Thursday, June 11, 2009

All manner of baked goodness

My oven and I have been getting along famously this week. I know what you must be thinking -- summer is here, why are you running the oven so much? Well, the thing is, it hasn't really gotten that hot around here yet. But the real reason the heat's not getting to me is our downstairs neighbors. Not only do they let their dog do all manner of business all over their balcony, they also like to sit out there and chain-smoke. All the time. We've taken to leaving the balcony door and our windows shut because the smoke wafts right up into our apartment. And so, with the A/C keeping our pad at a constant 74, I have no problem trying out some new oven-based recipes.

First, there was baked mac'n'cheese, using Julia Moskin's recipe from the NY Times. With a heart-stopping 2:1 ratio of cheese to macaroni [yes, you read that correctly], it was melty, cheesy heaven... I was so excited, I forgot to grab the camera. Plus, it was easy! You don't even have to cook the macaroni before you plop it in a bowl with a pound of cheese and a seasoned milk/cottage cheese mixture. I was a bit hesitant but the macaroni came out perfectly cooked and the prep time was under 10 minutes. With a large salad and some wine, it made a perfect [and rather decadent] dinner. Definitely not a once-a-week dish but a good one to have in your repertoire for those days when only a big bowl of creamy comfort food will do.

Next there was the banana bread. This is seriously good stuff. Dense, moist, slightly chewy, and with a crusty cinnamon-sugar topping, Rich was swooning over the recipe for a week before I made it. I subbed apple sauce for the vegetable oil that the recipe originally calls for and I will definitely continue making it that way. I'm pretty sure this will be my go-to banana bread recipe from now on -- although I definitely recommend trying the parchment paper trick that Molly suggests for lining the pan, otherwise it is a bit tricky to get the loaf out without dislodging the topping.

And then last night, browsing some of my favorite food blogs for a new cookie recipe to try, I stumbled upon this one for Homemade Oreos. I couldn't resist, and even decided to make them the first recipe tested in my drop-dead-gorgeous Boysenberry Kitchen Aid stand mixer, a very generous graduation gift. I think I'm going to have to name her -- something feminine, but strong... any suggestions?

Rich was skeptical about the Oreos, extremely doubtful that anyone could make Oreos even better than they already are. And when I told him that the texture of the cookies would be a bit softer and chewier than the storebought cookies, he felt that they would be akin to "stale" Oreos and became even less excited about my endeavor.

After one bite, he was quick to admit that he couldn't have been more wrong, proclaiming between moans that these are better than the original!

The cookies alone are awesome, and as Deb from Smitten Kitchen points out, they would be perfect for ice cream sandwiches. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"They're not going bad, they're going good!"

That was my response when Rich told me that he didn't want to buy a bunch of bananas so I could watch them get thisclose to oozy and rotten and then turn them into these absolutely fabulous cupcakes or finally try out this recipe for jacked-up banana bread... I still think I'm right. Mostly because I hate raw bananas but absolutely adore them in baked goods and now it seems like I will finally have time to do some baking! Hurrah!

I presented my thesis on Monday and it went quite well! Our childrenswear section is beyond-talented & I am so proud of everyone for doing such a wonderful job! And I am super-relieved to be DONE at last. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

senior thesis collection photoshoot

Well, it's finally done... almost. Of course, there are still belt loops to be sewn and hooks & eyes to be attached but for the most part, it's done. There will be exclamation points involved once all the finishing touches have been added but for now I will just show you some photos. Rich's niece N. hammed it up for the camera yesterday on a surprisingly gorgeous sunny afternoon amidst several gloomy rainy ones. My friend Veronica [affectionately known as V-dog, and referred to as such hereafter on this blog] came along and used N.'s brother J. as a model for her adorable "Lost Boys"-inspired collection [a la Peter Pan]. We could not have gotten luckier with our beautiful weather and super cute models!

And today you get a bonus photo: N.'s little sister S. looking oh-so-adorable -- even though she's not wearing my clothes :)

Friday, March 20, 2009


these necklaces are so gorgeous, i couldn't resist posting! my favorite one [above] has already been sold :( probably a good thing because otherwise i would be sitting here arguing with myself over whether or not to purchase it... although the ones below are also beautifully unique and worthy of the same argument... sigh.

check out the rest at muntedkowhai's etsy shop.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Thesis collection: Looks 1-4

Today I presented my senior thesis collection for our midterm reviews. This is just 4 of the 6 final looks [I still have several weeks left to get the rest done!]. There are revisions to be made [mostly on the appliques/hand embroideries and the triangle-inset skirt] but I'm quite happy with how it's coming along!

Below I have included images from recent fittings to show off the tank top from the second look, the fit of the sleeves in the third look [note: there are pockets in the side seams on the dress], and the neckline on the fourth look. The skirt on the last look is going to be taken up an inch so it falls at knee-length instead of below it. Again, credit for the beautiful crochet goes to Hillary Livingston, who saved me from a big tangle of knots!

[It can be very difficult to get our models to stand still for a photo after spending a couple of hours trying on everybody's garments!]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


You are now reading the blog of Ralph Lauren's newest childrenswear intern!

On a random side note, Penny got herself in an interesting position halfway underneath the coffee table this afternoon & I couldn't resist snapping a couple of photos:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thesis work

I've finally re-sketched and scanned my drawings of my senior thesis collection, which I have been developing since this summer. It's six looks, spring/summer, for girls ages 6-10. Inspired by vintage kitchens and aprons, there's a lot of florals, plaids, fun appliques, and hand

Today was my first fitting in real fabric for the collection! This is the look that will be photographed for our senior class lookbook. There's still some finishing touches to be added but I'm quite happy with how it turned out. The denim jacket created some issues but it looks wonderful now. Unfortunately, I had some problems teaching myself how to crochet so I didn't do that part myself but it turned out great, thanks to the handiwork of Hillary Livingston.

I will leave you with my current inspiration boards in my office. I put up new stuff over winter break and I'm finding them quite inspiring! I love these magnet boards from IKEA -- there's much easier to work with than your average cork board and pushpins.

[ps. you can click on any image on my blog to view it larger if you'd like!]