Archive for August, 2009

Unrecipe of the Week

August 31, 2009

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Looking for a low calorie alternative to pasta, that uses all the delicious vegetables of the season? Try using julienned zucchini as a base for a delicious fresh tomato sauce that takes minutes to prepare.

Zucchini “Pasta” with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Julienne zucchini, or use a peeler to shave into ribbons (about 1 zucchini per person)

Dice a couple of garlic cloves

Sauté the garlic and zucchini in olive oil for about 2 minutes, just to slightly soften (do not over cook!!!!)

Remove from pan

Sauté diced fresh plum tomatoes until soft. Stir constantly, and lower heat to allow tomatoes to form a rustic sauce

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Add a handful of fresh basil, cut into strips

Put the zucchini into bowls and spoon the tomato sauce over it.

Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I love to add shrimp to this dish. Just sauté the shrimp in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. Add it to the tomato sauce and serve.

Enjoy!
Tip: Can’t live without a little pasta? Try thinking of the vegetable portion as the meal, and adding a little pasta to it as a condiment. It gives the dish a little heft without adding too many calories.

photo:Glasshouse Images

Help Unwanted

August 29, 2009

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As the economy continues to plummet, and unemployment soars, I cannot bear to hear another tale of talented, hard working people losing their jobs and being treated with a total lack of humility and compassion on the way out.

Recently, a friend tells the story of the whole team being called together and informed that layoffs were going take place. They were instructed to return to their desks, not talk to one another, and that those being laid off would be called shortly.

When the call came, and the person involved went to meet their fate, the entire thing was handled by an anonymous human resources employee. Their boss was nowhere to be found.

Another person tells of being promised a promotion and raise upon the demise of their supervisor’s role. Weeks later, when they requested a meeting with their department head, they were informed that they were not being promoted after all.

My personal favorite layoff surrounds a certain executive who “just wanted to make changes” and let someone go who had been intrinsic in the success of the business. Less than a year later, those changes proved so detrimental to the company that this person was relieved of their duties and replaced.

Meanwhile, these supposed leaders are gainfully employed and expending their energy on saving themselves. Often not the most talented, and clearly not the best managers, these people think nothing of blithely cutting talent from the team, without even a moments regard for the feelings of those being let go. Perhaps if they were working on strategies to drive business, instead of ways to cover their hides, some of these layoffs would be unnecessary.

I know firsthand how tough it is out there, and I understand all about making difficult decisions to cut back in order to save the business.  I also know that there are more caring and empathetic ways to do this. Talk is cheap. Compassion and dignity are free.

The frustration of seeing people in jobs that many others could do better, and with less angst and attitude is overwhelming some days.  The lack of empathy is even more disconcerting.

The corporate culture is created at the top. The fish tends to stink from the head down. Senior leadership needs to step back and survey the damage being caused by their reprehensible behavior. The cost of their actions could be very steep in the long run.

Indigo Jones is committed to helping it’s readers in anyway we can. If you have a job opening, please email us at:
http://www.indigojonesnyc@gmail.com and we will gladly post it for you, free of charge. We all know the old adage”what comes around goes around.” We believe in paying it forward, and wish you all the best in your job search!

photo: adapted from Glasshouse Images

You’re a Doll

August 27, 2009

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I always credit Barbie for having a profound influence on my life. She sparked my interest in fashion, and was the muse for my earliest designs.

This month, some of the world’s most significant designers have come together to dress Barbie and her longtime beau Ken, for a very worthy cause.

The fashionista dolls, as well as illustrations from many of the designers, were commissioned to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Jeffrey, the upscale fashion emporium in New York City’s Meatpacking District.IMG_0250

All of the dolls are available for purchase via a silent auction. Proceeds will be donated to benefit AIDS and breast cancer related charities.

Check out the exhibit on display in the store, until September 17th.

Jeffrey

449 West 14th Street New York City

Bids are accepted in store, or via telephone: (212) 206-1272

Unrecipe of the Week

August 25, 2009

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Chocolate Bark

This delicious confection packs lots of antioxidants making it a healthy choice!

Indulge in this yummy treat that is easy to make and wonderful to eat.

1 lb. bar of good quality dark chocolate, melted

A mix of nuts including cashews, pistachios and almonds ( about ¾-1 cup total)

Dried fruit, including apricots(chopped), raisins, and cherries ( about ¾-1 cup total)

Melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth.

Mix in the fruit and nuts

Spread mixture on parchment paper in a large rectangular shape and allow to cool

Cut into large pieces and peel away paper.

Enjoy!

Helpful hint: Use the microwave to melt chocolate, or use a double boiler (or a smaller pot set into a pot of slowly boiling water) to prevent the chocolate from burning. Stir often to keep the texture smooth.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Retail Hall of Shame

August 23, 2009

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I recently took a trip (or 3) to Tourneau, the upscale watch emporium in New York City.

Upon entering the cavernous and empty store, I was greeted by a gaggle of salespeople working the front door. I was directed to the lower level for the repair desk. From that moment on, I felt like I was in the Department of Motor Vehicles. After taking a number, I waited, and waited for my turn. In observing the counter, it was clear that they were not understaffed. In fact, there were more people working the counter, than waiting for service. It’s just that they all seemed to be talking to one another, or staring aimlessly into the abyss of the otherwise empty store.

Finally, my number was called. After an additional 20 minute wait to write up a watch battery, (priced at  $75!!), and finding out that they were out of watch bands for this model (which start at $240),I left the watch and was asked to return 2 days later.

On Wednesday, the same scenario took place…empty store; long wait. When it was my turn to pick up my watch, my sales associate disappeared into the glass encased work area. She was seen having a lively conversation with her colleague. Upon her return, I gave her my credit card. Another disgruntled customer approached the counter, and she engaged in a prolonged conversation with her. After about 10 more minutes, I interrupted and asked if she could please finish my transaction before she helped the other customers. It seemed to be a common theme; ADD afflicted customer service people with the attention span of a nat, and the personality of someone having undergone a lobotomy. I finally left, only to discover that the watch didn’t work the next day.

Thursday dawned, and I made yet another trip to Tourneau. It’s clearly Groundhog Day. Long wait, inattentive sales people and a total lack of personality emanating from any of them. I pleaded my case. They suggested leaving the watch for 2 weeks, in which they would call me with a price quote for the repair, usually about $400 (not including the band).The repair might also take months. I asked to have my money reimbursed for the battery that didn’t work,and suggested that I might bring it back for service at a later date (like when Hell freezes over?). Unbelievably, they did refund me, albeit with a slap on the wrist from the manager. I left thinking once again about the total lack of service provided by this seemingly upscale retailer.

In a difficult economy, they should be fawning all over their customers, instead of treating us like interlopers. In a time when so many talented and hardworking people are unemployed, they could have their pick of pleasant, knowledgeable employees, happy to have the opportunity to work, instead of these listless and lifeless people who act like we should be honored to have them wait on us. Once again I have to look at the retail woes and question how much is reality, and how much is self inflicted?

Hey Mr. Tourneau, you lost me. When I finally can afford to spend $500 on watch repair, or invest in a brand new one, you won’t be my merchant of choice. Let this be a lesson in customer service. The experience is often as important as the product. Now is the time for retailers to get their game on, or they will wake up one day, realizing that the world has changed, business is being conducted again, and the customer is too diserning to put up with mediocrity.

Photo: Spencer Jones/Glasshouse Images

Hot Sneaker Alert

August 20, 2009

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It seems that all of young Hollywood was clamoring for the new Onitsuka Tiger sneakers backstage at the Teen Choice Awards. The retro looking shoe comes in lots of great patterns and looks great with this fall’s jeans and plaid shirts. Men and women alike are loving them. Aren’t you?

Unrecipe of the Week: Chilled Avocado Soup

August 18, 2009

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Craving something creamy and cool to start your meal off right? How about this delicous Chilled Avocado Soup?

4 avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped

12 oz of plain, lowfat yoghurt

juice of one lemon (or to taste)

32 oz. of vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and puree in a blender of food processor until semi smooth.

Garnish with diced radishes.

Enjoy!

TIP: Want to know how to keep avocado based dishes from oxidizing, and turning color? Lemon juice helps, and leaving the seed in the bowl of food (just don’t forget to remove it before serving!) is a sure fire way to prevent it. Lastly, placing plastic wrap right on top of the food prevents the discoloration as well.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Balancing Time and Passion

August 15, 2009

1188800230.JPGDo you have a passion you would like to pursue, but something is holding you back? Do you constantly say you would love to do something but you just don’t have the time? Toss away the excuses and meet Alexander Mays, a 14-year-old yogi, gourmet cook and aspiring ballet dancer who manages to fit his passions into his life as a teenager and student.

As an 11-year-old boy, Alex accompanied his mother to a yoga class. He immediately felt a connection to the practice, and began studying on his own.  At the age of 14, Alex has completed 200 hours of teacher training, and is now a certified yoga instructor. Originally introduced to a form of yoga known as Sivananda, he now practices mostly Ashtanga and Anusara under mentor and yogic follower, Patrick Creelman, at Pure Yoga in Hong Kong.

Alex also enjoys cooking, and prepares the family’s meals everyday after he has completed his homework and household chores. He enjoys Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cuisines, which he finds interesting and colorful. Inspired by his Grandmother in Sweden who used to run a culinary school, Alex taught himself to cook, by reading and experimenting.
Says Mays: “I love how food can be so conventional, yet so sophisticated at the same time. All you need is fresh, wholesome ingredients and a creative mind, to have a good meal.”

Yet, amid all of this creativity and commitment, Alex has developed a passion for ballet.

On a recent trip to New York, Mays took classes, and was discovered by Alexandre Proia, of the Juilliard School and the Joffrey Ballet. His natural grace and flexibility from practicing yoga, has made the transition to ballet seamless.

Mays believes in pursuing something he is passionate about as a future career.
Always artistic, he has planned a future in the performing arts. He dreams of dancing with the New York City Ballet, while simultaneously getting a degree in political journalism.

When asked how he juggles school, yoga practice and teaching, cooking and pursuing dance, Mays replied: “it is quite challenging, but you have to learn to prioritize and organize your time. If you focus and concentrate on your goals, everything else will fall into place.”

Sounds like a plan to us!

photo:Glasshouse Images

Sites We Love

August 14, 2009

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I credit Barbie, for planting the seeds of inspiration that led me to want to be a fashion designer. I loved dressing her up, creating looks and designing outfits just for her. I often changed the outfits on the figures in my coloring books, and I loved Colorforms, where you could remove the sticky plastic items of apparel and accessories and change the look in a matter of seconds.

So, it comes as no surprise that I love Polyvore, the site that allows you to select items from various designers and manufacturers to create a mood board of your favorite styles of the season. It’s like the toys of my childhood, updated for grownups, and complete with the technology of the times. And everything on the site is available to be purchased, so you can make your vision a reality.

Who wants to play dress up with me, 2009 style?

Polyvore

Unrecipe of the Week

August 11, 2009

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Looking for a way to jazz up fish? Try this “unrecipe” for a quick mustard, and fresh herb topping for broiled salmon:

Salmon with Mustard and Fresh Herb Sauce:

Dijon mustard (about 2 tablespoons)

Chopped fresh thyme and rosemary

A clove or 2 of minced garlic

A drizzle of olive oil

A dollop of white wine

Mix the ingredients well.
Sprinkle fish filets with salt and pepper, and broil until the top is just starting to brown (about 2 or 3 minutes).

Spread the mustard mixture over the fish, and return to the broiler until the fish is cooked through.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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