Dance Academy of Loudoun Seniors 2015

June 05, 2015 2 Comments

Hello! Today I want to show you all a commission project. Continuing the annual tradition of celebrating the senior ballerinas graduating from the Dance Academy of Loudoun (in my home town), I have worked with their moms to create a painting of each girl as a farewell/graduation gift. Here is Carlee... 

And Hailey... 

Karlee...

Kaylin...

Lauren...

Maddie...

Shannon...

Stephanie...

And Gina...

Posted in ballerinas 2015

June 2015: drink rosemary vodka, do the splits

June 01, 2015 1 Comment

Meet Clementine, the June Calendar Girl.

Clementine maintains a perfect complexion, utterly unmarred by the harsh rays of the sun. She's rarely caught before sundown without one of her signature hats.

How does she keep a healthy glow in her cheeks without any sun exposure? Why vitamin C of course! Clementine has never met a juice she didn't love, especially pink grapefruit juice. 

Clementine's thoughts for enjoying the month of June: 

  • wear as much white crochet as you can. also scalloped clothing. 
  • get caught in a summer rainstorm without an umbrella and don't panic, enjoy it.
  • make DIY rosemary infused vodka (i.e. stick a bunch of rosemary into a bottle of vodka) and drink it with watermelon juice
  • travel somewhere exotic, preferably Saint Martin and pack only a suitcase filled with rosé and a classic white tank-style one piece with a plunging back
  • practice doing the splits every day. who knows, one day you might just nail it. 

Posted in 2015 Calendar, Inslee Calendar, june

Babies and horses and ramps, oh my! Daphne's exciting first week of may...

May 08, 2015 8 Comments

Where to begin!? May has been such an exciting month so far. First of all, did you notice how I just happened to don my favorite old pale pink taffeta Oscar de la Renta party frock on the evening of Friday, May 1 and post that cryptic toast-post on my instagram account? 

WELLLL...... if you must know the whole story, that was no coincidence that the next morning the world awoke to the glorious, earth shattering news that Princess Charlotte had been born. No coincidence at all, my friends. 

Of course, Doxie and I had been in London for several days prior, planning to be at dear old Kate's side through the last days of her pregnancy. (A pact we swore to one another as girls at sailing camp, to help each other through life toughest moments). And of course, we all knew it was a girl. 

You should have seen the beautiful top secret baby shower I threw for her, attended by primarily myself, doxie, the Delevigne sisters and a few other equally beautiful heiresses whose fortunes are handled so discretely that their names would mean nothing to you, adoring public.  

On Friday night, Kate was in such a state. It was not, shall we say, Royal.

In hopes of cheering her up, I threw on this beloved old pink number and suggested we have a champagne and sushi party - these used to be her favorite kind of parties - but this only made her cry more. Apparently pregnant people cannot drink or eat raw fish? And it hurts their feelings when their best friends trot around in size zero runway samples of Oscar gowns on the eve of the impending massacre of there bodies?

Whatever.

Anyway, it turned into a champagne and ice cream party. Champagne for me, ice cream for her (and Doxie) (and the Queen). Did I mention HRH was there too? 

Since I was the only one drinking I ended up drunk and leaked that instagram hint to the world that Kate was in labor and that Charlotte was in fact a Charlotte, not a Charlie. But you silly sallies were too dense to pick up on it! Gosh we were so worried it was too obvious! But it seemed my drunk-insta did not ruin the royal surprise and Kate pulled herself together, rose to the occasion and awoke Saturday morning, had some tea and then had an all-in-all very Royal Delivery with full make up and hair perfect through the entire 90 minute ordeal. 

During the delivery, Doxie and I showed the Queen some yoga poses to help with her advancing osteoarthritis while Will and that mousey father of his watched a bit perv-ishly if you must know. 

Bravo, Kate dear, Charlotte is a marvel. I can't wait to give her all my old clothes and teach her how to open champagne bottles with a stiletto. Isn't she lucky to be a princess AND to have a crazy aunt Daphne!? 

 

Like I said, May has been a whirlwind of excitement. By mid afternoon on Saturday, Doxie and I were back stateside and positioned to enjoy juleps at the derby.

I threw on this gorgeous little white dress from one of my favorites, Alexis and of course, The Daphne hat from Gladys Tamez. The derby is such a perfect occasion for pairing white and navy. I'll never understand why so many people miss that and show up in floraly pinks. Hasn't everyone studied My Fair Lady as closely as I have? All horse race attendees should wear strict palates of white and darkest of navy....

I wonder who won the race? I suppose it takes some time for them to tally the votes. I hope it's a woman horse. It seems like it's always the male horses who win. 

By Monday I was back in the city, recovered from the exciting weekend and ready to throw a little Cinco de Mayo fete. There I was in Dean & Deluca buying $7 limes, trying to decide if I should do classic Margaritas or hibiscus infused ones, or both and also wondering if Astier de Villatte made margarita glasses when it hit me, I should just throw the party in Akumal! 

I tossed the limes back into the citrus display, called my guests, (and of course, my florist and told her to gather her entire reserve of blooms) and instructed them meet me at six pm sharp for departure by chopper to Mexico. We spent the rest of the week wearing all white clothing, floral crowns, and dining on hibiscus infused everything. I'm not entirely sure if this is the traditional interpretation of how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but it is the only way I know how observe the holiday. 

I've just returned this afternoon to my sunny little corner of manhattan. After all this galavanting, I'm craving a weekend of relaxing with friends and family. Spring is in full crescendo, the days are long and warm, the farmers markets are bursting with ramps, life is good. 

I popped into this springy little shirt dress from dear old friend Kiki Lynn for a trip to pick up ramps this afternoon. Aren't shirt dresses and wicker bags everything? Really, though, what would spring 2015 be without shirt dresses?

Naked. It would be naked. Everyone must have a shirt dress on or else! 

And can we talk about this wicker basket? You love it right? I know. I'm sorry, you can't have it. It's one of a kind, hand woven in the Philippines. I used to live there. Did you know that?

Anyway... let's talk about ramps. Ramps, for those of you who don't know, are the pungent, luxuriously bulbous little cousin of a spring onion and they're a hot commodity in the NYC food scene. Springtime is a season for manhattan chefs to showoff their ramp-cooking skills left and right. And as a result, NYC-ers pay dearly for these onions.

Ramps go for $14 a pound, even at discount grocery shops like Wholefoods Markets. (LMFAO who goes to Wholefoods!?) And at normal grocery stores like Dean & Deluca, they're $47 a pound. Even for me that seems a bit steep! Especially when you're making a dish that require quite a few ramps, which I am. 

Luckily, my sweet friend Loretta is a professional vegan forager. She travels the eastern seaboard in search of naturally occurring, sustainable produce and farms it delicately after praying over it and then flies it back to the city in her small private plane which runs on naturally derived corn-based fuel, to sell at the Union Square Farmers Market.

Loretta's Loot, which is the name of her brand, is an insiders source for the most harm-free, cage-free, ridiculously fresh produce around. I'm often elbow to elbow with the Blue Hill staff fighting over radishes at her stand. (They're usually wearing prop mustaches when this happens. They have to shop under cover. They'd never admit they sometimes turn to outsourcing to Loretta for produce, but if you must know, her ingredients are the inspiration behind some of their most impressive dishes). 

Tonight, Loretta was arranging a fresh batch of foraged ramps when Doxie and I arrived. It is always so inspiring to see her at work, her eyes alight with love of pesticide free produce. She told me how she found these in the foothills of Virginia in a grassy clearing in a forest. A sea of ramps, was how she described it. Can you imagine how lovely that must have been? Discovering a vegetable, growing in season, in a quite, un-marred little piece of forest - offering up the sweetness of the season in Mother Earth's most simple, yet perfect suggestion for what to cook for dinner tonight? 

I grabbed as many as would fit in my wicker tote and headed home to whip up this lovely little dish...

Lorettas Ramp Pesto

In a food processor, puree a pesto of:
2 bunches of ramps
1 cup walnuts (toasted)
lots of olive oil (Loretta is not one for exact measurements)
1/2 c grated parmesean
salt & pepper & maybe even some lemon, if you're feeling frisky
Boil water, make pasta (duh) 
(I like a penne here)
Sauté 1 bunch of ramps in a large pan with olive oil and salt - cut them into 2 inch pieces and cook the bulbs first for about five minutes then swirl in the stems/green bits to sauté until completion. Then add the cooked pasta and the pureed pesto into this large pan and toss to serve. Garnished with extra cheese, obviously. 
Isn't that a nice little recipe? 

 

I plan to serve at sunset on our roof terrace, perhaps with a crisp vermentino and some rustic bread. And for desert we have a lemon meringue pavlova with fresh lemon curd. When did I have time to make that, you ask? Why you've forgotten who you're talking to, my dear. Always remember, Daphne can do it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in cinco de mayo, daphne, loretta, May 2015, nyc, princess charlotte, ramps

May 2015: The Derby

May 01, 2015 2 Comments

 

Welcome to May. And welcome, also, to one of my favorite weeks of the year. A week which combines opportunities to celebrate two completely distinct cultural phenomenons that are each spectacular in their own right: The Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo. 

Do you think that was what the corporate branding specialists were thinking when they opened all those combined-retail-drive-through spaces for KFC and Taco Bell together??

Anyway, these two semi-made-up holidays off-set one another so nicely. I'm just so glad they fall in the same week, and sometimes even on the same day. 

Think about it. one holiday celebrates the copious consumption of mint, the other, the copious consumption of cilantro. Win. Win.

Silver Julep cups? Always a win. Giant margarita chalices? (what do yo call those, really?) WIN.

We don fascinators, then we don sombreros. Again, Winning all around in the headwear department.

Cheers to May starting with a bang! And this May starts even more victoriously than usual, jumping straight in with Derby Eve on May 1.

Happy Derby Eve Everyone!

Can you believe I've spent nearly ten years sketching calendar girls and this is the first year I've devoted May to celebrating this wonderful occasion for hat wearing?! I mean, come on! It's a no brainer. May = mint juleps, big hats, horse races. Duh. How did it take me this long to sketch this and give the people what they want? I'll file that under me-making-life-difficult-for-myself. 

And now, for some backstory behind this sketch and a bit of reality line blurring... 

This is a snap of Martha and Isabelle at last year's Derby. Martha and Isabelle are friends of Daphne's. They live in Kentucky so Daphne sees them precisely one time a year: Derby Day.

And in fact, she wasn't even present last year for the races (which explains why Martha and Isabelle aren't holding mint juleps in this picture. If Daphne had been there, she would have demanded mint juleps all day long)  

I loved this image because It's so classically Martha and Isabelle. If you knew them, you'd see why.

Martha is the risk taker when it comes to fashion. Has she ever worn 1.5 inch long blue false eyelashes paired with a white alpaca fur parka to a casual Tuesday night dinner with friends? Yes. Of course.

So, for Martha's standards, this micro-mini feathered dress with the floral appliqué embellishments around the neckline was really actually a safe choice. You should see what she's picked for this year's festivities. Word on the street is that it's a fully sheer two piece outfit composed of both a crop top and culottes. 

Isabelle, on the other hand, lives in a world governed by tradition. This pale pink vintage Dior drop-waisted dress belonged to her mother before her. And the fascinator was a favorite of her grandmother's. 

The girls are particularly looking forward to the Derby this year. They've invited their old friend Daphne to join them and she's promised that this year she WILL attend. There's no telling what that wild card will be wearing...

 

ps. print is now available! 

 

Posted in 2015 Calendar, Inslee Calendar, Kentucky Derby, May 2015

spring in the city with daphne

April 15, 2015 2 Comments

Hello! Spring has FINALLY sprung in Manhattan. Are there leaves on the trees? No. Is it warm enough to walk around without a coat? Not exactly. But, I didn't say spring has sprung in Acapulco? No, I said Manhattan. And I don't need a hat/earmuffs/gloves to go get a cup of coffee so we're all celebrating! 

Especially Daphne. She is loving tax day. She's not exactly sure what tax day is. But she's loving it all the same. She's pretty sure it's similar to Boxing Day, or maybe to Bastille Day. Both are occasions she celebrates with rosé and paté eaten en plein air.

"But wait..." you're thinking, "isn't boxing day in December? Rosé outside, Daphne? Really" 

Remember, Daphne probably IS in Acapulco on December 26th. 

Today she and Doxie are trotting out in a light and airy Maison Kitsune shirt dress and a Belgian Bag to see what there is to see. They've decided to spend the afternoon in Central Park. She's barefoot today because, why not, right? But usually, her favorite motto of spring shopping is to invest in a great pair of new nude shoes/nude bag. The Belgian bag is the perfect neutral. Compact and ladylike, goes with everything from white jeans to cocktail dresses. 

She's had a busy few weeks back in the city after her visit to Paris and her ashram (undisclosed location). Flitting from events to openings, seen several times in her new favorite nude heels from Alexandre Birman and an extra fluffy Prabal Gurung coat. She's just like the rest of us, if something fits just perfectly she wears it twice, or sometimes even a third time. This picture was snapped by paparazzi as she stepped into Gato on Lafayette where she's said to have ordered two gin martinis and an order of the harissa burrata with a friend. (Doxie joined and sipped ginger tea at their feet)

Another go-to look she's been rocking is the classic spring combination of a trench paired with white jeans and her OTHER new favorite shoes from Vince. She's thrilled circle sunglasses are back too. Of course, as far as she's concerned, they were never out. But The Row has done a fabulous job at celebrating them this season.

This is her outfit for stopping by to drop off last season's dresses for consignment - an activity the rest of us do about as regularly, and with as much joy, as going to the dry cleaners. It isn't fun, but it's the best way to care for beautiful things. By giving them to someone who can't buy them full price. Right? This trip she dropped off six pairs of Valentino Rock Stud heels and a Celine bag. She's feeling very put-off by brand names this week. Wants to only wear emerging designers with clean lines and no visible branding.

And when she's not bound by doing errands, which is most of the time, she's stepping out in her OTHER new favorite pair of nude shoes from Aquazzura. Ok so maybe you need a few pairs of new nudes for spring. Here she's spotted leaving her brownstone with Doxie in Cynthia Rowley. They're off to visit a farmers market. It's radish season! And she just brought back some authentic, eye-wateringly powerful French mustard to pair them with. 

"What's this!" you say, "Daphne cooks too!? This is all too much!"

Why yes. She grew up summering with Ina Garten herself at their compound in the Hamptons. She learned to cook along side her as the barefoot contessa whipped up roasted chickens with morels and lemon butter for Jeffrey on lazy Sunday afternoons. The smell of honeysuckle and hydrangeas at the open window mingling with the buttery roasting  aromas from the kitchen, set to the meditative sound of crickets chirping beyond the pool, and the sea crashing in the distance.

Ina once taught her that being close to the ocean awakens the culinary spirit within your heart because the salt calls to you on a primal level, stirring appetites that wax and wane with the tide, with the moon, with the season. Ina is said to listen to the rhythmic repeat of waves on the shore for several hours each day before baking her daily batch of perfect brownies for Jeffrey.

Daphne often does the same before preparing her signature truffled bolognese. She'll be sure to share the recipe for whatever she cooks with her farmers market finds.

You'll love it of course, but you probably won't cook it quite as perfectly as she does. 

 

Posted in alexandre birman, aquazzura, barefoot contessa, belgian bag, cynthia rowley, daphne, doxie, nyc, spring, vince

April Calendar Girl 2015: A story blooms in the west village

April 01, 2015 2 Comments

Close your eyes.

Call on your darkened imagination to summon the remembered sounds of a spring rain.

The first elastic drops echoing off newly minted leaves and grass, the sounds gradually growing steadier - a more saturated soundscape and rhythm. Finally building to reach crescendo of downpour. Rain coming down in sheets. 

Mother nature, beckoning in a new season with an opulent display of force, washing away the grey, dead grit of winter, making the world clean and new and smelling gloriously green.

How can the world smell like a color? Smell green? Walk outside after a spring rain and your heart will know what I am talking about. Spring is a season understood by the heart, not the head...

Cecile had been sitting in the window seat in her west village brownstone all morning, with the window flung open, letting the spring rain drown out the sound of her heart, which was beating like a hummingbirds wings trapped inside the birdcage of her chest. Her eyes were closed, her bare feet and legs tucked up beneath her. A white cashmere cropped sweater and pencil skirt covered her chilled skin. 

In her hands she held the envelope. Thick, heavy, important stock. Brushed cotton that had taken on the weight of the cool misty spring moisture in the air. Elegantly textured so that the fingertip dragged just slightly across it when brushing the surface. Still sealed with dark crimson wax. Almost black. The color of very dark red wine. The letter M impressed into it. 

She rolled fingers over the seal again and again tracing the M. Thinking of the gold stamp that had created it and where it rested in the drawer beside the row of dark red wine colored melting wax bars and the crystal match striker. How the drawer always smelled like sulfur mixed with something earthy but crisply fragrant, like paper whites, every time it opened. 

Just then the rhythm of the falling ran eased, the storm had passed. Light began to filter through the dogwood blossoms beyond the window.  Cecile inhaled sharply and slid a finger beneath the envelope flap. At that exact moment a bird chirped it’s cheerful announcement of the storms end. And she snapped the wax seal, the envelope sprang open. 

The bird watched quizzically from it’s dogwood blossom adorned perch as the beautiful woman in the window seat read a letter, one hand pressed over her mouth, eyes scanning the pages, anxiously at first, but then filled with something else - a powerful emotion. 

The woman sprang from the window seat and snapped the window closed, sending a shower of raindrops across the small yard below, crystalizing momentarily in midair, caught in the chards of spring light cast between the brownstones.

Several minutes later Cecile emerged from the front door, a mohair swing coat hung open over the white cashmere. She locked the door, pausing a moment to turn the key over in her hand and then tucked it expertly into a potted topiary beside the door and then clipped down the stairs as she opened her umbrella, shielding herself against the last drifting spray of the storm beneath it's bright coral expanse, painted with scrolling dragons.

The bird chirped again, one stark note. This time echoed by dozens of other birds in neighboring trees. A little spring chorus coming to life as Cecile slipped away, her white and blue stripped heels clipping the dampened pavement, her umbrella bobbing in and out from beneath the canopy of blossoming cherry and dogwood trees. A Chinese dragon, swinging its head in an exultant dance. 

Did the song bird wonder where she was headed? Or what the letter said? Are song birds capable of such complex musings? Perhaps not. The mysterious stirrings on the windowsill in the rainstorm will go unexplained, unexamined. The start to a story, bloomed fresh, as new and unknown as spring itself.

 WISH YOU OWNED SUCH A MARVELOUS SKETCH?... buy the print here! 

Posted in 2015 calendar, april calendar girl, NYC

inslee sketches at nautica

March 30, 2015 1 Comment

Posted in inslee by design, live illustration, nautica, NYC

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