Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Mondays with five things/ideas/events for the week:

I.  The number one food-related question I get from friends is, “a boy is coming over and I’m cooking for him - what do I make?” Regardless of your culinary expertise, my answer is always the same: roast a chicken. It’s incredibly easy (I’d go so far as to say it’s foolproof), tastes delicious, and makes your entire place smell like heaven. My favorite version is Roast Lemon Chicken with Croutons. The lemon and wine infused meat lends sophistication to an otherwise basic recipe, and the caramelized onion is to die for. Serve with a french vinaigrette-dressed butter lettuce salad, dry white wine, and you’ll have your date eating out of the palm of your hand (perhaps literally if you’re into that kind of thing…).

II.  Carolina Herrera is the epitome of elegance. Much like her designs, Mrs. Herrera is always utterly flawless. The Wall Street Journal recently did a Q&A with the couturier, who gave surprisingly thoughtful and candid answers on a wide-range of topics including airport attire, selfie etiquette, her morning routine, and her favorite lipstick (named after her by Bobbi Brown, naturally). In the article, Carolina admits that she’s a maniac about setting tables. Clearly we’re soulmates.

III.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve found another interior design project to undertake in my apartment. The built-in bookcases lining my floor-to-ceiling windows were a major selling point when I rented my place, but recently the over-filled shelves have become a bit too visually chaotic. To remedy this, I’m going to cover them individually (I’m wavering between old school shopping bag brown and crisp white). There are plenty of DIY options (the best I found is here), but if you’re less willing to give up an evening on crafting your bookshelf, a darling company called Juniper Books will do it for you.

IV.  Everyone knows that there are major steals at IKEA, but sorting through the sea of obnoxious people makes it difficult to identify what’s chic and what’s just cheap. As luck would have it, a group of ten top interior designers curated their favorite pieces from the Scandinavian mega-store (including my personal pick for covering dining room chair seats, the $13 sheepskin). If you’re in the market for new decor, check out the list for some fantastic finds.

V.  As many of you know, I’m obsessed with all things NASA and SpaceX. So when I came across an article in Glamour Magazine featuring female astronauts, I immediately stopped everything I was doing to read about these fearless women who are in the running to take part in “the longest, farthest, and most ambitious space-­exploration mission in history,” a manned trip to Mars. In one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read in a while, you’ll learn about everything from what inspired these women to become astronauts to the music they will bring with them to space. When asked about the fear-factor, one astronaut gave an answer that we should all apply to our own lives, “[w]alking out to the launch pad, will there be that fear? Absolutely. But if you don’t face your fears, the only thing you’ll ever see is what’s in your comfort zone.” I couldn’t agree more.

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt