June 29, 2011

take 1

In case you are on the fence about attending the Albany show today (4-7!) – just click play as MJ shows you some of the inventory and a few of her favorites:

If you see something you like – come on over! 

See you soon!

June 28, 2011

come in too red white and blue

Mary James has had some pretty elaborate ideas over the past few years for birthday parties.  She seems to start planning the day the party is over (for the next year).  And I have always guided her in narrowing down her ideas to something that’s actually doable.  This year we did not start talking about the party  until a week ago (!!)  So I am here to tell you what I have not done for MJ’s party.  Not because I haven’t had time or lack of motivation or ideas but because a certain little 5 (almost 6 – in 10 days to be exact) year old has taken over the party planning.  Much to my relief  - she wants to do it all – that means invitations, cake design, decorations..everything! 


here are MJ’s notes:

theme: come in too red white and blue (how wonderful for my wallet that this is right on the heels of 4th of july!)  I do not fully understand what the theme means but I don’t need to know since I am not in charge

game plan: spend the night party

# invited: 3 girls (i did suggest this number)

invitations: individually handmade with the invited guest’s name along with a list of the others that are invited, details of the time and house number.  A phone call may be required as well :)

cake sketch:


this does make me a little nervous..i’m not sure how to make a cake that tall

Keep your fingers crossed that letting an almost 6 year old plan her own birthday party results in an actual party. 

June 27, 2011

It's a Surprise {SHOW}

In terms of inventory (and wine and cheese, for that matter) we've got a few leftovers from our recent Charleston show, so we'd like to invite you to an impromtu Albany show.

This Wednesday from 4:00 in the afternoon until 7:00 in the evening, we will be hosting a mini-show at the *usual Albany show location.

We hope to see you there!

*if  you want to attend and do not know where this is, please email us at hello@stewartandjames.com for full details.

Charleston {Show} Recap

Charleston was, in a word, splendid!

A dear friend of Kristen's hosted us (for. three. nights!) and two of her other besties accompanied us just for the fun of it - and it was so fun!

here they are now. too bad the camera (or maybe it was the photographer) was more focused on the cocktails than the people...

Before I get too involved in the love letter I'm about to write to Charleston, let me cover the most important base: our show!

To call it a success {in. every. way.} would be an understatement.

The man of the house - surveying set-up. We love Wiley!

still loving our signature napkins! and we took a cue from our near-home favorite on the cheese accompaniments - Marcona almonds and organic wildflower honey - yum! (and is this really the only post we've done about Liams?! i'm ashamed.)

Our kind host did a great job of inviting friends who showed up, shopped and (at least seemingly so ;) ) enjoyed themselves. It was the perfect s&j show.

thank you to everyone who attended and especially to Corbin ♥


Now, onto the rest of the trip:

Since we were travelling so far, we left a day early (and stayed a day late, for that matter) - score!

After the first (of many - seriously, I'm too embarrassed to tell you how many times we went) stop at Whole Foods (we all agreed that if we were so fortunate to have one in town both our waistline and grocery bill would most likely double), we unloaded our inventory (it was a work day after all) and uncorked our first bottle of wine (I'm also too embarrassed to tell you how many it was the first of).

here's a hint, though...
While Charleston does charm visitors with architecture and history, shopping and coastlines, the endless eateries are what swept us away. If eating more was possible, we would have.
Per more than one recommendation, we at dinner the first night at Husk. It was incredible.

When reading the menu - which is very Southern - we were a bit wary but stuck with our initial desire to check it out and were beyond pleased that we did.

The view from their bar next door. Carolina blue porch ceiling, of course!

I had a lovely cocktail (or two) that I am going to recruit my mixologist friend to recreate for us (remember him? we were on a kick there for a while last summer! I'm trying to get back to it.) - I'll share, of course! Here's all you need to know for now: it was lauded as the drink of choice at the world's first cocktail party. London circa 1924 (!) (how could i not try love it?!)

It didn't come before a kick-off champagne drink, though (which i chose to photograph here because as delicious as it was, the favorite one is not much to look at. and champagne is always pretty.)

For dinner, I (officially) had the pork chop. And as far as pork chops go, it was perfection - succulent, tender, marble-y (not a word, i know) perfection. It was a piece of meat from Ossabaw Island, which is home to the descendants of Spanish pigs transplanted over 400 years ago. The pork and pigs get a lot of positive attention but I've also read that they are endangered, so I'm not sure what to think - besides the fact that my singular experience was delicious!

The salad I started with was fantastic, too as it featured beets (my current favorite salad food) on the most delicate, buttery bibb lettuce I've even put in my mouth. It was a perfect example of why people eat salad and like it.

Other offerings on the table included corn bread, grits and catfish (I told you it was southern!) - all of which were a whole different calibur than what comes to mind when hearing of any of those foods. It's above that. For instance, I could not have guessed that the delicious plate to my left was catfish - and I've eaten a lot of catfish.

Everything about Husk - inclduing the atmosphere - is more sophisticated and refined than what their name - and menu - suggest. That's by design, I believe. It is country cooking for snobs - food and otherwise. And I mean that in a very good way.

Their James Beard award-winning chef, Sean Brock, calls this a modern approach and doesn't work to redefine Southern cooking but to explore the reality of southern food. (follow his blog here). Call it whatever you want Sean, you're a genius.

(I was going to give a complete run down of the entire trip but if I wax that poetic on every move we made, we'll be here all week - on to the high points:)

Friday was our vacation day - officially.

We spent it downtown - all of it ( am pretty sure we walked a half marathon). Between the pocket map Bethany kept busting out (thank God!) and the camera that Kristen wore around her neck (good thing - this would otherwise be one ugly blog post), there was no denying our tourist status. Our shamelessness was worth it, though! We covered some serious ground.

City Lights Coffee (on Market Street - between King and Meeting. I don't want you to miss it and I can't find a website) is everything you want an early morning coffee shop to be. It is tiny with dark wood and exposed brick. Serving pieces are bright and mismatched; their menu is scrawled on a chalkboard and the barista even had an accent - nice touch. A chocolate croissant couldn't be denied - it looked just like the one Jane Adler makes in her bakery in It's Complicated (the movie)!

A long walk later, we found ourselves at Mac & Murphy, which is exactly where we wanted to be (can you tell yet that we oft-referred to Design*Sponge's Charleston City Guide?!).

This (also tiny) shop on Cannon Street is off the beaten path - in location and otherwise.

We met with one of the owners, Liz, who enchanted us with her tale of two friends who have grown a great idea into an amazing business. One which is punctuated with both restraint and inspired quirkiness.

The light-filled shop, with its spare furnishings, super-friendly and well-informed shopkeeper/owner, white + gray (with a necessary pop of orange! you know we love an ampersand - especially as an accent!) palette and color-saturated and exciting products made me feel like i was walking around in a blog!

Letterpress calendars and clever greeting cards are neatly displayed in the front of their adorable shop (so neat in fact that i went on an unprecedented shopping spree of printed goods. it's really too embarrassing to go into great detail - i will admit this. i cannot stop thinking about the one thing i did not buy: locally printed pow wow invites. they were to die for); a custom print shop is tucked away in the back.

I first saw these and almost ordered them in bulk...

but then i saw this, which promises to obliterate my terrible habit of missing birthdays, thus negating the need for the first cards! (full disclosure: i love the graphics so much that i was going to buy the thing before i even knew that it was a birthday calendar)

A writer friend gave this (precious!) type writer to Liz. She writes her thank you notes on it - could she be in cuter? (no is the answer if you're still pondering this one)

Upon leaving, we popped across the street, per Liz's recommendation, to discover a little piece of confectionary heaven: Sugar. It was so sweet - pun intended - with it's mismatched cake stands and full view of the busy bakers (it's retro feel reminded me of one of my favorite Savannah spots)

We somehow managed to get out of there with only 4 cupcakes. Since we were still on the verge of a diabetic coma (remember the It's Complicated croissant?), they were devoured enjoyed later that evening.

This adorable little chocolate bar is the product of local artisan chocolatier, Sweeteeth (Chucktown is good about keeping it local aren't they?!)

From there, we perused. And when in Charleston, perusing around the town is an event in and of itself.

Age-old cemetaries and bespoke bookstores keep company with the most current of retailers block after block. Let's put it this way, Blue Bicycle Books and Williams-Sonoma were among our stops.

The self-lead city tour led us to one last meal worth mentioning: lunch at Cru Cafe (thanks Karyn for the rec). Again, I cannot adequately describe the deliciousness of this place. You just have to go!

They have culinary chops, too. Chef-owner John Zucker was sous chef for the opening of the James Beard Soctiety nominated "best new restaurant of the year", Canoe when it was granted such recognition. (I am assuming this is the Atlanta-favorite, Canoe, though I cannot confirm that and do know a public forum such as a blog is not the best place to assume...please advise if you know).  Despite such accolades, I am pretty sure he was handling table assignments during lunch hour while we were there - impressive. This guy is actually beyond impressive. He graduated number ONE in his class from Cordon Bleu (in Paris, no less) and studied under Wolfgang Puck. He is currently considered one of the most sought-after restaurant consultants in the Southeast (and does such for the highly recommended Charleston spot (that we sadly didn't have time for), Fish (next time. for sure).

Our (lovely!) experience there included a welcomed bottle glass (actually, it was a bottle) of crisp Pinot Gris, accompaniment to fried green tomatoes and the most decadent cold melon soup (we must recreate this, girls - soon!). It was refreshing with cantaloupe and honeydew but made absolutely sinful with the addition of coconut (and some other ingredients, of course, but I'll save that for once we've figured it all out!).

The atmosphere here is old south, once again. Outdoor seating on the front porch and barstools with a birds-eye view of the kitchen make the whole experience feel like coming home - to a house with a fabulous chef, of course! Take their virtual tour to see what I mean. Or just go - did I already say that? ;)

At the end of the day (and this has literally taken me all day to compose), the show was a wonderful reminder of why we do this: to have fun - and hopefully make enough money to keep doing it ('it' being the business and the fun).

Thanks again, Charleston. We really do *heart* you.

all images taken by Kristen except for the one from Husk that says 'today's menu.' that one is from their website. it was just too delicious looking to not borrow.

June 21, 2011


The heat is on. And strangely enough, has been for weeks already *le sigh* but today officially marks the beginning of the long, languid days of summer.


and happy, happy eighth anniversary to Kristen

image source

Charleston Bound

In true Kristen and Arre fashion, one of us has had our bags packed since yesterday morning (22 hours in advance) and the other hasn't been home in days (to even begin thinking about packing). Can you guess which is who?! One thing we both are, however is ready! Even if not in a literal since if you are me... I mean... the one of us who is not packed...

I can't wait to return to the South Carolina coast to be charmed by the city of Charleston once more.

Eating is, of course, at the tip top of our agenda - and with so many decadent choices (seriously - too many to list and link too - this post is taking an eternity as it is), we should be able to get that done (please comment with any recommendations!). oh! and breezy balmy (forgot where we were headed there for a minute) cocktail hour(s) atop any roof with drink service - if I remember correctly you have to be far above the ground to keep anywhere close to cool around there...

Here we go!

Check back next week for a full report - and if you're in the area, please *stop by because - oh yeh - we do have an actual reason for going: a show , so please come!

*email us at hello@stewartandjames.com for full details.

June 17, 2011

Laundry Day

As I load up my laundry to haul to my mother's for the (this is a rough estimate) 11,593rd time, in the (another estimate) 311 degree heat (that's right. still. no. laundry. room), I can't help but feel like this girl - sans the patriotic pants (and gratitude for that matter):

image source

June 14, 2011

stocking up for Charleston!

I’ve been meaning to do a sneak peek post for a while now (for the Charleston show next week)  but you know how it goes – time flies by and we realize we are only 1 week and 2 days away, not enough items marked off the to do list and a blog post always gets pushed to the back.  Poor blog.  We won’t leave you hanging though -  i snapped these pics as I was literally running out of the shop (hence the quality)

001 002

And invitations have been mailed!  so sorry for the poor quality photo..cell phone capture in the excitement of mailing :)









It’s not too late to send you an invitation!  If you are in the Charleston area please e-mail us at hello @ stewartandjames . com with your address and I will put it in the mail today!

June 13, 2011

tomatoes, cucumbers, & fresh mozzarella

Another garden inspired dish – This has been my afternoon snack every day for the past week…


that is a sticker you see on the tomato, it’s from the grocery store – my tomato plant is producing but can’t keep up with our tomato consumption.

There’s not much to this one! And that’s why I love it.   After planning out meals and packing lunches I have nothing left in me to plan out what I will actually eat.  So I love that I can grab 3 ingredients, chop, add salt & pepper, eat and enjoy!


June 10, 2011

bring your child to work day

...does not exist.  Because it's not normally a very productive thing to do.  But I have been having some guilt lately about leaving the kids with sitters to work so I swung by the house and picked up my middle daughter Molly.

She mostly chatted with arre and gave her lessons on how to be tough (this was following a previous lesson of how to be patient).  I'm not sure yet but I think it was helpful. 

Have a wonderful weekend and let me know if your kids (or sister-in-laws) need someone to explain life lessons to them..molly's your girl!

June 9, 2011

cucumber soup

It’s summer!  we are free!


And it’s HOT.  So what better than a cold cucumber soup inspired by your garden.  I say inspired because I only had one cucumber ready to use but it definitely inspired me!  This recipe comes from Susan Mason’s cookbook.  Here are your ingredients (plus all purpose flour not shown)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cucumbers seeded, peeled, chopped
  • 1 leek sliced, white part only
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

peel, remove seeds and chop:

012 011

melt butter (2T)


add leeks (sliced, white part only), bay leaf and chopped cucumbers


saute for 20 minutes while you change diapers, wipe tears, break up fights, sit for a performance of a circus, wash your hands, go back to your stove…

remove bay leaf and add 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour and stir to form paste


Add 1 teaspoon salt, 3 cups chicken stock


simmer for 30 minutes

go take pictures of container garden018

   cucumbers                                  jalapenos                            okra

 019 020 021

tomatoes                                                     basil & rosemary

022 023

come back to your simmering cucumbers (assuming it has been 30 minutes..)

puree in food processor

put it in the fridge to cool and wait


When chilled, add 1 cup heavy cream, plus juice from 1/2 lemon, salt , pepper.  Mine was a bit lemony so maybe add lemon juice a little a time until it’s just right!

serve with fresh dill


Related Posts with Thumbnails