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Drinks

c6120d988442a300b66f9321d79b23e0oh goodness, friday, i am so glad you are here. is it just me, or was this the longest week ever? i feel like i’ve been living my life in double time lately, and i don’t think things are going to slow down until we hit the holidays. my weeks have been such a whirlwind that i’ve been laying low on the weekends. it seems like the only way to preserve my sanity. tonight, i’m going to treat myself to a mani/pedi after work, then take my freshly painted toesies to trader joe’s, where i’ll pick up the fixings for the mini dinner party i’m hosting tomorrow night. i’m planning on making an old classic from the silver palate (hello, 80s!) cookbook, chicken marbella. something about prunes, capers and brown sugar all cooked up with chicken just screams cozy to me. i’m pairing it with a big arugula salad with shaved parmesan and balsamic, wild brown rice, and peanut butter white chocolate chip cookies. oh, and a cheese plate to start (inspired by this recent post on domaine). there’s really nothing i love more than a long, lazy dinner (okay, maybe not lazy, i have trouble keeping my OCD in check and not clearing plates before people are ready) with friends, multiple bottles of wine, and lots of yummy fall candles lit around us. saturday night perfection, in my book.

besides that, i’m taking a level 2 bar method class with one of my favorite teachers, robyn, who recently left new york for california. she’s back for the weekend, and is teaching a reunion class of sorts. i’m going to be so sore, but i can’t wait to see her. after that, i’m headed to get my hair done uptown, then back home to put the chicken in the oven. sunday will be brunch at the smith, then errands in the east village. a perfect relaxing weekend to prep me for the week ahead (which involves my very first business trip to raleigh, of all places, for a video shoot!).

what do you have planned for the weekend?

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make lemonade. or, as i like to put it, when life hands you a 98 degree day with a “real feel” of 105, head to your nearest supermarket and pick up the biggest bag o’ lemons you can find. then go home and juice ’em and make slightly sweetened, oh so tangy lemonade with a hint of mint. and drink a big glass. and then another one. 

i’ll be the first to admit i’m not good with heat. 65, or even 60, is my ideal temperature. i like layers and crisp autumn air and the sort of slight chill that makes you wrap your leather jacket around you just a little bit tighter, the kind that makes you cross your arms over your chest. i love a white blanket of snow in winter and a big fluffy scarf wrapped ten times around your neck. what i don’t like? anything over 85 degrees, the slightest bit of humidity, the sort of weather where you can only wear a dress (preferably a strapless one) and you’ll probably still sweat your toxins out. Image

the past few days have been seriously H-O-T HOT here in new york – the kind of hot where nelly commands you to take off all your clothes (no, really, i saw a lot of shirtless people walking around the past few days) – and i’ve been seriously sweaty. i’m not the kind of girl who can breeze through the summer months in a sundress, with perfectly tousled hair and makeup that doesn’t budge. instead, i’m the girl holding her ice cold water bottle against her neck, praying for a cool breeze and wishing that the world was drenched in air conditioning and that her dress wasn’t sticking to her back. let’s be real – so long as you’re not in a hot yoga studio, sweat just isn’t cute. it’s not that i smell, it’s just that i tend to look a little shimmery (and that’s putting it lightly). so suffice it to say, summer’s not really my favorite season. i despise feeling sticky, and anytime the humidity goes over 50% and the temperature rises above 75, i’m pretty much sticky, all day, every day. NOT FUN.

what is fun, however, is making things like freshly squeezed lemonade. and going to the beach. i did one of these things yesterday, i’ll let you guess which one. Image

The Recipe 

7-8 large lemons, juiced

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup agave nectar or honey

1 cup water 

4 cups cold water

6 sprigs fresh mint

the key to making really yummy lemonade is simple syrup – otherwise known as sugar and water. many lemonade recipes call for an initial simple syrup made of 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. but that seems like a whole lotta sugar to me, so i cut the white sugar down to 1/2 cup and added 1/4 cup of agave, which i like to think is healthier than sugar. next time i make this, i’m going to try all agave, or maybe some orange blossom honey if i can find it. 

to start, halve and juice all your lemons. i juice all mine in a large bowl, then strain the liquid to get rid of seeds and pulp. doing it this way saves you from having to curse and pick out individual seeds each time they drop into the bowl. Image

set lemon juice aside and make your simple syrup. combine the sugar, agave and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until sugar and agave are dissolved in the water. 

remove sugar water from heat and combine with lemon juice in the the pitcher of your choice. i chose this pretty glass pitcher, which i picked up recently at ikea. now add your four cups of cold water and throw in your mint leaves. 

refrigerate for 30-40 minutes until cold; conversely, put some ice in a glass and drink immediately. serve with a few slices of fresh lemon and a fresh mint leaf or two. 

note: you can also use this lemonade to make lemon popsicles. YUM. or, you could add vodka and make yourself a dandy little cocktail.