Light Blue

March 15, 2015

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Black

March 15, 2015

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GREY

March 15, 2015

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Do I have to say anything? really?!

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Monalisa

This becomes…2ea60b15fc5329154757075222fca5bc

…This.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the Mona Lisa in the form of a kitchen…  or a living room, or anywhere else you might want to employ this moody palette.  Everyone knows I’m wild for a white kitchen, but sometimes you just gotta go a different way.  I respond well to the colors and textures in this kitchen especially if it’s done well and in the right house.  Inspiration can come from a sea shell, the side of a barn, an open field and yes… a painting.

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This room (below) by Tom Filicia is also a match.  The color is distributed very differently, consider this when using an inspiration for your decor…  You do not have to use the same amount of pigment or color when designing your space, whites and neutrals can mix in to lighten the look.  tomfilicia

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… oh, and I love the creative way the paint chips were used to make modern day versions of the classic!

Nicely Nautical

February 7, 2015

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 We have a LOT of snow Back East with more coming soon so I can only dream of khaki shorts and fill-flops, serving my friends gin and tonics and decorating with the heat of summer and refreshing ocean breezes in mind. But it’s that dream that keeps me from becoming too terribly depressed when I’m so cold I dread getting out of the shower.  I think what’s really going on is this is the first year in many my Husband and I have not taken a warm weather vacation mid-winter to escape the grey doldrums, if only for a week or ten days.  So I propose we take a break from shoveling, take of our hats and scarves and if only for a few minutes pretend were somewhere warm, with tanned skin, the scent of salt in the air…

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I guess it’s all that is conjured up in the mind when one thinks of summertime that makes decorating toward a nautical theme so attractive.  It reminds us of vacations, and summer houses, lazy days reading under a shade tree, BBQ’s and friends staying late around the dinner table you set up in the yard… perhaps that is what is it that makes a nautical theme so pleasant. It’s like your on vacation when ever you are in your nautical room.  Or, maybe it’s really a beach house.103e0fc003660f581cbfee462ae3ed34

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Right now the cut many guys are choosing to wear their hair long on top and short or undercut on the sides. The trend really has broad appeal because it can be cut and groomed to suit a conservative or fashion-forward aesthetic (drink if you p[lay the BillBlog Drinking Game, ignore if you have no clue what I’m referring to).  I have seen a version of this cut that closely resembled a unicorn, with the sides,back and crown trimmed so tight that the tuft of hair left was a slicked horn of hair.  Most guys opt for a long on top cropped side version that is business by day and edged up at night with the help of some hair product.  The “length on top” trend is fueling the “man-bun” trend that will continue to grow in the next year.  Yep, you heard it right the MAN-BUN.

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   Texturized and combed forward, the long on top cut can be versatile and offer many looks.  I wear mine greased most of the time smoothed back, but love to rock a drier look like this assuming it’s weather, outfit and event appropriate.

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There are of course more than these few items that make up a fashionables guys wardrobe.  It’s pretty easy to put together a list of what’s trending (and selling) to guys right now.  Just off the top of my head every guy should have: A pair of Slim legged Khaki pants and slim legged jeans, Dessert Boots, lace-up shoes or Brogues (wing tip, cap toe) and a casual pair of leather shoes like a boat shoe and a puffy jacket or vest.  A navy blazer is still a staple and interesting socks can update the look if your still wearing the one you’ve had since college.

bracelet

Diver style watches aren’t “out” really, but guys seems to be buying what I’d call a Pilot watch – one with a stop watch or multi faced faces.  Vintage is BIG, and mixed strap is also popular.  Color is making a come back on watch faces and straps and don’t forget to add a bracelet or two to your wrist guys.  Mens bracelets are still a fashion must have for fashionable guys.  Here is a great website that explains watch types, it’s well written and quite informative: www.gmtminusfive.com

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And, last but not least, we have not seen the last of the man-clutch.  That’s right the business only strapless briefcase or the attaché is the bag of the moment. Guys are carrying strapless bags for work and for play.  It seems everyone is in need of a place to stow power cords, iPads, glasses, and other necessities.  The messenger is a classic, but it is not a “current” shape for guys.  Totes or open top handled bags are also on point if you prefer an easier bag to grab and go.

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DUMP-IT CHOCOLATE CAKE

January 25, 2015

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I follow FOOD52 on instagram and they recently posted this dreamy looking cake shared by Amanda Hesser.  Her note about this cake read: “My mother has many specialties, but her Chocolate Dump-It Cake is most beloved in my family. She kept this cake in the fridge, and it is sublime even when cold. I wrote about this cake in my second book, Cooking for Mr. Latte, but wanted to celebrate it here on food52”.  Well that was enough for me to try it for a family dinner party – My Father-in -law Loves chocolate cake so it’s apropos.  These images are all mine, I have to say it was pretty easy to make but I’m a tad disappointed that the melted chocolate froze up a bit when I added the sour cream for the frosting.  So be warned, make sure your sour cream is room temp and your chocolate isn’t too cool when you add the melted semi-sweet chips.  Also, the dinner party is in a few hours from now so i can’t tell you how sublime this cake is… just yet.  : )  Serves 10. And it looks pretty, love the simplicity.  Thanks Amanda!

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2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack, to catch any drips when the cake bakes. Put the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. (If you prefer, you can grease it, line it with parchment and then grease and flour it. This is not necessary, but parchment does make getting the cake out easier.) When the chocolate in the pan has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice, to blend. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky – if someone is around, enlist them to help. Place a ring of wax paper on top of the cake so you have something to grab onto when turning it out.) Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. It is very important that the chocolate and sour cream be the same temperature, otherwise the icing will be lumpy or grainy. (Test it by stirring a little of the sour cream and chocolate together in a bowl; if it mixes smoothly, it’s ready.) Stir in the sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Taste some! It’s good. When the cake is cool, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have two layers (when I do this, I use 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 cups sour cream). My mother uses any leftover icing to make flowers on top. She dabs small rosettes, or buttons, on top, then uses toasted almond slices as the petals, pushing them in around the base of the rosette.IMG_7661

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