the verdigris mani

On April 24, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

verdigris, n. a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate.

I’ve been wanting to collaborate with indie Cambridge nail salon Wet Paint Nail Spa for a while. Michelle, the owner, is a seriously talented nail technician, with the curiosity and creativity displayed by the best artists in every medium. I’ll definitely be featuring more of her work in the future. If you are in the Boston area I cannot recommend this salon highly enough, the other technicians are wonderful as well.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

I asked her to create a look inspired by my snakeskin clutch and makeup bag and she designed this incredible verdigris manicure, mimicking oxidized copper and at the same time reminding me of gorgeous reptilian eyes. I love every shade of copper…really all warm metallics (as evidenced by my recent eyeshadow post), and could not be more pleased with how it turned out.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

This is two coats of acrylic paint (paint! Not nail polish, painted on with a paint brush! Which I will not be trying at home.) dusted with a glittery green pigment from CND. Topcoat and basecoat from DazzleDry, both of which I am so impressed with (really quick drying) and plan to pick up immediately.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

Longtime readers will remember my beloved python clutch. The teal one above is from the same Etsy shop, linmade.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

Like the tarnished silver of the amber ring with this tarnished copper manicure. I’d been wanting my nails painted for weeks (they are often bare but I crave the decoration once in a while) and now it’s a constant, beautiful distraction.

Freshwater pearl ring from Pearl Paradise, which is having their Mother’s Day sale at the moment…


of a feather

On August 1, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

First of all, everything is unified, everything is linked together, everything is explained by something else and in turn explains another thing. There is nothing separate, that is, nothing that can be named or described separately. In order to describe the first impressions, the first sensations, it is necessary to describe all at once. The new world with which one comes into contact has no sides, so that it is impossible to describe first one side and then the other. All of it is visible at every point.

                                                                                   — P.D. Ouspensky

feather clutch

I was smitten with this little feather-embellished clutch the moment I saw it. The soft cream leather, the abundance of glossy copper and teal turkey feathers. These are colors I never can resist, anyway. These are my colors. 

Picked up this little gem at NYX Studio in Cambridge, one half of the duo known as Observatory Boutique (a shared space with a talented florist).  This is a wonderful shop with a distinctive, personal-feeling collection of jewelry, antiques, and charmingly potted succulents. One delights in finding such indie spots, where you can speak directly with the designer and have that sensation of genuinely patronizing the business that is lost once a company reaches a certain size.

turkey feathers

It’s always refreshing to me to find a beautiful object. One needs the nourishment of beauty. One needn’t buy it, of course…but it’s not surprising that I would often want to possess beautiful discoveries. I have clearly been influenced by our materialistic, capitalist culture. Not that I buy every little thing I like, but I sense a desire to possess that is often, on reflection, immature-feeling, or hollow-feeling. I’ve been trying to discern subtler nuances in the urge to possess things, such that it is only best of the best that actually comes home, though I still have a ways to go, and sometimes realize that some lackluster item has gotten through the filters.

The ‘best’ things being, here, the most personally harmonious things. Those things which, if left behind, might haunt me.  In the ideal scenario there is a rightness to these things, a mine-ness. They seem, effortlessly, as if they are meant to be mine, without question or doubt or debate. As if they are a natural piece of the intricate machine of me. Not critical, exactly, but part of the whole just the same. Part of a translation, maybe. One small word or phrase contributing to the translation of me, and in some cases a brief encapsulation of me. Who am I? Well, this about sums it up.

On some level I think it really does.

design: Woodblock Chocolate

On May 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx


Gorgeous packaging from Woodblock Chocolate, an artisan chocolate company based in Portland, Oregon.


It is so civilized, to me, to indulge in a small, excellent piece of chocolate now and then.

on the menu: Alden & Harlow

On May 10, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Alden & Harlow is one of my sister’s favorite restaurants in Harvard Square, and it’s easy to see and taste why. She took me out recently and it was just as good as promised.

I started with a lovely rosé cava from Catalunya, and here is the order of operations from there:


A starter of pickled green beans (this is what they put on the table in lieu of complimentary rolls or some such)

I’ve always loved pickled green beans (pickled anything, really), my mom makes them and I think I prefer her dill version to this sweet one. Still very good, though.


Pickled Verrill Farm Corn Pancakes with Buttermilk, Maple, Shishito

Corn cakes topped with popcorn! So crunchy and delicious! A balanced blend of savory and sweet. The takeaway lesson here is, instead of just putting maple syrup on your pancakes, make a semi-spreadable emulsion of maple syrup, cream, and butter. An all-in-one you can really pack on to each bite. I just love pancakes. I just love breakfast. 


Crisp Potatoes, White Miso, Sour Orange, Toasted Benne Seeds

PAPAS! So basic, so good. A lesson in the power of aioli and condiments in general.

Then there was this really good grilled avocado and chickpea special I failed to capture, we ate it so fast. 

So ugly, too.

House Made Squid Ink Bigoli with Snails, Pork Belly, Breadcrumbs, Green Garlic Pesto 

The only dud of the lot, with the squid ink pasta kind of chewy and hard, and the snails kind of chewy and hard…good flavor but unpleasant texture. We gave ourselves points for adventurousness.


Butternut Squash Salad with Raisins, Pecorino, Hazelnuts, Brown Butter

My favorite dish we tried, and the one I am going to try to approximate later. The squash is raw (maybe macerated a bit), and the key to the dish is the delicate strands that make the rawness approachable, and allow the softening agent (vinegar, lemon) to act quickly and effectively. Sweet with the raisins, hazelnuts, and brown butter, savory with the pecorino and frizzled sage…Must get a julienne peeler.


Mesquite Tortellini with Grilled Broccoli, Bianco Sardo & Colatura

This was fantastic, and my second favorite? I think so. So many excellent cheeses out there to try. Really though, they had me at tortellini.


Olive Oil Cake Panzanella with Rhubarb, Harry’s Strawberries, Fennel & Frozen Creme Fraiche

This was an excellent end to the meal. I think I would have liked just the olive oil cake and the creme fraiche ice cream alone but the rhubarb and fennel had been sliced incredibly thin,  macerating with the strawberries and certainly some other delicious things (lemon, mint) for so long that they had only the slightest hint of crunch and tang (raw rhubarb being basically inedible without considerable alterations, it draws all the moisture right out of your mouth and is super sour). Beautifully done, and ideal for the warmer weather.