Saturday, December 24, 2005

Petite Prints




I practically freak out when I saw this site! How completely adorable! Petite Prints stationery products all have super cute personal portraits!



How it works: Send in profile shot of yourself or your family and Petite Prints will upload the silhoutte image onto personal stationery.



If your want to reach Preppy Nirvana this is how.

My mom had portraits made of her three kids that hung over her bed for my whole life! Believe me my mom was the Queen of Sugary Sweet.



What a great gift for a girly girlfriend! Great idea for anyone who has just started a new family. Could notecards with Mom, Dad, and new Baby be any sweeter?



Checkout: Petite Prints website.Prepare yourself for the ultimate in adorable!

Friday, December 9, 2005

West Elm

What is better then sleeping in late on Saturday after a long week of waking up at the crack of dawn?



Did you say..."Sleeping in on soft and stylish sheets?"



Share your love of long nappy weekends with West Elm’s monogramable sheets. The monogram says, “ You spent a pretty penny customizing these fabulous sheets.”



Reality: It’s your lucky day. West Elm has a rockin sale price on these fine custom sheets.


A twin set starts at $29.99.



Checkout: West Elm’s site to view these simply cute sheet sets. Available in 6 different custom monogram styles

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

J'adore Basic French!


I love the store. I love the site. Basic French is located in Red Hook NY.(100 miles north of NYC) A store I am willing to drive far to go and see. I got this great bag there last summer. Looks great with just a colored T, jeans, and flip-flops.

Check out Basic French’s site to get a real taste of their adorable nighties, toiletries, linens, housewares, stationery, and little baby clothes. You will instantly be transported to the country side of France.



On my recent visit to their site I was oogling over the Crocheted Blanket ($215). Steep price but hey it’s handmade and the colors are great. Another great item I received as gift was the Colorful Valises ($10-$14). They are cute bright colored suitcase inspired boxes. I have three stacked up on my nightstand to organize all my jewelry.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005



Thanksgiving can be a stressful time. Rushing from work, to the car, to sit in traffic for 10 years, devour Turkey, and then rush to get back in the car, to sit in traffic again. Thanksgiving is the King of Big and Bad. Worst Traffic day, Black Friday, and the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year. Thanksgiving backwards spells trouble. Ok, that was a stretch.




I am a believer of staying home on this crazy holiday. Invite friends over and take the stress out of spending two holidays with family. When I was college, I always had to work in order to get the sacred day of Christmas off. I began to enjoy cooking for random people in my house who were to homeless on the Big Turkey Day.



This year I again I continued with my tradition. My guest list included 4 Spaniards, a brother, and a boyfriend. I went all out with a True New England Thanksgiving.




Endive Spears with Stilton Cheese, Pecans, and Pears – Big Hit!

Assorted Cheeses and Breads

Olives

panokopita

Stuffed Mushrooms

Pear and Pressco Cocktail- Pairs well with Endive.



Dinner:


Brined Roasted Turkey – Moistest Turkey I have ever had!

russels Sprout with Pancetta – Baked in the oven till crispy.

Sage, Sausage and Apple Dressing

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Marshmallows- Made in Individual Tarts so everyone could have a little toasted marshmallow!



Dessert:,


Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Chocolate Mousse Pie



My friends were overloaded with all the food you could possibly consume in one day. I was absolutely exhausted and went to sleep shortly after dinner.



All the recipes can be found on Food Network’s Website. I found them all to be super-easy. Time maintenance and getting it all on the table hot was the most difficult task. The recipe for the Sweet Potatoes is an Original Recipe. You should call and beg me to cook them for you!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Planting Bulbs


There are two actions in planting bulbs.


Step 1:Remembering to buy the bulbs.


Step 2:Plant the bulbs before the ground is frozen.



I usually get Step 1 done but rarely follow through with Step 2.



This year I was successful! I even managed to get three types of flowers that will flower from Early Spring – Late Spring. How fantastic am I?



Planting bulbs is really easy. You can pick up bulbs at any local nursery. Pick bulbs that bloom at different times. You can find this information on the package. This way you will be able to enjoy beautiful flowers all Spring. More bang for your effort!



Make sure you pick- up a trowel or a bulb digger thing. The instructions on the bulbs package will tell you how far to space them and how deep they should be placed in the ground.



BIG TIP: Plant bulbs facing up! The hairy end roots should be on the bottom pointy parts should be facing up.



I planted pink and brown Tulips! I can’t wait for Spring.




Notable Bulb Related Websites:



White Flower Farm



University of Minnesota’s Planting Guide

Monday, October 3, 2005

Room and Board


Buying your first adult couch is a daunting task. What if I hate it 2 years? What if I make a safe choice and end up with this boring conservative slug? What if it gets stained? What if the couch is ugly but comfortable or design envious but hard as a board?



After 2 months of searching, 5 tanks of gas, 10 train tickets to New York, and about 4 fights with my boyfriend to just pick one. I have found my love!



Room and Board was a great store I found in Soho. Think of Room and Board as the cooler sister to Crate and Barrel. Majority of the showroom has hip mid-century modern pieces mixed in with their signature Room and Board line.


The Modern 88 “ Sofa was a great choice for me. The basic shape, deep seats, square arms, and fluffy pillows met all my requirements. I choose a chocolate brown velvet upholstery, which upgraded the look and gave the basic shape some sophisticated styling.



Room and Board was great because there was not a huge mark –up for choosing custom upholstery. My chocolate velvet was considered a high-end fabric. In the end it only increased the overall price by $100. I also received 4 throw pillows for no additional cost.



The price was reasonable. The final cost for my purchase was $1600 with tax, delivery, and scotch guard.



Checkout their website to view all Room and Board's products.

Monday, September 26, 2005

White Furniture


Did you ever think fooling your friends would be this easy? I found a great store whose knock-offs were so good they even made me look twice!



I spotted these tables in numerous magazines this month. White Furniture has a large collection of modern inspired home accessories at shockingly cheap prices.



I love marble! Marble tables will instantly add a kick of style to any room. Mixing textures and patterns will give you that instant glam modern feel.



I am in love with the versatility marble offers. Marble can be mixed to fit in to any style weather it be more traditional or modern. Think of marble as your favorite pair of jeans that can go from laid back with a T to glam with a sparkly top and heels.



If you’re in New York check out White Furniture’s store at 359 Broadway in Manhattan. If New York seems as far as way as Australia try their website at www.whiteonwhite.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Denyse Schmidt

My mom and I have been trying to make a quilt forever. The process of choosing fabrics and a quilt design has been a daunting task.



The problem is my mom and I come from two different ends of the decorating spectrum. My mom is very traditional. She likes her quilts to be oozing with coordinating French fabrics and batiks. I am horrified by this overly contrived design. My style is more modern and simple.



I applaud Denyse Schmidt for her hip take on classic quilting techniques. Denyse’s quilts are colorful, fun and geometric.



When my mom first saw Denyse’s quilted pieces she began to value the joys of modern design. She now realizes what I mean by saying, “I want my quilt to be simple.” Thanks to Denyse, we now have a common vocabulary to discuss quilting.



My mom and I have ordered Denyse’s new quilting book called, “Denyse Schmidt Quilts, 30 Colorful Quilts and Patchwork Projects.” I can’t wait to get started on my new masterpiece. How wonderful will it be to have something my mom and I handmade together! The quilt will be something I will treasure for the rest of my life.



Check- Out: Denyse Schmidt’s website to learn more about this cool chick.



If you live in NYC metro area Denyse is having a workshop on September 17, 2005. You will get to learn about all types of quilting techniques that are featured in her new book. Look for details on this workshop under the “New” section of her website.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Lustre featuring Mibo


Mibo, a UK-based designed firm has gained tremendous popularity from its well designed pendent lamps. Mibo has partnered with Lustre to help distribute products to its growing fan club here in the states.



On Lustre’s website you can find all of Mibo’s great lamps, online shopping, and a list of retail stores carrying the line.



I especially love Mibo's new wallpaper collection. With names like Clacket Lane and Pease Pottage you are sure to think of English Countryside D├ęcor. The prints would be absolutely adorable in a small hallway or entryway.



If wallpaper seems like too much of a commitment try a sassy graphic lamp! Check out the entire selection of well designed Lamps on Lustre's site. Any Mibo product will make a small space instantly come alive!

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Color Chips


Color Chips are my prized possession. At Benjamin Moore, you can buy all of their color chips bound together for around $12.00. The chips are really handy. I use them to pick out colors for a painting or color schemes for a new room.

Benjamin Moore paints are a tad more expensive. What your paying for is color with more depth and visual punch. You can choose from a number of dynamite colors that will give you amazing results.



I am so addicted to my Benjamin Moore Color Chips that I keep them on my nightstand. When I can’t sleep flipping through the colors helps me brainstorm ideas for new projects.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Floral Frogs




A Floral Frog is a great trick of the trade! I found the best prices for frogs at Jamali Garden Supplies. Jamali’s is located in New York’s Flower Market on 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.



A Floral Frog is a clever way to make floral arrangements look rounder and fuller. There are many types of frogs. The one I used looks like a flat, metal, round, pincushion. Flowers easily affix into the metal and allow for a sturdy upward shape.




I used a 4 ½ inch Frog ($11.99) in my container to create a low, dense, rounded-shape. Use foliage you collect from your garden to create contrast in your arrangment. Using foliage as a filler will also help to fill in gaps or holes.



Roses create a romantic feel when arranged in a large tight bunch. This beautiful terracotta pot at Jamali’s was just $5.00. The naturally-aged stone looks organic and weathered.



Jamali’s has a great site. Beautiful planters and vases at unbelievably cheap prices!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Painter

I found George Anderson unexpectedly in the town of Rockport, Massachusetts. Contemporary Art comes few and far between on the North Shores of Boston. Most of the work I see would evoke a viewer to say, “That would look great above my couch!"



I was elated to find an abstract painter whose work could stand alone and be grand and interesting even if it wasn’t hung above the prized couch.



Anderson’s works concentrates on the theme of Marine Life found on the rocky shores of Rockport. Scenes of fisherman and nautical landscapes are typical of his work.



Anderson may irritate the typical “Coach Painting” viewer by using saturated colors, blocky shapes, and abstracting the scale of images. However, the result of using modern applications creates an image that is remarkable and eye-catching.



I urge you to check-out George Anderson’s website. You will find exceptionally designed and executed works. Weather you’re in the market or just browsing being exposed to art will open your eyes. Try to explore galleries and museums in your town or on vacation. You never know what hidden treasures you might find.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Helen Parker Textiles



What a delightful store and concept! Helen Parker Textiles is located in the seaside town of Rockport, MA. Visit her retail store and you will see first hand how Helen makes her one of kind textiles.



Hand-printed table lines, pillows, and scarves are made in her studio everyday. Helen invites you to explore her working studio and learn the process behind her creations. You will be able to see the actual buckets of dyes, fabrics, and test pieces Helen uses to make her spectacular textiles.



Helen is sweet and charismatic as she explains how she develops her screen prints and batik fabrics. Her style is very spontaneous and intuitive. She enjoys the open studio atmosphere and how it allows her to interact and explore ideas with her clients.



Visit Helen in her Rockport Studio or call 978-546-8050 for more information.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Garden Leaf Sculptures




I found these gorgeous beauties at a local Art Festival. The handmade leaf sculptures are made using large common leaves found in backyards and fields native to Massachusetts.



Each sculpture is outstanding! A leaf is used only once before it’s discarded. Using a leaf just one time allows the sculpture to have the greatest amount of texture and relief.



The sculptures are large and just heavy enough not to blow away in the wind. Rest the large leaves in a garden, next to a brick pathway, or on a porch. I am imagining mine on a large glass coffee table. How brilliant!



The sculptures range in price from $45.00 to $95.00. They can be shipped for an additional cost. Contact Gerda Maaskant by phone, 978-443-0319 or by e-mail, gemaaskant@yahoo.com for more information.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Archie's Island Chairs

I adore Archie’s Island Chairs! The delightful and colorful furniture is perfect for any backyard, garden, or porch. A set of Round Back Chairs would be splendid in my laid-back loft!



Archie’s furniture line includes various brightly colored lounge chairs, dining sets, and tables.



All the furniture is made of solid mahogany. Primed in alkyld enamel and finished with a marine enamel to give the furniture a shiny no-fade gloss.



The extra special wood and paint means Archie's products don't come cheap. The plus side: Your Round Back Chair ($450.00) will last a lifetime. I say, "Worth Every Penny!



Surf Blue, Mango, Bonfire are just a few of the 12 different colors that make Archie’s products so special. Explore Archie’s Island Chairs website to see all the different colors and furniture.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

A little bit of sin? Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village, New York just divulged their top secret recipes. Try Magnolia Bakery’s Cookbook to make extraordinary cakes and pies reminiscent of your Grandma’s kitchen.


Magnolia’s Recipes Are Classics! Iced Molasses Cookies, Coconut Layer Cake, Pecan Pie, and Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie are just a few of Magnolia's splendid treats!

I can’t resist Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes (pg.60) with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (pg.83). Making custom colors for your frosting adds the perfect homemade touch! I used a lot of red and just a little yellow foodcoloring to make my perfect shade of pink!



Idea: Make these cute cupcakes for a special party and your guests will be deliriously happy!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Nirvana in a Kurta?


Kristen and her daughter Emma love to show off their hip Mommy and Me Kurtas! Kristen from Fit Pregnancy Magazine, definitely knows how to be a Stylish Mama! Bright colors and embroidered Indian tops are oh so chic this summer!



Kristen loves to wear her tie-dyed Kurta at casual dinner parties paired with jeans and a large hip-slung belt. Mix it up with bangles and gold earrings to be instantly glamorous. Think: Bohemian Style-Icon Sienna Miller!


Check-out local Indian boutiques that specialize in Saris and Kurtas. You will find authentic pieces in beautiful colors and stunning hand-embroidery.



Royal Sari House, located on the corner of 29th Street and 5th Avenue,specialize in Kurtas, Tunics, Fabrics, and Sandals. I grabbed up a pair of purple sparkly shoes for just $18 as long as I paid cash!



Neeras Saree Palace on Lexington between 28th and 29th Street is situated in New York’s Murray Hill famous for Indian stores and restaurants. Neeras’s carries a large number of tunics in cotton and silk, oodles of bangles, and Saris. I got a dozen bangles in all different colors and patterns for just $12.00.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Edamame Salad


Who wants to slave over a hot stove on a summer night? Put down the phone and stop yourself from taking the easy way out and ordering take-out.



This recipe is easy, cheap and fresh. It only takes a few ingredients and about 30 minutes. You will be transported to Yum Heaven in no time.



INGREDIENTS:


1 bag of frozen shelled Edamame


½ cup seasoned rice vinegar


2 T. canola oil


1 T. sugar


Salt and Pepper to Taste


8 ounce bag of radishes (sliced)


3-4 medium sized carrots (sliced)


½ c sliced almond (toast in a small skillet)


1 cup of cilantro (chopped)



Cook Edamame according to directions on bag. Rinse with cool water. Put in a bowl with radishes, carrots, and your toasted almonds. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and S+P. Pour over vegetables and stir till well combined. Stir in cilantro and place in the fridge till cool. Tastes even better the next day.



The Salmon was super easy. Miso Salmon tastes like candied fish. I got about a pound of Salmon at the local fish market and Red Miso Paste (available at most health food stores).



Rinse the fish with cool water, S+P the fillet and then spread in a thin layer the miso on fish. Bake skin side down in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Finish off Broiling the Salmon for 2 minutes longer.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Woodman's Clam Hut



I have been looking for a place to have a possible beach wedding. A friend recommend The Crane Estate, located in Ipswich, Ma (45 minutes north of Boston) The Estate is gorgeous, offering 4 potentials sights on the property, ranging from a Great Gatsby Style home to the more laid-back beach and lawn location.

Woodman’s was listed as a possible vendor for the beach and lawn site. Located in Essex, Ma (short ride from Ipswich.) Woodman’s is the quintessential Clam Hut fully equipped with a guy out front serving lobster’s on ice.



Woodman’s was budget friendly. I saved a bunch on a tip with their self-serve counter. I ordered lobster, crab cakes, and corn on the cob so I could get an idea of the food.,



I grabbed a catering menu on my way out. The menu consists of 10 different menu options. The “All American Clambake,” includes their Award-Winning Clam Chowder, Mussels, Clams, Lobster, Rack of Ribs, Corn on the Cob, Corn Muffins, Cole Slaw, and Strawberry Shortcake for around $40.00 a person depending on your party’s size.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Todd's Farm Flea Market




Todd’s Farm Antique and Flea Market located in Rowley, Ma (45 minutes north from Boston.) The Flea Market happens every Sunday from 5am - 3pm, 240 vendors clutter the fields to display some extraordinary finds.

Early bird gets the prize. Arrive early with your game face on, comfortable footwear, cash, and coffee. Get ready to bargain for a prized, Bakelite Bangle for $5.00 or $325.00.



Tip: Always bargain. If you find something that you know is really valuable and is priced for, “Oh my god, that must be a mis-marked price!” Don’t let on to the seller how much it’s really worth. You will end up snatching it up at a fraction of the real cost.



This Sunday, I picked up this great yellow lamp for $5.00. I love the color and 60’s modern feel. Not everything is so groovy or kitschy. You can find great antique ulitarian pieces, Vintage tablecloths, antique tables, and Depression Glass.



I check out Todd’s whenever I can. I usually bring about $40 in cash.I search for something that will add a little more pizzazz to my home. I have never left without a huge smile on my face gloating about my new prize.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sailing in Marblehead, MA


Marblehead, Massachusetts is the birthplace of American Navy and home to one of the most beautiful harbors in New England. Marblehead (located just 20 miles north of Boston) offers a quaint New England Village that wraps around a picturesque harbor.

A Mecca for sailors, Marblehead draws enthusiasts from around the world to its waters. The harbor fills to its capacity in the summertime with upwards of 2,000 sailboats.



On Saturdays, around noon, you can catch a regatta race from one of Marblehead’s great parks. Fort Sewall and Chandler Hovey Park offers the best views to catch these races.



Local tip: Meet up with a local Captain and crew on a sailboat for a day. You will get a front-seat view and a great workout.



Head over to Maddies Sail Loft afterwards to calm your sore muscles with one of their legendary pint-size cocktails. Careful: 2 drinks at this local establishment will transform a scruffy looking sailor into Brad Pitt.

Monday, June 6, 2005

North End, Boston


The North End is a thriving Italian neighborhood in Boston. The best place to go on weekend nights for food and drinking.

I have two favorite restaurants that meet my budget-conscience standards. The North End does have some pretty pricey restaurants. Make sure you check the menus prices before committing to spending big bucks.



Giacomo’s offers large, cheap, and fast entrees. You will get great seafood and pasta dishes. Everything is homemade and aims to please even the most discerning palates.



Regina’s Pizza has the Best Pizza outside of NYC. Try the Meat Lovers, amazing sausage, you won’t regret it. Bring Cash and be prepared to wait in a line outside all-year around.



When you come to The North End you have to indulge in a dessert. Check out local cafes for espresso and gelato.



Modern Pastry on Hanover Street (virtual runway for people-watching in the warmer months) has The Best Cannolis!



Bova’s Bakery offers great warm bread 24 hours a day. Nothing tastes better at 1am when you went past your 2 drink limit at 10pm.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Swan Boats, Boston


For only $2.50 I took a peaceful fifteen-minute Swan Boat ride around a small pond. Surrounding the pond are these huge old willow trees. The branches of the willow trees gently grace your shoulders and head as you soothingly float around the pond.

Robert Paget first created the Swan Boats in 1877. Paget creation was based on a opera called Lohengrin. A love story where a knight crosses a river in a boat drawn by a Swan to save the Princess Elsa.



The Swan Boats are located in the center of Boston Public Gardens. Twenty-four acres of Public Botanical Garden is an oasis in the center of the city.



You will even catch locals riding the Swan Boats. A Swan Boat ride is a great way to welcome Summer. The sun will lovingly beam down on you as you gently glide around the pond. You can’t help but be relaxed and calmed by the ride.



Great place to bring visitors or dates. The Swan Boats are fun way to welcome them to Boston. Bring your date here before dinner it’s seductive and quiet enough to calm your nerves.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Richardson's Ice Cream


Richardson's Ice Cream is ton a fun on a smoldering hot Saturday evening. Richardson’s (located in Middleton, Ma) has it all: Natural Homemade Ice Cream, Two 18-hole Miniature Golf Courses, Driving Range, and Batting Cage. The grounds are really clean and not tacky.

My double-scoop Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream satisfied my sweet craving for a good week. My cone was huge and cost just $2.50.



I checked out baby cows and very large dairy cows that were a bit freighting. They were the largest most aggressive dairy cows I have ever encountered. I guess the cow’s moxie is what makes the ice cream so good.

 

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