Happy Weekend!

mark d sikes home lonny

This. This is what happens when you attend two birthday parties two nights in a row, stay out too late, drink too much wine, and then opt to wake up and enjoy the low 80 degree, sunny weather with your pup in Central Park. You have no fun links to share. But somehow, I’m hoping you’ll give me a pass since it’s summertime, and everyone can pretty much agree that summertime is synonymous with “shirking responsibilities” (if only it could be like when we were kids, and instead of a single Friday, we could all get a 3 month long vacation). Hopefully you’ll forgive me for the lack of entertainment today.

What’s been going on with you this week? Tonight we’re headed to an impromptu dinner down in Nolita at one of my favorite paella places (randomly put together last night at the bday party, with new friends we met through the bday gal herself — isn’t that the best?); tomorrow we’re celebrating Bastille Day early with a dinner party; and naturally, Sunday will be spent in recovery mode. Fun fact: Laurence reminded me that the French do not call Bastille Day “Bastille Day.” If you want to be super authentic, call it 14 juillet (quatorze juillet).

July is really flying by, you guys. Do you have any fun plans over the weekend? How is your summer treating you so far? I’d love to check in with you! Hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Image: Mark D. Sikes home as featured in Lonny, photographed by Patrick Cline. Still my favorite home tour to date, I think ever.

This month's quote: "Take your pleasure seriously."

Vacay Planning: City Mouse/Country Mouse

paris doors

It snowed again in New York on Monday. Okay, okay, I’ll admit, the novelty might be wearing off just a teensy bit. Not helping matters is that Joe and I have not had a proper vacation — you know, one in which we could truly get away, de-stress, disconnect from our jobs, and not worry about impending cross country moves — since the summer of 2012. That’s been a minute, y’all.

le louvre

We’re wanting to take a big trip at some point this year, and of course, my vote is for France (again). I used to beat myself up a bit for having the whole big wide world to visit, and here I was, always wanting to go back to the same place, but I guess if you love it, you love it. Since it’s my 30th later in the summer, I’m scheming to celebrate the occasion en la belle France, but right now, we’re just trying to figure out how long we can go and where we want to go. Current dream trip? Spending a week in the city (in Paris, bien sûr), and then a week in the country — this time in the Loire Valley, about an hour’s drive southwest of Paris (it’s an area known for beautiful chateaux and fab wines).

haussman architecture

What’s interesting is that while we both adore Paris, recently Joe and I have realized that we’re turning into people who really love the country. 10 years ago, I couldn’t imagine spending a vacation out in the middle of nowhere. Now, I crave it all the time! There’s nothing better — to me at least — than completely unplugging with books, home cooked food, peace and quiet, and beautiful vistas.

les fleurs

We’re still trying to figure out the logistics of where, when and how long we could get away for a couple weeks. But to tide myself over in the meantime, I’ve been keeping up with my French classes, and of course, browsing through old pictures of visits to France — city and country alike…

notre dame

The above are all from the city…here are a few from the country:  Read the full post +

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Holiday Cheer


Welp, kiddos, this is it for me. I’ve decided to take a long overdue break from the blog and enjoy the holiday next week. And I mean all next week. I don’t think I’ll post again until right before the new year! I’m so looking forward to snuggling up with Joe and Lucy, eating way too much yummy food (we’re making Christmas fettuccine this year!), and taking snowy walks through Central Park. Although it’d be great if New York got it together and wasn’t 70 degrees this weekend (SERIOUSLY, after 11 years in California, and THAT’S the forecast?!?!). I’m sure I’ll be posting some snaps on Instagram, so be sure to follow along there!

It’s been another fantastic year here at vmac+cheese, and I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings. Hard to believe it will be my sixth year of blogging in May! Your readership (and in many cases, friendship) has meant so much to me over the last few years, and I owe so much — actually, almost everything — to this little site and the wonderful community here. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

It wouldn’t be Friday without links, of course, so here are a few things to tide you over through the holiday:

+ Beyoncé’s album. Seriously, just go download it. And then watch it (yes, watch it) over and over again. Has anyone else checked it out yet? It’s amazing. Read this review and these two interviews for more deets.

+ Something decadent and cozy for you to make: Potato Ham Chowder (yum).

+ And also: indoor s’mores. How fun is this?? I wanna try!

+ Do you guys remember that Queen of Versailles documentary that came out a while back? I finally caught an airing of it this week and just…wow. The documentary is so well done; the subjects, total trainwrecks. The phrase “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined” was never more appropriate. I saw it on CNBC (of all places) — see if you can DVR it!

+ I’m so in love with this stunning floral arrangement Natalie put together. She’s très talented!

+ If you’re traveling for the holiday next week or for new year’s, you must download this packing list. You won’t even need to check it twice, it’s so comprehensive.

+ Still wrapping up any gifts? Here are three tips on making ‘em pretty.

+ Still NEED a gift idea? Here’s a simple handmade option (you just need to make a quick trip to a craft store!). I also love this idea for a homemade manicure set.

+ Keep Champagne and sparkling wine cold with a simple frozen cranberry skewer. Festive and perfect for the season!

+ And finally, this quote is my motto going into 2014. More on that soon. So true though, right?

What are your plans for the holiday? Please share in the comments — I’d love to hear what you are up to! (And maybe what’s on your wishlist too). Happy merry everything!