Saturday, November 27, 2010

color palette: black and white

I AM ALL OVER THIS!  Black and white is quite possibly one of my all-time favorite color combinations.  It is simple, clean, and so timeless.  When I think modern, I think white, and nothing goes better with white than black!  One thing that I love to use as a main inspiration is contrast, and NOTHING is more of a contrast then black and white.  Check out some of these spaces:
I love the very subtle pop of green used in this room above.. and I am dying over all of the Lucite!
When using a color palette as simple as black and white, you want to make sure to add lots of interest in other ways, such as texture.  This room above uses a wonderful shag carpet to break up the flatness of all the white.  I also love the super-low coffee tables.
Stripes are a perfect way to add dimension to a room that is decorated solely in black and white.
I love the pink details in this bathroom.

tis the SEASON

French CollectionI know that anyone who cooks will appreciate these fabulous spices, herbs, and seasoning rubs from Dean and Deluca.  I just love the tins that they come in; they are great for spices.  Do you know anyone who thinks spices and herbs last for ten years?  Well, they don't!  Actually, spices and dried herbs should be replaced once a year, because they loose their potency.  Spices should be stored in air-tight containers and out of direct light.  I love this set, shown above. The French collection contains every spice and seasoning you need in order to cook the perfect French dish.
DEAN & DELUCA Salt Essentials Collection

Sunday, November 21, 2010

yummy tissues

I found these Kleenex divine desserts tissues at Target today.  They are so fun!  They come in a variety of cake flavors; I just had to have the red velvet cake.  Blowing your nose has never been so sweet!

stick a light ... you know where

We recently installed a small shelf under my kitchen cabinets, over the sink.  This shelf displays some of my porcelain pitchers and lovely Guy Wolff pottery.  However, it was a very dark area, and being a renter living in an apartment, I could not install any lighting that would be permanent.  Luckily, we found these small tap lights, which are the perfect solution.
Below is a picture of my bathroom, where I used one of the battery-operated tap lights under the medicine cabinet.  This is perfect for a middle-of-the-night bathroom break, when you need just a splash of light.
Replacing the batteries is very easy.  The part that sticks to the surface unscrews from the light where you can put in the batteries.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"i want Lanvin, not flowers"

I found out some really exciting news today!  Lanvin, one of my FAVORITE designers, is doing a winter 2010 collection at H&M.  This hits 200 stores on November 20, and I can't wait to go see what they have!  Check out H&M's website for a preview of this fabulous collection!
 Lanvin For H&M   Mens Lookbook

coming soon!

Coming next week, we will have our very first designer interview with Mila Hermanovski, a finalist from Project Runway Season 7!  We're going to talk to her about her amazing designs, being on Project Runway, and her thoughts about how fashion influences home design.

bring Ralph Lauren home

There is nothing quite as classic as Ralph Lauren.  His all-American inspired fashion designs are timeless and always on trend.  Have you shopped his home collection?  OMG!  I like it, and I like it A LOT.  It is infused with some much of his classic fashion design touches, like plaid or cable-knit designs, using rich materials and luxurious details.  He has some very good holiday gift options.  Please browse the collection.  If you can't buy, just get inspired.  Inspiration is free! 
I love the idea of having a festive holiday table scape, but I wouldn't want it to be tacky.  There's nothing tacky about these Ralph Lauren plaid table accessories.  Such a classic design and festive holiday colors.
A cashmere throw!  This is the ultimate in lavish home accessories, and a Ralph Lauren option?  YES!  You better believe that this is on my shopping bucket list.. someday!
I believe that you can never go wrong with a candle.  EVERYONE loves a candle, and everyone on your holiday shopping list will just adore this silver holiday Ralph Lauren candle.  I am in love with the red plaid box.  I would just wrap a gorgeous bright red silk ribbon around this, and voila!

"make it nice around the tree!"

Check out this site I found.  It's called Christmas Trees Galore and they specialize in artificial Christmas trees that you can order.  I'm so torn between a silver tree and a white tree.  I do know that i do NOT want a real tree.  Such a mess!  Let's have a look of what they have:
24 in. Pre-lit Upside Down Tree
 An upside down tree.. um, I don't know about that one.  It's kind of fun to look at, but, really?
Pink Cashmere Full Pre-lit Christmas Tree
A pink tree!  Doesn't go with my color scheme...
Multi LED Blossom Tree
This one is different!  I like it a lot.
White Spruce Medium Pre-lit Christmas Tree
Fabulous!  Very chic.

We'll see what I decide!  Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

simple shrimp

I recently hosted a fabulous cocktail party at my apartment.  I wanted to serve cocktail shrimp, but not the basic cocktail shrimp; I wanted a more flavorful, interesting version.  This is a roasted cocktail shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce.  It was one of my favorite hors d'oeuvres at the party, and it was so simple to make!  Here is the recipe:

For the shrimp:
- 2 pounds (12-15) shrimp
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup chili sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Peel and de-vein the shrimp, leaving the tails on.  Place them on a sheet pain with the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them in one layer.  Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through.  Set aside to cool.

    To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and serve as a dip with the shrimp.

    table setting: the cheat sheet

    With the holidays coming, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little about place settings.  This diagram below shows the traditional place setting.  Whether or not your place setting will have all of the pieces shown below, or you're going to have a more simplified version, this is a guideline for where to put everything.
    A – Napkin
    B – Dinner Plate
    C – Soup Bowl on Plate
    D – Bread and Butter Plate with Butter Knife
    E – Water Glass
    F – White Wine
    G – Red Wine
    H – Fish Fork
    I – Dinner Fork
    J – Salad Fork
    K – Dinner Knife
    L – Fish Knife
    M – Soup Spoon
    N – Dessert Spoon and Fork

    Note: It is often recommended that the salad fork (J) is placed to the left of the dinner fork (I). However, in this formal setting the dinner fork is placed before the salad fork because it is suggested that the guest waits for the main meal before helping him/herself to the salad.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    secret santa success

    Holiday season is officially here, and with that comes the ever-so-stressful workplace gift exchange.  There is always a dilemma with a gift exchange--you pull a name and it's someone too old, too young, someone you do not know well, or someone you do not love so much.  One more thing, and for me is always the most stressful part; the budget!  Typically, $20 is a common limit for a workplace secret Santa.  Here are some great ideas from West Elm.  I love all of these!
    Who doesn't love tape?  Well, I do, and I am really loving these wooden tape dispensers, with Japanese tape!  These are from West Elm, and they are colorful, stylish, modern, and FUN!  Trust me when I tell you that you can give someone tape for Christmas--and they will love it!
    Coasters?  YES, PLEASE!  Everyone needs them, and everyone will LOVE these lacquered coaster sets.  They come in the most amazing colors.  I am loving the gold and silver sets; instant glamour!
    I am always writing things down because I forget everything.  So be sure not to forget this gift idea!  These color block journals are the perfect stocking stuffer.  Or, pair one up with a fancy pen and that gift is good to go!
    How chic are these white ceramic diffusers?  I have to admit, these days I have been ditching candles and scattering decorative diffusers all over the apartment.  They are so perfect!  My favorite diffusers come from West Elm.
    Now I know what you might be thinking; really, Andrew, a nut bowl?  YES, a nut bowl!  This is not just for nuts.  I would use these for candy, or even as kitchen prep bowls.  They are $4 each, and for only $20 you could give an entire set of five of these.  Mix and match, or give all black, tie them up with a great bow and the fabulous signature gift wrap from West Elm, and everyone will be calling you fancy pants!

    holidays trend alert

    Leave it to West Elm to bring back the classics--and add their contemporary twist--to these handmade felt ornaments.  These are definitely going on my Christmas list.  I love the whimsical twist, and candy cane colors.  I think these would also be fabulous as gift toppers.

    These mushrooms are absolutely adorable!  All of these fabulous felt creations are HANDMADE by artisan women in a village outside of Kathmandu.

    I am in LOVE with the white felt bead garland seen here.  West Elm has an amazing selection of holiday decor.  Check out their website for lots of great things.