Welcome to the first installment of my weekly online + off discoveries. Scroll for my favorite items, including Swiss skincare, trompe l'oeil pet toys, and books made into British TV series.
As a garment, the apron inevitably connotes domestic servitude, and that's perhaps why I have elected to splatter food on my jeans and hand-wash-only shirts. I reached my limit, though, and decided to purchase an apron several weeks ago, only to find that options are limited.
Thank God, the linens goddess Heather Taylor Home just launched an apron collection online. My Juniper apron arrived on Friday and I used it throughout the weekend. The fabric details are more beautiful in person, and it's a decor piece when hung in your kitchen.
Available on Heather Taylor Home here.
A Sur La Table employee gushed that I selected her favorite thing in the store's inventory when I brought this particular tool to the counter. She confided they're usually sold out because she raves about them to customers.
The scraper is a slim bendy silicone spoon to ease the last drop out of your food processor and batter bowl - or salad dressing jar, anything really. I've reached for it continuously since bringing it home. I'm considering adding this as a stocking stuffer for the cooks in my family.
Available on Amazon Prime here.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake:
My mom whips together upside down cakes for unexpected company because the recipe is genuinely fast and easy to make. She typically uses canned apricots, but I had a particular hankering for pineapple.
My mom's recipe is below, her only deviation is to use dark brown sugar as opposed to light because you'll get a more caramelized texture.
A fresh pineapple is ripening in my windowsill, and as soon as that's ready I'm planning on trying the Smitten Kitchen variation with rum.
On sale for $48.65 on ShopBop. I recently spoke with a friend about all those missing pieces in your capsule wardrobe that remain unfilled for years. Like, instead of buying a single pair of shorts, which I desperately need, I've purchased a Miranda-disapproved number of sparkly high heels.
I wrote down all the staples absent in my closet - to prevent further procrastination - and top of the list was a pair of denim shorts. I ordered 8-9 (?) pairs online over several months and returned them all for fit reasons until I found these Levi's pleated '90s shorts.
They're comfortable, look very Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and style well with a belt and sweater tucked in.
Available exclusively on ShopBop here.
Cysteamine Cream, $169:
My derm highlighted this Swiss-developed anti-pigmentation cream in her Instagram stories as her new favorite product for battling discoloration, and I bought the stuff within 15 minutes. Cysteamine is easily the most important product introduced into my skincare routine all year.
Unlike other anti-pigmentation treatments, I've noticed results within a week of nightly application. Bless those Swiss scientists.
Available to purchase exclusively here.
Dog toys that aren't obnoxious to look at when scattered around the house are difficult to find. Our Chiwoo loves the squeaky feature of her Veuve.
Available on Amazon Prime here.
READ + WATCH
The Cuckoo's Calling, "Robert Galbraith" aka J.K. Rowling
Bitter nostalgia associated with reading Rowling sans magic diluted my interest in her detective series. So, a full 5 years after The Cuckoo's Calling was published (and several weeks' time on the library waitlist) I opened the book on a Sunday morning and, unexpectedly, sat in my pajamas all afternoon until I finished it.
A thirst I didn't realize I had for re-experiencing Rowling's writing after all these years was quenched.
Despite my initial critique (the opening is truly a scene borrowed from Lethal Weapon IMO), I drank up Rowling's unparalleled knack for character invention, and her eerie grasp on the subtle manifestations of evil.
The Harry Potter series at core fits within the whodunnit genre, and magic subtracted, Rowling is wildly talented at creating a gripping mystery.
If you suspect, as many did, that the use of a pseudonym was an elaborate marketing scheme, read this article about the bizarre way a housewife named Judith unmasked Rowling, to the author's intense disappointment.
Rowling maintains that the BBC contacted "Robert Galbraith" prior to her unmasking to option a TV series based on the novel. Awkwardly, J.K. Rowling couldn't take the meeting to maintain incognito, but events progressed such that a show was indeed produced.
I'll admit that I binge watched all 3 episodes of The Cuckoo's Calling in one night, and expect you will too. Perfect casting, high quality production: they did the books justice. But! Read the book first.
Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford
An elegy to the Edwardian era, Parade's End follows a set in the British aristocracy pre, during, and post WWI.
I signed up for a trial on Audible, and decided to use my free credit to listen to Parade's End, which is one of their longest literary fiction pieces offered. Listening to Steven Crossley over 38 hours converted me to the pleasure of consuming books by ear.
Play the sample here to see what I mean.
Speaking of evil above, Mrs. Sylvia Tietjens is one of the most gloriously, sickeningly diabolical characters I've encountered in fiction to date.
HBO worked with Tom Stoppard to create a 5-part mini series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. If you're a fan, as I am, of his Sherlock performances, you'll appreciate why he's an obvious choice for the role of the protagonist Christopher Tietjens: a genius statistician, bored by colleagues and friends in awe of his mental superiority, and too clever for his own good. His accurate predictions of political maneuvers and their consequences in Europe parallel Sherlock's deductive astuteness.
Watch the HBO series here (read! or listen! to the book first :)
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Sidenote. I randomly decided to read Rhys's novel last week following Parade's End, and learned via Wikipedia that Rhys was Ford Madox Ford's mistress.
Peter & I loved their Peking Duck and octopus salad. Highly recommend for a delicious meal.