Archive for October, 2014

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2014

Have a happy halloween! Stay safe out there.
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photo: Glasshouse Images

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What’s On My Desk?

October 30, 2014

I’ve been a little busy lately, so I thought in lieu of a standard post, I would give you a peak at what’s on my desk right now…

 

Jewelry Shari Hershon / Indigo Jones

I was poking around on Invaluable looking for some inspiration and stumbled upon these rings. When I saw this photo, I knew I had to use the entire stack!

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For this project, I want to create a look that is a little bit boho with an air of haute hippie, but still modern and very chic. I love mixing different materials such as denim, rich metallic jacquards, and fur to pull together something unexpected.

While the rings are undeniably elegant, I like juxtaposing them with pieces from Marla Aaron Jewelry’s collection, which has an industrial feel worked in precious metals and stones. Her signature locks cast in gold or silver can be used with any chain or strand to create a unique piece . We adore these green tinged pearls!

Well enough oohing and aahing for one day. I have deadlines looming, so it’s back to the drawing board for me!

While I’m there, take a few minutes to check out invaluable’s website, to drool, and to bid on jewelry, art, antiques and more.

Marla’s beautiful baubles can be found on her website and instagram account.  And while her career is about to blow up big time, remember we told you about her here first. (Smile.)

Invaluable.com

Marla Aaron Jewelry 

photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Artisanal Ice Cubes

October 28, 2014

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Last week we read an article about a  new D.C. restaurant that is charging for it’s “artisanal icecubes”, and we were aghast.

Seriously? A charge for ice? And WTF is artisanal ice anyways?
According to the founders of Second State, the establishment in question, these ice cubes are perfectly clear and made from filtered water so there is no mineral taste to effect your drink. The bartender will chip the ice off the block so that all 8 corners are spherical and will “sit like an iceberg” in your drink. These “hand-cut rocks,” as the establishment refers to them, are produced by artisanal ice company Favourite Ice, and cost $1 per cube. (No thank you spell check, that fancy spelling was intentional.)

How pretentious can you get?!

For those of you who are intrigued and want to try this at home, simply boil filtered water, and freeze it. Viola! Clear, “non-minerally” icecubes, free of charge.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Romantic Florals

October 26, 2014

Where there is romance there are flowers, and this season wedding gowns and evening wear are in full bloom with floral motifs providing a fresh perspective to the category.

Dimensional flowers adorned clothing and accessories alike during the recent fashion weeks, and the bridal collections are following suit. Amal Alamudden reinforced the trend, by wearing a beautiful short lace dress with 3-D flowers by Giambattista Valli, the day after her wedding to actor George Clooney.
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Claire Pettibone used colored embroidery to create a rich tapestry effect on lace gowns, inspired by Dutch master Rachel Ruysch:

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Reem Acra wrapped floral garlands around frothy bridal confections:

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Elizabeth Filmore and Claire Pettibone used delicate floral prints for romantic gowns.

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This dessert takes the cake, with floral decorated icing and it’s own bouquet.

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What Is Your Fitness Age?

October 24, 2014

 

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We are all the age we are, and there isn’t anything we can do about it. We can however change how our body ages, through a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

This test, created by a team at the K.G.Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, can accurately estimate your fitness age, which is a good predictor of longevity and cardiac health.

Taking this test won’t stop the earth from orbiting the sun, nor will it reduce the amount of candles on your cake. But it might just be a wakeup call to take a look at your lifestyle and make healthy changes while you are still able to. (High intensity intervals anyone?)

*Humble brag: My fitness age is less than 20 years old. My biological age is significantly higher than that. A testament to working out religiously, and eating mindfully.

To take the test and see how you fare, click HERE.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Is Kale the Holy Grail?

October 23, 2014

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For the past few years, kale has been touted as THE superfood to eat. It’s not the easiest green to consume. It can be tough, and even when cooked, I prefer to remove the center rib and cut it into smaller pieces to help tenderize it. Many people actually massage it when serving it in a salad to soften it up, and let the salad dressing soak in to allow it to wilt a bit. When used in smoothies, it takes a powerful blender to chew through raw kale to avoid those pesky leaves getting caught in your teeth.

That said, I do enjoy kale and have been eating it sautéed for much longer than fashionable. When something comes out of the woodwork and becomes such a health food fad, I always question it’s validity. ( Hello gluten free for all mankind!)

I set out to do a little research on just how king kale stacks up against the other less lauded greens.

The facts: Kale has 33 calories per cup, and contains 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protien. It has 9% of the recommended daily requirement for calcium, and 6% of required iron. Here is where the rubber meets the road: kale has 134% of the recommended daily dosage of vitamin C and 206% of vitamin A. Pretty impressive stats, right?

Well, some of the others hold their own against the king, with spinach, collard greens and swiss chard being worthy opponents in the nutritional competition.

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*  via SELF nutritional data

The verdict? While kale does in fact remain the leader of the pack, adding dark leafy greens into your diet is a clear win, regardless of the type.

Editor’s note: In researching this post, it’s important to note that the serving size for each green is not generally consistent. Recommended servings of spinach are almost double that of kale, making the differentials closer. Several sites stated different facts, but did not have the nutritional data for all four vegetables. This data, from Self Nutritional Data, stated serving sizes equally, while others did not, therefore making it the best comparison for this purpose.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Soup Chickens

October 21, 2014

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It’s flu season, and it’s arrived with a vengeance! Nothing is more soothing than a bowl of savory chicken soup.

The secret to a great stock, is the type of chicken used. Free range chickens tend to be leaner and better cared for than others, but often yield a a bland stock. Ask your butcher to give you a “soup chicken.”

A soup chicken is a nice way of describing a older hen, who is past her egg laying prime. Although farmers no longer find her useful, this old bird makes a wonderful soup. (Is anyone else getting a little sad here?) While the meat can be a bit tough when roasted, it tends be sturdy enough to stay on the bones during hours of simmering on the stove.

Rich and Savory Chicken Stock:

Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and place in a large stockpot filled with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and skim off the brownish foam that collects around the surface of the pot. Add several peeled carrots and stalks of celery cut into 2 or 3″ chunks, a big handful of parsley, 1 or 2 peeled and quartered onions and 1 or 2 peeled and chunked parsnips.
Allow it to simmer on the stove, covered for several hours,until the stock is golden, and richly flavored. Strain out all of the chicken and vegetables and return the stock to the pot. Cool, and refrigerate overnight to allow the excess fat to rise to the top and solidify. Skim off the fat. A very rich stock will be slightly congealed. If you feel the stock is not flavorful enough, reduce it on the stove to allow it to enrich. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like, dice the soup carrots and some of the chicken meat and toss it back into the broth before eating.

Chicken broth freezes well. Check out our posts on skimming the fat, and freezing in mason jars.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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The Hair Tuck

October 20, 2014

It’s the season for chunky turtlenecks and scarves. There is something I love about letting my long hair stay partially tucked into whatever  is wrapping my neck, that adds a little style to a simple look.

Let the front tendrils fall as they may, and try this look that says “long hair, don’t care” in the chicest of ways…

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Unrecipe of the Week: Oops Soup

October 17, 2014

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry . Today’s dish really is an unrecipe: in fact, not only did I use the “little of this and a bit of that” method, I didn’t even intend it to be soup!

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It all began in the vegetable market, when I had a taste for something hearty, yet vegetarian. Autumnal flavors were on my mind, and zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms sounded like a good start.

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I sautéed an onion and some garlic with the mushrooms, and added some italian herbs. Sounds good, right? Well, it all went astray from there. As I tossed chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes on top of it in the slow cooker , I had some second thoughts. I wondered if 5 hours in the slow cooker might make them soft. I wondered if they might give off too much liquid. I added a can of beans to make the stew heartier, and hopefully thicken up what I realized was going to be a pot of mushy vegetables. I turned on the cooker and went about my business. When I came back a few hours later, I had just that: a pot of bland, starting to get quite mushy vegetables. They had given off quite a bit of liquid, but not enough to make soup. I added some stock and some canned tomatoes to the pot and let it cook it’s little heart out. When it was done, I pureed it into a rich, flavorful soup. It’s sort of a riff on a classic minestrone, and a little drizzle of olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese provided the perfect finishing touch. All’s well that ends well!

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Winter Vegetable Stew Soup:

Dice one medium onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, and sauté them in olive oil until soft. Add some sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown. Add a healthy amount of dried oregano, basil and a bay leaf, and place in the slow cooker. Pile on chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. ( I used 2 zucchini, 1 medium eggplant and 3 large tomatoes.) Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add 1 can of beans, rinsed, ( I used chickpeas ) and set the slow cooker for about 5 hours. Check it a few hours in, give it a stir and realize this is going to be mediocre at best. Add a little vegetable stock, if necessary, and a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes. Let it cook until the timer goes off.

Puree the mixture, and taste to correct seasonings. If it is too thick, add a little more stock.  To serve, place in soup bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and a dollop of grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy, knowing that good cooks can salvage almost anything!

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Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Culottes

October 16, 2014

All of the sudden, they’re everywhere…that hybrid between full cut pants, and an easy skirt. They hit anywhere from just below the knee, to just above the ankle, and come in fabrics ranging from leather to fluid silk. Yep, you guessed it; the culotte is back! Reminiscent of the 70’s, the culotte is making a comeback, and the look is more modern than ever.

Today’s culottes are versatile enough to be worn casually with a sweater, or more elegantly with a blazer. Designers have been seeding the idea for a few seasons now, and this fall, the culotte is the “it” silhouette to own.

Gucci’s pre Fall collection in 2011 featured culottes with a chunky cable sweater and boots that looks perfect, several seasons later.

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Soft and fluid, or in green leather, culottes are the perfect daytime option to a skirt or trousers.

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Add a crisp white shirt and strappy sandal to luggage leather culottes.

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Topshop Unique uses an inverted pleat to create the look of a riding skirt.

fdf3a50242cf8b05c667b19a3b463fb0On the streets at Paris Fashion Week, this culotte and sweater look was tres chic!

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