Posts by: Rukshan Mistry

Shopping the Major Fashion Houses at Zara (Part Deux)…

  • 21st March 2014

A continuation of our uber-popular post holding a mirror up to celebrated fashion house spring trends—that reflects back to Zara.  If you have not seen Part One, please take a peek…otherwise enjoy a second installment in the series.

 

 

Christian Louboutin’s Caged-Effect:

 

Christian Louboutin Laurence Lace-Up Red Sole Ankle Boot in Black

Christian Louboutin Laurence Lace-Up Red Sole Ankle Boot in Black

Open Work High Heel Leather Sandal

Zara Open Work High Heel Leather Sandal—Insanely Comfortable and Easy to Walk In!

 

 

 

Christian Louboutin Laurence Lace-Up Red Sole Ankle Boot in Black, bergdorfgoodman.com, $1,245.00 (Pre-Order)

Open Work High Heel Leather Sandal, zara.com, $99.90

 

 

 

Lanvin’s Coveted Flatform:

 

 

 

Lanvin Metallic Flatform Sandal

Lanvin Metallic Flatform Sandal

Zara Metallic Platform Sandal with Track Sole

Zara Metallic Platform Sandal with Track Sole

 

 

 

 

Lanvin Metallic Sandal, barneys.com, $790.00

Metallic Platform Sandal with Track Sole, zara.com, $79.90

 

 

 

 

Victoria Beckham’s Sold-Out Soft Peek-A-Boo Pleats:

 

 

Victoria Beckham Silk and Wool-Blend Crepe Mini Dress

Victoria Beckham Silk and Wool-Blend Crepe Mini Dress

Victoria Beckham Silk and Wool-Blend Crepe Mini Dress

Sold-Out!

 

 

 

 

Victoria Beckham Dress

Victoria Beckham Dress

 

 

 

Victoria Beckham Silk and Wool-Blend Crepe Mini Dress, net-a-porter.com, $2,425.00 (Sold-Out!)

 

 

 

 

Zara Dress with Fine Pleated Hem

Zara Dress with Fine Pleated Hem

The same soft white pleats and asymmetrical slice

The same soft white pleats and asymmetrical slice

 

 

 

 Dress with a Fine Pleated Hem, zara.com, $69.90

 

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana’s Feminine Coral:

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Above-Knee Short-Sleeve Lace Dress

Dolce & Gabbana Above-Knee Short-Sleeve Lace Dress

Zara Crochet Dress

Zara Crochet Dress

 

 

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Above-Knee Short-Sleeve Lace Dress, neimanmarcus.com, $2695.00

Crochet Dress, zara.com, $89.90

 

 

 

Ralph Lauren’s Shoulder-Baring Black:

 

 

Ralph Lauren Giana Cold Shoulder Top

Ralph Lauren Giana Cold Shoulder Top

Zara Asymmetric Top with Knot on ShoulderZara Asymmetric Top with Knot on Shoulder

Zara Asymmetric Top with Knot on Shoulder

 

 

Giana Cold Shoulder Top, neimanmarcus.com, $435.00

Asymmetric Top with Knot on Shoulder, zara.com, $69.90

 

 

Marc Jacob’s Sporty Style:

 

 

Marc Jacobs Sandals in Bazaar Magazine.  Retail for $845.00

Marc Jacobs Sandals in Bazaar Magazine. Retail for $845.00

 

 

 

Strappy Leather Sandal from Zara

Strappy Leather Sandal from Zara

 

 

 

Strappy Leather Sandal with Track Sole, zara.com, $89.90

 

 

 

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If You are Not Headed to Puglia—Part Deux

  • 14th March 2014

Last year we posted a delicious recipe which celebrated the ease of a one-pot pasta (sauce and pasta boiled together)!  This year’s similar recipe in Martha Stewart is equally delicious promising a silky sauce that clings perfectly to the orecchiette.  If you are not on your way to Italy, and even if you are, it really is a must-try!

 

 

Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives.

Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives. Photo Courtesy of: Martha Stewart Living

 

 

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

 

Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives

 

12 ounces orecchiette

1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 6-inch sprig rosemary

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving

2 cups baby arugula (about 2 ounces)

 

 

 

Use the best quality Oricchiette

Use the best quality Orecchiette.

 

 

1.) Combine pasta, chickpeas, olives, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, oil, pepper flakes, and 5 cups water in a large straight-sided skillet.  (We found 5 cups to be way too much when we tried this dish.  In fact, 3 cups would probably work better.  If you use five cups, and the water has not completely reduced, ladle some out slowly and save it.  It is tasty in soups and added to other sauces. See below picture).  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and liquid is reduced to a sauce that coats pasta, 12 to 15 minutes.

 

 

 

The beginning stage is absolutely gorgeous!

The beginning stage is absolutely gorgeous!

 

 

 

 

Starting to bubble.

Starting to bubble.

 

 

 

 

Keep stirring it frequently or the pasta will stick.

Keep stirring it frequently or the pasta will stick.

 

 

 

The water will start reducing down.

The water will start reducing down.

 

 

This water was ladled out to reduce the sauce.  It was approximately 2 cups.  It's super tasty with the olives, garlic and rosemary and can be used later in soups and sauces.

This water was ladled out to reduce the sauce. It was approximately 2 cups. It’s super tasty cooked with the olives, garlic and rosemary and can be used later in soups and sauces.

 

 

2.) Remove skillet from heat, discard rosemary, and stir in cheese.  Add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, to thin sauce if necessary.  (We did not need to do this step as we actually removed water).  Divide pasta and arugula among bowls and serve immediately, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with cheese and pepper flakes.

 

 

Serve the pasta immediately!  We did not discard the rosemary.  Fresh arugula can be added.

Serve the pasta immediately! We did not discard the rosemary. Fresh arugula can be added.

 

 

Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives.  Photo Courtesy of:  Martha Stewart

Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives. Photo Courtesy of: Martha Stewart

 

 

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Sourcing the Best in Street Style

  • 13th March 2014

Four super simple but head-turning styles and accessories are easy to mimic with just a few clicks!

 

Draw the Right Card:

 

Face Card Clutch.  Photo Courtesy of: Elle Collections Mexico

Face Card Clutch. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Collections Mexico

 

 

 

Queen Face Card Clutch Anthropologie

Queen Face Card Clutch Anthropologie

Jack Face Card Clutch Anthropologie

Jack Face Card Clutch Anthropologie

 

 

 

Face Card Clutch, anthropologie.com, $998.00

 

 

 

 I’m Lovin’ It!

 

 

Hearts abound...Photo Courtesy of: Elle Mexico

Hearts abound…Photo Courtesy of: Elle Mexico

 

 

 

 

Top Shop Fluro Heart Cross-Over Playsuit
Heart String Satchel Anthropologie

 

 

 

Top Shop Fluro Heart Cross-Over Playsuit, us.topshop.com, $80.00

Heart String Satchel, anthropologie.com, $98.00

 

 

Celebrating the Catwalk on the Streets:

 

 

Cat Walk Sweatshirt in Elle Mexico

Cat Walk Sweatshirt in Elle Mexico

 

 

Moschino Cheap and Chic Catwalk Cashmere Sweater

Moschino Cheap and Chic Catwalk Cashmere Sweater

 

 

 

Moschino Cheap and Chic Cashmere Catwalk Sweater, saks.com

 

 

The Shirtdress with a Little Something Special:

 

 

A perfect shirtdress.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle Collections Mexico

A perfect shirtdress. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Collections Mexico

 

 

Add a chunky, masculine black belt, like above, to any of these stylish shirt-dresses:

 

Mary Katrantzou Current Eillott Women Dress

 

 

Mary Katrantzou Current Eillott Women Dress, yoox.com, $1227.00

 

 

Eudon Choi Erygium Cotton Shirt

 

 

Eudon Choi Erygium Cotton Shirt, matchesfashion.com, $720.00

 

 

Bernhard Willhelm Asymmetric Dress

 

 

Bernhard Willhelm Asymmetric Dress, farfetch.com, $697.81

 

 

Halston Heritage Layered Stretch-cotton Shirt-dress

 

 

Halston Heritage Layered Stretch-cotton Shirt-dress, net-a-porter.com, $375.00

 

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Parting Words…

  • 13th March 2014

‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’ – Coco Chanel

 

 

BonConseil

 

 

Airy Decadence in Beverly Hills—Le Mervetty

  • 9th March 2014

The boutique pâtisserie, Le Mervetty Beverly Hills, is named after a French-born and Belgian perfected dessert—should I repeat that?  I think I will!  French born, Belgian perfected dessert.   It’s called the ‘Merveilleux’ and it is made by way of delicately stacking crumbly meringue together with decadent whipped cream.

 

 

The chocolate Mervetty

The chocolate Mervetty

 

 

 

A dessert, with a heritage drawing back to two nations with a collective conscience focused on pastry perfection, has to be divine.  Its namesake in Beverly Hills is perfection as well.

 

Le Petit Mervetty in a 6-pack and 12-pack

Le Petit Mervetty, beautifully packaged, in a 6-pack and 12-pack.

 

 

Le Mervetty in Beverly Hills offers a selection airy temptations in flavors ranging from praline to speculoos to chocolate.  They come in regular and the adorable, mignon petit size.

 

 

Coffee flavored Mervetty

Coffee flavored Mervetty

Praline Mervetty

Praline Mervetty

 

 

 

The praline tastes as good as it sounds:  Meringue layers, hazelnut praline whipped cream covered with caramelized praline feuilletines.

 

The desserts are as eye-catchingly elegant as they are delicious.  They look especially lovely displayed on a tiered stand amongst colorful spring flowers like anemone and ranunculus.

 

 

Les Petits on Tiered Crane from Anthropologie.

Les Petits on Tiered Crane from Anthropologie.

 

 

Sharing is hard, thankfully!  It is particularly difficult to maintain elegance when cutting into them.  Here’s a peek inside with the neatest cross-section we could obtain.

 

 

 

Neatly cut Speculoos and Chocolate Mervetty.

Neatly cut Speculoos and Chocolate Mervetty.

 

 

Le Mervetty also tempts visitors with Le Pavlova—meringue layers, fresh strawberries, vanilla whipped cream covered with crystallized meringues and Le Grand Mervetty for bigger parties and fêtes.

 

 

Le Pavlova

Le Pavlova

 

 

 

 

Le Grand Mervetty

Le Grand Mervetty

 

 

 

Le Mervetty

319 North Canon Drive

Beverly Hills, CA

lemervetty.com

 

 

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Put a Bow on It!

  • 4th March 2014

From the oversized bows of Saint Laurent to the lbb (little black bow) of Chanel, Valentino and Kate Spade….Spring is all about adding this girlish embellishment.  From your head to your toes, it’s one trend that works wonders anywhere!

 

 

Black Bow Chanel, Saint Laurent

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

 

 

 

In Your Hair:

 

John Lewis Amy Bow Fascinator

John Lewis Amy Bow Fascinator

Federica Moretti Bow-Style Headband

Federica Moretti Bow-Style Headband

 

 

 

 

 

John Lewis Amy Bow Fascinator, johnlewis.com, $50.00

Federica Moretti Bow-Style Headband, modaoperandi.com, $65.00

 

 

 

 

For Coats, Dresses & Pants:

 

Calvin Klein Belt in Bazaar India

Calvin Klein Belt in Bazaar India

Penelope Cruz at the Oscars in 2014

Penelope Cruz at the Oscars in 2014

 

 

RED Valentino Belt in Bazaar UK

RED Valentino Belt in Bazaar UK

 

 

 

Kate Spade New York Skinny Bow Belt

Kate Spade New York Skinny Bow Belt

 

Kate Spade New York Skinny Bow Belt, couture.zappos.com, $78.00

 

 

 

The Wrap & Tie Belt:

 

Hermes Belt Vogue Italia

Hermes Belt Vogue Italia

 

 

 

Rose Byrne in Prabal Gurung

Rose Byrne in Prabal Gurung

 

 

 

Mango Studded Sash Belt

Mango Studded Sash Belt

 

Mango Studded Sash Belt, mango.com, $12.00

 

 

Cute and Flirty on Your Feet:

 

 

Black bows grace shoes in Elle Germany

Black bows grace shoes in Elle Germany

 

 

 

Black Bow Bootie in Elle Germany

Black Bow Bootie in Elle Germany

 

 

 

 

Isabel Marant Rilla Bow-Embellished Leather Ballet Flats

Isabel Marant Rilla Bow-Embellished Leather Ballet Flats

 

 

Isabel Marant Rilla Bow-Embellished Leather Ballet Flats, net-a-porter.com, $475.00

 

 

 

Kate Spade New York Michela Mesh & Patent Leather Bow Slides

Kate Spade New York Michela Mesh & Patent Leather Bow Slides

Love Moschino Heart Bow Jelly T-Strap Sandals

Love Moschino Heart Bow Jelly T-Strap Sandals

 

 

 

Kate Spade New York Michela Mesh & Patent Leather Bow Slides, saksfifthavenue.com, $328.00

Love Moschino Heart Bow Jelly T-Strap Sandals, saksfifthavenue.com, $165.00

 

 

The Saint Laurent Trend:

 

It started with Saint Laurent way back then.  And they oversized and jump-started the trend once-again!

 

YSL Autumn/Winter Collection 1966-67.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue India

YSL Autumn/Winter Collection 1966-67. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue India

 

 

How to copy it today!

 

Lanvin Black Classic Silk Bow Tie

Lanvin Black Classic Silk Bow Tie

 

 

Lanvin Black Classic Silk Bow Tie, liberty.co.uk, £80.00

 

 

 

Silk Chiffon Saint Laurent Bows Vogue India

Silk Chiffon Saint Laurent Bows Vogue India

 

 

 

Chiffon Oversized Bow, Saint Laurent, Elle Germany

Chiffon Oversized Bow, Saint Laurent, Elle Germany

 

 

 

 

Saint Laurent Black Polka Dot Silk Bow Collar for Women

Saint Laurent Black Polka Dot Silk Bow Collar for Women

 

 

Saint Laurent Black Polka Dot Silk Bow Collar for Women, ssense.com, $390.00

 

Easy, Fresh Eat from Donna Hay

  • 26th February 2014

This pasta appeared in Red Magazine from the UK as an ‘easy summer eat,’ courtesy of renowned chef, Donna Hay.  But, this speedy, healthy pasta is really absolutely perfect any time of the year.  The addition of a few chopped anchovy fillets ensures that you add protein, iron and calcium without adding many calories.

 

 

 

Donna Hay Tenderstem Broccoli Pasta with Lemon and Anchovy

 

 

Tenderstem Broccoli, Lemon and Anchovy Pasta

 

400 grams of linguine pasta

2 tbsp olive oil

350 grams Tenderstem broccoli, chopped (about 2/3 lb)

2 tbsp shredded lemon zest

6 anchovy fillets, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

A large handful of mint leaves

Finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino to serve

 

 

 

pasta
Broccoli

 

 

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain and return to the pan.

 

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the Tenderstem broccoli, lemon zest, anchovy, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for four to five minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the broccoli is tender.  Add the broccoli to the pasta with the mint and toss to coat.  Top with the Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.  So easy, so yummy!!!

 

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Pork & Tomatillo Stew with Chipotle Mashed Zebra and Purple Potatoes

  • 22nd February 2014

A Mexican-style stew with a real kick that is loaded with vegetables, served alongside creamy, spicy, comforting mashed potatoes.  What could be better?

 

 

Pork and Tomatillo Stew with Chipotle White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

 

 

Pork and Tomatillo Stew (Recipe from Food & Wine Magazine)

 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 3-inch chunks

salt and pepper

2 large celery ribs, finely diced

1 small onion finely diced

1 Anaheim chile, seeded and finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons mild chile powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Pinch of dried oregano

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup 1/2-inch diced carrots

Two 6-ounce russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 pound tomatillos—husked, rinsed and cut into 1-inch dice

Hot sauce

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Corn tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

 

 

 

Pork and Tomatillo Stew.  Photo Courtesy of:  Food & Wine

Pork and Tomatillo Stew. Photo Courtesy of: Food & Wine

 

 

 

1.) In a medium casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on 2 sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Add the celery and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the diced chile, garlic, chile powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and tomatillos, cover and simmer over low heat until the pork is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

 

2.) Transfer the pork to a plate and shred with two forks.  Meanwhile simmer the stew over moderate heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir the shredded pork into the stew and season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with a few tortilla chips.

 

The stew can definitely be made-ahead and refrigerated and reheated gently!  

 

The stew can also be served atop corn tortilla chips as an appetizer, fancy nacho or amuse-bouche at a dinner party!  It’s a great way to kick-off a Mexican-style dinner.  Then use any left-overs for your own dinner the next night.  

 

 

A perfect amuse bouche that mimics a nacho!

A perfect amuse bouche that mimics a nacho!

 

 

Chipotle and White Cheddar Zebra & Purple Mashed Potatoes 

 

For the mashed potatoes we used a combination of Zebra potatoes (notice their thin barely-there striped pink and yellow skin) and Peruvian purple potatoes.

 

 

Zebra and Purple Peruvian Potatoes

Zebra and Purple Peruvian Potatoes

 

 

Both of these varieties are available at the Farmer’s Market.  They are soft, cook quickly and have a nutty flavor.  We cooked them first and then peeled them lightly, leaving traces of skin on.

 

 

 

Potatoes boiling

Potatoes boiling

 

 

Everyone has their favorite way of preparing mashed potatoes.  We only suggest that as an accompaniment to the stew you mash in 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese and 2 teaspoons of pureed chipotle chiles in adobo.  (Courtesy of: Bon Appétit)  *You can vary the above based on how many potatoes you are preparing and how spicy you wish them to be.  We used 8 potatoes for the amounts represented above. 

 

 

Chipotle-White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes.  Photo Courtesy of:  Bon Appétit

Chipotle-White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appétit

 

 

 

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Shopping the Major Fashion Houses, at Zara, this Spring!

  • 19th February 2014

You do not need to trot around the world, or attend a flurry of shows to cherry-pick some key pieces at a prime price point this spring.  One stop into Zara holds a mirror up to the best from the Spring/Summer runways while watching your wallet.

 

Chloe’s Slides:

The Chloe sandal is virtually sold-out on Net-a-Porter, but you can find an almost exact replica easily on Zara.com

 

Chloe Embellished Neoprene Slides

Chloe Embellished Neoprene Slides

Zara Leather Sandals with Metal Detail

Zara Leather Sandals with Metal Detail

 

 

 

 

Zara Leather Sandals with Metal Detail

Zara Leather Sandals with Metal Detail

 

 

Leather Sandal with Metal Detail, zara.com, $79.90

 

The Dior Floral:

 

It has sashayed into nearly every fashion magazine out there paired beautifully with a modern, structured blazer.  The Dior version retails at £2,500, the Zara version at: $59.90.

 

 

Dior Skirt Photo Courtesy of: Vogue UK

Dior Skirt Photo Courtesy of: Vogue UK

 

 

Zara Pleated Print Skirt

Zara Pleated Print Skirt

 

 

Pleated Print Skirt, Zara.com, $59.90

 

 

Chanel’s Oversized Pearl ‘Collier':

 

Chanel collier con maxi perle bijoux.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle Italia

Chanel collier con maxi perle bijoux. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Italia

 

 

 

Chanel Oversized Pearl Choker

Chanel Oversized Pearl Choker

Chanel Oversized Pearl Choker

 

 

 

Chanel Oversized Pearl Necklace

Chanel Oversized Pearl Necklace

 

 

Zara choker with pearls in the store

Zara choker with pearls in the store.

 

 

 

Zara choker with pearls

Zara choker with pearls

Zara choker with pearls

 

 

Choker with Pearls, zara.com, $19.90

 

Prada’s Aloha Spirit:

 

 

Prada's Resort Collection featuring an Aloha Spirit

Prada’s Resort Collection featuring an Aloha Spirit

 

 

Prada's silks with tropical prints

Prada’s silks with tropical prints

 

 

Nicole Kidman in Prada.  Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue

Nicole Kidman in Prada. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

Adele Exarchopoulos in Prada.  Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue

Adele Exarchopoulos in Prada. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

 

 

 

 

 

Combination Printed Top Zara

Combination Printed Top Zara

Combination Printed Trousers Zara

Combination Printed Trousers Zara

 

Combination Printed Top, zara.com, $79.90

Combination Printed Trousers, zara.com, $79.90

 

 

Zara Printed Dress

Zara Printed Dress

Zara Flower Print Dress

Zara Flower Print Dress

 

Zara Printed Dress Up Close

Zara Printed Dress Up Close

 

 

 

Zara Printed Dress, zara.com, $119.00

Flower Print Dress, zara.com, $79.90

 

 

Celine’s Bold Brush Strokes:

 

Celine

 

 

 

Zara Printed Asymmetric Skirt

Zara Printed Asymmetric Skirt

 

Zara Printed Asymmetric Skirt

 

 

Printed Asymmetric Skirt, zara.com, $69.90

 

 

Marni’s & Tod’s Fringe & Jewels:

 

 

Marni Fringed Sandals

Marni Fringed Sandals

 

 

 

 

 

Tods Fringed Slides

Tods Fringed Slides

 

 

 

zara leather fringe sandal

Zara leather fringe sandal

 

 

Leather Sandals with Fringes, zara.com, $99.90

 

 

Marni Jeweled Calf Hair Sandal

Marni Jeweled Calf Hair Sandal

Marni Jeweled Calf Hair Sandal

 

 

Zara Leather Bio with Jewels

Zara Leather Bio with Jewels

leatherbiowithjewels

 

 

 

Leather Bio With Jewels, zara.com, $99.90

 

 

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Hazelnut Butter Cake with Sea Salt Caramel

  • 17th February 2014

The hazelnut is a favorite amongst European chefs due to its true depth of flavor.  We already know that nothing complements chocolate better.  But, this recipe allows the nut to move out of the supporting role and really truly shine.

 

 

 

Slice of Hazelnut, Butter Cake with Caramel Salt

 

 

Because both elements of the cake can be easily made ahead, it is a favored dessert for entertaining.

 

The recipe was printed in Bon Appétit.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appétit.  Our caramel sauce turned out a bit lighter, but was still silky and delicious.

Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appétit. Our caramel sauce turned out a bit lighter, but was still silky and delicious.

 

 

Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more

1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 Tbsp. raw or granulated sugar

 

Sauce and Assembly

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 Tbsp. flaky sea salt (such as Madon)

 

Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch diameter cake pan.  Line it with parchment round; butter parchment.  Dust pan lightly with flour.

 

 

 

 

Pulse hazelnuts and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground; set aside 2 Tbsp.  nut mixture.  Whisk baking powder, salt, 1 cup flour, and remaining nut mixture in a medium bowl.

 

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat 1/2 cup butter and remaining granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions.  Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients.  Scape batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with reserved nut mixture and raw sugar.

 

Bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan before turning out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Cake can be baked 1 day ahead.  Keep wrapped tightly at room temperature.

 

Sauce and Assembly:  Bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and gradually add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously).  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in butter and salt.  Let cool slightly before serving with or on the cake.

 

 

Starting the glaze.

Starting the glaze.

 

 

*Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead.  Cover and chill.  Bring it to room temperature before serving.

 

 

 

Hazelnut Butter Cake with Salted Caramel

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

Enjoy!!

 

 

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Four Eye-Catching Ways to Welcome Spring

  • 16th February 2014

Playful Puss on Boots!

Thick cotton knee-highs and tights in rainbow hues, paired with irreverent lace-up leather boots—the Miu Miu way!

 

Miu Miu thick cotton tights and lace-up leather boots.  Photo courtesy of: Vogue Paris

Miu Miu thick cotton tights and lace-up leather boots. Photo courtesy of: Vogue Paris

 

 

 

Miu Miu Boots.  Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue Germany

Miu Miu Boots. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Germany

 

 

 

The Metallic Bandana

It’s a necklace! No, it’s a bandana! Whatever you call it, there’s absolutely no question on how to wear it—with panache!

 

Versace collier facon bandana en maille metail.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

Versace collier facon bandana en maille metail. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

 

 

 

Versace necklace/bandana in metal.  Photo courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

Versace necklace/bandana in metal. Photo courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

 

 

 

Etro metallic bandana

Etro metallic bandana

 

 

 

The Star of the Season:

 

Lanvin Altair Collier.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

Lanvin Altair Collier. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

 

 

 

Lanvin Étoile Collier

Lanvin Étoile Collier

Lanvin star necklace

Lanvin star necklace

 

 

Lanvin Star Necklace

Lanvin Star Necklace

 

 

 

Lanvin Star and Heart Cuffs

Lanvin Star and Heart Cuffs

Lanvin Heart Cuff

Lanvin Heart Cuff

 

 

Lanvin Star Bracelets

Lanvin Star Bracelets

 

 

 

Spring’s Sac à Dos

Retailing at $3400.00, it is not the backpack you carried to school—though it might look like it once housed some pastels or paints for art class.  This only adds to the chic, carefree charm of the Chanel back pack soon to hit boutiques.

 

 

Spring/Summer 2014 'Chanel Tagged Back Pack.''  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris.

Spring/Summer 2014 ‘Chanel Tagged Back Pack.” Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris.

 

 

Chanel 'Tagged Back Pack' Spring Summer 2014

 

 

 

Chanel Tagged Back Pack Graffiti Print Spring Summer 2014

 

 

 

 

Chanel Tagged Back Pack Spring Summer 2014
Chanel Tagged Back Pack Spring Summer 2014

 

 

Chanel Back Pack

 

 

 

.

The Dogs are Out in Full Force!

  • 13th February 2014

One of the many things emerging out of the Scottish Lowlands—the traditional houndstooth check of four alternating dark and light bands becomes ever more ubiquitous as winter starts to wind to a close.

 

Late last year Vogue Germany showed us the dazzling array of possibilities.  The houndstooth cap, almost a uniform for Sherlock Holmes, looks ever so fetching on Christy Turlington:

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana, Ana Alcazar, Blumarine and Borsalino all celebrate Houndstooth.  Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue Germany

Dolce & Gabbana, Ana Alcazar, Blumarine and Borsalino all celebrate Houndstooth. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Germany

 

 

 

Christian Dior Houndstooth Strapless Top.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

Christian Dior Houndstooth Strapless Top. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

 

 

Pair a houndstooth piece with sleek black leather gloves or even a dalmatian print cap:

 

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Germany

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Germany

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Germany

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Germany

 

 

 

 

Look handsomely put together with a dapper felt fedora and this cozy yet sharp pullover by Golden Goose, Venice.  Or, try a houndstooth boxy boy’s blazer from Saint Laurent:

 

 

Golden Goose Venice Houndstooth Jumper or Sweater

 

 

Golden Goose Deluxe Print Houndstooth Sweater, farfetch.com, $810.00

 

 

Saint Laurent Houndstooth Blazer, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

Saint Laurent Houndstooth Blazer, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

 

 

Michael Kors played up the print in fur while Marc Jacobs allowed it to shine in a playful pajama-like sateen:

 

houndstooth fur coat Michael Kors
Houndstooth silk blended lamé shirt and matching skirt by Marc Jacobs

 

 

It works equally well as a long structured coat or a swingy, flirty cape:

 

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Germany

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Germany

 

 

Ways to do houndstooth while politely watching the price:

 

 

Yes Style Button-Detail Houndstooth Shorts
Cole Haan Classic Houndstooth Wool Wide Collar Knit Coat

 

 

 

Button-Detail Houndstooth Shorts, yesstyle.com, $27.90

Cole Haan Classic Houndstooth Wool Wide Collar Knit Coat, bluefly.com, $399.00

 

Kate Spade New York Marvis Dress

 

 

1.) Kate Spade New York Marvis Dress, katespade.com, $398.00

2.) Weekend by MaxMara Houndstooth Skirt, Johnlewis.com, $235.00

3.) Topshop Houndstooth Over the Knee Socks, topshop.com, $12.00

4.) Forever 21 Warm Houndstooth Cardigan, forever21.com, $32.80

 

 A Thoroughly Modern Take on a Classic Pattern:

 

Emmanuel Ungaro Houndstooth Skirt

 

 

Emmanuel Ungaro Houndstooth Print Pencil Skirt, farfetch.com, $1172.27

 

Balmain Black Houndstooth Biker Jeans for Women

 

Balmain Black Houndstooth Biker Jeans for Women, ssense.com, $1,950.00

 

 

Marc by Marc Jacobs Women's Flocked Houndstooth Tee Shirt

 

 

Marc by Marc Jacobs Women’s Flocked Houndstooth Tee Shirt, neimanmarcus.com, $98.00

 

 

 

Myne Fitted Oversized Houndstooth Skirt with 2 Exposed Zippers

 

 

Myne Fitted Oversized Houndstooth Skirt with 2 Exposed Zippers, shopbop.com, $71.50

 

Last Look:

 

Helena Christensen wears Oscar de la Renta in 1992 on the runway.

Helena Christensen wears Oscar de la Renta in 1992 on the runway. Photo courtesy of Net-a-Porter.com

 

 

.

.

The Queen of Tortes Gets Reinvented for Valentine’s Day

  • 12th February 2014

According to varying sources, The Queen of Sheba Torte is the first French cake that Julia Child ever ate and one that she continued to cherish and write about throughout her culinary journey.  It is a beautifully elegant, adult cake,  that with almonds and brandy speaks to a refined palate.

 

It’s a perfect capstone to a romantic meal and we have given it a new whimsical look fit for the amorous day ahead!

 

 

The Queen of Sheba Torte gets a new look for Valentine's Day with a white chocolate heart center.

The Queen of Sheba Torte gets a new look for Valentine’s Day with a white chocolate heart center.

 

 

 

The Queen of Sheba Torte gets a new look for Valentine's Day with a white chocolate heart center.

Keep the central heart pure white, put a loved-ones initial or your own design. It’s very easy to personalize…

 

 

This recipe comes to us by way of ‘Bittersweet Chocolate Queen’ herself, Alice Medrich.  The chocolate torte and bittersweet glaze are delivered unadulterated.  However, the addition of white chocolate is our own.  While Medrich might not approve, it does look visually striking and we enjoyed the contrast it brought in texture and taste.

 

 

Queen of Sheba Torte 

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

6 ounces sweet butter, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons brandy

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

4 large eggs, separated

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (2 ounces) ground blanched almonds

1/4 cup (1 ounce) flour

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) sliced toasted almonds

 

 

1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line the bottom of an 8X3-inch springform pan with parchment or waxed paper.

 

2.) Combine chocolate and butter in a small bowl placed in a barely simmering water bath over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Or, microwave on medium (50%) for about 2 minutes.  Stir until completely melted and smooth.  Stir in brandy and almond extract.  Set aside.

 

3.) In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until pale and thick.  Stir in the warm chocolate mixture, almonds, and flour.  Set aside.

 

4.) Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry.  Fold about one-quarter of the egg whites completely into the chocolate batter to lighten it.  Quickly fold in remaining whites.  Turn mixture into the prepared pan and smooth top if necessary.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick or wooden skewer plunged into the center of the cake shows moist crumbs (the center of the cake should be neither completely dry or runny).

 

5.) Cool torte completely in a pan on a rack.  It will have risen and then fallen in the center leaving a higher rim of cake around the sides and possibly some cracking.  The torte can be easily removed from the parchment paper and flipped over.  You might need to round out the edges, cutting it ever so gently with a knife.  (The torte may be prepared to this point up to three days ahead.  It can be wrapped well and stored at room temperature or popped into the freezer for up to three months).

 

 

Let the torte cool completely.

Let the torte cool completely.

You might need to tidy it up a bit to smoothen the circle.

You might need to tidy it up a bit to smoothen the circle.

 

 

Decorating the Torte

 

Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze

Makes enough for an 8-inch to 10-inch torte

This is the simplest and most classic chocolate glaze that can be used on tortes that are stored at room temperature.

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into pieces

4 ounces (1 stick) sweet butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

 

1.) Place chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small bowl.  Melt gently in a water bath over low heat, stirring frequently until almost completely melted.  Do not overheat the glaze.  Remove glaze from water bath and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until the glaze is perfectly smooth.  Or, melt in the microwave on medium for about 2 minutes.  Stir mixture gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until completely smooth; do not whisk or beat.

 

White Chocolate for the Heart

8 ounces high quality white chocolate

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

 

Follow the same instructions as above minus the butter.  

 

2.) Place a heart shaped cookie cutter in the center of the torte and begin glazing the top with the Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze.  Do not worry if glaze drips down the sides of the cake as you will be marbling the sides anyway.  A knife can be used for the chocolate glaze.  For the white chocolate, which is a denser texture, use a spoon and gently smooth the white chocolate into the mold with your fingers.  Fill the mold generously as you want the white chocolate to pop up above the bittersweet chocolate glaze, thereby creating a raised effect for the heart.

 

Starting to glaze....

Starting to glaze….

It's really very easy and fast.

It’s really very easy and fast.

 

 

 

Add the white chocolate and keep it plain or push further.

Add the white chocolate and keep it plain or push further.

 

 

3.) At this point you can either keep the heart plain and it will still look very attractive.  Or, you can choose to write an initial, or another word using bright red sprinkles of your choice.

 

4.) Glazing the sides of the cake are the trickiest part of this endeavor, but since it is marbled there’s really no stress.  Ice the sides of the cake with the white chocolate without worrying too much about how it looks.  Once finished, use a clean brush to gently swirl the bittersweet glaze along the sides.

 

 

Start marbling....

Start marbling….

 

 

 

Again, not that difficult...blend away.

Again, not that difficult…blend away.

 

 

5.) If at this point your cake plate is messy, a wet paper towel and steady hands does the trick.  Pop the cake into the refrigerator for just about 30 minutes to set the chocolate and then very gently remove the heart cookie cutter.  Voila!

 

Cooks note: This type of glaze looses it shine when refrigerated.  If you are decorating the torte….no problem.  If however, you are serving it without any added pizzaz, let the glaze shine and keep it out of the fridge.  

 

 

 

Serve it up and enjoy!

Serve it up and enjoy!

 

 

Spicy, Perfect Cocktail Kabobs

  • 7th February 2014

Amended from one of our favorite cookbooks of all time, Savoring India, the cocktail kabobs are little bites of spicy, savory goodness.  They are Indian meatballs at their finest!

 

In lieu of serving them with chutney, we added the fresh mint right into the recipe.

 

 

Savory and spicy cocktail kabobs

Photo Courtesy of: Savoring India, Williams Sonoma Cookbook

 

They are delicious and appreciated as an appetizer at any party.  However, we find we make them more frequently as an after-school snack.

Packed with protein they are just the pick-me-up kids need as they head from one activity to the other before dinner.

They are just as delicious cold and right out of the fridge, so we often find them ridiculously convenient for a hungry mom on the go.

 

 

Cocktail Kabobs

 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 lb ground beef or lamb

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cumin (we added)

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (we amended)

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/8 cup finely chopped mint (we added)

4 fresh mild green chiles such as Anaheim, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon ground red chili pepper (we added)

1 egg

1 slice of white bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon Adu Lassan (ginger garlic paste…recipe available here)

 

In a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil.  When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often until it turns caramel brown, about 9 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and add the meat, garam masala, cumin, Adu Lassan, mint, salt, cloves, cilantro, red pepper, chiles and egg.

 

In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 1 minute, mash it to a pulp, and add it to the meat mixture.  Mix thoroughly, preferably with your hands, kneading the mixture until it is uniformly smooth and silky.  Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, then make 8 balls with each portion.  (If necessary, dip your fingers in water to prevent the meat from sticking to them while you make the kabobs.)

 

Heat 2 large nonstick frying pans over high heat until hot.  Place 16 kabobs in each pan.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and fry, shaking and turning, until they are cooked through and browned all over, about 8 minutes.  If necessary, reduce the heat to medium during the last few minutes of cooking.

 

 

Cocktail Kababs Nestled in a Gravy Boat and Ready to Serve.

Cocktail Kababs Nestled in a Gravy Boat and Ready to Serve.

 

 

Make a double-batch, keep them in the fridge and they disappear by week’s end.   You can warm them and press them between a fresh baguette…chop up some tomatoes, boil some pasta, add the kabobs and dinner is done!

 

 

A New Crop

  • 6th February 2014

Perfect for the season we’re heading right into…the cropped sweater helps you with the it’s not quite cold, yet it’s not quite hot conundrum.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

 

 

It’s also the best way to work the midriff trend without actually giving your tummy the spotlight. Try it layered neatly over a loose white shirt.

 

 

They can be layered on top of sweaters as in this look from Stella McCartney featured in Vogue.

They can be layered on top of sweaters as in this look from Stella McCartney featured in Vogue.

 

 

The cropped sweater wrap is also a cozy-chic alternative like this favorite from Garnet Hill:

 

Cabled Crossover Wrap from Garnet Hill

Cabled Crossover Wrap from Garnet Hill

 

 

Cropped Wrap—Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Deutschland

Cropped Wrap—Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Deutschland

 

 

From the Huge Crop to Choose From—We’ve Selected a Few Choice Pieces:

 

Givenchy Cropped Sweater
Givenchy Cropped White Jumper

 

 

 

 

Givenchy Cropped White Jumper, farfetch.com, $1080.00

 

 

Mango Cropped Chunky Knit Sweater

 

 

 

Mango Cropped Chunky Knit Sweater, mango.com, $50.00

 

 

 

Tibi Layered Black Cropped Sweater and White Turtleneck

 

 

 

Tibi Layered Merino Wool Sweater Colorblocked Cropped Short Turtle Neck Pullover Black/Off White, couture.zappos.com, $144.99

 

 

Nenette Merino High-Neck Cropped Sweater

 

 

Nenette Merino High-Neck Cropped Sweater, matchesfashion.com, $690.00

 

 

Theyskens' Theory Kaska B Sweater in Blue

 

 

Theyskens’ Theory Kaska B Sweater in Blue, thedreslyn.com, $365.00

 

 

 

Louise Goldin 'Crown' Cropped Jumper

 

 

Louise Goldin ‘Crown’ Cropped Jumper, farfetch.com, $537.89

 

 

Miu Miu Cropped Cashmere Sweater

 

 

Miu Miu Cropped Cashmere Sweater, net-a-porter.com, $565.00

 

 

 

Forever21 Cropped Raglan Sweater

 

Forever21 Cropped Raglan Sweater, forever21.com, $17.80

Guacamole Two Ways

  • 29th January 2014

There is nothing more comforting and inviting at a party than a big bowl of freshly made guacamole.  Whether you are pairing it with traditional corn chips or one of the newer trends like wafer sliced jicama, beets or heirloom radishes, either of these recipes will more than delight.

 

 

Celery-Spiked Guacamole with Chiles from Bon Appétit

Celery-Spiked Guacamole with Chiles from Bon Appetit

 

 

One version celebrates the earthy crispness of celery while the other lets a tangy, juicy, ripe mango shine.

 

 

Celery-Spiked Guacamole with Chiles (Recipe from Bon Appétit)

4 avocados, chopped

1 celery stalk, very finely chopped

2 serrano chiles, seeds removed if desired and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/4 small red onion, chopped and divided

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more leaves for garnish

 

 

Onion and celery chopped

 

 

Mixing

Mixing

 

 

Mash avocados, celery, chiles, garlic, lime juice, 1/2 onion and 1/2-cup chopped cilantro in a medium bowl to desired consistency; season with salt.  Top guacamole with remaining onion and fresh cilantro leaves.

 

 

 

Serve it up!

Serve it up! The crunchy celery compliments the feel of the chips….

 

 

 

Chunky Guacamole with Fresh Mango

5 avocados chopped

1 small tomato diced

1 very ripe mango diced (try to preserve any juice while cutting, as well as squeeze the juice from the flesh hanging onto the pit)

1/8 red onion, chopped and divided

1 garlic clove finely minced

2 stalks green onion chopped

1/3 cup cilantro chopped (plus more leaves for garnish)

1/4  cup fresh lime juice

 

 

Mango, green onion and red onion chopped

 

Chop fresh mango first, preserving any juice and squeezing any juice from the fleshy pit.  Place the juice in a large bowl with the lime juice and mash the avocados in the fresh juice.  Once the desired consistency is reached add the garlic, onion, cilantro, mango, tomato and green onion.  Salt (and pepper) to taste.

 

Mixing

Mixing

 

 

 

Delicious!

Just delicious!

 

 

 

.

Moroccan Madness!

  • 28th January 2014

The allure of Morocco has never seemed stronger.  It’s a magnet for European vacationers and corporate retreat planners.  It anchors travel spreads and cooking shows and inspires both fashion and interior designers.

 

 

Seven Vegetable Couscous from the 'Around the World' Cookbook

Seven Vegetable Couscous from the ‘Around the World’ Cookbook

 

 

Today we showcase one of our favorite recipes from the region which is literally impossible to ruin and celebrate Marrakech-inspired looks for your littlest ones.

 

 

Tea Collection visits Morocco and returns with treasures

Tea Collection visits Morocco and returns with treasures

 

 

Seven is a magical number in Morocco and there are many recipes for this glorious celebration couscous.  The vegetables here are carrots, parsnips, turnips, onions, zucchini, tomatoes and green beans.  You can substitute different vegetables if you desire,”  The Around the World Cookbook.

 

Seven Vegetable Couscous  (Adapted from the Around the World Cookbook):

 

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

• 1 pound lean lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces

• 2 chicken breasts halved

• 2 onions, chopped

• 6 carrots (12 ounces), cut into chunks

• 2 parsnips (8 ounces), cut into chunks

• 1 turnip

• 6 tomatoes

• 4 cups chicken stock

• Generous pinch of fresh ginger

• 1 cinnamon stick (we used two)

• 1 can chickpeas, drained

• 2 cups couscous

• 2 small zucchini, cut into julienne strips

• 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved

• 1/3 cup raisins

• A little Harissa or tabasco sauce  (We used a combination of: 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1 tsp ground red pepper and 1 tsp Paprika)

We added 4 whole cloves

• We added 3 whole cardamom

• We added a dash of freshly ground nutmeg

• Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Diced vegetables ready to sautée

Diced vegetables sautéing

 

 

Heat half of the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole and fry the lamb, in batches if necessary, until evenly browned, stirring frequently.  Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.  Add the chicken pieces and cook until evenly browned.  Transfer to a plate/dish with the lamb.

 

 

Browned chicken and lamb.

Browned chicken and lamb.

 

Heat the remaining oil and add the onions.  Fry over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the carrots, parsnips, and turnip.  Stir well, cover with a lid and “sweat” over low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice.

 

Add the tomatoes, lamb, chicken and stock.  Season with salt and black pepper and add the ginger, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Here we also added the paprika, cayenne pepper and ground red pepper in lieu of Harissa at the end.  Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 35-45 minutes, until the meat is nearly tender.

 

 

Cooking

Cooking

 

Skin the chickpeas by placing them in a bowl of cold water and rubbing them between your fingers.  The skins will rise to the surface.  Discard the skins and drain.  Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the package.

 

Add the skinned chick-peas, zucchini, beans and raisins to the meat mixture, stir gently and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables and meat are tender.  Pile the couscous on a large serving platter, making a slight well in the center.

 

Ready to enjoy!

Ready to enjoy!

 

 

Other ways to bring Moroccan flavor home, come via the new collection from Tea….

 

 

The new Mosaic Tile Graphic Dress and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace from Tea Collection

The new Mosaic Tile Graphic Dress and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace from Tea Collection

 

 

Mosaic Tile Graphic Dress, tea collection.com, $29.50

Peppercorn Loveable Necklace, teacollection.com, $12.00

 

Tea Collection Confetti Tile Tunic and  Peppercorn Bandana

Tea Collection Confetti Tile Tunic Top in Rosweater and Peppercorn Bandana

Tea Collection Moroccan Rose Twirl Top and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace

Tea Collection Moroccan Rose Twirl Top and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace

 

 

 

Confetti Tile Tunic Top, teacollection.com, $29.50

Peppercorn Bandana, teacollection.com, $14.00

Moroccan Rose Twirl Top, teacollection.com, $24.50

 

 

Tea Collection Mosaic Rose Flutter Wrap Dress

Tea Collection Mosaic Rose Flutter Wrap Dress

 

 

 

 

If You’re Heading To…Laos

  • 26th January 2014

If you are heading to Laos, Ock Pop Tok cannot be missed.  In Luang Prabang, off of the coast of the Mekong River, the ‘Living Arts Center,’ and the accompanying store in town are both a treat for the eyes and pretty easy on your wallet.

 

 

Antique Hmong Skirt in Ock Pop Tok, Luang Prabang

Antique Hmong Skirt in Ock Pop Tok, Luang Prabang

 

 

 

The Living Arts Center Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang, Laos

The Living Arts Center Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang, Laos

 

 

 

The store features all Lao-based textiles, handicrafts and design with richly textured accordion style skirts and luminous, bright silky scarves.

 

 

 

Scarves on display at Ock Pop Tok.

Scarves on display at Ock Pop Tok.

 

 

Ock Pop Tok offers mostly the work of local women artisans who have been trained in remote areas of the country in natural dyeing and weaving.  One of their signature patterns is the Chess Scarf, intermixing gossamer squares with silky squares.

 

 

Red Chess Scarf

Red Chess Scarf

 

 

Chess Scarf, ockpoptok.com, $55.00

 

 

Also a true best-seller and perfect paired with a solid t-shirt and blazer this spring, is their Harry Potter scarf featuring shimmery nautical stripes.

 

 

Harry Potter Red and White Striped Scarf at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang.

Harry Potter Red and White Striped Scarf at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang.

 

 

Harry Potter Scarf, ockpoptok.com, $33.00

 

 

Conveniently located in the center of the city, Ock Pop Tok is a must when visiting Luang Prabang, Laos.  Take your time to wander through the two floors and discover hidden treasures all over.

 

 

Ock Pop Tok storefront

Ock Pop Tok storefront

 

 

One of our favorites is this open weave, multi-colored light-as-air silk scarf.

 

Scarf from Ock Pop Tok
Scarf from Ock Pop Tok

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longer shawls and housewares like table and bed runners are distinct and easy to carry back home.

 

 

 

 

Table Runner at Ock Pop Tok

 

 

 

Ock Pop Tok Luang Prabang

 

 

The traditional Antique Hmong Skirts are truly one-of-a-kind and made from hemp harvested by women in the fields.  It can take up to 5 months to design the batik pattern for each of these traditional skirts.

 

 

Antique Hmong Skirt at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang

Antique Hmong Skirt at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang

 

 

Cloth for these skirts is often dyed up to 30 times.  Women typically make one skirt every year for the Hmong New Year celebration.

 

Antique Hmong Skirt, ockpoptok.com, $95.00

 

 

Ock Pop Tok

73/5 Ban Vat Nong

Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
Telephone: +856 (071) 253 219
Hours are 8am to 8pm

Mix & Match Stripes

  • 23rd January 2014

Inspired by these springtime combinations from Boden, we examine all the best ways to mix and match the nautical Breton look.

 

richmondblazerboden

Boden bistro shorts with Breton striped shirt.

Boden bistro shorts with Breton striped shirt.

 

Boden Richmond Blazer, bodenusa.com, $118.00

Bistro Shorts, bodenusa.com, $68.00

Long Sleeve Breton, bodenusa.com, $38.00

 

 

Bright Stripes Matched With Florals Become the 2014 Spring Uniform!

 

 

Nicole Richie wears Alberta Ferretti. Photo courtesy of: InStyle UK

Nicole Richie wears Alberta Ferretti. Photo courtesy of: InStyle UK

 

 

 

 

Joie, Photo Courtesy of: Shopbop

Joie, Photo Courtesy of: Shopbop

 

 

 

Joie Fola Skirt, shopbop.com, $348.00

Paired with:

Joie Michi Blouse, shopbop.com, $258.00

 

 

JCrew toothpick jean in railroad stripe paired with a silk racer tank in antique floral and Sloane woven leather ivory and navy pumps.  Perfect!!!

JCrew toothpick jean in railroad stripe paired with a silk racer tank in antique floral and Sloane woven leather ivory and navy pumps. Perfect!!!

 

 

 

 

Stripe on Stripe Two Ways:

 

Boden Spring Trench

Boden Spring Trench

Boden Multi Stripe Rainy Day Mac

Boden Multi Stripe Rainy Day Mac

 

 

 

 

Boden Spring Trench, bodenusa.com, $198.00

Multi Stripe Rainy Day Mac, bodenusa.com, $178.00

 

 

 

Michelle Dockery on the Cover of Bazaar Magazine Wears Stripes on Stripes

Michelle Dockery on the Cover of Bazaar Magazine Wears Stripes on Stripes

 

 

 

Stripes & Spots

 

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

 

Breton Tunic and Pointed Polka Dot Sling backs

Breton Tunic and Pointed Polka Dot Sling backs

 

Breton Tunic Top, bodenusa.com, $78.00

Pointed Polka Dot Sling Backs, bodenusa.com, $108.00

 

 

Jeweled Stripes:

 

JCrew Collection Jeweled Shoulder Hand-Applied Opalescent Stone Pale Blue Striped Shirt

JCrew Collection Jeweled Shoulder Hand-Applied Opalescent Stone Pale Blue Striped Shirt

 

 

 

Stripes & Monogram:

 

Cara Delevingne carries a Fendi Peek-a-boo-baguette.  Photo Courtesy of:  Cosmopolitan HK

Cara Delevingne carries a Fendi Peek-a-boo-baguette. Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

 

 

 

Bold Stripes Meet Soft Lace:

 

 

Zara T-Shirt with Lace Detail

Zara T-Shirt with Lace Detail

Heirloom Drop Waist Dress from Forever 21

Heirloom Drop Waist Dress from Forever 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

T-shirt with lace detail, zara.com, $35.90

Heirloom Drop Waist Dress, forever21.com, $29.80

 

 

 

Burberry Prorsum Cotton Lace Skirt for $2,995.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

Burberry Prorsum Cotton Lace Skirt for $2,995. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

 

 

 

Stripes, Lace, Florals and Tassels—You Can’t Believe How Easy it Looks!

 

 

Sundance Timeless Lines Top and Meadow Crewelwork Cardigan

Sundance Timeless Lines Top and Meadow Crewelwork Cardigan

 

 

Timeless Lines Top, sundancecatalog.com, $68.00

Meadow Crewelwork Cardigan, sundancecatalog.com, $148.00

Feather Light Boots, sundancecatalog.com, $174.00

 

.

 

Spring forward to Summer with Three Simple Salads

  • 18th January 2014

Simple to prepare yet robust in flavor these are three perfect salads that beckon to the seasons ahead.

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh.  Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

Quinoa Tabbouleh. Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

 

 

Potato Salad with Bacon and Tomato.  Photo Courtesy of: Food and Wine

Potato Salad with Bacon and Tomato. Photo Courtesy of: Food and Wine

 

 

Light, flavorful and zesty Asia Slaw

Light, flavorful and zesty Asia Slaw

 

 

Martha Stewart refers to slaws as a fresh and crunchy combo and this Asia Slaw is no exception.  To make this favorite of our salads we combined two separate slaw recipes from the above publication and the result is tangy, crisp, gingery perfection.  It lasts in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and tastes better with each passing day.  Serve it cold alongside a hot, spicy pot roast or pulled pork for maximum effect.

 

Zesty Asian Slaw                   (recipes modified from Martha Stewart)

 

3 cups shredded cabbage

2 Granny Smith apples cut into matchsticks

3 sliced scallions

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

(prepare the above and combine in a large bowl)

 

Dressing:

Whisk together the below

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 teaspoons orange zest

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

 

Cabbage mixture before dressing is added.

Cabbage mixture before dressing is added.

 

 

“The classic Middle-Eastern salad gets an of-the-moment upgrade with the “it” grain quinoa.  The tiny nutritional powerhouse is loaded with protein, making this dish a delicious vegetarian main course.”  Bon Appetit.

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh                                      (from Bon Appetit 2012)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1/2 tsp. salt, plus more

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh ground pepper

1 large English hothouse cucumber cut into 1/4″ pieces

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

2 scallions, thinly sliced

 

Bring quinoa, 1/2 tsp., salt, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in olive oil.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool.  Transfer to a large bowl and mix in dressing, tomatoes, herbs, scallions and cucumber. Toss to coat.

 

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

 

A perfect antidote to a mayo soaked potato salad, this has a mustardy kick and when you use rich Yukon gold potatoes they add their own earthy creaminess.

 

Potato Salad with Bacon and Tomatoes     (from Food & Wine 2004)

 

3/4 pound sliced bacon

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

1 heart of romaine lettuce, thickly sliced and equalling 4 cups (we used wild arugula instead)

2 scallions, thinly sliced

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spread the bacon in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Top with another baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until just barely cooked.  Remove the top sheet and bake the bacon until browned about 8 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel to drain, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

 

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the potatoes until just tender, about 12 minutes. Yukon golds cook more quickly than other varieties.  Drain and transfer to a bowl.  Let them cool slightly.

 

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with mustard.  Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add half of the dressing to the potatoes along with the bacon and half of the tomatoes.  Season it with salt and pepper.  In another bowl, toss the lettuce, scallions and remaining tomatoes with the remaining dressing and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the greens to 4 plates, top with potato salad and serve.

 

 

Or combine the potatoes with the greens and serve together in one bowl.

Or combine the potatoes with the greens and serve together in one bowl.

 

 

.

Enlist in Navy

  • 15th January 2014

You may not be headed to St. Tropez, or anywhere along the French coast, but making a nod to the Breton top this spring will steer you well.

 

 

Gorgeous Chloe 2014 Nautical Designs.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Gorgeous Chloe 2014 Nautical Designs. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

 

 

The  marinière, or more commonly known striped Breton shirt, was a uniform of seamen in Brittany around 1850.  According to various sources, the original shirt featured 21 stripes, one corresponding to each of Napoleon’s victories.

 

Coco Chanel.  Photo Courtesy of: WikiFashion

Coco Chanel. Photo Courtesy of: WikiFashion

Audrey Tatou as Coco Chanel in a Breton top.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.hk

Audrey Tatou as Coco Chanel in a Breton top. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.hk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a visit to the coast, Coco Chanel was inspired by the seamen’s uniform and introduced it into her collection in 1917.  She paired the top with wide flared trousers (see above).  A style that endures today almost 100 years later and still caught our eye when flipping through Vogue HK.

 

 

Cropped breton top meets flared trousers with a tuxedo stripe.  A look inspired by Coco Chanel almost 100 years ago, still timeless!  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Cropped breton top meets flared trousers with a tuxedo stripe. A look inspired by Coco Chanel almost 100 years ago, still timeless! Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

 

 

Here are a few ways to shop this enduring look:

 

Then

1972 Christian Dior.  Photo Courtesy of Vogue.hk

1972 Christian Dior. Photo Courtesy of Vogue.hk

 

 

Today

 

Chloe 2014 Striped Twill Dress

Chloe 2014 Striped Twill Dress

Chloe 2014 Striped Twill Dress

 

 

 

 

Chloe Striped Twill Dress, net-a-porter.com, $1,895.00

 

 

Stripe Swirl Floppy Hat Anthropologie

Stripe Swirl Floppy Hat Anthropologie

 

 

Stripe Swirl Floppy Hat, anthropologie.com, $58.00

 

 

Chanel Camelia Embellished Striped Sneakers.  Photo Courtesy of:  Cosmopolitan HK

Chanel Camelia Embellished Striped Sneakers. Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

 

(Price above:  Hong Kong dollars NOT US) 

 

 

Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs.  Photo Courtesy of:  Cosmopolitan HK

Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs. Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

 

 

 

 

Keds Kate Spade New York Kick Sneaker in Mariner
Keds Kate Spade New York Kick Sneaker in Mariner

 

 

Keds for Kate Spade New York “Kick Sneaker,” katespade.com, $75.00

 

Kate Spade Seaside Stripe Sutton Hand bag
Kate Spade Seaside Stripe Sutton Hand bag

 

 

Kate Spade Seaside Stripe Sutton Hand Bag, katespade.com, $298.00

 

 

Then:

 

Illustration by Carl Oscar August Erickson--Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Illustration by Carl Oscar August Erickson–Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Photo Courtesy of Vogue: HK

Photo Courtesy of Vogue: HK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today:

 

Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2014.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.HK

Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2014. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.HK

 

 

Lightly striped dress from Dior. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

Lightly striped dress from Dior. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue, Paris

 

Mango Striped Jersey Dress from House of Fraser

Mango Striped Jersey Dress from House of Fraser

Zig Zag Stripe Shorts from JCrew

Zig Zag Stripe Shorts from JCrew

 

 

 

Mango Striped Jersey Dress, houseoffraser.co.uk., £ 24.99

 

Zigzag stripe short, jcrew.com, $69.50

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Elle Décor

Photo Courtesy of Elle Décor

 

 

Chloe Cosmopolitan HK

Chloe Cosmopolitan HK

Chloe Bib Detailed Fine Knit Sweater

Chloe Bib Detailed Fine Knit Sweater

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chloe bib-detailed fine-knit wool sweater, net-a-porter.com, $1050.00

 

 

Christian Louboutin Just Soon 85 Striped Canvas Pumps

Christian Louboutin Just Soon 85 Striped Canvas Pumps

 

 

 

Christian Louboutin Just Soon 85 Striped Canvas Pumps, net-a-porter.com, $795.00

 

 

Louis Vuitton 2014 Scarf.  Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue HK

Louis Vuitton 2014 Scarf. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

 

 

 

Then:

 

Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue HK

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

 

 

 

Today:

 

Acne Studios 2014.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Acne Studios 2014. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue HK

 

 

Thakoon lace-trimmed stripe silk jumpsuit
Thakoon lace-trimmed stripe silk jumpsuit

 

 

 

Thakoon lace-trimmed stripe silk jumpsuit, net-a-porter.com, $1220.00

 

 

 

Asos multi striped shorts
Top Shop Moto Stripe Denim Skirt

 

 

 

 

Asos shorts in multi stripe, us.asos.com, $46.30

 

Topshop Moto Stripe Denim Skirt, topshop.com, $64.00

 

Valentino Crop Multi Stripe Sweater
Valentino Crop Multi Stripe Sweater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentino multi stripe sweater, matchesfashion.com, $1,650.00

 

 

JCrew Textured Stripe Shorts in Navy

JCrew Textured Stripe Shorts in Navy

 

 

Coming soon…..

 

JCrew Striped Tee Linen in C'est La Vie

JCrew Striped Tee Linen in C’est La Vie

 

 

Coming soon….

 

 

JCrew Toothpick Jean in Railroad Stripe

JCrew Toothpick Jean in Railroad Stripe

JCrew Toothpick Jean in Railroad Stripe

JCrew Toothpick Jean in Railroad Stripe

 

 

 

 

 

 

JCrew Toothpick Jean in Railroad Stripe, $135.00

‘Kick’ Yourself Into High Style Color

  • 13th January 2014

 

Solange Knowles X Puma's Girls of Blaze Disc Collection

Solange Knowles masterminds Puma’s Girls of Blaze Disc Collection

 

 

In February 2014 the iconic Puma Disc Blaze collection will be released and more importantly, designed for the first time for women.  At the helm of the collection showcasing four unique versions is an iconic femme herself, synonymous with the word style—Solange.

 

Late last year, Puma announced a special relationship with Solange as she comes aboard as creative consultant for the brand.

 

 

Puma creative sent out via Instagram by Ms. Knowles to announce the collaboration and the Blaze Disc.

Puma creative sent out via Instagram by Ms. Knowles to announce the collaboration and the Blaze Disc.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Jonesmagazine.com

Photo Courtesy of Jonesmagazine.com

 

 

Through her design, Solange points a nod in the direction all eyes will be pointing in 2014—Brazil.  As the country gets ready to hold the World Cup, the collection celebrates the nation’s aesthetic through design.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: thefashionfoot.com

Photo Courtesy of: thefashionfoot.com

 

 

 

The Disc Blaze first came out in 1992 as the world’s first laceless running shoe.  Today it strides right back into the spotlight with style and street cred.

 

 

 

Solange Knowles Disc Blaze Puma Collection

 

 

Sure to fly off of shelves in February it’s worth that special mark in your calendar.

 

 

Solange Knowles Disc Blaze Puma Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Kisses

  • 9th January 2014

Cronuts, Dossants, Cupcakes, Macarons and Cake Pops have met a rival trend across the Pond by way of the light, airy and perfectly petite Meringue.

 

 

 

Bite-sized decadence offered by the Meringue Girls in London

Bite-sized decadence. Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

 

Enter the Meringue Girls and their kaleidoscope of mouthwatering colors!!

 

 

A kaleidoscope of flavors offered by the Meringue Girls in the UK

A kaleidoscope of flavors offered by the Meringue Girls in the UK

 

 

 

The tiny meringue is sweet, complex and rich—while being concurrently ethereal in texture and experience.

 

 

The inside of a rosewater and pistachio meringue
Mallowy inside of a meringue by Meringue Girls UK

 

 

The central texture of their meringue, made solely of free-range egg whites and British grown sugar (as the base meringue) is reminiscent of a melt-in-the-mouth marshmallow.  But, the flavors span the globe in sophistication:  Manuka honey; Lemongrass and Ginger; Matcha green tea; Mojito; Strawberry and Black pepper; Pistachio and Rosewater; Sugared almond; Mince pie…..the list goes on and on and on!

 

 

Piping the Meringues.  Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

Piping the Meringues. Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

How could you have a gathering and not want this on display?  It’s their best seller and one look will reveal why.  A vintage apple crate filled with 170 intoxicatingly beautiful kisses.

 

 

A vintage apple crate filled with a rainbow selection of meringues offered by the Meringue GIrls in the UK

 

 

The girls behind the brand, Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman also offer master classes.

 

 

 

Jars of meringues offered by The Meringue Girls of the UK

 

 

The cute-as-a-button kisses are currently available upon delivery and stocked at:

Selfridges

Harvey Nichols

Fortnum & Mason London

 

 

meringuegirls.co.uk

 

*All photos courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Minestrone with Orzo

  • 6th January 2014

Temperatures may be plummeting in many cities worldwide, but cooking up this hearty, comforting minestrone will warm up any household.

 

Chicken Minestrone with Orzo from the Williams Sonoma 'Soups' Cookbook

Chicken Minestrone with Orzo from the Williams Sonoma ‘Soup’ Cookbook

 

 

One of our favorites for the winter months…it comes by way of the Williams Sonoma ‘Soup’ Cookbook.   It’s easy and tastes better every day that passes.

 

 

 

chopped

 

 

Ingredients:

 

3 qt chicken stock or prepared broth

2 skinless, boneless whole chicken breasts

4 carrots peeled

2 large zucchini

1/2 lb. green beans

1 small Asian eggplant

2 yellow onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded (We substituted Kale but cabbage is also delicious)

1/4 lb fresh white button mushrooms thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded then finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped basil

Piece of Parmesan cheese rind

1/4 cup orzo

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper

1/2 cup basil pesto (store bought or homemade—recipe to follow)

 

 

 

cooking

 

 

 

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring 6 cups of the stock to a simmer.  Add the chicken breasts and simmer until just tender and no trace of pink remains, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the chicken cool in the liquid.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Set aside.  Strain and reserve the stock.

 

Cut the carrots, zucchini, green beans and eggplant into 1-inch pieces and finely chop the onions.  In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the cabbage and sauté it just until it is softened about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, the reserved stock plus the remaining 6 cups of stock, the basil, and the Parmesan rind.  Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 more minutes.

 

Add the orzo and cannellini beans and cook until the orzo is al dente about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and heat through.  Remove and discard the Parmesan rind.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and swirl a tablespoon of pesto into each bowl.  Serve immediately.

 

Note: Adding the rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana cheese, to the simmering soup gives it a unique, nutty, sweet flavor.

 

 

 

soup1

 

 

Basil Pesto:

In a food processor, combine 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves and 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley.  Process until finely chopped.  Add 2 tablespoons pine nuts and process until finely chopped.  With the motor running slowly pour in 1/2 cup olive oil.  Process until thick.  Add 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and pepper to taste and process to mix.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Williams Sonoma 'Soups' Cookbook

Photo Courtesy of: Williams Sonoma ‘Soup’ Cookbook

If You’re Heading to…Mumbai!

  • 4th January 2014

….When ‘Gossip’ is great!

 

 

Rosette Metallic Toe Ring Wedge at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

Rosette Metallic Toe-Ring Wedge

 

 

For shoe shopping, few stores can compare with ‘Gossip Shoes’ in the Palladium Mall.  Like the city of Mumbai itself, Gossip is a world-wind of colors, bright and metallic that makes your head spin with the myriad of choices.

 

 

 

Green and pink toe ring metallic sandals at Gossip Shoes in the Palladium Mall

 

 

There must be more than 500 styles available, each more flamboyant than the last.

 

 

Beaded toe ring wedge at Gossip Shoes in the Palladium Mall

Reminiscent of Rene Caovilla jeweled sandals

 

 

 

You cannot buy them all, but at approximately $30.00 a piece you can splurge on a few pairs…

 

 

Pink Faux-Snakeskin Wedges at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

Pink Faux Snakeskin Toe-Ring Wedges

 

 

Gossip shoes is easily located in the beautiful Palladium Shopping Mall, formerly known as Phoenix Mills one of the largest shopping areas in India.

 

 

Beaded sandals available at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

 

 

Gossip Shoes:

Shop No., S-20, Palladium

Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai, 400 013

 

 

Beaded metallic toe-ring wedges at Palladium Mall, Gossip Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many great shoes we could keep the photos rolling on and on, but we have to stop somewhere.  If you are in Mumbai, or planning your trip, make sure Gossip is on your list.

 

 

 

Jeweled Sandal at Gossip Shoes Palladium Mall Mumbai

 

 

 

 

 

.

De Bon Goût—Eggplant Moju

  • 26th December 2013

Sri Lanka is really a vegetarian’s paradise.  From beetroot curry to our favorite thus far—Eggplant Moju, the meatless mains are plentiful and deliciously satisfying.

 

 

The vegetable market in Galle has a huge selection of new delights like wild jungle bitter gourd.

The vegetable market in Galle has a huge selection of ‘new-to-us’ delights like wild jungle bitter gourd.

 

This recipe come to us by way of a cooking class at the Amangalla and it combines the flavors of fried shallots, fried cashew nuts, coconut vinegar and treacle.

 

It is a Sri Lankan favorite in homes and restaurants alike—one taste and you will know why!

 

Fried cashews and baby shallots

Fried cashews, green chiles and baby shallots add delicious flavor to the dish.

 

 

 

Eggplant Moju

250 Grams  eggplant cut into 6 cm by 1 cm pieces

30 Grams green chiles sliced and cut in half

100 Grams shallots peeled

150 Grams cashew nuts

1 Tsp mustard powder or paste (mustard paste is made with equal parts ground mustard seeds and butter)

1/4 Cup coconut vinegar

1 1/2  Tbsp.  treacle (similar to honey only sweeter), jaggery or brown sugar

1/2 Tsp black pepper

1/2 Tsp red chili powder

Salt to taste

1/2 + 1/2 Tsp turmeric powder

3-5 Cardamom pods, crushed

10 Grams ginger in a coarse paste

10 Grams garlic in a coarse paste

Cooking oil for frying

 

Cutting the matchsticks

Cutting the matchsticks

 

 

 Step by Step Preparation:

• Toss the eggplant matchsticks with salt and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and keep aside for a few minutes

• Deep fry each of the following separately until golden in color; eggplant; green chiles; shallots;

cashew nuts

• In a sauce pan add the coconut vinegar, cardamom, ginger, garlic, 1/2 tsp of turmeric, pepper,

red chili powder, salt and sugar.

• Add the deep fried eggplant, green chili, shallots, and cashew nuts and mix thoroughly on warm heat

• Serve hot or warm with cooked rice and curry

 

 

Colman's  Coconut Toddy Vinegar

Colman’s Coconut Toddy Vinegar

 

 

 

Serve hot and enjoy!

Serve hot and enjoy!

 

 

Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Deux

  • 24th December 2013

Start your day with Egg Hoppers today made from rice flour and served with spicy dahl and sweet curry.

 

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

 

 

It's almost like eggs and pancakes!

It’s almost like eggs and pancakes!

 

Having explored the Fort area yesterday, a tour outside in Galle beckons for day two.  Plan a trip to the Handunugoda Tea Plantation.  En route stop at one of the Turtle Hatcheries and release baby sea turtles into the clear ocean.

 

 

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

 

 

The Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery collects the eggs from the beach every night and hatches them in a safe environment improving the turtles chances of survival and keeping them from poachers who also comb the beach.

 

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

 

 

 

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

 

 

The pristine and secluded beach is only a few steps away.

 

 

Heading out slowly but surely

Heading out slowly but surely

 

 

Blazing their own trail

Blazing their own trail

 

 

A lovely experience for youngsters.

A lovely experience for youngsters.

 

 

The road to the tea plantation offers vistas of brilliant green rice fields, white cranes and large iguanas lumbering across the road.

 

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

 

 

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

 

 

Just 25 minutes from the hotel the Handunugoda plantation is the lowest lying tea estate in Sri Lanka which also includes a rubber and cinnamon plantation.

 

Entering the fields with our guide.

Entering the fields with our guide.

 

Sri Lanka produces a unique White Tea said to be imported from China.  The story has it the tea was grown by a Chinese Empress who employed only virgins to pick it using special gloves and tools made of solid gold.    Special caution is used today as well when growing and harvesting this tea which contains antioxidant properties that are off-the-charts.  The tea demands one of the highest prices worldwide.

 

 

The plantations extend on forever.

The plantations extend on forever.

 

 

While walking through the plantation one examines pepper vines, lemongrass and a myriad of fruit and flower trees.  A small rubber plantation coexists within the tea.

 

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

 

 

 

The bark is pulled back.

The bark is pulled back.

 

 

Probably the most interesting part of the tour is seeing the English and Irish machinery, more than 150 years old, used to dry and desiccate the leaves.

 

The leaves are first spread out to dry.

The leaves are first spread out to dry. By days end the whole belt will be filled (there are many more belts)

 

 

 

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

 

 

The aroma in this room is incredible.

The aroma in this room is incredible.

 

 

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

 

 

Finally, the tour ends with a tasting of a myriad of teas, crossing the range from white to black.  Take your time and savor the difference.

 

 

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

 

It is Christmas Eve so if you are going to make any of the many midnight mass ceremonies in Galle, a midday siesta is in order now. This also allows you to skip the hottest part of the day.  Wake up just in time for tea followed by a glorious sunset view from your room of the Dutch Reform Church next door.

 

Sunset over the Dutch Reform Church in Galle.

 

 

Christmas Eve is a lively time in Galle Forte.  The Amangalla is beautifully lit up and guests await carolers from nearby churches.

 

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

 

 

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

 

 

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

 

 

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

 

 

The Christmas Eve Menu at the Amangalla:

Roast pumpkin and sweet potato soup with blue cheese buttermilk

Wild rice, turkey and walnut salad with cranberry dressing

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Champagne risotto with truffle oil

Pecan and cashewnut pie with gingerbread ice cream and brandy cream sauce

 

Wild rice salad

Wild rice salad

 

 

 

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

 

 

 

Champagne risotto with truffles

Champagne risotto with truffles

 

 

Entering your room you are greeted by stockings on all beds with treats and gifts for adults and kids alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight mass anyone?

 

Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Un

  • 23rd December 2013

If you are looking for a tropical destination to spend Christmas that provides a wealth of cultural treasures, culinary delights and fantastic shopping, look no farther than Sri Lanka—specifically Galle Fort.

 

The Amangalla lobby dressed up for Christmas

The Amangalla lobby dressed up for Christmas

 

 

Front of the Amangalla

Front of the Amangalla in Galle.

 

The coastal city of Galle, which is 72 miles south of the capital city of Colombo, is beautified by the old Dutch Fort, which remains an icon of national heritage.  A stay at the Amangalla promises serenity, aesthetic inspiration and an abundance of singular cultural opportunities.  Its history springs from the early Dutch colonial period, and is located right in the heart of the preserved Dutch fort, offering guests a memorable and unparalleled stylish stay in absolute architectural splendour.

 

Arrive into Galle on the 23rd morning so that you can appreciate the surroundings prior to your Christmas activities.

 

Wakeup to sunrise over the sea and city life starting to bustle.

Wakeup to the sunrise over the sea and city life starting to bustle.

 

 

Start your day with rich, deeply flavored Sri Lankan coffee

Start your day with rich, deeply flavored coffee imported from Italy.

 

 

Before breakfast amble down the winding city lanes and watch as the town wakes up.  Stop and admire the lovely facades and you might get lucky like we did.  There are many private residences in the middle of the town and the locals are supremely proud of their conservation.  If you are polite, you might be invited in for a tour of a home dating back to the Portuguese in the 1500s, the Dutch in the 1600s or the English in the 1700s.

 

The small town proved to be a real melting pot with Europeans, Chinese, Arabs, Malays, Persians and Indians all converging upon it.  The history in itself is tragic, but it has left behind the most complex fabric to be explored.

 

 

The Anglican Church in Galle

The Anglican Church in Galle

 

 

As you walk from the hotel to the sea you will definitely pass the Anglican All Saints Church built in the late 1800s and designed by Sri Lanka’s most famous architect of the 19th century, James G. Smither.

 

A few blocks further and the Light House is in sight and so to are local doing a morning promenade.

 

Light House morning stroll in Galle

Light House morning stroll in Galle

 

One of our favorite stories about Galle concerns the lighthouse and comes from the book, “Galle Fort, The Heritage City,” by K D Paranavitana.  The lighthouse was connected to the pigeon post service between Galle and Colombo started in the last 1800s.  When letters arrived overseas from America or Europe into the Galle harbour they were carried by pigeons, released from the lighthouse, to the capital city of Colombo.  These swift birds traveled at rates of 95 miles per hour reaching their destination in just 3/4 of an hour.

 

Making your way back to Amangalla stop at the large terrace pavilion for a restful breakfast full of local tastes and activities happening on the street below.

 

The most beautiful place for your first meal the tiles are aglow in the morning sun.

The most beautiful place for your first meal the tiles are aglow in the morning sun.

 

 

Begin your day with a traditional Sinhalese breakfast of String Hopper noodles.  String Hoppers are delicate noodles steamed and served in nests with dahl, coconut sambol and egg curry.  Partner it with sweet juice from a King Coconut and you are all set.

 

 

Spring Hopper noodles

String Hopper noodles

 

 

Spicy Coconut Sambol

Spicy Coconut Sambol

 

 

Mixed with dahl and curry.

Mixed with dahl and curry.

 

There is no denying it is very hot in Galle!  If you want to do any shopping start out by 9:00 am when the stores open to beat the intense mid-day heat.

 

Sri Lanka is known for many things but semiprecious stones: Moonstone specifically; brilliant sapphires; gossamer lace; ebony and tea top the long list.

 

As you head out from the Amangalla you might encounter locals demonstrating how lace is made and stones such as Amethyst and Moonstone are polished.

 

Lace making.  In the picture it is hard to see how her hands are flying.

Lace making. In the picture it is hard to see how her hands are flying.

 

 

Man polishes semi precious stones

Man polishes semi precious stones

 

 

Moonstone and other semi precious stones are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka.

Moonstone and other semi precious stones are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka.

 

 

Just steps away from the hotel is Exotic Roots a store that sells all variations in semi precious stones.  You can purchase look-a-like bracelets and necklaces to designs made by jewelers such as Chan Luu (whom we love) for less than $20.00.

 

Semi Precious stone cuff bracelets and necklaces are abundant and cheap.

Semi Precious stone cuff bracelets and necklaces are abundant and cheap.

 

 

Exotic Roots also offers handmade soaps in every imaginable scent and modern styled sarongs in iridescent overlapping silk fabrics.

 

Exotic Roots storefront at 32 Church Street.

Exotic Roots storefront at 32 Church Street.

 

 

 

 

Handmade soaps are worth it at an exchange rate of $126 Sri Lankan rupees to the dollar.

Handmade soaps are worth it at an exchange rate of $126 Sri Lankan rupees to the dollar.

 

 

Sarong

 

 

A few steps further, also on Church street you will find Barefoot filled with colorful fabrics, handicrafts, art and soft toys.   If you have children in your bunch, or children to shop for, this is your place!

 

During this season, Barefoot also offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan Christmas décor

During this season, Barefoot also offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan Christmas décor

 

 

Some colorful options children will love.

Some colorful options children will love.

 

 

Off of Church Street there are many lanes to turn into and local vendors will be walking around selling lace. They do have an eye for modern styles and many of the dresses have the lacy midriff that we just saw popularized by major fashion houses this spring.  Of course these creations in Galle cost under $20.00.

 

 

White lace and cotton dress.

White lace and cotton dress.

 

 

White lace blouse, perfect to pair with jeans.

White lace blouse, perfect to pair with jeans.

 

 

If you have just arrived in Galle you might want to head back now for a quick nap and after a breakfast of Spring Hoppers skipping lunch (with tea to look forward to) is not a problem.

 

Back at the Amangalla hang up your uniquely beautiful “Do Not Disturb Sign,” snack on their homemade coconut biscuits and salty spicy Muruku and take a rest on any of the gorgeous day beds in your room.

 

 

The most elegant "Do Not Disturb" sign that we have encountered to date!

The most elegant “Do Not Disturb” sign that we have encountered to date!

 

 

Savory Muruku bites are addictive and luckily replenished daily.

Savory Muruku bites are addictive and luckily replenished daily.

 

 

If you are a bit jet-lagged you will probably wake just in time for tea at the Amangalla with their finest Ceylon tea and buttery scones served alongside homemade cream and famed strawberry jam.  There is nowhere better to enjoy high tea than on the carved lounge chairs of this property housed in a 400 year-old Colonial building.  The Amangalla is the only Victorian Hotel that has survived in the area and was originally the Oriental Hotel.

 

Ceylon tea with scones and strawberry jam.

Ceylon tea with scones and strawberry jam.

 

The Zaal is the perfect place to take afternoon tea.

The Zaal is the perfect place to take afternoon tea.

 

 

The Zaal or “Great Hall” as it was known in Dutch Times is the Aman’s lounge, living room and bar all rolled into one.  Off of the Zaal is the Verandah and either are the ideal place for tea.

 

After tea plan your next days adventure by reading about Galle Fort and the surrounding area at the local library down the road. Built in the late 1800s it is definitely worth the trip and will help you make a determination of what to see tomorrow.  From there you can head to the sea and be part of the early evening local “passiagata.”

 

 

The town library is steps away from the Amangalla.

The town library is steps away from the Amangalla.

 

Galle library has a large selection of vintage children's books.

Galle library has a large selection of vintage children’s books.

 

 

This is also a great place to work if you need to catch-up with anything.

This is also a great place to work if you need to catch-up with anything.

 

 

Cap off your day with a traditional Sinhalese dinner of ‘Curry and Rice’ prepared by the Amangalla chef so that you can sample more than five local specialties and determine your favorite.

Steamed Basmati and Red Rice is offered alongside:

Chicken Badum

Tuna in Red Curry

Snake Gourd Mustard Curry

Lotus Root Dry Curry

Pumpkin Black Curry

Plantain Flower Curry (if you are searching for something mild try this first)

Beetroot Curry (delicious and palate refreshing)

Carrot Sambol, Chutneys, Papadum

 

All of the curries are served in tiny tasting bowls.

All of the curries are served in tiny tasting bowls.

 

 

 

Up close, from left:  Snake Gourd Mustard Curry, Pumpkin Black Curry, Beetroot Curry and Lotus Root Dry Curry.

Up close, from left: Snake Gourd Mustard Curry, Pumpkin Black Curry, Beetroot Curry and Lotus Root Dry Curry.

 

 

Upon returning for the night enjoy the complimentary turn-down gifts the Amangalla provides all made by local artisans using local resources with a brief history card and details.

 

Bookmark made from lontar an ancient form of paper penciled with Sinhalese script.

Bookmark made from lontar an ancient form of paper penciled with Sinhalese script.

 

 

Handmade wooden tuk tuks are placed on daybeds and in cribs for little guests.

Handmade wooden tuk tuks are placed on daybeds and in cribs for little guests.

 

 

Suba Raat-riyak (Good Night)!

 

 

Revisiting a Los Angeles Favorite—Campanile’s Spaghetti & Meatballs

  • 13th December 2013

The renowned restaurant may have sadly closed its doors, but the holidays are the perfect time to revisit this classic Italian Christmas season dish…given special hidden touches by chef Mark Peel.  The meatballs are especially soft thanks to chunks of bread, and popping with flavor courtesy of cracked fennel, dry white wine and diced mushrooms.

 

 

Campanile's Spaghetti and Meatballs in Red Sauce

Photo Courtesy of: Sunset.com and Myrecipes.com

 

 

If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing holiday meal that can be made ahead, this is one to flag!

This delicious recipe comes to us by way of Sunset.com and Myrecipes.com

 

 

 

Sauce and meatballs in the pot simmering.

Red sauce & meatballs simmering in the pot.

 

 

 

Cracked Fennel in Mortar and Pestle

Crack the fennel in a mortar and pestle.

 

 

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes (we prefer crushed tomatoes from San Marzano)
  • About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • About 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs, plus 1/2 cup leaves
  • WE ADD—one box of baby spinach leaves and this dish easily becomes a complete meal.  The spinach cooks down and just blends right in with the basil…..even your littlest and fussiest eaters will never know.  

 

Meatballs

  • About 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped  (we prefer these diced small)
  • 2 teaspoons cracked fennel seeds (you can use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • About 2/3 cup cold dry white wine, divided
  • 4 ounces country bread such as pain au levain, crusts removed, cut into 1-in. cubes
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 pound cold ground pork
  • 3/4 pound cold ground turkey (dark meat is more flavorful, but you can substitute breast, or ground chicken)
  • 3/4 pound cold ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons flour  (this is optional…the meatballs are delicious even without this step)

 

Spaghetti

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
  • About 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese  (optional)

 

Preparation:

 

1. Make sauce: In a 5- to 6-qt. pan, cook oil and garlic over medium-low heat until garlic softens, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If needed, crush tomatoes with a spoon to break up. Stir in basil sprigs. Turn off heat; keep warm.

 

 

Mushrooms and garlic getting diced and crushed.

 

 

2. Meanwhile, make meatballs: Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms, fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup wine and the bread until liquid is absorbed.

 

3. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Scrape into bowl of a stand mixer and let cool. Add parsley, meats, and 1/3 cup wine and beat on low speed until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

The meatball mixture ready to shape.

The meatball mixture ready to shape.

 

 

4. Using wet hands, shape meat into 1 1/2-in. balls. Heat 2 large frying pans over medium heat with 1 tbsp. oil each. Brown about a third of meatballs in each pan, turning once and adding oil if needed, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. With a slotted spatula, transfer meatballs to a platter. Repeat with remaining meatballs and oil.

 

Campanile meatballs frying.

Meatballs frying.

 

 

5. Scrape all the drippings into 1 pan. Whisk in flour, then cook over medium heat until bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 cups sauce to loosen browned bits. Scrape into pan with rest of sauce and stir.

 

 

6. Return sauce to a simmer. Gently stir in meatballs; simmer, covered, until flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Discard basil sprigs. Cut remaining basil leaves into fine slivers and stir into sauce. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as package directs.

 

7. Drain pasta and transfer to a large shallow bowl. Ladle all the meatballs and about half the sauce on top, and toss to coat. Serve with cheese and extra sauce.

 

 

Campanile Spaghetti and meatballs ready to eat .

Ready to eat!!

 

 

 

 

Looks to Love from 2013…

  • 11th December 2013

As 2013 winds to a close, we recap some of our favorites from the year that did not necessarily fit into a tidily packaged post, but never-the-less deserve a moment in the spotlight.

 

Call it what you want, tusk, horn, shark tooth—its cool factor cannot be denied:

 

Givenchy Shark Tooth Earring

Givenchy Shark Tooth Earring. Photo Courtesy of Vogue.de

Givenchy Shark Tooth Earring

 

 

Givenchy Large Shark Tooth Earring in Plexiglass
Givenchy Shark Tooth Brass Earring in Pale Gold

 

 

 

Givenchy Large Shark Earring in Stone and Plexiglass, net-a-porter.com, $710.00

Givenchy Star Shark Tooth Brass Earring in Pale Gold, forwardforward.com, $400.00

 

 

Aurelie Bidermann Caftan Moon gold-plated faux horn necklace

 

 

Caftan Moon Horn Necklace, aureliebidermann.com, 775 €

 

 

Aurelie Bidermann Caftan Moon gold-plated faux horn necklace

 

 

 

 

 

If you were not already inspired to look for the perfect “little black jumpsuit,” here is your inspiration:

 

Cannes, Carey Mulligan and Balenciaga.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan

Cannes, Carey Mulligan and Balenciaga. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

 

 

 

Just when you thought you had seen it all in design….along comes Celine:

 

Celine's all enveloping coat—like a never-ending hug!

Celine’s all enveloping dress—like a never-ending hug!

 

 

The cuff grabbed hold of us in 2013 and is here to stay:

 

Chanel Cuff, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan.

Chanel Cuff, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan.

 

 

 

Embellished sneakers elevated the art of “working out:”

 

Chanel tweed and sequin tennis shoe

Chanel tweed and sequin trainer

 

 

 

Cheeky purses and clutches popped-up everywhere:

 

Charlotte Olympia Lights Camera Action Clutch Bag

Charlotte Olympia Lights Camera Action Clutch Bag. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan

 

 

 

Chanel, Lanvin and Derek Lam showcased interchangeable belts/necklaces/chokers:

 

Derek Lam buckle choker

Derek Lam buckle choker

 

 

With mid-riffs spotted all over town, these gorgeous jeans from Chloé perfectly frame a toned tummy:

 

 

Chloé Jeans.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle.fr

Chloé Jeans. Photo Courtesy of: Elle.fr

 

 

Chloé Jeans.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle.fr

Chloé Jeans. Photo Courtesy of: Elle.fr

 

 

Ferragamo enhanced the already trendy and flattering cut-out boot by adding the lace-up :

 

Ferragamo Cut-out Lace-up Leather Boot

Salvatore Ferragamo

Ferragamo Lace-up, Cut-out Boots

Ferragamo, photo courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

 

Hippie style got beautifully elevated:

 

Ermanno Scervino Dress, Photo Courtesy of: Bazaar UK

Ermanno Scervino Dress, Photo Courtesy of: Bazaar UK

Frye Boots

Frye Boots

 

 

Lanvin Oversized Word Necklaces:

 

Literally the perfect accompaniment to any outfit, they can lend flirty flippancy to a formal outfit and just as easily dress-up and aggrandize a simple jeans and t-shirt look.

 

 

Lanvin LOVE belt and Happy Necklace

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan

 

 

Lanvin Love Collier

 

 

 

Lanvin Cool Necklace

Photo Courtesy of: Neiman Marcus

 

 

Lanvin Love You Necklace

 

 

If you are reticent to wear these statements as a necklace, try them as a ring:

 

Lanvin Love Ring

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.de

Lanvin Love Ring

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.de

 

Fingerless gloves were not just for bikers:

 

Our favorites are the Chanel Camellia Fingerless gloves in tartan from the Edinburgh Fall 2013 Collection

 

Chanel Tartan Camellia Fingerless Gloves

Chanel Tartan Camellia Fingerless Gloves

 

 

 

Chains adorned everything:

 

 givenchy riccardo tisci chain sandals in elle.fr

These Givenchy Riccardo Tisci Chain Sandals are one-of-a-kind. Photo Courtesy of: Elle.fr

 

 

Givenchy Curb Chain Ankle Boot

Givenchy Curb Chain Ankle Boot. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.de

 

 

 

Givenchy Curb Chain Ankle Boot
Givenchy Curb Chain Ankle Boot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Givenchy Curb Chain Ankle Boot, barneys.com, $1550.00 (available on pre-order)

 

 

 

Baked Risotto with Fines Herbes and Lemon

  • 9th December 2013

Herby risotto is Italian comfort food at its finest. This holiday season as you prepare to entertain, keep this recipe in your back pocket.  It’s very hard to mess-up, deliciously rich and savory and comes to us by way of Martha Stewart Magazine.

 

 

Baked Risotto with Fine Herbs Martha Stewart Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart Magazine

 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped (about 3/4 cup) and washed well
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine (try to choose a better quality wine)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken broth, warmed, divided
  • 1 1/4 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

 

 

 

Ingredients chopped and ready to go

Ingredients chopped and ready to go

 

 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart oval baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leek, onion, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 10 minutes. (Do not let brown)

  2. Add rice and stir to thoroughly coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until you hear the rice toasting (it sizzles and pops), about 2 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to medium-high. Simmer until pot is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add 3 cups broth, bring to a simmer, and transfer to baking dish. Bake risotto 5 minutes and stir. Bake another 5 minutes and stir again, then bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is just tender, about 5 more minutes.

  3. Remove risotto from oven and stir in remaining tablespoon butter, Parmesan, herbs, and lemon zest. Gradually add 1/2 cup warm broth, stirring, until rice is creamy. (For creamier rice, add more broth, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches desired consistency.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. If risotto thickens upon sitting, add more broth to loosen as desired.

 

 

Ready to serve and eat!

Ready to serve and eat!

Pop Art Abounds—Part Deux

  • 7th December 2013

Our first look at Pop Art for Spring 2014 shone a spotlight on Prada.  Today we take-in the whole array of whimsical and splashy, modern and comical.

 

 

Jimmy Choo pop art clutch, photo courtesy of Harper's Bazaar UK

Jimmy Choo pop art clutch, photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK

 

 

 

Stella McCartney’s Match Jeweled Embellishments:

 

Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Clutch with Embellishments, available at Saks.

Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Clutch with Embellishments, available at Saks.

The Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Cruise Collection.  Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue Russia

The Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Cruise Collection. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

Stella McCartney White Embellished Mini Skirt Saks
White Embellished Stella McCartney Mini Skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Embellished Mini Skirt Stella McCartney, saksfifthavenue.com, $1460

 

 

Kerry Washington wears Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Shift Dress

Kerry Washington wears Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Shift Dress

Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Shift Dress at Neiman Marcus

 

Stella McCartney Match Jeweled Shift Dress, neimanmarcus.com, $2955.00

 

 

 

More artful ideas:

 

Christian Dior Andy Warhol Shoe Pink Leather Purse

Christian Dior Andy Warhol Shoe Pink Leather Purse

 

 

 

Fendi Eyes Clutch

Fendi Eyes Clutch

 

 

 

Kate Spade Wise Owl Clutch

Kate Spade Wise Owl Clutch

 

 

Kate Spade Wise Owl Clutch, katespade.com, $378.00

 

 

 

Chiara Ferragni Lipstick Glitter Loafers at Luisaviaroma.com

Chiara Ferragni Lipstick Glitter Loafers at Luisaviaroma.com

 

 

Chiara Ferragni Lipstick Glitter Loafers, luisaviaroma.com, $211.00

 

 

Miu Miu Cat Print Leather Mary Jane Ballet Flats

 

 

Miu Miu Patent Leather Cat-Print Mary Jane Ballet Flats, saks.com, $750.00

 

 

 

Charlotte Olympia Kiss Me Betsy Ankle Bootie in Black&Red

 

 

Charlotte Olympia Kiss Me Betsy Ankle Bootie in Black&Red, bergdorfgoodman.com, $1,195.00

 

 

Dior Bird of Paradise and Tropical Florals Coat.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle HK

Dior Bird of Paradise and Tropical Florals Coat. Photo Courtesy of: Elle HK

 

 

 

Brush Stroke Eyelids in bright yellow paired with Stella McCartney Cruise 2014. Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue Russia

Brush Stroke Eyelids in bright yellow paired with Stella McCartney Cruise 2014. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

 

Taking Cues from Comic Strips, We Love the Nail Art that Surfaced in the Holiday Saks Fifth Avenue Look Book (Here’s a Peek!)

 

 

 

Pop Art Super Hero Nails

Pop Art Super Hero Nails. Photo Courtesy of: Saks Fifth Avenue

 

 

nailssaks3

 

 

The Total Effect in a Jumpsuit:

 

Theory Romper available at Bergdorf Goodman

Theory Silk Jumpsuit available at Bergdorf Goodman

 

 

Theory Hendrina Printed Silk Jumpsuit, bergdorfgoodman.com, $415.00

 

 

This Case Will Always Pop Out at You:

 

Heys Britto "A New Day" 30" Spinner Case

 

 

Heys Britto “A New Day” 30″ Spinner Case, bloomingdales.com, $350.00

 

 

One of our Favorite Dresses of the 2014 Resort Season—Pop Art Meets Safari:

 

Diane von Furstenberg Resort 2014 'Lion' Safari Print Dress

Diane von Furstenberg Resort 2014

 

 

Pop Art takes the common and ordinary and elevates it through playful interpretation.  Miu Miu brings a song to your every step….

 

 

Music Note Print Patent Leather Pumps Miu Miu

Music Note Print Patent Leather Pumps Miu Miu

 

 

Miu Miu Music Note Print Patent Leather Pumps, saksfifthavenue.com, $675.00

 

 

The Paint-Splattered Cuff:

 

Chanel Paint-Splattered Cuffs

 

 

 

Last Look: Cozy & Chic

 

Alice + Olivia Face Cardigan

Alice + Olivia Face Cardigan

BCBG Bulldog Knit Sweater

BCBG Bulldog Knit Sweater

 

 

 

 Alice + Olivia Face Patterned Cardigan, saksfifthavenue.com, $275.00

BCBG Studded Bulldog Intarsia Sweater, saksfifthavenue.com, $268.00

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend at the Amangiri Part Trois

  • 4th December 2013

For your last day at the Aman, we recommend visiting another nation—Navajo Nation.

 

 

The luminous orange of the sand in Monument Valley contrasted with the desert plants is beautiful.

The luminous orange of the sand in Monument Valley contrasted with the desert plants is beautiful.

 

 

The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty.   The Aman can assist you in a private tour of Monument Valley or a private hike down to the cliff dwellings at Betatakin.  Both are about a 2.5 hr drive from the resort and offer the opportunity for near-solitude during your visit.  At either Betatakin or the back-country tour of Monument Valley you have a chance to see petroglyphs that date back by more than 1,000 years.

 

 

Betatakin Cliff Dwellings at the Navajo National Monument.

Betatakin Cliff Dwellings at the Navajo National Monument.

 

 

At Betatakin prehistoric Puebloan peoples built Tsegi Phase villages within the natural sandstone arches in the canyons. These villages, which date from AD 1250 to 1300, thrill all who visit with their original architectural elements such as roof beams, masonary walls, rock art, and hand and foot holds.

 

 

Betatakin hike must be completed with a registered guide, drops quickly in elevation and can be strenuous.

The Betatakin hike must be completed with a registered guide, drops quickly in elevation and can be strenuous.

 

 

The hike down to Betatakin is quite strenuous with a very steep drop in elevation (which means that you have to climb back up eventually!).  You can choose from a 3-mile very strenuous hike to a 5-mile just ‘strenuous’ hike.  But, don’t shy away, it is absolutely worth it.  Instead come armed with some delicious complimentary snacks from the Aman like jerky, dried fruits and dark chocolate bars from Dean & Deluca.

 

 

Grand archways give way to ancient cliff dwellings at Betatakin.

Grand archways give way to ancient cliff dwellings constructed of sandstone, mud, mortar and wood at Betatakin.

 

You can only visit the site with a registered guide, making the experience even more private and informative.  Please reserve well in advance as there are limited numbers of guided hikes available during the day as well as restraints on visitor numbers.  Having gone at the very very tail end of the season we enjoyed complete solitude.

 

 

Even on the cloudiest of days the colors and buttes are magnificent.

Even on the cloudiest of days the colors and buttes of Monument Valley are magnificent.

 

 

Monument Valley on the Colorado Plateau offers clusters of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft above the valley floor.

The totem pole in Monument Valley en route to some private arches.

The totem pole in Monument Valley en route to some private arches.

The totem pole is one of the most famous sites and is en route to some private arches which house petroglyphs.  No hiking is necessary to see these remote regions of Monument Valley.

A Navajo guide takes in an elevated view of the valley floor in Monument Valley.

A Navajo guide takes in an elevated view of the valley floor in Monument Valley.

 

 

 

Petroglyphs painted on sandstone were often of Hopi Deer, Fire, Flute and Waterclan symbols.

 

 

Petroglyphs are more than 1,000 years old and can be seen in Monument Valley and Betatakin.

Petroglyphs are more than 1,000 years old and can be seen in Monument Valley and Betatakin.

 

Our last stop in the remote, back-country, at the Sun Arch, reveals petroglyphs that are more than 1,000 years old.

 

Once back at the Amangiri, relax with a long swim in their renowned pool which wraps around a surrounding rock and is heated bathtub warm for winter weather.

 

 

Steam rising out of the pool at the Amangiri on a cloudy day.

Steam rising out of the pool at the Amangiri on a cloudy day.

 

 

On a sunnier day the pool is like reflective glass.

On a sunnier day the pool is like reflective glass.

 

 

Aman pool lit up.

Aman pool lit up.

 

 

Enjoy their rich, comforting and renowned onion soup for dinner.  The slow cooked onion broth is puréed with cream and tangy soft cheese and then topped with toasted hominy.

 

 

 

Creamy onion soup with toasted hominy.

Creamy onion soup with toasted hominy.

 

 

 

For dessert you can use the resort balcony with stunning views, or your room’s own private balcony, to roast marshmallows and make mouth-watering s’mores.  Grab the complimentary Dean & Deluca chocolate bars from the in-room fridge to elevate your s’mores to gourmet status.

 

 

The Amangiri balcony with panoramic desert views.  Available to guests for classes like astronomy and Native American dancing as well as s'mores!

The Amangiri balcony with panoramic desert views. Available to guests for classes like astronomy and Native American dancing as well as marshmallow roasting!

 

 

 

Views from the balcony and fire-pit for roasting.

Views from the balcony and fire-pit for roasting.

 

 

 

Roasting marshmallows on a private balcony at the Amangiri.

Roasting marshmallows on a private balcony at the Amangiri.

 

 

Before you leave the resort and head back home, make sure you drop into the Amangiri Gallery to find the perfect Four Corners remembrance.

 

 

Gorgeous indigenous pottery designs.

Gorgeous indigenous pottery designs.

 

 

Vintage Navajo rugs from the mid-1900s.

Vintage Navajo rugs from the mid-1900s.

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend at the Amangiri Part Deux….

  • 1st December 2013

After starting your day with any of our favorite breakfast treats from strawberry filled french toast with vanilla cream to dulche de leche belgian waffles to chef prepared pastries, you can explore any of the numerous trails surrounding the Aman’s property.

 

 

Sunrise at the Amangiri

Sunrise at the Amangiri

 

 

Amangiri hotel

Amangiri hotel

 

The sunrise trail affords views of the mesa illuminated in all hues of pink and orange.  There are also daily complimentary hikes led by Navajo guides to nearby attractions and rock-climbing and repelling for the more adventurous.

 

 

Trails around the property are dotted with bursts of colorful desert flowers.

Trails around the property are dotted with bursts of colorful desert flowers.

Sheer rock surfaces beckon to the more adventurous.

Sheer rock surfaces beckon to the more adventurous.

 

 

On your second day at the resort, the nearby slot canyons call you.  Wind and water, at work for millions of years have created these spectacular canyons about a 30 minute drive from the property.

 

 

Antelope Canyon private tour amangiri.

Antelope Canyon

 

 

Whether you are a guest of the property or not, you must take a guide to enter Antelope Canyon.  However, as a guest of the Amangiri you are afforded the opportunity to tour two other slot canyons in the same region which are only otherwise open to professional photographers.

 

 

Natural light changes minute-by-minute within the canyon creating shadows and shapes such as this 'heart of the canyon.''

Natural light changes minute-by-minute within the canyon creating shadows and shapes such as this ‘heart of the canyon.”

 

 

The slot canyons were discovered in the early 1900s by Navajo women while grazing sheep.  We actually visited on a very overcast day and the colors were still spectacular.

 

 

The very private Rattlesnake Canyon does require some climbing and getting through tight squeezes.

The very private Rattlesnake Canyon does require some climbing and getting through tight squeezes.

 

 

Rounding each corner is more beautiful than the last.

 

The tight twists and turns of Rattlesnake Canyon

The tight twists and turns of Rattlesnake Canyon

 

 

In nearby Owl Canyon a dilemma awaits.  Guides caution that you should be very quiet so as not to disturb the Great Horn Owls that rest in small holes in the rock.  However, because the canyon is so remote about halfway through the canyon you are advised to begin conversing in a loud voice to scare away mountain lions that might be lurking at the end of the canyon.

 

 

Great Horned Owls are some of the biggest in North America.

Great Horned Owls are some of the biggest in North America.

 

 

Again, this is one of the few places that you can experience the natural beauty of this area without being rushed through or busily trying to circumvent everyone else’s photograph.

 

 

This is our guide's car...these two slot canyons are yours to soak in alone.

This is our guide’s car…these two slot canyons are yours to soak in alone.

 

 

Returning back to the Amangiri relax while contemplating how the desert colors have been seamlessly integrated into the décor surrounding you.

 

 

The soothing green of the bathroom tiles mirror the natural sage desert plants.

 

 

 

colors
green

 

 

 

 

 

Shower tiles in the Amangiri

Shower tiles in the Amangiri

 

 

 

Reflective pools around the property take on the hues of brilliant sunsets:

 

Sunset over the desert at the Amangiri

Sunset over the desert at the Amangiri

Colorful pools are illuminated around the property.

Colorful pools are illuminated around the property.

 

 

Streaks of rust pierce sandy walls mimicking exactly the desert landscape.

 

Desert landscape

Desert landscape

Walkways take exact cues from the surrounding landscape.

Walkways take exact cues from the surrounding landscape.

 

 

 

Before dinner, you can take in any of the complimentary classes and activities offered to guests including: professional landscape photography, wildlife experts, Native American traditions and music, astronomy, etc.

 

 

A bearded dragon takes a rest on the Amangiri couch.

A bearded dragon takes a rest on the Amangiri couch.

 

 

Guests can choose to hold a scorpion.

Guests can choose to hold a scorpion.

 

 

End your intense day with chef-prepared wild game such as an elk chop cooked sous-vide alongside a ‘modern baked potato,’ which has been cooked sous vide and infused with (rather than topped with) butter, sour cream and heavy delicious ingredients.

 

Elk Chop

Elk Chop

The modern baked potato

The modern baked potato

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend at the Amangiri

  • 29th November 2013

November is truly a perfect month to visit this region of the Southwest at the border of Arizona and Utah, with Thanksgiving weekend being particularly ideal.

• With a stunning, secluded backdrop and your every need met, the Amangiri is the place to really connect with family, explore unlimited outdoor activities and of course, feast!

• The national parks are amazingly empty over this holiday weekend and the choices are vast from Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley to the many slot canyons and The Grand Canyon (the list literally goes on and on) in this area.

 

 

The Amangiri and surrounding views at sunset.

The Amangiri and surrounding views at sunset.

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of the Amangiri

Photo Courtesy of the Amangiri

 

 

Use the Amangiri as a luxuriously comfortable, private and secluded base from which to soak up all of the beauty of the surrounding national parks.

 

 

Bryce Canyon at 8:00 am on Thanksgiving morning.

Bryce Canyon at 8:00 am on Thanksgiving morning.

 

 

You can hike to the bottom of an often snowy Bryce Canyon come Thanksgiving morning and not see another hiker for hours—having this national treasure all to yourself and your family/friends is real holiday treat.

 

The drive from the resort is an easy 2.5 hours with beautiful views of the sunrise over the mesas that dot the route.  Ask for buttery croissants, pecan wood smoked bacon and other treats to enjoy in the car.  The Amangiri has a signature mint and sage infused lemonade that tastes especially delicious after a long hike so ask for a thermos (it will stay cold this time of year in the car!).

 

If you start out around 5:30 you will reach Bryce with enough light to start your hike.  On Thanksgiving morning, you might be lucky like we were and not find another car in the parking lot at Sunset Point overlook.

 

 

The sunrise along route to Bryce.

The sunrise along route to Bryce.

 

 

Bryce is particularly beautiful in the snow, but to hike the slippery canyon you will need poles and crampons so do invest in proper gear before you attempt it.   For this small investment, the reward is tremendous.

 

 

The Peek-a-boo trail in Bryce Canyon.

The Peek-a-Boo loop trail and towering spires in Bryce Canyon.

 

There are many trails to attempt.  We chose the Navajo trail to the famed Peek-a-Boo loop, a route which began at Sunset Point.  This affords the most stunning view of numerous brilliant hoodoos, towering spires and copious vistas of the Bryce amphitheatre.  But, most importantly, the Wall of Windows is incomparable from below.

 

 

The Wall of Windows in Bryce Canyon.

The Wall of Windows in Bryce Canyon.

 

 

The trails can lead you through tight passages that break into glorious vistas and remote sparkling fields of snow to enjoy in absolute silence.

 

 

Tight passage in Bryce Canyon.

 

 

 

Pristine fields of snow against the canyon backdrop.

Pristine fields of snow against the canyon backdrop.

 

 

After an intense day in Bryce (or any of the surrounding parks) nothing is better than arriving back at the Amangiri at twilight, ravenous and ready to indulge in their many culinary treats.

 

 

Views from the picture window at the Amangiri at Twilight

Views from the picture window at the Amangiri leading into the main dining room.

 

 

At this time of year, a 4-night stay in the Amangiri affords complimentary meals.  The Thanksgiving dinner is comfort food at an elevated level.

 

 

 

The main lobby and dining room at the Amangiri at dinner.  Fireplaces abound and aromatic wood crackling is a soothing soundtrack.

The main lobby and dining room at the Amangiri at dinner.

 

 

 

Fireplaces abound and aromatic wood crackling is a soothing soundtrack.

Fireplaces abound and aromatic crackling wood is soothing and the perfect soundtrack.

 

 

Our Thanksgiving meal included:

 

• A cheese & charcuterie plate with smoked parmesan, aged blue goat cheese, bresoala, calabrese salami and tartufo

• Butternut squash soup with cinnamon sugar toast croutons and braised Utah sweet ham

• Tuscan greens with pickled mint, maple pinenuts, blue cheese, Prosecco poached pear, pancetta, light buttermilk and a shallot vinaigrette.

• Harvest Platter:  Smoked butter herb turkey, Heritage Utah Berkshire ham, parsnip and Yukon mash, wild rice, currant and chestnut stuffing, granny’s turkey gravy, three sister succotash, green bean squash and sweet corn, cranberry horseradish sauce, brown sugar butter

• Pumpkin cheesecake!

 

The cheese and charcuterie plate

The cheese and charcuterie plate

 

 

 

Butternut squash soup with cinnamon toast croutons

Butternut squash soup with cinnamon toast croutons

Salad with shallot buttermilk vinaigrette

Salad with shallot buttermilk vinaigrette

 

The Harvest Plate

The Harvest Plate

 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gingerbread Cake with Lemony Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 27th November 2013

This holiday season why not try an adult version of the traditional gingerbread cookie—a super moist spice cake with a dash of fresh ginger and lemon?  The secret is, actually, the kids will love it too!!

 

 

Gingerbread Cake Bon Appetit

Gingerbread Cake. Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

 

This recipe was created and perfected in the Bon Appetit test kitchen and came to us by way of the namesake magazine.

 

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2′ pieces
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup store-bought lemon curd
  • Finely grated lemon zest

 

Lemon zest for the icing

Lemon zest for the icing

Gingerbread cake cooling

Gingerbread cake cooling

 

 

Preparation

 

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom with parchment paper; spray paper. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Place butter in a large bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over; whisk until melted. Whisk in sugar and next 3 ingredients. Add dry ingredients; whisk to blend. Transfer to prepared pan.
  • Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and let cool. Remove parchment.

Topping

  • Beat cream and sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold in curd, leaving swirls. Spread over cake. Garnish with zest.

 

 

 

Gingerbread cake up close

Gingerbread cake up close

 

 

 

Super delicious and ready to eat!

Super delicious and ready to eat!

 

 

 

 

Pop Art Abounds—Part Un

  • 25th November 2013

As 2014 spring resort wear sashayed down the runway one thing was abundantly clear, pop art took center stage.

 

 

Pop Art Print Prada 2014 Spring Resort

Pop Art Print Prada 2014 Spring Resort—Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: InStyle UK

Photo Courtesy of: InStyle UK

 

 

At Prada it came in all forms of bright, but  the ‘Aloha Spirit‘ was a main theme with hibiscus and palms gracing everything from silk bomber jackets to furs, handbags to jewels.

 

 

A silk Prada shirt looks scrumptious paired with Chloé shorts and a Céline cuff.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

A silk Prada shirt looks scrumptious paired with Chloé shorts and a Céline cuff. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

 

 

 

Prada Dress with Cartier Earrings.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

Prada Dress with Cartier Earrings. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

 

 

 

 

Prada Hibiscus Print Blue Handbag Resort 2014 Spring Collection

Handbags should be available in most boutiques soon for holiday shopping.

 

 

Prada Black & Red Hibiscus Print Purse Resort Spring 2014 Collection

 

 

 

 

Prada Spring 2014 Resort Handbag

Prada Spring 2014 Resort Handbag

 

 

 

Prada Spring 2014 Resort Hand Bag

Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

 

 

 

One of our favorite handbags illustrated by Jeanne Deallante:

 

 

 

Prada Hawaiian Lady Pop Art Purse Resort Spring 2014 Collection

Hawaiian Lady Pop Art Purse, Prada. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

 

 

 

Prada Saffiano Sac en Cuir

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Paris

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of:  Vogue Paris

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Paris

 

 

Prada Make-up Face Printed Saffiano Tote, saks.com, $3950.00

 

Hawaiian Iconography Even Graces Tech Accoutrements:

 

Prada Holiday Collection Hawaiian Inspired iPad and iPhone Cases

Photo Courtesy of: bagaholicboy.com

 

 

Prada Holiday Collection Hawaiian Inspired iPad and iPhone Cases

Photo Courtesy of: Bagaholicboy.com

 

 

 

Prada Airplane Key Ring in Blue Spring Resort 2014

Photo Courtesy of: Cosmopolitan HK

 

 

Bright Blue Hibiscus Earrings are Showstoppers:

 

 

Bright Blue Hibiscus Earrings Prada Resort Collection Spring 2014

 

 

 

The Tropical Leaf Motif:

 

Prada Tropical Leaf Motif Coat Spring 2014 Resort Collection

The look from Prada Spring 2014 Resort

Past Inspiration

Past Inspiration?  Possibly? Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

 

Stay tuned for Part Deux featuring artistic looks from Diane von Furstenberg, Dior, Stella McCartney….

 

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies Shine for the Holidays

  • 23rd November 2013

This flourless cookie is prepared with ground almonds, rich dark chocolate and butter, making it more like a truffle.  The recipe originated in Vancouver with Haas a fourth-generation pastry chef from Germany’s Black Forest region.  It is one of the most popular holiday cookies in the bakery.

 

 

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies, decadent and divine

 

 

 

“The cookie is just so soft and rich inside,” says Haas speaking of its appeal.

 

 

 

The chocolate sparkle cookies ready to bake.

The chocolate sparkle cookies ready to bake.

 

 

 

The recipe appeared in the LA Times in 2002 and was immediately seized upon by renowned LA epicure Shirley Cha.  As soon as you taste Cha’s baking or cooking in general you instantly trust that Cha can recognize a good recipe when she sees one.  She handed us the recipe and we have been baking these cookies at holiday time for years!  Every season, like the author of the article Jennifer Lowe says, people beg and beg for the recipe.  Well, here it is….courtesy of Shirley Cha, the LA Times, Ms. Lowe and the German pastry chef, Haas.

 

 

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies:

 

Makes about 36 cookies (we found it made about 20-24)

Note:  Use chocolate that is 70% cocoa.  (We used Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate combined with Organic Green & Black 85% dark)

 

*The dough for these cookies needs to be chilled overnight

 

 

Ingredients:

• 1/2 lb semi sweet chocolate

• 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

• 2 eggs

• 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling

• 3/4 cup ground almonds (if you don’t want to grind them yourselves, you can purchase ground almonds at Trader Joes ready to go!)

• Powdered sugar for garnish

 

 

Ground Almonds

Ground Almonds

 

 

 

 

1.) Melt the chocolate in the top of a double-broiler set over, but not touching simmering water.  Remove from the heat.  Cut the butter into a few pieces and mix into the chocolate until melted.

 

 

 

Melted chocolate with butter pieces

 

 

 

2.) Beat the eggs with an electric mixer gradually adding the sugar until ribbons form.  Fold in the chocolate-butter mixture.  Gently add the ground almonds.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

3.) Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

 

Chocolate mixture with ground almonds

 

 

 

4.) Use a cookie scoop (or 1 tbsp measuring spoon) to form the dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in granulated sugar, place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and immediately place in the oven.

 

 

Baked cookies

 

 

 

5.) Bake until the center of the cookie is no longer wet, 9 to 12 minutes.  When slightly cool, lightly dust the cookie with powdered sugar.

 

 

 

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

 

Cricket Calling

  • 21st November 2013
Chanel 2014 Cruise Collection featuring Cricket Sweaters and Shin Guards.

Chanel 2014 Cruise Collection featuring Cricket Sweaters and Shin Guards.

 

The ‘gentleman’s game’ is brought to life with high style courtesy of Chanel’s 2014 Cruise Collection.  It’s definitely not politically correct but the term ‘colonial cool,’ which has been thrown around with this collection has never been more apropos.

 

 

Chanel Cricket Jumper Spring Summer 2014

Chanel Cricket Jumper Spring Summer 2014. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

 

 

Chanel 2014 Cruise Collection featuring Cricket Sweaters
Chanel 2014 Cruise Collection featuring Cricket Sweaters

 

If you are reticent to don the Chanel shin guards, you have to admit the classic ‘cricket jumper’ has never looked better!  

 

 

Pippa Middleton wearing a cricket jumper in Vogue Australia

Pippa Middleton wearing a cricket jumper in Vogue Australia

 

 

 

Pair it non-chalantly with your favorite leather bomber a la Kate Moss below:

 

 

 

Kate Moss, Photo Courtesy of: The Look UK

Kate Moss, Photo Courtesy of: The Look UK

 

Our favorites of the bunch:

 

 

Boden Cricket Sweater

Boden Cricket Sweater

 

 

Cricket Sweater, bodenusa.com, $98.00

 

 

Rag & Bone Sweater.  Photo Courtesy of:  British Vogue

Rag & Bone Sweater. Photo Courtesy of: British Vogue

 

 

 

 

Rag & Bone Talia Chunky Knit V-Neck Sweater
Rag & Bone Talia Chunky Knit V-Neck Sweater

Rag & Bone Talia Chunky Knit V-Neck Sweater

 

 

 

 

Rage & Bone Talia Chunky Knit V-Neck Sweater, neimanmarcus.com, $395.00

 

 

TommyHilfigerTandy V-Neck Sweater
TommyHilfiger Tandy V-Neck Sweater

 

 

 

Tommy Hilfiger Tandy V-Neck Sweater

 

 

Tommy Hilfiger Tandy  V-Neck Sweater, houseoffraser.co,uk, £ 125.00

 

 

 

Semon Cashmere Cricket Jumper

 

 

Semon Cashmere Cricket Jumper, wolfandbadger.com, £387.00

 

Ralph Lauren V-Neck Cricket Sweater
Ralph Lauren Cricket Vest

 

 

 

 

Ralph Lauren V-Neck Cricket Sweater, bloomingdales.com, $99.50

Ralph Lauren Cricket Vest, harrods.com, £80.00

 

 

 

ProSport Supima Tennis/Cricket V-Neck Sweater

 

 

ProSport Supima Tennis/Cricket V-Neck Sweater, brooksbrothers.com, $54.00

 

 

 

Joseph Ecru Wool-Cotton V-Neck Pullover

 

 

 

 

Joseph Ecru Wool-Cotton V-Neck Pullover, stylebop.com, $310.00

 

V Neck Cricket Sweater Tommy Hilfiger

 

 

 

V Neck Cricket Sweater, usa.tommy.com, $99.99

 

 

Back Stage at Chanel Cruise Collection 2014

Back Stage at Chanel Cruise Collection 2014

 

 

 

Band of Outsiders Deep V Tennis Sweater in Yellow and Black

Band of Outsiders Black & Yellow Deep V Cricket Jumper. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

Sport Max Deep V Tennis Jumper in Navy and White

Sport Max Deep V Cricket Jumper in Navy & White. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

Pair Your Cricket Jumper with Dramatic Eyes:

 

 

Chanel Cruise Collection 2014

Chanel Cruise Collection 2014

 

 

Chanel Cruise Collection 2014 Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com UK

Chanel Cruise Collection 2014 Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com UK

 

 

Cricket Inspired Collages from Vogue Australia:

 

 

Cricket Inspired Collage

Cricket Inspired Collage

 

 

 

What to wear when Cricket Calls!

What to wear when Cricket Calls!

 

 

.

Mini Pleats Make a Big Statement for Spring

  • 18th November 2013

Moving on from school uniforms and traditional tartans, pleating gets a whole new look this spring with shimmery metallics and gossamer chiffon being the fabric of choice for this favorite.

 

Pleats on the 2014 runway at Proenza Schouler

Pleats on the 2014 runway at Proenza Schouler. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

Alberta Ferretti 2014 Spring Runway

Alberta Ferretti 2014 Spring Runway

 

 

 

Proenza Schouler in Vogue Hong Kong

Proenza Schouler in Vogue Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

More pleats abound at Gucci 2014

More pleats abound at Gucci 2014

 

 

How to make the above miniscule pleats work for you:

 

Pleated Silk Top Vanessa Bruno
Rchas Pleated Silk-Twill Blouse

 

 

Pleated Silk Top, Vanessa Bruno, mytheresa.com, € 352.00

Silk-Twill Blouse, Rochas, net-a-porter.com, $1150.00

 

 

Philosophy by Natalie Ratabesi Pleated Blouse

Philosophy by Natalie Ratabesi Pleated Plunge Blouse. Photo courtesy of: GapPress

 

 

The Dress & Jumpsuit:

 

Kyoto-Pleated-Crepe-Dress-Alice-by-Temperley
Alice + Olivia Sheer Pleated Chiffon Jumpsuit

 

 

 

 

Kyoto Pleated Crepe Dress Alice by Temperley, net-a-porter.com, $495.00

Alice + Olivia Sheer Pleated Chiffon Jumpsuit, neimanmarcus.com, $495.00 (Available on Pre-Order)

 

 

Rubied Dusk Dress Anthropologie
Rubied Dusk Dress Anthropologie

 

 

Rubied Dusk Dress, anthropologie.com, $298.00

 

Marc Jacobs Bicolor Pleated Tie Dress

 

Marc Jacobs Bicolor Pleated Tie Dress, neimanmarcus.com, $1800 (Available on Pre-Order)

 

 

 

JCrew Collection Pleated Crepe Shirtdress
JCrew Collection Pleated Crepe Shirtdress

 

 

 

JCrew Collection Pleated Crepe Shirtdress, net-a-porter.com, $198.00

 

 

 

Ivory Tiered Pleated Dress with Zardosi Work

Ivory Tiered Pleated Dress with Zardosi Work

 

 

 

Pleated skirts are mostly high-wasted and ‘midi’

 

Vincenzo Runway Pleated Skirts 2014
Vincenzo Runway Pleated Skirts 2014

Vincenzo Runway Pleated Skirts 2014. Photos courtesy of: Gap Press

 

 

Pleated Midi Skirt
Forever 21 Chic Accordion Pleated Maxi Skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pleated Midi Skirt, zara.com, $79.90

Forever 21 Chic Accordion Pleated Maxi Skirt, forverer21.com, $23.00

 

Christopher Kane Black & White Pleated Midi Skirt
Christopher Kane Black & White Pleated Midi Skirt

 

 

Christopher Kane Black & White Pleated Midi Skirt, montaignemarket.com, 570,00 €

 

 

Anthropologie Patula Maxi Skirt

Anthropologie Patula Maxi Skirt

 

 

Anthropologie Patula Maxi Skirt, anthropologie.com, $128.00

 

 

A ‘Last Look’ at how Ferragamo let pleated panels peek out from more traditional kilts:

 

Salvatore Ferragamo 2014 pleated skirts on the runway
Salvatore Ferragamo 2014 pleated skirts on the runway

 

Victoria Beckham Does the Peek-Boo-Pleats As Well:

 

Victoria Beckham Peek-a-Boo Pleats

Victoria Beckham Peek-a-Boo Pleats. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

Victoria Beckham Oxblood Dress with White Pleats

 

 

Shimmery Metallic Pleated Dress in Vogue Hong KongShimmery Metallic Pleated Dress in Vogue Hong Kong

Shimmery Metallic Pleated Dress in Vogue Hong Kong

 

 

 

Pleated long tuxedo coat in Vogue Hong Kong is right on trend.

Pleated long tuxedo coat in Vogue Hong Kong is right on trend.

 

 

 

Pleated with peek-a-boo cut outs in Vogue Hong Kong

Pleated with peek-a-boo cut outs in Vogue Hong Kong

 

 

 

Pleated chiffon coupled with metallic shimmer in Vogue Hong Kong

Pleated chiffon coupled with metallic shimmer in Vogue Hong Kong

Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries, White Chocolate & Pistachios

  • 16th November 2013
White chocolate chunks, cherries, pistachios and buttermilk add a new twist to the oatmeal cookie.

White chocolate chunks, cherries, pistachios and buttermilk add a new twist to the oatmeal cookie.

The recipe from Martha Stewart featuring white chocolate & apricots that we used as a springboard.

Picture of the Martha Stewart white chocolate and apricot cookie we used as a springboard.

 

Instead of old-fashioned oatmeal raisin, swap in apricots and white chocolate. The white chocolate’s sweetness tempers the tang of the fruit, creating a balanced batch that will appeal to kids and adults alike,” Martha Stewart Living.

 

The words above tempted us to try this cookie.  And it is delicious.  However, the cookie has a more robust flavor when you swap cherries in for apricots.  Adding just 1/8 cup of ground pistachios adds an earthiness and sophistication to the oatmeal.  A dash of buttermilk provides richness and ensures the cookies stay moist for a few days.

 

Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate, Cherries & Pistachios

 

• 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 cup packed light-brown sugar

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 2 large eggs

• 8 ounces white chocolate chopped

• 6 ounces dried cherries chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

• 1/8 cup salted pistachios, shelled and chopped

• 1 1/2 tbs buttermilk

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, oatmeal, and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Cream butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low.  Add salt, vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.  Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined.  Gently stir in white chocolate, cherries, pistachios and buttermilk.  Cover, and refrigerate until cold, approximately 30 minutes.

 

 

Oatmeal, white chocolate, pistachios, cherries and buttermilk ready to be gently mixed.

Oatmeal, white chocolate, pistachios, cherries and buttermilk ready to be gently mixed.

Mixture ready to refrigerate.

Dough ready to refrigerate.

 

 

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, 14 to 16 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheets for about 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.  Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.

 

Use dried apricots instead of cherries for a milder taste.

Use dried apricots instead of cherries for a milder taste. Photo Courtesy of: Martha Stewart Living

The addition of buttermilk helps the cookies stay very moist.

The addition of buttermilk helps the cookies stay very moist.

 

 

The green flecks are pistachios that add an earthy flavor and texture.

The green flecks are pistachios that add an earthy flavor and texture.

 

 

 

A New Look for Leather

  • 14th November 2013
Perfect Leather Trouser Pants

Perfect Leather Trousers. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Deutsche

 

 

While perusing Elle (Deutsche) we came upon some leather pieces that looked perfectly chic, but fall out of the standard leather comfort zonetight leather pants/leggings, short leather mini skirts and the classic leather jacket.

 

Leather can be perfectly elegant, even when it’s not clingy and body contouring.   It translates just as easily into pleated trousers, a luxuriously draped cape or an a-line knee scraping midi skirt.

 

 

Soft, buttery leather cape.  Photo courtesy of:  Elle Deutsche

Soft, buttery leather cape. Photo courtesy of: Elle Deutsche

 

 

 

The leather a-line midi.  Photo courtesy of:  Elle Deutsche

The leather a-line midi. Photo courtesy of: Elle Deutsche

 

 

Trade the classic leather jacket for a head-turning leather cape

 

Mulberry Midnight Blue Nappa Leather Cape
Oxblood Mulberry Nappa Leather Cape

 

 

Mulberry Midnight Blue Nappa Leather Cape, net-a-porter.com, $3800.00

Oxblood Mulberry Nappa Leather Cape, mulberry.com, $3800.00

 

 

Cara Delevingne wears the Mulberry Leather Cape in Oxblood

Cara Delevingne wears the Mulberry Leather Cape in Oxblood

 

 

Even a Cascading, Long Leather Trench Looks Undeniably Elegant:

 

 

Prada Leather Jackets and Belts.  Photo Courtesy of: Tatler

Prada Leather Jackets and Belts. Photo Courtesy of: Tatler

 

The Mini Gets Replaced With a Roomier, A-Line, Elegant Midi

 

Asos White Midi Skirt in Pleated Leather
Asos White Midi Skirt in Pleated Leather

 

 

 

 

Asos White Midi Skirt in Pleated Leather, us.asos.com, $266.97

 

Katia Circle Skater Skirt

 

Katia Circle Skater Skirt, whistles.co.uk, $156.75

 

 

Lose the Leather Leggings and Welcome a More Forgiving Trouser

 

 

Rachel Zoe 'Phoenix' Cropped Leather Trouser

 

Rachel Zoe ‘Phoenix’ Cropped Leather Trouser, farfetch.com, $1026.47

 

 

Ganni Cordovan Leather Trouser
Ganni Cordovan Leather Trouser

 

Ganni Cordovan Leather Trouser, my-wardrobe.com, $426.00

 

 

T Alexander Wang Leather Trouser

 

 

T Alexander Wang Leather Trouser, otteny.com, $1150.00

 

 

Chanel colorful leather pants.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle Italia

Chanel colorful leather pants. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Italia

 

 

Instantly Chic 

 

 

Balenciaga Glove Leather Slingback Sandals

 

 

 

Stripe knit T-shirt, T by Alexander Wang, matchesfashion.com, $270.00

 

Balenciaga Glove Leather Slingback Sandals, matchesfashion.com, $725.00

 

 

Their Moment in the Sun Continues…

  • 12th November 2013
Marni Spring 2014 Collection showcases visors.

The visor has 9-lives appearing again on the Marni Spring 2014 runway.

 

 

Early this year, or late in 2012 Lanvin gave a whole new look to the visor via their Resort Collection Look Book and since that bright moment, the visor has remained in the sun.  Marni’s Spring 2014 Collection showcased various specially made visors—either sporting an architectural element or a jewel-encrusted theme.

 

 

At Marni Spring 2014 Visors Complemented all Outfits.

Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

Visors were complemented by sport striped flip-flops and sweat-inspired wristlets.

 

Marni 2014 Resort Collection

 

 

 

While they were made specially for this show, Marni has ensured that this accessory will continue to turn heads even as the year and seasons change.

 

Marni 2014 Spring Visors Up Close

Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

 

 

Visors at the Marni 2014 Runway Show

Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

 

Goodbye to Bad Hair Days!  Fashionable Visors on the Market:

 

 

Larissa Hadjio Cat Ear Visor

 

 

Larissa Hadjio Cat Ear Visor, farfetch.com, $287.00

 

 

 

Helen Kaminski Mandisa Raffia Visor

Helen Kaminski Mandisa Raffia Visor

 

 

Helen Kaminski Mandisa Raffia Visor, harveynichols.com, £135.00

 

 

 

Chanel Visor Sunglasses retail at: £460

Chanel Visor Sunglasses retail at: £460

 

 

 

Opening Ceremony 99% IS-Leather Sun Visor

 

99% IS-Leather Sun Visor, openingceremony.com, $320.00

 

Rihanna in Lanvin Rose Visor

Rihanna in Lanvin Rose Visor

La Vie en Rose—For Real!

La Vie en Rose—For Real!

 

Lanvin Clear Visor in Rose
Lanvin Clear Visor in Rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanvin Rose Clear Visor, shop.nordstrom.com, $389.00

 

 

Gucci GC Visor with Signature Web

 

Gucci GC Visor with Signature Web, neimanmarcus.com, $175.00

 

Larissa Hadjio Black Handmade Calf Leather Visor

 

Larissa Hadjio Black Handmade Calf Leather Visor, larissa-hadjio.myshopify.com, £188.00

 

 

 

Camo Visor Etsy

 

 

Camo Visor, etsy.com, $22.00

Perfect Holiday Meal

  • 11th November 2013

Hearty, rich flavors, vibrant colors, and comforting textures make a holiday meal unforgettable.  As festivities begin in full swing, anchor any of your evenings with these three delicious favorites.  All three are easy to prepare and can be made even a few days ahead with no problem.  Two of the recipes come from the classic Gourmet Cookbook.

 

Slow Roasted Pork with Sour Cherry Sauce

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

&

Roasted Vegetables with Apple Cider and Cumin

 

 

Pork with Sour Cherry Sauce, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots and Roasted Vegetables with Apple Cider and Cumin.

Slow Roasted Pork with Sour Cherry Sauce, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots and Roasted Vegetables with Apple Cider and Cumin.

 

 

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

 

 

 

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

Super yummy!

 

 

 

Recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook

This recipe calls for only a smidgen of butter, relying instead on the tangy buttermilk and browned shallots, which add a whole new dimension, to the rich yellow flesh of mashed Yukon Golds.

 

• 3/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes

• 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

• 2 medium shallots

• 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

• Salt and fresh pepper to taste

 

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Combine with cold well-salted water to cover by 1 inch in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer until tender about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a small nonstick skillet over moderately high heat.  Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and deep golden brown about 8 minutes.  Drain potatoes in a colander, return to pan, and coarsely mash with a potato masher.  Stir in shallots, buttermilk and salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

 

 

 

Slow Roasted Pork in Sour Cherry Sauce

 

Recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook

“Sour cherries are plump, meaty and bracingly tart.  Unfortunately, this fruit is almost impossible for most of us to get our hands on, even during its short mid-summer season.  Frozen sour cherries are available in some stores, but we prefer the dried version.  With these in your pantry, you can enjoy sour cherries any time of year.”

 

*This recipe we have slightly modified.  In lieu of chops we have used loins, which we find more tender and much easier to cook.  We brown the loins first on the stove and then cook the pork in the cherry sauce on a low slow heat in the oven.  The wine and cherries are perfect tenderizers and the meat just melts in your mouth.

 

 

Pork Loin Slow Roasted in Sour Cherry Sauce

 

For Sauce:

• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

• 3 tablespoons sugar

• 3/4 cup dry red wine (the higher quality the better)

• 1/4 cup minced shallots

• 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

• 1 cup chicken stock or store bought broth

• 3/4 cup (4 ounces) dried sour cherries

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

 

Sour Cherry Sauce with a Hint of Lime

 

 

For the Pork

2 pork loins

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Make the sauce:  Combine vinegar and sugar in a 1-to-2 quart heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring, and boil, stirring until reduced a glaze, about 4 minutes (be careful not to burn the glaze).  Add wine, shallots and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes.    Add stock and cherries, bring to a simmer, and simmer, uncovered, until cherries plump, about 5 minutes.  Stir in lime juice, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and let sauce cool.  Remove cinnamon stick and put to the side.

 

 

Browned Pork Loin

Browned Pork Loins

Browned pork in red wine and sour cherries

Browned pork in red wine and sour cherries

 

Heat the oven to 275 degrees.  Brown loins with olive oil, salt and pepper on high heat on the stove.  Once browned placed them in a baking casserole dish with the cinnamon.  Salt and pepper one more time.  Add the red wine and cherries with a ladle, being careful not to wash the seasoning off of the meat.  (See above photo).  Cover with foil and cook for 3 hours, turning once approximately half way into the time.

 

 

Roasted Vegetables with Apple Cider & Cumin

 

 

Butternut squash, sweet potato, red onion, carrots and beets ready for the oven.

Butternut squash, sweet potato, red onion, carrots and beets ready for the oven.

 

It is easy to substitute any winter vegetable in here, varying different types of squash, opting for turnips in lieu of beets or either brussels sprouts or baby potatoes.  We enjoy the mix of vibrant colors and the contrasting textures of a crisp red onion and a soft sweet potato.

 

• 3-4 beets

• 1 small red onion

• 1 small butternut squash

• 4 carrots

• 1 large sweet potato

• 3 tablespoons best quality apple cider

• 3 tablespoons good quality tangerine juice

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 3 cloves minced garlic

• 1 teaspoons salt

• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper or cayenne pepper

• 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

 

 

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and cut the onion and all of the root vegetables.  (Take care not to cut them too small, but into generously sized cubes).  Arrange all of the vegetables in a baking dish, minus the beets.  Mix vegetables well with the garlic, onion, juices, olive oil, and seasoning.  Make gentle holes in the mixture and carefully place the beets.  You will have to stir them once before broiling, but try not to stir them too often or they will discolor the other vegetables.  Cover the vegetables with foil and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Vegetables are sprinkled with French Sea Salt and returned to the oven to broil.

Vegetables are sprinkled with French Sea Salt and returned to the oven to broil.

 

 

Remove the vegetables and stir gently.  Turn your oven to broil.  If you have Fleur de Sel in the house, sprinkle one tablespoon on the mixture.  Place them in the oven to broil for 15 minutes, to desired crispness.

 

Next day salad is refreshing and tangy.

Next day salad is refreshing and tangy.

We used any roasted vegetables left and mixed them regular salad mainstays.

We used any roasted vegetables left-over and mixed them with regular salad mainstays.

 

Definitely do not throw away any sour cherry sauce that remains in the pan.  It makes an amazingly tangy salad dressing the next day.  We mixed wild arugula, strawberries, halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pink lady apples, green onion and avocado with left over roasted veggies and dressed it lightly with sour cherry sauce—delicious, easy and beautiful!

 

 

 

Spring 2014: Coin this Look!

  • 8th November 2013

 

Oversized Coin Belts at Dolce & Gabbana

Oversized Coin Belt at Dolce and Gabbana

 

 

 

How to make coins indisputably cool!  Elle Mexico fashions Dolce & Gabbana's coin accessories perfectly.

How to make coins indisputably cool! Elle Mexico fashions Dolce & Gabbana’s coin accessories perfectly.

 

 

Oversized coins anchor belts, make a splash on sandals and dangle from necklaces and chandelier earrings on the Spring 2014 Dolce & Gabbana runway.  Blazers, minis and blouses also adopt smartly fashioned coin motifs.

 

Coin Blouse Dolce & Gabbana

Coin blouse. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

Coin motif from Dolce & Gabbana

Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

Ancient coinage and Sicilian antiquity appeared to be the main inspiration.

 

Dolce & Gabbana Coin Sandals up close

Dolce & Gabbana Coin Earrings and Blazer

 

 

According to an article published by the University of Warwick, Research Fellow Dr. Clare Rowan identifies the ancient coin that inspired the large gold coin belt (below) as, a coin type of Syracuse from the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Coin Dress

 

 

Gold Coin Medallion Offsets Playful Polka Dots at Dolce & Gabbana 2014

Gold Coin Medallion Offsets Playful Polka Dots

Ancient Syracuse Coin

Photo Courtesy of: University of Warwick

 

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Mini Bag and Sandals inspired by Roma Imperiale

Dolce & Gabbana Mini Bag and Sandals inspired by Roma Imperiale. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Italia

 

 

 

 

 

“Syracuse was one of the most powerful states in ancient Sicily and its power manifested itself in the production of spectacular coin designs, which were struck onto very large pieces of silver.  The motif appropriated by Dolce & Gabbana shows the nymph Arethusa surrounded by dolphins. In mythology Arethusa was associated with a spring near Syracuse.”  (Adapted from warwick.ac.uk)

 

 

Coin Medallion at Dolce & Gabbana Runway 2014

 

 

“The image was, and remains, powerful: even today, coin collectors and scholars see the coinage of Syracuse as one of the great artistic products of antiquity.”  (Adapted from warwick.ac.uk)

 

 

The ultimate 'Coin Purse'

The ultimate ‘Coin Purse.’ Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

 

 

Coin head bands from Dolce & Gabbana neatly wrap around a braided up-do in Elle Mexico.

Coin head bands from Dolce & Gabbana neatly wrap around a braided up-do in Elle Mexico.

The Dolce & Gabbana  coins accented by sprays of delicate white flowers are particularly alluring.  Photo Courtesy of:  Elle Mexico

The Dolce & Gabbana coins accented by sprays of delicate white flowers are particularly alluring. Photo Courtesy of: Elle Mexico

 

 

 

Where to Find Wearable Coins Before These Looks Make it to the Masses:

 

Dolce & Gabbana Filigrana Gold-Plated Chandelier Clip Earrings

 

Dolce & Gabbana Filigrana Gold-Plated Chandelier Clip Earrings, net-a-porter.com, $1275.00

 

Dolce & Gabbana Coin Earrings

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Coin Earrings, store.dolcegabbana.com, $495.00

 

 

 

 

Chanel Dangle "CC" Coin Bangle

Chanel Dangle “CC” Coin Bangle

 

 

 

Chanel Dangle “CC” Coin Bangle, whatgoesaroundnyc.com, $850.00

 

 

Roman Empress Coin Necklace

 

 

Roman Empress Coin Necklace, store.metmuseum.org, $135.00

 

Worldly Statement Necklace Forever21
Worldly Statement Necklace Forever21

 

 

Worldly Statement Necklace, forever21.com, $14.80

 

 

 

Coin Necklace as worn by Faye Dunaway in the 1967 movie, "Bonnie & Clyde"

Coin Necklace as worn by Faye Dunaway in the 1967 movie, “Bonnie & Clyde”

 

 

 

Asos Coin Jewel Chandelier Earrings

 

Asos Coin Jewel Chandelier Earrings, asos.com, $16.00

 

 

Asos Coin Chandelier Earrings

 

Asos Coin Chandelier Earrings, asos.com, $10.00

 

 

Fallon Jewelry Coin Bib Necklace

 

Fallon Jewelry Coin Bib Necklace, shopbop.com, $325.00

 

 

KennethJayLaneGoldplatedcoin
Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Plated Coin Necklace

 

 

Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Plated Coin Necklace, net-a-porter.com, $180.00

 

 

Free People Goldbarr Mykonos Layered Chain Necklace with Coins

 

 

 

Goldbarr Mykonos Layered Chain Necklace, freepeople.com, $108.00

 

 

A Sea of Gold, Medallions and Coins at Dolce & Gabbana 2014.

A Sea of Gold, Medallions and Coins at Dolce & Gabbana 2014. Photo Courtesy of: Gap Press

 

Parting Words…

  • 8th November 2013

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Carl Sandburg

 

 

BonConseil

Kale Salad with Bacon Molasses Dressing and Bourbon Soaked Cranberries

  • 5th November 2013

 

Kale Salad with Bacon Molasses Dressing

Photo Courtesy of: St. Louis Homes Magazine

 

 

A decadent salad worthy of a holiday gathering and catered to adult tastes, it’s an easy crowd pleaser.  It comes to us by way of St. Louis Homes Magazine!

 

The bourbon soaked cranberries are a fun spin on a holiday classic.  They cut the sweetness of the molasses perfectly.  If you are serving children as well, keep aside some plain cranberries to substitute in.  A julienned apple can also add texture and tang.

 

 

Kale Salad with Bourbon Soaked Cranberries and Bacon Molasses Dressing

Served and ready to eat!

 

 

Kale Salad with Bacon-Molasses Dressing and Bourbon Soaked Cranberries

 

Serves 8

2 cups bourbon
1 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons dark molasses
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound maple or apple smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
2 pounds fresh kale, julienned

 

 

Kale Salad ingredients
Bacon, always delicious!

Bacon, always delicious!

 

 

In a small sauce pot, heat the bourbon over high heat and reduce by half. Add the dried cranberries and set aside to soak. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar and molasses until well combined. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream to emulsify. Add the bacon and toss dressing as needed with the fresh kale. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with soaked cranberries.

 

 

The Kale Salad with Bourbon Soaked Cranberries and Bacon Molasses

It also tastes great with crisp apple.

Asian Inspired Angel Hair

  • 4th November 2013
Asian Inspired Angel Hair Pasta

Served with a side of lime it is delicious.

 

 

A healthy and delicious alternative to the regular Spaghettini alla Checca, this is also a great way to stuff the kids with fresh, raw veggies and get them used to flavorful herbs.

 

• It’s the perfect dish to utilize extra herbs, green onion, cucumber, carrots or tomatoes, OR shred some left-over turkey from Thanksgiving

• It packs well for lunches, and we especially love it for airplane trips as an easy, filling and nutritious one container meal

• It’s the right make-ahead dish for parties and weekday meals

 

Asian Inspired Angel Hair Pasta

Tomatoes, Cucmbers, and Herbs chopped and ready to go.

 

 

Step-by-Step:

 

First, there are a few ways to go with this dish.

The most flavorful way is marinate the chicken one day in advance.  Then, cook the chicken and pasta, chop the veggies and combine them all on the next day.  On the third day the dish will taste its best, once all of the flavors have melded.

 

If you are using up some turkey or rotisserie chicken:  Shred the meat, and combine in a bowl with soy sauce, red pepper (or cayenne pepper) a dash of salt, black pepper and rice wine vinegar.  Let it sit for 2-3 hours and substitute it in for the chicken below.

 

Chicken:

• 3 chicken breasts

• 2 tablespoons minced garlic

• 1 tablespoon minced ginger

• 3/4 tablespoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper (or cayenne pepper)

• 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

• 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

• 2 tablespoons best quality soy sauce

• 1/4  teaspoon black pepper or dash of red pepper flakes

 

Cut the chicken into thin strips and let it marinate with the above ingredients overnight.

 

Asian Chicken Marinating

Chicken ready to marinate

 

 

 

The following day cook the chicken in a dollop/capful of oil browning it first on a high heat.  Add 1/4 cup of water and let it cook through on low heat, covered for about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl scraping all of the juices out of the pot with the chicken (you will want them).

 

 

Cooked Asian Spicy Chicken

Cooked chicken is cooling

 

 

While the chicken cools, cook one standard box of angel hair pasta and commence chopping the veggies and herbs.

 

Coarsely chop the following:

• One bunch green onion

• Handful of mint

• Handful of basil

• 2 Handfuls of cilantro

 

Shred:

• 4 carrots

 

Dice or Julienne:

• One English cucumber

 

Halve:

• 2 cups of cherry tomatoes

 

Mix the chicken, pasta, veggies and herbs together.  Add a splash of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar at the end.  Season to taste with extra salt and pepper if necessary.  Optional:  Serve with squeezed fresh lime and crushed salted peanuts.

 

 

Asian Inspired Angel Hair Pasta Ready to Eat

A delicious accompaniment is serving the dish with fresh squeezed lime and crushed peanuts.

 

 

 

 

The Beanie’s Big Splash

  • 3rd November 2013

This season we first noticed the beanie in Australian Vogue’s gorgeous “Wild Rose,” feature wherein the oversized accessory looks luxuriously cozy atop her cascading tresses, followed by flowing rich fabrics.

 

Holly Rose Emery in Australian Vogue

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

 

 

Holly Rose Emery in Vogue Australia

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Australia

 

The decadent dusty rose beanie worn throughout the shoot is by Giles, retailing at $850.00.  On the runway it received extra accessories by way of shiny pins and dangling feathers and came in a range of colors.

 

cara delevingne wears Giles oversized white beanie
Giles oversize beanie with feather
Giles  oversize beanie in brown

 

Knitters the world over stand to make a pretty penny at trying to duplicate them this season.  Playing into this trend, Anthropologie had winter’s biggest hat on the cover and inside cover of their winter catalogue.

 

 

 

Anthropologie Pommed Peak Beanie
Anthropologie Flecked Pastures Beanie

 

While not oversized, neither were prices, both coming in at less than $40.00

 

Pommed Peak Beanie, anthropologie.com, $38.00

Flecked Pastures Beanie, anthropologie.com, $32.00

 

Others worth investigating:

 

Free People Thick Chunky Beanie
Free People Thick Chunky Beanie

 

 

Free People Thick Chunky Beanie, freepeople.com, $38.00

 

Patrizia Fabri Hat Beanie

 

Patrizia Fabri Hat Beanie, Luisaviaroma.com, $154.00

 

Wommelsdorff Stella Beanie
Sunghee Bang Chunky Rodney Beanie

 

Wommelsdorff Hand-Knit Chunky Stella Beanie, barneys.com, $385.00

Sunghee Bang Chunky Rodney Beanie, barneys.com, $235.00

 

 

Eugenia Kim Ellie Fur Beanie
Eugenia Kim Marley Beanie in Cream

 

 

Eugenia Kim Ellie Fur Beanie, shopbop.com, $255.00

Eugenia Kim Marley Beanie in Cream, forwardforward.com, $215.00

 

 

Free People Nolita 2 Tone Fur Beanie

 

 

Free People Nolita 2 Tone Fur Beanie, freepeople.com, $198.00

 

Inspiration from years past  (all photos courtesy of Vogue.de)

 

Audrey Hepburn wearing a winter beanie  in 'Charade' 1963

Audrey Hepburn in ‘Charade’ 1963

 

 

 

Catherine Deneuve wearing a winter beanie in the 1960s

Catherine Deneuve wearing a winter beanie in the 1960s

 

 

Ali MacGraw's winter beanie in 'Love Story' 1970

Ali MacGraw’s winter beanie in ‘Love Story’ 1970

Mini Melissa’s Little Feet!

  • 2nd November 2013
Mini Melissa Polibano Sneaker featured in Cine Melissa

Photo Courtesy of: Ciné Melissa

 

Adorable creatures and sneakers that mimic bubble wrap abound in this line of excessively fun shoes for little ones!

 

 

Mini Melissa Cow Slip On Mary Jane

 

Mini Melissa Ultra Girl Little Cow Mary Jane Flats, saksfifthavenue.com, $50.00

 

 

 

One of the best features of the line is that is available with ease in numerous boutiques and online.  

 

 

Mini Melissa Campagna Zig Zag flats

Photo Courtesy of: Ciné Melissa

 

 

The Vivienne Westwood collaboration offers more to celebrate with signature witty British style.

 

 

Mini Melissa Vivienne Westwood Light Blue Sandals

 

Mini Melissa Vivienne Westwood Blue Sandals, usa.alexandalexa.com, $93.00

 

 

Mini Melissa Vivienne Westwood Anglo Mania

 

 

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania + Mini Melissa Aranha, melissa.com.br

 

 

Mini Melissa Furadinha Light Pink

Photo Courtesy of: Ciné Melissa

 

 

 

Mini Melissa Choco Bar Aranha

 

 

Mini Melissa Choco Bar Aranha, saksfifthavenue.com, $55.00

 

 

Mini Melissa Furadinha Light Pink

 

 

Mini Furadinha, piperlime.gap.com, $50.00

 

 

 

Mini Melissa Ultra Girl Bow

Photo Courtesy of: Ciné Melissa

 

 

Mini Melissa Ultra Girl Bow

 

Mini Melissa Ultra Girl Bow, melissa.com.br

 

Mini Melissa Campana Zig Zag girls flats

 

 

Mini Melissa Girl’s Campana Zig Zag Mary Jane Flats, saks.com, $45.00

 

 

Mini Melissa Polibano Sneaker

 

Mini Melissa Polibolha Sneaker, nordtsrom.com, $54.95

 

 

Mini Melissa Polibano Sneaker

Photo Courtesy of: Ciné Melissa

 

 

 

Mini Melissa Ultra Girl Slip On Cat Shoe

 

Mini Melissa Ultra Girl II Slip-On, nordstrom.com, $45.95

 

 

Mini Melissa Furadinha III

 

 

Mini Furadinha III, danielfootwear.com, £35.00

 

 

 

Mark Your Calendars for Marant

  • 30th October 2013

The hotly anticipated collaboration collection between Isabel Marant and H&M debuts in just 2 weeks on November 14th.  We already know it is going to be a sell-out courtesy of the look book and if you still have any doubts they can be washed away after seeing a star-studded lineup looking flawless in her attire.

 

 

Freida Pinto and Olga Kurylenko wear Isabel Marant for H&M.

Freida Pinto and Olga Kurylenko wear Isabel Marant for H&M. Photo Courtesy of: Getty Images

 

 

One reason why we particularly love this collaboration is that her collection for H&M actually looks like pieces we just saw in her 2013 Pre-Fall and Fall collection.  She has not dumbed anything down for the masses, and uses the same signature charcoal grey/bright red and white with a bohemian twist—bold combination.

 

If you missed these amazing jeans earlier this year (below).  You get a second chance at her winning color combo via her pièce de résistance jacket.

 

Isabel Marant jeans Song of Style

Photo Courtesy of: Song of Style.

Isabel Marant for H&M grey, white and red jacket.

Using the same basic colors and bohemian aesthetic.                                                                                          This jacket is available in stores and online for £199.99 on 11/14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

We featured this fabulous scarf straight off of the runway in our August 5, 2013 post.  Now you can get an almost identical version.

 

Isabel Marant Scarf. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Isabel Marant Scarf from her 2013 Pre-Fall Collection. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Isabel Marant Fall 2013 Collection

Isabel Marant Pre Fall 2013 Collection. Notice the thin scarf of the model on the right.

 

 

Isabel Marant Metallic Scarf H&M

This scarf reminiscent of the two above is available at H&M.

 

 

Metallic scarf available at H&M will retail at a very affordable  £29.99

 

Studs and grommets which factored heavily in her Fall Collections are also beautifully incorporated into the H&M line.

 

 

Isabel Marant Elvis Leather Sandals

Her studded Elvis Leather Sandals caused a stir earlier this year.

Studded Pumps Isabel Marant for H&M

In the same vein, her studded pumps for H&M are already adorning the most fashionable feet.

 

 

Studded pumps available at H&M on 11/14 retail for  £99.99.

 

Buy two or three pieces from this line and you will easily hit on major trends of the season as well as (and most importantly) her very signature style.  This element stayed truly intact with her H&M collection.  The pieces are cutting-edge enough to very easily slide right into all of next year’s seasons.

 

 

Her lace up leather pants capture a trend that has been brewing and picking up momentum since Fendi and DKNY last spring.  At this price point they will make a very big splash.

 

White Leather Lace Up Trousers Isabel Marant for H&M

White leather lace up trousers. How can you go wrong?

Black leather lace up trousers Isabel Marant for H&M.

Perfect for any evening soirée.

 

Leather lace-up trousers available at H&M on 11/14 retail for £179.99

 

 

Lace up leather trousers and sheer shirt Isabel Marant for H&M.

A sleek, sexy and perfect look all from the line. Photo courtesy of: Getty Images.

 

 

 

Marant insists she designs for everyone, which means you!  So get ready to switch on your lap top at 12:00 pm or head to your local store at 8:00 am on 11/14 and claim your favorite pieces.

 

Here are a few more favorites of ours:

 

Isabel Marant for H&M black and white trousers.

Again a signature look available for £59.99

January Jones in Isabel Marant for H&M.

January Jones in trousers and a sheer top from the H&M line.

 

 

Two cute, too cute kids accessories from the line:

 

Greek Fisherman Cap for Kids Isabel Marant for H&M.

Marant offers a chic cap to kids via the Greek Fisherman (check out our 7/18 post for how au courant it is).

Slouchy Suede Boots for girls Isabel Marant for H&M.

Slouchy suede boots for your girls from the Marant H&M line.

 

 

One of the coolest and most unique jumpers of the season:

 

Black and White Loop Jumper Isabel Marant for H&M.

Loop Jumper Available for £69.99

 

 

Perfect Wardrobe Capstone Pieces:

 

Fringe Scarf Isabel Marant for H&M.

Fringe Silk Scarf

Sequin Trousers Isabel Marant for H&M.

Sequin Trousers retail at £149.99

 

(IF YOU FOUND THIS  POST AFTER NOVEMBER 14) AND

YOU MISSED THESE PANTS.….And are still longing for something out of the ordinary sequin, try this sequin blazer from Boden!

 

Sequin Blazer from Boden

 

 

 

Boden Sequin Blazer
Boden Sequin Blazer

 

Sequin Blazer, bodenusa.com, $171.00

 

 

Boden Sequin Blazer

 

 

(Now, back to Marant…..)

 

Beautifully Bohemian:

 

Black and White Dress Isabel Marant for H&M.

Dress available for £69.99.

Strapless Dress Isabel Marant for H&M.

Strapless dress available for £69.99.

 

 

Behind the Scenes Isabel Marant for H&M photo Courtesy of: Vogue Italia

Behind the Scenes Isabel Marant for H&M photo Courtesy of: Vogue Italia

 

Autumn’s Best Cupcake

  • 23rd October 2013

We made this cupcake twice already this month.  The first time was purely decadent with its rich buttery frosting and cheesecake like filling.  Relishing them for the second time, we substituted in wheat flour that perfectly complemented the moist cream cheese and pumpkin purée.

 

Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

 

Cheese-cake Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes

Photo Courtesy of: Rachael Ray Magazine

 

Cheese-cake Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes

A dollop of cheesecake in the center makes all of the difference.

 

 

If you love pumpkin, this is a dessert you cannot miss!  If you love cheesecake too, even better!  It comes to us via Rachael Ray Magazine.

 

 

Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

Dressed up for Halloween, but they work throughout the Fall.

 

 

You already have your vegetable within, but for a healthier twist and graininess that offsets the cream cheese and purée, substitute in wheat flour.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 ounce package  cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 5 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • Simmering water
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces and chilled

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Fresh out of the oven, pre-frosting

 

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees . Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar for 3 minutes. Beat in 1 egg white and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

 

 

 

Cream cheese filled cupcakes

 

 

 

In a bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, granulated sugar, oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture.

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Frosted Cupcakes

 

 

 

Layer each muffin cup with some of the pumpkin batter, then the cream cheese mixture, then more of the batter. Bake until springy to the touch, 25 minutes.  Let cool.

 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

Vanilla bean paste was substituted for extract.

 

 

 

Using the electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, remaining 4 egg whites and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fill a medium saucepan with enough simmering water to reach a depth of 1 inch; place the mixing bowl on top. Whisk the mixture until it registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

 

Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and beat at high speed until fluffy; lower the speed and beat to roomtemperature, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat at high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

 

 

Brown Sugar Butter Frosting

The frosting is buttery magic

 

 

Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag; pipe large rosettes on top of the cupcakes.

(You can also spread the frosting with a knife and decorate the cupcakes in any other manner).

Serve and enjoy!!!

 

Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

Decorated for Halloween

 

 

 

The Spooks are Loose!

  • 19th October 2013

Whether you’re throwing an impromptu Halloween fete or just looking for a few super easy holiday-themed crafts and decor to do with your mini goblins at home, these simple activities are fun for all ages, even the youngest in the bunch.

 

We’ve combed through idea after idea to find the easiest crafts for little kids (and time-stressed parents) which do not require numerous unique supplies.

 

Halloween Fun!

 

 

French Pumpkins

 

Des Citrouilles  (French Pumpkins)

 

This idea, courtesy of Rachael Ray Magazine is uber cute and easy to create using black felt, pom-poms or pipe cleaners, a black sharpie and black mustache stickers (optional).  Kids 4+ are easily able to make it on their own.  Group (des hommes) in a bunch and they look especially fun!

• Cut a circle out of black felt to make the beret.  Glue a pom-pom or a loop out of black pipe cleaner onto the top.

• Place your mustache, or create your own with sharpie.

• Sketch on a fanciful face

 

 

Vampire Pumpkins

 

Vampire Pumpkins

 

 

For these little blood-suckers white pumpkins typically work best.  The idea comes courtesy of Martha Stewart Living and requires little to nothing.  Carve out a small mouth.  Have a little friend decorate the vampire teeth and a pair of googly eyes with a red sharpie.  Pop them in and glue them on respectively.  Eyelashes optional!

 

 

 

Coy Cat

 

Cat Pumpkin

 

 

Again, courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, this is the easiest of the bunch.  The trick is in picking the right pumpkins.  One should be a shorter, flatter, almost disc like pumpkin and the other a taller, thinner pumpkin with a well defined stem.  Cut the stem off of the shorter pumpkin and flip it onto its bottom.  While you paint a cat face, have your little one paint the stem of the tall pumpkin black creating a tail.  Black ears made from thick construction paper are the finishing touch.

 

 

Take the More Elegant Route

 

Metallic Pumpkins

 

 

Simple hardware store metallic silver spray paint and a sheet of Martha Stewart Line stickers transforms pumpkins elegantly.  You do the spraying and let the kids do the sticking.

 

Spider Attack! 

 

 

Spiders attacking pumpkin

 

 

Again, a flat disc like pumpkin makes the spider infested look easier to achieve.  Wipe the pumpkin clean first with a wet paper towel and using plastic spiders and glue dots the mock siege is easy to create.

 

Black & White Centerpieces

 

Black and White Halloween Centerpiece

 

 

 

 

Black & White Halloween Centerpiece

 

 

 

A pure white arrangement with black plastic spiders and black spray painted mini pumpkins.

 

Sneaky Mice Infestation

 

Mice Silhouette Halloween

 

 

 

 

Mice Silhouette Halloween

 

 

These templates are also available at Martha Stewart Living.  You can trace them onto black construction paper or just cut out the mice printed directly from your computer.  Let the kids stick them along the baseboards of a staircase and scattered running throughout the house!

 

 

Vamped Up Straws

 

Vampire Straws

 

 

 

Template for the straws are available at Rachael Ray Magazine.

 

 

3 Easy Party Crafts:

 

White Chocolate Dipped, Halloween Sprinkled Pretzels

 

Halloween Themed Sprinkled White Chocolate Pretzels

 

 

 

Dip the pretzel in white chocolate

 

 

 

Sprinkle Pretzel on parchment paper or paper plate

 

 

 

 

Add pretzels to the decorated bags

 

 

 

 

Send white chocolate dipped pretzels home in goody bags

 

 

Fun, delicious and a take-home treat, these Halloween spirited pretzels are easy for all guests.  You will need a bag of pretzels, white chocolate baking chips (the better the brand the better the taste), Halloween-themed sprinkles, paper plates, (clear bags and halloween stickers are optional).

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes, stir and repeat until the chocolate is smooth.  Have sprinkles and paper plates at hand.  Dip the pretzels in half-way one-at-a-time and transfer to the plate.  Sprinkle and pop them into the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes and transfer to clear bags or your mouth!

 

 

Candy Filled Witches Brooms

 

Candy Filled Witches Brooms

 

 

This cute craft triples as a favor and/or centerpieces.  Amazingly easy to make they require minimal supplies.  Grab sticks from the park or your backyard.  Any candy will do as a filler.  (Idea courtesy of Martha Stewart Living)

 

Two lunch size paper bags are required for each broom.  Unfold one bag, push it out of its base while folding in the left and right sides.  Cut the bag into thinnish strips stopping before the base.  Cut thin strips as well into the top inch of the second bag.  Open both bags, and place the second bag inside the shredded one, then fill with candy.  Put a small twig about one inch into the bag and cinch the tops of both bags with pipe cleaners, black twine, or black twisty ties.

 

Your supplies:

All you need to make witches brooms

 

 

 

Pasta Skeletons

 

A little more time intensive, this is a great craft for a play date or a rainy afternoon.  Any pasta you have in the house can be substituted in and broken up to make different sizes.  Glue dots are easier and faster to use than craft glue for this activity.   (Idea courtesy of Martha Stewart Living)

 

 

Pasta Skeleton Mandible

 

 

 

 

Pasta Skeleton Humerus

 

 

 

 

If You’re Heading to….Santa Barbara

  • 8th October 2013

A walk through Lotusland is not far away…..

 

 

The iconic Blue Garden in Madame Walksa's Lotusland.

The iconic Blue Garden in Madame Walska’s Lotusland.

 

Lotusland, close to Santa Barbara, was once home to Madame Ganna Walska, a renowned Polish opera-singer, who upon moving to California devoted more than 40 years to amassing the most unique collection of plants from all corners of the world.  In order to allow them the presentation they deserved, she commissioned the most innovative designers to help her with the more than 15 individual gardens within.

 

Spanish Moss adds silvery elegance to many trees.

Spanish Moss adds silvery elegance to many trees.

 

 

Lotusland is in the heart of a residential area, so reservations are required to visit.  Even if you cannot plan your trip for when the legendary lotus’ are in bloom in early summer, there are many many spectacular plants that are well worth a trip.

 

 


pinkcacti1

 

If you are not heading to the Santa Barbara area anytime soon, here are some of our favorite tips we discovered at Lotusland, that could even apply to a backyard (with a few fewer than 3,000 plants).

 

The Beauty of Spanish Moss:

Also called ‘Air Moss’ this air plant can hang from anything from trees to statues.  It takes all the substances it needs to survive straight from the air with specialized hairs called trichomes. Their beautiful silvery leaves are thin, elegant and threadlike.

 

 

Air Moss decorates a tree in Lotusland.

Air Moss decorates a tree in Lotusland.

 

 

 

Lion statue with a Spanish  Air Moss Mane.

A lion guarding the house gets a unique mane.

 

 

Nonconventional Arbors:

 

Veering away from the traditional (Grapes, Wisteria, or the climbing rose), two arbors at Lotusland celebrate the more atypical starting with Austalian Tea Tree and then citrus.

 

The Australian Tea Tree Arbor at Lotusland.

The Australian Tea Tree Arbor at Lotusland.

 

 

Australian Tea Tree works beautifully because it can be easily trained into many differing formations.  Young plants can be planted very close together and lower growth easily pruned away.  It does best in full sun to partial shade.  Once established it is both drought tolerant and salt tolerant.  It’s weeping branches and shaggy trunk offer both texture and personality to the garden.

 

 

The citrus arbor at Lotusland.

The citrus arbor at Lotusland.

 

 

 

Citrus trees can work beautifully in an arbor because they are medium to small trees and can also be trained.  Beyond providing an abundant supply of succulent fruit they add the most beautiful pop of color.  Citrus trees require frost-free climates with rich and loamy soil, full sun and regular water.

 

 

Hang an Orchid Cactus in Dappled Shade:

 

 

Orchid Cactus hanging in the shade at Lotusland.

An Orchid Cactus hanging in the shade at Lotusland.

 

 

The Orchid Cactus is native to the tropical forests of Mexico and Central America.

 

 

Orchid Cactus Blossom up close.

 

 

 

They make beautiful hanging baskets especially from other trees and many varieties flower often throughout the year.

 

Orchid Cactus at Lotusland.

 

 

They like filtered sunlight with heavy morning sun that is bright but not as strong as afternoon sun.  The Orchid Cactus is an Epiphyte, meaning they can grown on other plants directly.

 

 

In Part Two we will delve right into Madame Walksa’s Blue Garden….

 

 

Ganna Walksa

 

 

 

 

 

Apple & Pecan Pie Take a Back Seat…

  • 29th September 2013

This week we’ve tried a few different desserts and most of them did not make the cut.  This moist bundt cake from Martha Stewart Living, however is an ideal recipe for the upcoming season combining all the goodness of pecan and apple pie in one shot.

 

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake

Ready to eat

 

Similar to your favorite pecan pie recipe, it deftly combines nuts and brown sugar all the while mirroring the tartness of the best apple pies.  Nutmeg and ground cinnamon add depth.

 

Using the best quality apple cider you can find, will make the cake a real showstopper.

 

 

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake

Cake glazed and ready to serve.

 

 

 

An apple-cider glaze and caramelized apples in the batter, set this cake apart,”  Martha Stewart Living

 

Ingredients:

 

For the caramelized apples:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon water

3 tart green apples, such as Granny Smith, cored, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks

 

For the cake:

 

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Coarse salt

1 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

 

 

For the glaze:

 

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons best-quality, apple cider

 

 

Apples and brown sugar

Apples and brown sugar

Apples caramelizing

Apples caramelizing

 

 

Preparation:

 

Make the caramelized apples: Cook granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in apples. Cook, covered, until softened, about 6 minutes. Slightly mash apples with a fork until broken down but still chunky. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring, until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Make the cake: Butter a 10-inch Bundt pan. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt into a medium bowl.  Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix in caramelized apples and the walnuts.

 

 

Batter ready for the walnuts and apples.

Batter ready for the walnuts and apples.

 

 

 

Once you've added the apples and walnuts it gets messy.  Don't worry if the batter does not look smooth.

Once you’ve added the apples and walnuts it gets messy. Don’t worry if the batter does not look smooth.

 

 

Transfer batter to pan. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cake cool in pan set on a wire rack for 10 minutes (We recommend longer, maybe 30-40 minutes for cooling). Turn out cake onto rack, and let cool completely.

 

 

Cake is ready for glaze.

Cake is ready for glaze.

 

 

 

Cut nice hearty slices for serving.  Similar to apple pie, this cake tastes especially delicious served alongside vanilla, caramel or praline ice-cream.

 

 

 

You can serve the slices re-heated slightly in microwave, then add ice-cream.

You can serve the slices re-heated slightly in microwave, then add ice-cream.

 

 

 

des Plumes

  • 26th September 2013

Do it right and it looks luxuriously elegant….with not a trace of Sesame Street.  Pair feathers with slightly tousled hair and you might have stepped right off the stage at a music festival.

From Chanel’s fall accessory line to eyelashes hitting the fashion runways, feathers are partout!

 

….Some of our favorite ways to fall prey to this look….

 

Naeem Khan channels looks from Gatsby (or maybe it was the reverse?!)

 

Naeem Khan Fall 2013

Naeem Khan Fall 2013, Photo Courtesy of Vogue.fr

Naeem Khan Fall 2013

Naeem Khan Fall 2013, Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.fr

 

 

 

Carey Mulligan as Daisy in the Great Gatsby. Photo Courtesy of:  Google Images

Carey Mulligan as Daisy in the Great Gatsby. Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

 

 

How to do the feather cape:

 

Kate Moss for Topshop Black Feather Cape
Black Feather Cape

Pair it with leather and elegant sheers.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue.fr

 

 

 

Biba Feather Cape in Black
Biba Feather Cape in White

 

Biba Feather Cape in Black or White, houseoffraser.co.uk,  £ 65.00

 

 

Debenhams Feather Cape
Rare Opulence Feather Cape

 

 

 

Star by Julien Macdonald Black Feather Cape, debenhams.com, £16.50

Rare Opulence Feather Cape, rarelondon.com, £120.00

 

 

Our Favorite Dresses & Skirts:

 

 

Feather Dress Collage

 

 

1.) Jay Ahr Ostrich Feather-Trimmed Jersey Dress, net-a-porter.com, $1560.00

2.) Nanette Lepore Plume Feather-Hem Crepe Dress, neimanmarcus.com, $398.00

3.) Collection Feather Flutter Dress, jcrew.com, $1950.00

4.) Milly Feather Sleeveless Dress, bloomingdales.com, $645.00

 

 

Matthew Williamson Mirror Lace and Feather Dress
Jason Wu Stretch Feather Ostrich Dress

 

 

Matthew Williamson Mirror Feather Dress, matthewwilliamson.com, £3,495.00

Jason Wu Ostrich Feather Dress, farfetch.com, $4950.00

 

Work runway trends into your eye-ensemble!

 

 

Shu Umera Rainbow Feather Eyelashes

 

 

 

Shu Uemura Rainbow Feather Lashes, harrods.com, £34.00

 

 

Bohemian & Dreamy:

 

Sienna Miller in Feather Earrings.

Sienna Miller in Feather Earrings. Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

 

 

 

Aime Parades Earrings
Aime Parades Earrings

 

 

Aime Parades Earrings, modewalk.com, $161.00

 

 

Feather Earring Collage

 

 

5.) Daytrip Feather Earring, buckle.com, $5.36

6.) Nadia Earrings by ToniMay, thegrandsocial.com.au, $89.00

7.) Evocateur Peacock Feather Earrings, ahalife.com, $168.00

8.) House of Cach Italian Horn Feather Earrings, maxandchloe.com, $65.00

 

 

Elegant & Classic:

 

Thomas Sabo Feather Wing Earrings

 

 

Thomas Sabo Feather Wing Earrings, harrods.com, £109.00

 

 

 

 

Jason Wu Ostrich Feather Top Vogue Russia

Ostrich Feather Top by Jason Wu: Photo Courtesy of Vogue Russia

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

Mixing rose gold, black & feathers this shoe it truly ethereal…

 

The Carlton Shoe Kate Spade

 

 

The Carlton, katespade.com, $598.00

Gulai Terung Dengan Daging (Beef & Eggplant Curry)

  • 20th September 2013

This Indonesian curry comes to us by way of the Around the World Cookbook and is aromatic with a lovely lemon grass flavor.

Like most curries it tastes even better the next day as the flavors sit and meld together.  The long, slow cooking time ensures the softest pieces of meat and the coconut milk brings true depth and offsets any heat.

 

Beef and Eggplant Curry

Beef and Eggplant Curry. Photo Courtesy of: The Around the World Cookbook

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sunflower, vegetable or canola oil

2 onions thinly sliced

1 inch fresh ginger root, sliced, and cut in matchsticks

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely sliced

1 inch fresh turmeric peeled and crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder

1 lemon grass stem, lower part finely sliced (top part reserved)

1 1/2 pounds good quality steak, cut in even slices

14 ounces of coconut milk

1 1/4 cup water

1 eggplant, sliced and patted dry (when picking up eggplant look for shiny skin, no bruises, and light weight)

1 teaspoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 4 tablespoons warm water

Deep-fried onion garnish

Ground salt and pepper

 

 

Brown the meat with the lemongrass, garlic, onions and turmeric

Brown the meat with the lemongrass, garlic, onions and turmeric.

 

 

Heat half of the oil and sautée the onions, ginger and garlic until they give off a rich aroma.  Add the chilies, turmeric, and the lower part of the lemon grass.  Push to one side and then turn up the heat and add the steak, stirring until the meat is browned.

 

Add the coconut milk, water, lemon grass top and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

 

 

Add the rich coconut milk, and remaining lemongrass stalk and cook until the meat is super tender.

Add the rich coconut milk, and remaining lemon grass stalk and cook until the meat is super tender.

 

 

Towards the end of the cooking time heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices until they are brown on both sides.

 

 

 

Fry the thinly sliced eggplant.

Fry the thinly sliced eggplant.

 

 

Add the browned eggplant slices to the beef curry and cook for another 15 minutes.  Stir gently from time to time.  Strain the tamarind and stir the juice into the curry.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve with basmati rice and garnish (if desired) with deep-fried onions.

 

 

 

Delicious, rich, tender and ready to serve with rice.

Delicious, rich, tender and ready to serve with rice.

Cape Crusades

  • 18th September 2013

You do not need to be a superhero to don a cape this fall!  The best part is, that like their superhuman counterparts, the cape has many iterations in the form of a dress, coat, blazer, top, even jumpsuit!

 

Bluemarine Vogue Japan

Bluemarine Vogue Japan

Balenciaga, Vogue Collections Paris

Balenciaga, Vogue Collections Paris

 

 

Derek Lam Vogue Collections Paris

Derek Lam Vogue Collections Paris

Burberry, Vogue

Burberry, Vogue

 

 

We take a peek at the most divine in all price ranges from the extraordinary to the more down-to-earth.

 

The Cape Top:

 

 

Dior Cape Top, Saks Fifth Avenue
J Brand Cape Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dior Cape Top, select Saks Fifth Avenue stores, $2700.00

J Brand Ready-to-Wear Cowley Crepe Top, nordstrom.com, $395.00 (available on pre-order)

 

 

 

Levi Cape Shirt

 

 

Levi’s Cape Shirt, levi.com, $78.00

 

 

The Cape Dress:

 

St. John Cape Dress Saks Fifth Avenue
Yes Clothing Cape Dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. John Cape Dress, Available at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores

Inset Cape Two-Tone Dress, yesstyle.com, $122.00

 

 

Bohemian:

 

anthropologie cape

 

 

Alpine Paisley Cape, anthropologie.com, $168.00

 

 

Uber Sleek:

 

Victoria Beckham Blazer Style Cape
Diane von Furstenberg Cape Sleeve Jumpsuit

 

 

 

 

Blazer-Style Cape, Victoria Beckham, mytheresa.com, € 2,275.00

Diane von Furstenberg Lucy Crepe, Cape Sleeve Jumpsuit, bergdorfgoodman.com, $425.00

 

 

 

 

Carey Mulligan looks sharp in Victoria Beckham's Cape Suit.

Carey Mulligan looks sharp in Victoria Beckham’s Cape Suit.

 

 

Structured-Boxy:

 

Marni Glenn Check Cape
Moschino Cape

 

 

 

 

 

Marni Glen Check Cape, barneys.com, $1535.00

Moschino Cape, yoox.com, $515.00

 

Military:

 

La Fiorentina Military Cape
Aran Knit Cape with Leather Buckles

 

 

 

La Fiorentina Military Cape, nordstrom.com, $78.00

Aran Knit Cape with Turtleneck and Leather Buckles, massimodutti.com, $135.00

 

 

 

Wearing Coats as Capes:

 

The how-to for a nonchalant, chic (because it’s just so easy) look!

 

Coats as Capes

Photo Courtesy of Vogue UK

 

 

 

Vintage Chic Look:

 

Cape and beret combination.  Photo courtesy of: Vogue Russia

Cape and beret combination. Photo courtesy of: Vogue Russia

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Fig & Nectarine Vinaigrette

  • 7th September 2013

As summer closes and fresh figs, peaches and nectarines flood farmer’s markets, this vinaigrette is the perfect way to celebrate their flavors.  It will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and can be used on sandwiches, salads, to marinate meats and for the perfect savory appetizer, as we have done below.

 

 

Nectarine & fig spread on melba toasts with brie cheese and black forest ham.

Nectarine & fig spread on melba toasts with brie cheese, black forest ham and pomegranate seeds.

 

 

Ingredients:

5 fresh black figs (flesh scooped out)

1 nectarine cut into quarters (flesh scooped out)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (best quality)

1/4 cup olive oil (best quality)

1/4 tbs rice wine vinegar

1/8 tbs soy sauce

4 cloves of garlic quartered

Salt & Pepper

 

 

Fig and Nectarine Vinaigrette ready to blend.

Ready to blend

 

 

Blend and enjoy.  (You can modify the thickness by varying the amount of olive oil).

 

 

Fig & Nectarine Vinaigrette blended.

Blending is a cinch

 

 

For the toasts:

 

Spread a dollop of the vinaigrette on melba toasts.

 

Melba Toasts

Melba toasts available at Surfas in Los Angeles.

Nectarine & Fig spread on toasts

Nectarine & Fig spread on toasts

 

 

 

Add hand-torn black forest ham, sharp good quality brie cheese, 3-4 pomegranate seeds for extra tang, generous salt & pepper.

 

Mini savory toasts.

These mini savory toasts are loved by all.

 

 

 

.

Scotland’s Seductive Summons—Part Deux

  • 1st September 2013

In the Chanel Pre-Fall collection (pieces are in boutiques now and selling-out rapidly) Lagerfeld took the medieval ornamental ‘sporran’ and transformed it into a gorgeous line of purses and minaudieres.  We’ll highlight those today, alongside another beautiful and famous transformation, that of Inverlochy Castle into a renowned destination hotel.

 

The Sporran as a handbag:

Typically made of leather or fur, often with feather ornamentation, the sporran is a traditional part of male highland dress and functions as a pocket, for the pocketless kilt.

 

Traditional Sporran

Traditional Sporran. Photo Courtesy of: Wikipedia

 

 

Below it is gloriously adapted per Chanel, even for those not Highland-bound:

 

Chanel Pre-Fall Collection Sporran-style purse.

Chanel Pre-Fall Collection Sporran-style purse. Photo Courtesy of: Bragmybag.com

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Lachanelphile.com

Photo Courtesy of Lachanelphile.com

 

 

A few more favorite handbags from the collection include:

 

Beautifully embellished tartan minaudieres.

Beautifully embellished tartan minaudieres.

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Citizenoffashion.com

Photo Courtesy of: Citizenoffashion.com

 

 

 

Luxurious velvet clutch-bag

Luxurious velvet clutch-bag

 

 

 

Velvet clutch bag on the runway.

Velvet clutch bag on the runway.

 

 

 

The luxurious tartans and tweeds, pearl embellishments and delicate feathers from the Edinburgh Pre Fall collection could not be more perfectly suited to the impeccably resplendent grounds of Inverlochy Castle Hotel.

 

The drive up to Inverlochy

The drive up to Inverlochy.

 

 

Just a four hour drive (through the Scottish countryside) from Edinburgh, Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a 19th century-baronial mansion located near the town of Fort William.

 

 

The front of Inverlochy as seen from the rolling grounds.

The front of Inverlochy as seen from the rolling grounds.

 

 

It was built in 1863 and retains all of the elegance the time-period afforded.

 

 

The perfect room to take tea.

The perfect room to take tea.

 

 

The main reception room features live music in the evening.

The main reception room features live music in the evening.

 

 

Invelochy Castle Hotel Main Reception

 

 

 

Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy in 1873 remarking, “I never saw a lovelier, more romantic spot.”  The Queen’s suite allows you to share in her wonderment.

 

Dress for dinner, but sorry there are no Lady's Maids.

Dress for dinner, but sorry there are no Lady’s Maids.

 

 

The mansion has been a hotel since 1969 and in 2006 Inverlochy Castle Hotel was voted, “Best Hotel in Europe”  by Travel + Leisure magazine.  Much of its fame is due to its renowned cuisine.

 

Adult breakfast

Adult breakfast

 

 

 

Traditional 'Egg & Soldiers' for children

Traditional ‘Egg & Soldiers’ for children.

 

 

Cap off dinner with an amazingly fresh cheese course.

Cap off dinner with an amazingly fresh cheese course.

 

 

True that some of the best game hunting and sport fishing is just steps away, but even a walk through the rolling grounds or a canoe-ride across the lake is activity enough.

 

 

Stop for a game of chess before ambling down a pathway into greenery.

Stop for a game of chess before ambling down a pathway into greenery.

 

 

Walking paths surround the castle.

Walking paths surround the castle.

 

 

The greenery is only broken by wildflowers and small lakes.

The greenery is only broken by wildflowers and small lakes.

 

 

 

 

Velvety Foxglove pops up everywhere.

Velvety Foxglove pops up everywhere.

 

 

 

The grounds behind the castle are equally stunning.

The grounds behind the castle are equally stunning.

 

 

 

All guest rooms enjoy sweeping views.

All guest rooms enjoy sweeping views.

 

 

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

Forever 21, but Under Fifteen

  • 28th August 2013

 

Put any prejudice aside and prepare for fun.  If you’re in need of retail therapy, an end-of-summer pick-me-up, some wardrobe pizzaz, gifts for girlfriends…whatever, it’s here.

 

 

 

Great finds at Forever21.

This whole array cost a few cents more than $100.00

 

 

With the same fervor that some scour estate sales, it can be just as much fun to scour the endless pages of jewelry on Forever21.  Every third or fourth page there is an amazing find.  Even if it only lasts for one season (though we’ve never found that to be the case) it has barely cost you as much as a muffin and a fancy latte (nothing costs more than $15.00).  In fact, the whole bundle above came in at just over $100.00 ($100.32).

 

 

Goddess Crescent Earrings

 

 

All of the these pieces pair perfectly with this summer’s beloved maxi dress, a simple white long sleeve t-shirt ushering in autumn and the last hint of a summer glow.

 

Goddess Crescent Earrings in navy, forever21.com, $6.80

 

 

I know we’ve posted it before, but it is very hard not to LOVE this cheetah ring.

 

xo ring set and cheetah ring

 

 

 

Rhinestoned Cheetah Ring in gold, forever21.com, $5.80

xo Ring Set, forever21.com, $4.80

 

 

Edgy and modern…

 

 

Shell plated triangle necklace

 

 

Shell plated triangle necklace in pink, forever21.com, $8.80

 

A few fun ‘art-deco-ish’ pieces…

 

Chained Art Deco Earrings
Sparkling Art Deco Earrings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chained Art Deco Earrings, forever21.com, $6.80

Sparkling Art Deco Earrings in mint, forever21.com, $6.80

 

 

knotted braided chain necklace

 

 

 

knotted braided chain necklace

 

 

 

 

Knotted braided chain necklace, forever21.com, $9.80

 

 

Bold emerald cut earrings

 

 

Bold emerald cut earrings in dusty pink, forever21.com, $6.80

 

Ropes & ropes…

 

Braided Chain Necklace Navy and Gold

 

 

 

Braided Chain Necklace in navy and gold, forever21.com, $8.80

Faux Suede Woven Necklace, forever21.com, $5.80

Box Chain Choker, forever21.com, $14.80

 

 

Flirty and fun…

 

Heart shaped hoops

 

 

 

Heart Shaped Hoops, forever21.com, $2.80

 

 

 

Parting Words…

  • 27th August 2013

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels:  it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.

 

Salvador Dalí

 

 

BonConseil

Movement in Three Tiers

  • 25th August 2013

A few years ago I tore a page out of Martha Stewart Living that became an absolute go-to guide for me, flower obsessed with not a stitch of training in arrangement.  

 

In this conversation with floral gurus, Nicolette Owen and Sarah Ryhanen (google them immediately), they describe how elaborate bouquets require movement and arrangements look better in three tiers.

 

 

Martha Stewart arrangement by Ryhanen and Owen.

Photo Courtesy of: Martha Stewart Living

 

 

 

“Bulky real estate items like heather and lilies create form and structure.  (Tier 1)  Showy “face” flowers like tea roses give a bouquet their focus (Tier 2).  Gestural, attention getting elements give a sense of finish. (Tier 3)”   I love this and it has given me direction and confidence ever since.

 

Today’s trip to the Farmer’s Market and the backyard gave meaning to their above words.  I am not a floral designer so my rendition did not look as elegant.  But, anyone can easily do four of the below arrangements in less than $25.00 and less than 20 minutes following their technique.

 

 

Tuberose and Love in the Mist arrangement.

Tuberose and Love in the Mist arrangement.

 

 

Love in the mist and a sturdy hydrangea stand in as the solid foundation—Tier One.  Vibrantly hued dahlias and garden roses with their explosive pops of color serve perfectly as the “showy face flowers”—Tier Two.  But, my favorite is the ‘gestural’ detail, because it is only in bloom for a few more weeks…the Tuberose—Tier Three.  What better gesture than it’s plump creamy buds bursting with sweet fragrance.

Another tip from Rhyanen, is to avoid the all too easy and deadly “pyramid” arranging.  Stagger heights of flowers and create asymmetry with beautiful movement.

 

The bouquet should have inherent movement.

The bouquet should have inherent movement.

 

 

Finally, for the showy “face flowers” avoid the temptation to sprinkle them about.  Instead, cluster like colors, shades and shapes together.

 

 

Dahlias and garden roses anchor each 'side' of the arrangement.

Dahlias and garden roses anchor each ‘side’ of the arrangement.

 

 

 

Another look for inspiration, from Ryhanen’s blog, Saipua….

 

Photo Courtesy of: Saipua

Photo Courtesy of: Saipua

 

 

 

 

.

Parting Words…

  • 25th August 2013

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

 

 

BonConseil

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Cumin and Roasted Red Peppers

  • 23rd August 2013

This is not your every-day pasta salad.  It’s a surprising, unique combination of flavors that translates beautifully for many differing tastebuds across families and peer circles.

 

 

Orzo salad with cumin, cucumber, and chickpeas

 

 

Serve it slightly chilled and:

—It’s perfect to pack up for a picnic, the beach, a plane-trip, your lunch at work

—It looks pretty, colorful and healthy served at a party

—It can be made ahead and in fact tastes better the next day….and the day after that!

 

 

upclose

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups orzo pasta

1 can chickpeas (make sure they are pre-shelled) drained

2 small, 1/2-pint containers of cherry tomatoes cut length-wise  (mix red and yellow here for added color)

1 English hothouse cucumber left unpeeled and diced

1/2-cup roasted red peppers from a jar chopped coarsely

2/3-cup finely chopped dill

1/4-cup finely chopped parsley

1/2-cup olive oil

1 tsp. cumin

1/2-tsp white balsamic vinegar

1/2-tsp red wine vinegar

1/8-tsp rice wine vinegar

salt & pepper to taste

(The higher quality vinegars and olive oil you use, the better it will taste)

 

Getting things prepped

Getting things prepped

 

 

 

Preparation:

Cook orzo until tender.  When done please rinse the orzo with cold water and drain it well.  Mix with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, dill and parsley.

 

Prepare the dressing separately, whisking the olive oil, cumin, and three vinegars together.  Add the dressing to the salad.  Salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Oil, vinegars and cumin

Oil, vinegars and cumin

 

Chill slightly, 1/2 hr-45 mins before serving.

 

*Note:  For a little extra heat you can throw in chopped radish or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, for extra tang you can add the whites of a green onion diced.  

 

 

Serve it and enjoy!!

Serve it and enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland’s Seductive Summons

  • 21st August 2013

More than just kilts, tartan and shortbread, the allure of Scotland as a style springboard and one of the hottest cultural destinations has never been more apparent.

 

 

Chanel Paris Edinburgh Collection Tweed and Pearl Necklace

The Chanel Paris Edinburgh Collection

 

 

While the Highlands currently headline travel magazines the world-over and vacationers pack the Royal Mile, Chanel’s Paris/Edinburgh Pre-Fall Collection has simultaneously hit boutiques with incredible fanfare.

 

Honeymooners perhaps?  A couple unwittingly caught  and caught-up in the romance of Edinburgh.

Honeymooners perhaps? A couple unwittingly caught and caught-up in the romance of Edinburgh.

 

 

In the next few posts we will highlight this collection that pays tribute to the creativity and craftsmanship of the ten highly specialized Scottish houses acquired by Chanel that produce everything from exquisite embroidery to amazing feather detail (the center-point of this season’s accessories).  According to Vogue.fr, this collection also pays tribute to Coco Chanel’s lover the Duke of Westminster through whom she developed her admiration for Scottish craftsmanship and her love of tweed, cardigans and knitwear.

 

 

Absolutely stunning feather detailed Chanel cuff.

Absolutely stunning feather detailed Chanel cuff.

 

 

Today we begin with our favorite accessories from the collection and end with a look at the enchantment of Edinburgh and what not to miss when you are there!

 

 

Neon Tweed Chanel Bracelet.

Neon Tweed Chanel Bracelet.

Chanel Tweed Bracelet with Sequin Detail

Chanel Tweed Bracelet with Sequin Detail.

 

 

Bracelets and cuffs come in super-luxe fabrics or exquisite feathers.

 

 

Chanel tartan, tweed, pearl embellished cuff paris edinburgh pre fall collection

 

 

 

Tucked neatly into a tight neck-grazing chignon, the hair-piece is perfection!

 

 

Chanel Feather Hair-Piece Paris Edinburgh Pre Fall Collection

 

 

 

Three feather detailed Chanel pieces.

 

 

 

 

We were advised that the feather-detail ring was not purchased for American boutiques.  So should you be interested in it, like we were, there’s your excuse for a quick European getaway!

 

If Europe is out of the question, these are available here and now…..

 

Pearl and Enamel Embellished Ring Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection
Pearl and Enamel Embellished Ring Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

 

Tartan and Tweed Ring Chanel Paris Edinburgh Pre Fall Collection
Pearl and Enamel Embellished Ring Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

Match the collection’s belt with a white lace or white ruffled blouse or a deep oxblood velvet skirt….

 

Pearl and Enamel Embellished Belt Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

 

 

Over-sized pearl earrings Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

 

If this has whetted your appetite for more royal fanfare and grandeur, castle hopping in Scotland may be on your horizon and Edinburgh serves as the ideal starting point.

 

Arriving into Edinburgh by train is especially enjoyable if you are traveling with children (there are daily connections from London that take approx. 4 hours) and a stay in the historic Balmoral hotel keeps many of the cities treasures within walking distance.

 

Don't forget your kilt to feel right at home for the train station pick-up.

Don’t forget your kilt to feel right at home for the train station pick-up.

The Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral Hotel. Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Balmoral was a traditional railway hotel built for the North British Railway Company and stands today as a city landmark.  It is located literally in the heart of the city and run by the luxurious Rocco Forte Hotel’s.  It’s majestic clock tower is historically known for being set 2 minutes fast to allow travelers a cushion so as not to miss their train at the station nearby.

 

 

The Balmoral's elegant lobby.

The Balmoral’s elegant lobby.

Make sure to sample the Balmoral's complimentary homemade fudge (prepared with clotted cream)!

Make sure to sample the Balmoral’s complimentary homemade fudge (prepared with clotted cream)!

 

 

 

 

Beyond its historic and geographic significance, the Balmoral also claims fame as being the hotel wherein JK Rowling finished penning the last lines of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on January 11, 2007.

 

Supposed autograph left by Rowling on a bust of Hermes in room 652.

Supposed autograph left by Rowling on a bust of Hermes in room 652.

View from another guest suite.

Most guest suites afford lovely city views.

 

 

From the Balmoral stroll through the relaxing and charming Princes Street Gardens to reach the Old Town and the Royal Mile.

 

 

 

The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument

 

 

The Victorian Gothic Scott Monument, a tribute to author Sir Walter Scott, greets you immediately as you head towards the gardens.

 

Everyone relaxes in Princes Street Garden and enjoys the view.

Everyone relaxes in Princes Street Garden and enjoys the view.

Flowers are abundant in Princes Street Garden.

Flowers are abundant.

 

As you walk towards Old Town you pass many of Edinburgh’s galleries and historic buildings.

 

 

Walking towards Old Town Edinburgh.

 

 

 

St Giles’ Cathedral, the historic City Church of Edinburgh at the center of Old Town, is about a 45 minute leisurely stroll from the Balmoral.

 

 

 

St. Giles Cathedral

 

 

Edinburgh Castle sits atop of the Royal Mile, which ends at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  Both are worth visiting.  If you are visiting both in one day, split them up with lunch at the famed Royal Botanical Gardens, or a picnic on the green of the Princes Street Gardens.  Both allow for commanding views, and if you are with children they will appreciate the grassy area to run and play.

 

 

Sweeping City Views from Edinburgh Castle.

Sweeping City Views from Edinburgh Castle.

 

 

 

 

 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Photo Courtesy of the Holyroodhouse Royal Collection

The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Photo Courtesy of the Holyroodhouse Royal Collection

 

 

 

The Abbey at Holyroodhouse Palace

The Abbey at Holyroodhouse Palace

 

 

If you are visiting in summer, a trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens is a great way to break-up the day.

 

 

The Royal Botannical Gardens Edinburgh

The Royal Botannical Gardens Edinburgh

 

The Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh

 

 

Grassy lawn for children to run and play.

Grassy lawn at the Royal Botanical Gardens for children to run and play.

 

 

View from the Gardens

View from the Gardens

 

 

Another way to break-up the day for younger travelers comes by way of the National Museum of Scotland, especially enjoyable for your young animal lovers.

 

 

The National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland

nationalmuseumofscotland

 

Cap off your day in what Andrew Lloyd Webber calls, “The prettiest restaurant ever!”  If you end your day at Edinburgh Castle, the Witchery is just steps away and is ranked amongst UK’s top 5 restaurants.  For this romantic hot spot, they ask that children under 12 leave the dining room by 7:30.  Remember to book well in advance!

 

 

The Witchery Edinburgh

The Witchery Edinburgh

The Witchery Edinburgh

 

The Witchery Edinburgh
The Witchery Edinburgh

Photo Courtesy of: Salvonights.com

 

 

Brown Sugar Strawberry Tart

  • 19th August 2013

A perfect make-ahead dessert, to serve chilled on a hot summer evening.

 

 

Summer tart that shows off gorgeous ripe strawberries

Summer tart that shows off gorgeous ripe strawberries.

 

 

This recipe, which comes by way of Sunset Magazine in 2010, must be made at least once every summer with a fresh bounty of strawberries from the farmer’s market.  We especially love it because:

 

 

• It is super easy to make

• It’s gorgeous and vibrant red

• It does not require any specialty  ingredients or tools

• It will impress family, friends and yourself!

 

 

Dough ready to mold into the crust.

Dough ready to shape into the crust.

Crust ready to bake.

Crust ready to bake.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

1/2 cup crème fraîche

1/2 cup whipping cream

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced

 

 

Crust baking

Crust baking

 

 

Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, whirl flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, the cornstarch, and salt until combined. Add butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and pulse until fine crumbs form and dough just begins to come together. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-in. round tart pan with a removable rim.  (If you do not have one of these don’t fret!  If you have a pretty one like ours, just serve it in the pan…it slices very easily!)

 

Bake until edges are golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then gently push tart crust from pan rim; set on a plate.

 

In a bowl with a mixer on high speed, beat crème fraîche, cream, remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla until thick. Spread in cooled crust.

 

 

We used vanilla bean paste in lieu of extract.

We used vanilla bean paste in lieu of extract.

Whipping the filling.

Whipping the filling.

 

 

Arrange strawberries in circles on top, alternating cut sides down and up.

 

 

Mouth-Watering Tart.  Photo Courtesy of: Sunset Magazine.

Mouth-Watering Tart. Photo Courtesy of: Sunset Magazine.

 

 

Make ahead: Chill, loosely covered, up to 4 hours.

 

*Please do not cut the tart until you have chilled it for at least 1-2 hours.  It slices easily when it is firm.  

 

 

Sliced and ready to enjoy!

Sliced and ready to enjoy!

 

 

 

.

Tagliatelle with Baby Vegetables and Lemon-Parmesan Sauce

  • 15th August 2013

This recipe from Bon Appetit, 4 years back is a summer classic.  It is the perfect back-drop for amazingly fresh summer vegetables.  We’ve made a few slight alterations and you might too.  Additions and/or substitutions like mushrooms, golden beets, artichokes, squash blossoms would all be delicious and welcome.

 

 

Tagliatelle with baby veggies and lemon-parsley sauce

Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

 

“The pasta cooking liquid helps turn the cheese, cream, and sautéed vegetables into an incredible sauce,”  Bon Appétit

 

 

Our ingredients ready to go.

Our ingredients ready to go.

 

 

Ingredients:
—1 8.8-ounce package egg and spinach tagliatelle blend or egg fettuccine (linguine works fine as well)
—2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
—1 medium white onion, halved, thinly sliced
—8 ounces baby zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise (cutting them thinly with a mandoline slicer works really well)
—8 ounces frozen tiny green beans (3 cups), thawed  (fresh green beans work beautifully)
—(We added fresh summer squash also cut thinly lengthwise and golden baby beets (red ones would turn the dish bright pink))
—2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
—1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese plus more for passing
—1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
—2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
—Generous salt and pepper when serving

 

Preparation:

 

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and zucchini; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until zucchini is almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add beans and lemon peel. Toss 1 minute.

 

Pasta cooking

Pasta cooking, super simple and delicious.

 

Scrape contents of skillet over pasta in pot. Add 1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, cream, lemon juice, and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Place over medium-high heat and toss until heated through and sauce coats pasta, adding more reserved pasta liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing additional cheese separately. (We opted to serve the pasta garnished with extra lemon peel in lieu of cheese—made it extra tangy, not heavy.)

 

 

 

The pasta looks beautiful served.  You can add any fresh summer veggies you want from asparagus to English peas.

The pasta looks beautiful served. You can add any fresh summer veggies you want from asparagus to English peas.

 

 

 

.

Playful Polka Dots

  • 12th August 2013

Miu Miu has catapulted this pattern into the spotlight this fall.  What’s the etymology of these popular spots?

 

Miu Miu Polka Dots

Miu Miu. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

 

I’m interested, but not dedicated enough to delve any further than Wikipedia…here’s what they say:  “the name (polka dot) was likely settled upon because of the dance’s popularity at the time the pattern became fashionable, just as many other products and fashions of the era also adopted the polka name.”  The time-period we’re talking about here is around the 1850s.

 

 

Marc Jacobs in Polka Dot Suit

Marc Jacobs in a Polka Dot Suit. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Japan

 

Though we’re talking about popularity in the 1800s the designs here by Moschino and Chloe are anything but dated.

 

 

 

Moschino Cheap & Chic Polka Dot Pump

 

 

Moschino Cheap & Chic Polka-Dot Pump, farfetch.com, $576.09

 

 

Miu Miu Polka Dot Eyewear

Miu Miu Polka Dot Eyewear

 

 

The fascinator (below) and the flirty skirt (below) both combine playful polka dots with the most whimsical fabric: tulle!

 

Ms. Carter in British Vogue, wears a Benoit Missolin Straw and Tulle Hat

Ms. Carter in British Vogue, wears a Benoit Missolin Straw and Tulle Hat

Benoit Polka Pillbox Hat

 

 

 

 

 

Polka Pillbox Hat by Benoit Missolin, valerydemure.com, £225.00

 

 

Red Valentino Tulle Overlay Polka Dot Skirt

 

 

Tulle Overlay Skirt by Valentino R.E.D, stylebop.com, $550.00

 

 

Looks that translate into everyday work and play:

 

 

Deja Dot Dress Anthropologie

 

 

Deja Dot Dress, anthropologie.com, $118.00

 

Stunning Michael Kors shirtdress paired with leather belt.

Stunning Michael Kors shirtdress paired with leather belt.

 

 

The Winter Audrey Dress from Boden is a stunner:

 

The Winter Audrey Dress Boden

 

 

 

The Winter Audrey Dress, bodenusa.com, $128.00

 

Metallic Yarn and Polka Dot Jacquard Make for Another Stunner from Boden:

 

Tulip Party Dress Boden
Tulip Party Dress Boden

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Party Dress, bodenusa.com, $152.60

 

Miranda Sequin Cap Sleeve Bow Blouse
Miranda Sequin Cap Sleeve Bow Blouse

 

 

Miu Miu Taffeta Polka Dot Dress and Neckerchief.  Photo Courtesy of: Tatler

Miu Miu Taffeta Polka Dot Dress and Neckerchief. Photo Courtesy of: Tatler

 

Miranda Sequin Cap Sleeve Bow Blouse, aliceandolivia.com, $368.00

 

 

Moschino Cheap & Chic Polka Dot Wool Dress
Moschino Cheap & Chic Polka Dot Wool Dress

 

 

Wool Dress Moschino, stylebop.com, $1140.00

 

 

Polka Dot Dress with Belt Zara

 

Printed Polka Dot Dress with Belt, zara.com, $49.90

 

 

Rosamosario, Polka Dots Loca silk-satin twill dress

 

 

Rosamosario, Polka Dots Loca silk-satin twill dress, net-a-porter.com, $585.00

 

 

Boden Bistro Crop Pant in Gold

 

Bistro Crop Pant in Gold, bodenusa.com, $57.20-$138.00

.
Wikipedia also goes as far as to say, “The pattern (polka dots) rarely appears in formal contexts and is generally confined to more playful attire such as bathing suits and lingerie.”

 

The 2013 Fall Runway turned that statement on its head….

 

Chloe Sheer Polka Dot Top

Chloe

Chloe Sheer Polka Dot Skirt

Chloe

 

 

 

Chloe Sheer Polka Dot Bib Blouse

 

 

Chloe Sheer Polka Dot Bib Blouse, neimanmarcus.com, $2295.00 (available on pre-order)

 

 

Sophia Webster Felice Polka Dot Shoe

 

 

Sophia Webster Felice Open-Toe Polka Dot Shoe Boots, matchesfashion.com, $704.00

 

Super Cute for Kids Starting School:

 

 

 

Anthropologie Banderole Pencil Set

 

 

 

Banderole Pencil Set, anthropologie.com, $12.00

 

 

 

Fanfare Skater Skirt Garnet Hill

 

 

 

Fanfare Skater Skirt, garnethill.com, $49.50-$54.00

 

 

Joules Jnr Fliss Velvet Dress in Red Spot

 

 

 

Jnr Fliss Velvet Dress in Red Spot, joules.com, $66.00

 

Miu Miu Polka Dot Dress and Rollers.

Miu Miu Polka Dot Dress and Rollers. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Italia

 

 

Vintage Inspiration:

 

Betty Grable wears pom pom polka dots.

Betty Grable wears pom pom polka dots. Photo Courtesy of: Vanity Fair

 

For the Home:

 

 

Garnet Hill Metal Storage Collection in Polka Dots

Garnet Hill Metal Storage Collection in Polka Dots

 

Garnet Hill Metal Storage Collection in Polka Dot, garnethill.com, $78.00

 

 

 

Spots on parade in Vogue Germany

Spots on parade in Vogue Germany

 

 

.

‘Tis the Season for Okra

  • 10th August 2013

Every summer there is a gloriously big and beautiful display of okra at the Farmer’s Market and it remains virtually un-touched, as far as I can see.  Almost without fail as soon as I begin heaping it into a bag, someone sidles up asking wonderously how to prepare it.

 

 

Okra ready to serve

Okra is a great addition to any summer dinner party.

 

 

Luckily for me I grew up eating this delicious vegetable prepared to perfection by both my mother and grandmother.  No matter how hard I try I cannot exactly duplicate their magic.  But, I do get enough rave reviews from people my age to warrant sharing my own recipe.

 

 

Okra at the farmer's market.

Okra at the farmer’s market.

 

It’s perfect for a summer dinner party because it is in season (please do not buy it frozen and try this recipe!).  Similar to how beets were about 5 years ago, barely anyone makes okra.  And, okra is just loaded with nutritional benefits.

 

The thing you don’t want to end up with is a gloopy, slimy dish.  To help prevent that, wash your okra one day before you cook and let them dry completely on a towel.

 

Okra drying out.

Okra drying out.

 

 

After they are completely dry, cut them (discarding the tops and tips) and let them dry out more overnight in the refrigerator.

 

 

Okra, onion and tomato

Okra, onion and tomato, cut and ready to use.

 

 

The key to this recipe is the sweet and sour taste afforded by the malt vinegar and brown sugar and enhanced by the lemon at the end.

 

Ingredients:

 

80-90 fingers of okra (chopped like above)

4 medium sized tomatoes diced

1 medium sized yellow onion diced

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons malt vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

1/2 tablespoon cumin powder

1/2 tablespoon red pepper (available at Indian groceries)

Salt to taste

1/4 cup hand-torn cilantro for garnish

1-2 lemons wedged.  Juice squeezed over just before serving

 

 

 

 

Onion is friend golden brown.

Onion is sautéed golden brown.

 

 

Preparation:

 

Sautée onion on medium heat until golden brown like above.  Add the tomatoes, turmeric, cumin and red pepper and sautée all together until a thick paste forms.

 

Tomatoes and spices.

Tomatoes and spices.

Thick base is almost done.

Thick base is almost done.

 

 

Press the tomatoes down with a slotted spoon to release their juices while cooking.  Once a sauce is formed, remove it from the pan and place it alongside the stove in a separate bowl.

 

 

Remove sauce.

Remove sauce.

 

 

Place the okra in the pan with brown sugar and malt vinegar and cook on medium heat for five minutes.  Add the sauce to the okra and cook through for about 10 more minutes on medium heat.  As soon as the okra is slightly tender it is done.  It is best to sample it.  Do not overcook the okra or it will not be separated nicely.

 

Cooking and almost done.

Cooking and almost done.

 

 

Salt the okra to taste. We used about 3/4 tablespoon.  Serve with hand-torn cilantro and squeezed lemon.

 

 

Garnish the okra with cilantro and lemon wedges.

Garnish the okra with cilantro and lemon wedges.

 

 

Camouflage on Fashion’s Front-Line

  • 7th August 2013

This fall, the target many ladies are zeroing in on has more battleground appeal than one would expect: camouflage.

 

 

Gwen Stefani in Camouflage.  Photo Courtesy of:  The Berry

Gwen Stefani in Camouflage. Photo Courtesy of: The Berry

 

 

Valentino Camulook Camouflage sunglasses

Valentino “Camulook” Camouflage sunglasses

 

 

 

A few of our favorites include:

 

Michael Kors Samantha Camouflage Pants

 

 

 

1.) Faith Connexion Jacquard Loose Pants, shopbop.com, $413.00

2.)Baum und Pferdgarten Silk Shirt Dress with Fluted Hem in Camo Print, asos.com, $371.64

3.)Michael Kors Samantha Camouflage Pants, bergdorfgoodman, $895.00 (Pre-order)

4.)Elena Iachi 70 mm Suede Camouflage Wedge Sneakers, luisaviaroma.com, $445.00

 

 

We love this cue from Rihanna mixing camouflage with hot pink, and bright yellow!

 

The inspiration:

 

Rihanna Camouflage cap

Bold hot pink lips and bright yellow rim offset muted camouflage.

Rihanna Camouflage cap

Another view of the winning combination.

 

 

 

How to copy it:

 

Dondup Lambda Camouflage Jean

 

 

 

W118 by Walter Baker Cameron Silk Shirt, theoutnet.com, $75.00

+

Dondup Lambda Camouflage Jean, farfetch.com, $198.48

+

Aquazzura Slone Slit-Front Suede Bootie in Yellow, bergdorfgoodman.com, $595.00

 

 

Valentino "CamuRock" Camouflage Pink Studded Purse with Metal Chain

Valentino “CamuRock” Camouflage Pink Studded Purse with Metal Chain

 

 

How to wear the “CamuRock” according to InStyle UK (We tend to agree!)

 

 

How to pair the Valentino Garavani "CamuRock" bag

Photo Courtesy of: InStyle UK

 

 

Pair this bold purse with light colors, shimmery fabrics and paisley prints.

 

 

Another combination to try:

 

Moschino Cheap & Chic Ribbed Wool Mini Skirt

 

 

Splendid Long Sleeve Camo Top, piperlime.com, $128.00

Moschino Cheap & Chic Ribbed Wool Mini Skirt, net-a-porter.com, $475.00

Dolce & Gabbana Intense Liquid Glam Liner in metallic yellow gold, sephora.com, $34.00

 

 

The best shoe to try NOW:

 

Valentino Leather and Suede Camouflage Sneaker

 

 

Valentino Leather & Suede Camouflage Sneaker, saks.com, $795.00, available on pre-order (hurry!)

 

 

Our favorites in blue (Again, try them with a pop of yellow!)

 

Camo Print Stepped Pencil Skirt

 

1). Camo Print Stepped Pencil Skirt, topshop.com, $72.00

2).  Christopher Kane Camouflage Woven-Silk Skirt, net-a-porter.com, $860.00

3.) Valentino Rockstud Camo Canvas-Leather Medium Tote Bag, bergdorfgoodman.com, $3245.00

4.) Lanvin Open Toe Ballet Flats, farfetch.com, $550.00

 

 

Camouflage is perfect for sneaking around! 

 

Valentino Rockstud Camo-Print Sneaker
Puma 'Easy Rider' low top trainer

 

 

 

Valentino Rockstud Camo-Print Sneaker, neimanmarcus.com, $795.00

Puma ‘Easy Rider’ low top trainer, farfetch.com, $72.00

 

 

Valentino Camuglam purse

Valentino Camuglam purse

 

 

Valentino Camuglam heels

Valentino Camuglam heels

 

 

 

 

Michael Kors Royal Blue and Black camo-dyed mink coat.  Photo Courtesy of: Saks

Michael Kors Royal Blue and Black camo-dyed mink coat. Photo Courtesy of: Saks

 

 

 

Pologeorgis dyed rabbit and leather camp vest.  Photo Courtesy of: Saks

Pologeorgis dyed rabbit and leather camp vest. Photo Courtesy of: Saks

 

The last look is a perfect end-of-summer treat in candy color!

 

1969 Camo front-zip always skinny jeans

 

 

1969 Camo front-zip always skinny jeans, gap.com, $69.95

 

 

 

Camouflage nails are actually hard to miss!

 

 

The palette for instant camouflage chic.  Photo Courtesy of: InStyle Beauty

The palette for instant camouflage chic. Photo Courtesy of: InStyle Beauty

 

 

 

 

How to master the Camouflage Mani.  Photo Courtesy of: InStyle Beauty

How to master the Camouflage Mani. Photo Courtesy of: InStyle Beauty

These tips for the perfect Camouflage Mani comes straight from InStyle Beauty—who acquired the technique from Jin Soon Choi, NYC manicurist extraordinaire.
Choi helped with the Prabal Gurung show, choosing military camouflage chic for the models.
1.) Paint nails a dark gold such as Sally Hansen’s Coat of Arms.  Let them dry
2.) Grab an Olive Green polish such as Sally Hansen’s Loden Green.  Place the brush on the bottom left corner and sweep it diagonally across the surface.  Then place the brush on the bottom right corner and sweep it diagonally leaving you with a very narrow gold v.
3.) Repeat step two on all digits
(Step-by-Step from InStyle Beauty)

Armor’s Attraction

  • 5th August 2013

Who knew armor could be so alluring?

 

Isabel Marant Fall 2013 Collection

Isabel Marant Fall 2013 Collection. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

 

Marant gives us swashbuckling metal accents in her 2013 Fall Collection from skirts to scarves and sashes.

 

 

Isabel Marant Scarf.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Isabel Marant Scarf. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

 

 

 

The look is reminiscent of chain mail and riveted mail.

 

 

Riveted mail and plate coat zirah bagtar.

 

 

Chain, features small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh.  Riveted mail and plate coat zirah bagta was introduced into India under the Mughals.  (Text from:  Wikipedia)

 

Other prominent houses that give a nod to modern-day chivalry include:

 

Belstaff Fall 2013.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Belstaff Fall 2013. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Chanel.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

Chanel. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even without a sword you can still take on the aura of an urban knight.

 

Jules Smith Knights Armor Chain Bib Necklace
Caprina Necklace

 

 

 

 

Jules Smith Knights Armor Chain Bib Necklace, cusp.com, $85.00

Caprina Necklace, dannijo.com, $870.00

 

 

Monique Lhuillier Leather Armor Sheath Dress
Mia Armor Zappos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monique Lhuillier Leather Armor Sheath Dress, shopbop.com, $5,290.00

Mia Armor, zappos.com, $57.99

 

 

Rihanna channels warriors of yesteryear in a Versace silver mesh draped dress.  Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

Rihanna channels warriors of yesteryear in a Versace silver mesh draped dress. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue

Parting Words…

  • 5th August 2013

As young as I am, I have observed these three swashers. I am boy to them all three, but all they three, though they would serve me, could not be man to me.

 

Shakespeare

 

 

BonConseil

Pocketed, Perfect Fish Laotian Style

  • 2nd August 2013

This recipe for steamed fish comes to us by way of the Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos.

 

Steamed fish recipe from the Amantaka

Beautiful and delicious!

 

 

 

There are several reasons we love it:

 

—It’s delicious and mildly spiced

—It’s amazingly fun to prepare making it a perfect way to engage your kids to eat fish

(We prepared it with our 7 year old daughter and she loved the process)

—It affords a gorgeous presentation for a party

—It’s a healthy recipe that you can easily add your creative touches to

 

 

Organic Farm Luang Prabang

Organic Farm Luang Prabang

Mixture ready to steam

Mixture ready to steam

 

 

 

Mok Pa—Fish Steamed in Banana Leaf

 

Ingredients:

200 grams fish fillet, cubed (about 7 ounces or .44 lbs, a fish like Tilapia works best)

1 tbs coriander leaf

4 pcs kefir lime leaf

1 tbs spring onion, sliced thinly

2 tbs fish sauce

2 pcs chopped shallot

1 tbs dill leaf finely sliced

Pinch salt

2 stalk lemongrass sliced

½ cup Thai basil

1 pcs egg yolk

1 tbs pounded dry rice (best to use a mortar and pestle)

1 tbs oyster sauce

 

For the Wrapping

4 pcs toothpick

4 pcs  circular cut banana leaf, approximately 6 inches in diameter

 

 

Fish mixture up close

Fish mixture up close

Center the fish mixture

Center the fish mixture

 

 

 

Instruction:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Divide into 4 parts.  Wrap individually with banana leaf then stick with a tooth pick and steam for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Pinch like wrapping a gift.

Pinch like wrapping a gift.

Fold sides over.

Fold sides over.

 

 

Wrap up!

Wrap up!

 

 

Secure with toothpick

Secure with toothpick

 

 

 

Place them in a steamer.

Place them in a steamer.

 

 

Serve fish with steamed rice.

Serve fish with steamed rice.

 

 

Tip:

Make leaves pliable for wrapping by heating them ever so slightly over the stove (almost like a tortilla)

 

Making banana leaf pliable

Making banana leaf pliable

 

 

 

Banks of the Mekong River.

Banks of the Mekong River.

 

 

.

 

 

Pin it!

  • 30th July 2013

The safety pin is no longer just an accessory for kilts.  The friendship pin is not relegated to your dirty sneakers…..This season the pin is everywhere from hats, to earrings to purses.  To capture the look, pin it and you’ve nailed it!

 

 

Rihanna in safety pin earrings.

Rihanna in safety pin earrings.

Rihanna Safety Pin Earrings.

Sporting the trend again. Both images courtesy of Google Images.

 

A plethora of safety pin earrings have flooded the market so there are many ways to do this look: more elegant or more punk

 

 

House of Harlow, 1960s Safety Pin Earrings with Sparkle Gold
Tom Binns 'Pearls in Peril' Earrings

 

 

House of Harlow, 1960s Safety Pin Earrings with Sparkle Gold, zappos.com, $78.00

Tom Binns ‘Pearls in Peril’ Earrings, nordstrom.com, $150.00

 

 

Mango Safety Pin Earrings
Genevieve Jones Riona Shield Safety Pin Earrings

 

 

 

 

Mango Safety Pin Earrings, mango.com, $19.99

Genevieve Jones Riona Shield Safety Pin Earrings, shopbop.com, $750.00

 

 

Rose Classic Wishing Pin Safety Pin Earring Genevieve Jones

 

 

Rose Classic Wishing Safety Pin Earrings Genevieve Jones, shoplatitude.com, $700.00

 

 

 

Vogue Japan really punks up the look:

 

Vogue Japan Safety Pin Earrings

Photo Courtesy of Vogue, Japan

 

 

We have a budget friendly and splurge option for the ‘square pin’ look:

 

Square Pin Earrings Nastygal
Amy Glenn Safety Pin Earrings

 

 

Squared Pin Earrings, nastygal.com, $18.00

Amy Glenn Safety Pin Earrings, totokaelo.com, $254.00

 

 

Balenciaga brought the trend to clothing this fall with its safety-inspired pin:

 

Christy Turlington wears Balenciaga for Bazaar

Christy Turlington wears Balenciaga for Bazaar

Balenciaga Runway Fall 2013 Pins

Balenciaga Runway Fall 2013. Photo Courtesy of: Vogue Collections Paris

 

 

 

 

Other Pinned Ensembles:

 

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Joust Bolero

 

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Joust Bolero, couture.zappos.com, $435.00

 

 

Versus Saftey pin-embellished stretch twill mini skirt

Versus Saftey pin-embellished stretch twill mini skirt, net-a-porter.com, $275.00

 

 

Moschino Cheap & Chic Graphic Cashmere Sweater

 

Moschino Cheap & Chic Graphic Cashmere Sweater, nordstrom.com, $695.00

 

 

Marc Jacobs Faux-Fur-Collared Striped Knit Scarf

 

 

Marc Jacobs Faux-Fur-Collared Striped Knit Scarf, bergdorfgoodman.com, $712.00

 

 

Taking a cue from Tom Ford, a wide-range of accessories sports the pin: