips onto the potatoes. I also threw some onion wedges on the tray because onions roasted in chicken fat is totally my jam. I made two chickens because both kids like chicken legs and there just never seems to be enough for the whole family with just one bird. Broccoli roasted with olive oil and salt is our go-to veg. Greta eats it like candy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In writing this blog post on a Sunday morning, I’ve paused to 1) go out to the backyard to inspect a rip in Mag’s new baseball trainer net, 2) go to the bathroom with Greta to see her glow-in-the-dark slime, 3) go back to the backyard to inspect Mag’s jaw where he got hit with the baseball, 4) hold a balloon open for Greta so she could scoop baking soda into it, and 5) answer a question that couldn’t wait: “Mommy, would you rather live in Target or Kroger?” This is why I haven’t blogged in almost 12 months.

Summer 2016

I stopped blogging around August 2016 so I missed doing my Summer Recap last year.

Want to see?

{My boys at our neighbors’ annual Derby Party — the unofficial start of summer in my book.}

{Greta at art camp}

{Weekends at the pool}

{On the white sandy beach in Destin, Florida}

{Practically front-row seats at Coldplay with my friend Michelle}

{Magnus tried his hand at baseball last summer. Safe to say, he liked it}

{Mag and I ran around Highbanks Park together}

{Love this sign we pass on the way to the pool}

{We got into it with the rest of the world}

{Greta’s soccer team}

{At a Columbus Crew game}

{Lots of tennis}

{Lots of gin drinks with St. Germain elderflower, pink grapefruit juice and sprig of rosemary}

{Amazing orangey-yellow cherry tomatoes from our garden}

Kale toast

I call this dish “When your husband is sautéing a bunch of kale, garlic and shallots for his omelet and offers you some.”

This was a brunch-time snack for me last Easter Sunday and a riff on a kale appetizer at one of my favorite restaurants in Columbus called Third and Hollywood. They serve a Staub pot full of housemade ricotta with a side of braised greens and artisan toasts that look like little surfboards.

Since I don’t have housemade ricotta on hand generally, I used plain Philadelphia cream cheese. The bread is “Farm Loaf” from Whole Foods.

A week of dinners

{Homemade blue cheese dressing from Friday night’s dinner. Pardon the streaks down the jar. Is that a gross photo?}


Donato’s Pizza take-out

The story: Greta scored a goal in her soccer game so when it ended at 7:30, she got to choose dinner.


City BBQ

The story: Magnus’s soccer game ended at 7:30, so we let him choose dinner. Our ribs were kind of gristly and gross so I’m not sure we’ll be going back anytime soon.


Traditional grilled cheeseburgers for Barrak and Magnus, a turkey burger with fontina for me, and leftover pizza and ribs for Greta.

The story: Because god forbid we’d all eat the same thing.


Angel hair pasta with Carfagna’s classic marinara, Whole Foods meatballs and homemade garlic bread

The story: It’s a family favorite, duh.


“Daddy Wings” and roasted broccoli drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt

The story: Another family staple. Barrak cooks the wings in the deep fryer outside. The kids eat them plain and Barrak and I sauce ours separately with Buffalo sauce. I made homemade blue cheese dressing from My Father’s Daughter. I omitted the shallots because it was for wings, not salad. It’s a great, easy recipe.