Friday, May 31, 2013

Kandinsky-Inspired Print Dress

Trina Turk dress, Chanel sunglasses (similar), antique necklace and ring, Coach clutch, J. Crew braceletManolo Blahnik mules
When I saw this Trina Turk dress, the print reminded me of something that might have been produced by Emilio Pucci (see examples of his work here).  A few days later, we visited the Guggenheim Museum and saw some beautiful works of art by Wassily Kandinsky, my favorite modern artist.  I then realized the modern artist inspired Emilio Pucci and, therefore, Trina Turk.  Isn’t it cool that good design endures?





Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Movie Reviews: Star Trek Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6




Star Trek Into Darkness


Rated PG-13









I’m definitely NOT a Trekkie, but loved Star Trek Into Darkness.  Action packed with enough humor to break the tension, this movie is a must see.  After an act of domestic terrorism, the Starship Enterprise crew pursues a madman (or is he just a man who is misunderstood?) across the galaxy.  With plot twists and amazing special effects, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat!



Fast & Furious 6



Rated PG-13








Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the crew are back!  The outlaws become the good guys after they’re recruited by Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to find a gang of mercenaries.

Fast & Furious 6 was a fun movie!  I would never call it a work of art, but it was entertaining, action-filled and had one of the best chase scenes I’ve ever seen.  Enjoy yourself by putting aside the laws of physics and seeing this movie!




Monday, May 27, 2013

Turkish Caffè Lattes


Kéan Coffee’s Turkish Caffè Lattes
One day my friend, Y, raved about Kéan Coffee’s Turkish Caffè Lattes.  Since we have similar taste in food, I tried one even though I usually drink black coffee or espresso.  It consists of 2 shots of espresso, cane syrup, artfully poured steamed milk, and cardamom sprinkled on top.  They’re to die for…

Since Kéan Coffee isn’t close to where I live, I decided to replicate the latte at home.  Here’s what I came up with:

2 shots of espresso (approximately 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup steamed milk
1/2 teaspoon simple syrup or sugar, or to taste (see note)
sprinkle of cardamom

Note-Simple syrup can be made by combining equal parts of sugar and water in a pan.  Heat until the sugar dissolves.  It may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month

If you really want to make it easy, simply top a double shot caffé latte with cardamom and add sugar to taste!

my version of a Turkish Caffè Latte

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bookshelves


After
While I’ve never been a big fan of our family room bookshelves, we can’t remove them because:
1. We need the storage space for books, DVDs, photos, etc. and
2. The bookshelves were installed before the wood flooring, so removing them would mean installing new wood and resurfacing pretty much the entire first floor.
To make them more interesting, I had graphic print wallpaper installed on the back wall.  It adds depth and visual interest to the entire room.  I love the result!


Before


During






Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trend: Printed Pants


Mango jacket (similar), Gap camisole, Gap pants, Madewell sunglasses, antique watch fob worn as necklace, Rebecca Minkoff clutch, Louis Vuitton shoes

When I buy clothes and accessories, I try to choose things that will have longevity.  Sometimes, though, it’s fun to participate in a trend.  When I do this, I either try to buy at the very start of a trend or I buy lower priced items.  These printed pants are fun, inexpensive (especially since I bought them at 40% off), and will go with quite a few things in my wardrobe.  My best guess is that they’ll be current until Fall 2014.






Monday, May 20, 2013

Homemade Cheez Its




My son has always been really good at sharing.  Even when he was a toddler, he was always willing to give things to other people, even with his favorite foods.  When I make cookies for him, he shares them with his friends and dorm mates and they’re usually gone within a few hours.  When I make these cheez its, though, he hides them because he likes them that much.  I have to agree…





Once the crackers are frozen solid, they can be stored in the freezer for up to a month



Homemade Cheez Its

8 oz.  extra sharp cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan or Jalapeno Jack cheese,
         coarsely shredded
4 Tbsp.  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp.  kosher salt
1 C.  all-purpose flour
2-4 Tbsp.  ice water


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cheese, butter, and salt.  Add the flour and mix on low (dough will be pebbly).  Slowly add the water and mix as the dough forms a ball.

2. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, but up to 2 days.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets.  Using a toothpick, poke holes in the center of the crackers to give them an authentic look.  Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

4. Bake for 15 to 19 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges (I tend to brown them well because my family likes them extra crispy).  Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes a fine line between golden delicious and burnt.  Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dress and Mules



Theory dress (similar), J. Crew necklace, Chanel purse, Manolo Blahnik mules

Back in the day, I had a pair of low-heeled black mules.  I loved these shoes and wore them 3-4 years at least 2-3 times per week.  Needless to say, my cost per wear was very low.  I finally retired them when they were not only out of style, but also completely worn out.  Ever since, I’ve been anxiously waiting for mules to return.  When I found these fuchsia mules, I had to get them.  Paired with a Theory dress and chunky necklace they’re the cherry on the top of the sundae.


photographed at the home of Tom and Ellen Crane

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

hope springs eternal


philosophy hope springs eternal


This time of year, it’s usually cool and overcast in Southern California.  We even have names for it:  May gray and June gloom.  This year, it’s been unseasonably warm.  To keep cool, I spritz my face and neck with this product from philosophy and immediately feel refreshed.  Even better, it’s 20% off until May 17, 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Me Before You





   Me Before You
   JoJo Moyes









Set in rural England, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes is a different kind of love story between quadriplegic Will Traynor and his caregiver, twenty-something slacker Louisa.  Prior to his accident, Will was a large-living extreme sports enthusiast and captain of industry whose life would never have crossed paths with Louisa’s.  At first, Will is a difficult patient, but comes to respect Louisa, who made it her mission to show him that life is worth living.  In turn, Will teaches Louisa that there’s a whole world to explore outside their small village.   


Saying more about this book would ruin the ending.

I loved reading Me Before You.  Moyes cleverly drew me in, and I found myself empathizing with and rooting for her characters.  Although some may think the subject matter is depressing, but I found it educational, emotional and thought provoking.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Clocks


Before
Before




















While I liked the Dali-inspired clock over the family room fireplace, there were a couple of problems with it.  First, I didn’t think the scale was quite right-it was just a little too small for the space.  The bigger problem was that because the numbers and hands were the same color, I couldn’t see the time from across the room. 

I looked around for the right clock for a while and decided this George Nelson Spindle clock was perfect.  The size is proportional to the space, the look of the clock fits with the décor, it’s beautifully constructed, and it’s visually interesting.  Though this version is a bit pricey, reasonably priced replicas are also available.


After
After

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

T & T Dinner 1




I like to think when we invite friends to dinner, the meal I serve has a cohesive theme, like Italian food or comfort food.  Last week as I was planning a meal for our friends, I realized this just isn't the case.  Appetizers were sushi, Italian meat pie, homemade cheez its and champagne.  Dinner was Mexican food-grilled marinated skirt steak, Spanish rice and avocado corn relish.  S'mores ice cream pie was served for dessert.


Thinking back, everything was chosen for a specific reason.  I made the Italian meat pie because our friend is of Italian heritage, and I thought the meat pie was something he might remember from his childhood.  Eating sushi and drinking champagne with appetizers is a tradition with these friends, and everything else was something I knew or thought our friends would enjoy eating.


I now realize that my dinners do have a theme-it's to serve guests foods they like.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Porcelain Scent Diffuser


Zodax Grand Casablanca Reed Diffuser


For the past few years, I’ve kept a reed diffuser in the master bathroom.  A few were overpowering and all had not-so-attractive labels on the bottle fronts.  I’m happy to display this one by Grand Casablanca-Not only is it pretty, but it also has a delicate floral scent.  Though it's pricier than traditional reed diffusers, refills are available to bring down the long-term cost.



Friday, May 3, 2013

Movie Reviews: Mud and Disconnect



Mud

Rated PG-13





Mud is a coming of age tale of love and disillusionment.  The title character, portrayed brilliantly by Matthew McConaughy, is on the run from the law and bounty hunters.  He befriends fourteen year old Ellis (Tye Sheridan in a breakout role) and Neckbone, who agree to help him reunite with first love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon in out-of-character role) so they can run off together.  During this time, Ellis is also coping with the dissolution of his parents' marriage.  This film is a must-see!







Disconnect

Rated R





Disconnect contains four interwoven stories about human connection in the cyber age.  Jason Bateman and Hope Davis play parents whose son is cyber bullied with devastating consequences.  In another storyline, an ambitious reporter (Andrea Riseborough) investigates an internet prostitution ring.  Alexander Skarsgård and Paula Patton are a couple grieving the loss of their only child who each seek solace through the internet.  When their financial information is stolen, they contact a computer security expert (Frank Grillo) who has relationship issues with his son.  This movie is gripping and thought provoking, and I highly recommend seeing it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Black and White and Gold


Alice and Olivia Sweater Banana Republic Tank Rag and Bone Jeans Jason Wu Shoes,  Madewell Sunglasses Club Monaco Necklace (similar),  J. Crew Bracelet, vintage ring, Target clutch

When I took a Styling class at FIDM, I had an assignment to style a celebrity.  I chose to dress Jennifer Aniston for a movie premiere.  In researching this assignment, I fell in love with some Jason Wu shoes.  When these similar shoes were available on myhabit.com, I immediately snapped them up and haven't regretted it.