Snapshots From a Recent Dinner Party

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Lately I’ve been day dreaming about living in a house. Not just any old house, but a lovely three bedroom house all for myself! It would be the ideal house for entertaining. One bedroom (with a glorious walk-in closet) would be for myself, another room would serve as a creative studio where I would have a large comfortable desk and lots of organized crafting supplies, and the final room would be a guest bedroom for me to host my friends and family. Of course, there would also be a dining room with a table big enough to seat twelve adults, a garden with plenty of cutting flowers and a Meyer lemon tree, a pool with several lounges for tanning in the sun, and a big kitchen with an island, tons of cabinets, granite countertops, and bar stools. Continue reading

The Blue and Green of the Dominican Republic, in Snapshots

IMG_2875As I look through the photos that I took during my trip to the Dominican Republic, it’s clear that I was captivated by the lush tropical greenery and bright open blueness of the beautiful country. It felt like everywhere I looked there was blue and green. The blue from the ocean, the sky, my sister’s eyes. The green from the palm trees, oversized leaves, the grass next to the pool. Here are a few of my favorite green and blue photos from the trip.

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Snapshots From Aileen’s Birthday Party

photoRemember the birthday party I was gathering inspiration for? Well, it was a huge success! The best thing about planning this dinner was that I got to spend the whole day in the kitchen with my favorite cousin. We had so much fun arranging the flowers, figuring out the timing of the meal, and cooking the lamb. It also ended up being one of those perfectly sunny January days, so we were able to enjoy the appetizers on the deck. Bonus!

With one vegan and one vegetarian and the rest of the guests meat lovers, coming up with a suitable menu was challenging, but in the end, everything came together wonderfully. To start we served a selection of cheese, oysters two ways: on the half shell and barbecued with prosciutto butter, garlic shrimp, and white bean dip with lavash crisps.

The second course was a dish inspired by something my cousin had on her honeymoon. It was a composed salad with thinly shaved fennel, apple and parmesan cheese, a bed of baby arugula, and lots of truffle oil. Don’t worry, I’m working on the recipe!

The main course was rosemary and garlic leg of lamb, roasted broccolini, and creamy polenta with mushrooms and balsamic reduction. I also made a vegan main, roasted squash with lemon tahini sauce, for those who avoid meat. To drink we had tons of beer and wine. The surprise dessert was a spectacular baked Alaska with chocolate cake and Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream. It was heavenly.


A special thanks to my sister and Auntie Kathy for taking all of these gorgeous photos!

Here’s What’s Happening at the Palace

One of my guilty pleasure Food Network shows is The Pioneer Woman. Actually, watching The Pioneer Woman is kind of like driving by a bad car crash on the freeway. You slow down and hope that something that terrible never happens to you, but can not stop staring! You can’t look away! Also, her life is so dramatically different from mine that I’m obsessed with watching it.  She lives on a ranch in the middle of nowhere with four kids, a husband, and a bunch of pets. I live in the middle of a crowded city alone with the occasional annoying fly. She cooks cowboy food for a bajillion hungry people, I make salads for myself. All of her shows start with the same tagline, “Here’s what’s happening on the ranch!” I’ve been calling my house ‘Sweeney Palace,’ for quite some time and today, I’m starting a series inspired by the Pioneer Woman, Here’s What’s Happening at the Palace.

I know that I’ve been absolutely horrible about updating this blog; I don’t really have a good excuse. I took an European August, meaning that instead of actively looking for a new and fabulous job, I worked on my tan, read the latest issues of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and made an insane amount of cocktails. In a word: vacation. Then September rolled around and I realized it was my birthday month and I decided to take September off too.

So, here’s what’s been happening over the past six weeks at the palace: I went to my first beach wedding.

I spent a lot of time with family including my amazing aunt and twin cousins who were visiting from Texas.

I turned thirty-wonderful and celebrated by hosting a dive bar pub crawl through the Mission where I made everyone wear K stickers.

I helped my nomadic sister pack up her life and move away again.

I figured out the secret to cooking vegan food (more on that later!).

I bought a killer pair of blue suede heels on sale at Zara.

I hosted a Traveler’s Tale pop-up dinner party.

I made lobster rolls.

I cut 5-inches off my hair, but my hair was so long that nobody noticed.

I said good bye to a friend’s mom.

I started referring to myself as a gypset: a jet-setting gypsy.

Finally, I still fit into my cheerleading uniform from high school!