Jul 232012
 

Besides being one of my best friends, Roy Otwell is the founder and co-proprietor of the ultra-hip home store Switch Modern (switchmodern.com). He’s a dedicated student of popular culture, cool trends, and good style. Roy says “Fashion is about trends but style involves authenticity and a point of view.” Here’s what Roy been observing on the streets of New York this month.

“Madras! Plaid! Gingham! As men’s fashion becomes bolder and brighter over the last year, it’s no wonder that madras, plaid, and gingham are increasingly visible. Even Gap’s windows are extolling the virtues of madras. A madras shirt paired with your favorite shorts, worn leather shoes, just the right hat, and of course the obligatory Ray Bans seems to be the outfit for tooling around town. Perhaps this trend forebodes a very hot summer.”

 

Jul 202012
 

It’s the weekend, and it’s time for cocktails! For the past month, we’ve been exploring cocktails that contain fresh fruit and herbs.  So far, you’ve learned how to make a “Ten Grand,” a “Raspberry Refresher,” and Campari Cucumber Cocktail. This week, you’ll learn how to mix a “Mint Muse.”

You’ll need:

Eight mint leaves and one mint sprig for garnish

Juice from a half lime with peel finely chopped

Four ounces of fresh pineapple chunks

Three ounces of Lucid Absinthe

Sprite or 7UP

In a shaker, muddle mint leaves, lime juice, lime pieces, and pineapple. Add Absinthe and ice and shake briefly. Pour into highball glasses and top with Sprite of 7UP. Garnish with sprig of mint. Serves two.

Sounds pretty refreshing for a hot July day, doesn’t it?

 

 

Jul 162012
 

I heard a great story at a conference the other day that I would like to share with you. Its author is unknown.

The story goes like this:

A young woman had been diagnosed with a terminal illness; doctors says she had three months to live. As she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her priest and asked him to come to her house to discuss her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the funeral service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the priest’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest stood looking at her, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the priest.

The young woman explained.“ In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!

“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.‘”

After hearing this story, every time I reach down for my fork, I remember that the best is yet to come.

 

 

Jul 062012
 

During the golden age of the cocktail, a bartender’s only option was to use fresh ingredients. Today’s mixologists are once again returning to fresh fruits and herbs.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing several wonderful recipes that I found in an USA Airways magazine. This week, we’ll make a Raspberry Refresher. With so many places around the U.S. experiencing record high temperatures, this drink promises cool relief.

You’ll need:

15 fresh mint leaves

24 fresh raspberries

Three teaspoons of sugar

Juice of a half a lime

Three ounces of Beefeater gin

1.5 ounces of Cointreau

Crushed ice

Cold soda water

Place mint leaves, raspberries, lime juice, and sugar in a cocktail shaker and muddle until it’s all mush. Add gin and Cointreau and stir with ice until two-third full. Stir well and add soda to tastes.

Serves two.

 

 

 

Jun 292012
 

During the golden age of the cocktail, the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a bartender’s only option was to use fresh ingredients. Today’s mixologists (don’t’ you love that term?) are once again returning to fresh fruits and herbs. While we can use fresh fruit year around, the summer is an especially good time to experiment with fruit.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing several wonderful recipes that I found in an USA Airways magazine. This week, we’ll make a Ten Grand.

You’ll need:

Two ounces of Tanqueray No. Ten gin

Eight ounces of cubed fresh pineapple (remove tough core and skin)

Four ounces of Grand Marnier

Squeeze of lime juice

Blend all ingredients. Pour into ice-filled shaker and shake well. Serve in a chilled martini glass.

Serves two.

Cheers!

 

Jun 272012
 

Every time Jill Jurgensen and I get together in Manhattan, trouble follows. Jill is an accomplished interior designer and photographer. She’s been a keen observer of fashion ever since she dressed her first Barbie. Here’s what Jill has been observing about women’s fashion on the streets of Manhattan this summer:

“What’s sexy now? Victoria Beckham’s new tangerine dress! I’m obsessed with it. Catch it right now in Bergdorf’s window on the Fifth Avenue side.

I’ve been a big fan of VB’s silhouettes for some time. Her collections are consistently streamlined, elegant, feminine, and with beautiful detailing.

This spring/summer collection she relies on strong geometric lines and decorative seaming. NO  prints, florals, and sequins here.  Thank goodness. Just bold lines and a beautiful pop of tangerine. A sexy silhouette that elongates and emphasizes the body. What could be more modern and timeless!”

Visit Jill at http://www.jilljurgenseninteriordesign.com/aboutthefirm.html.

 

 

Jun 222012
 

Wednesday was the summer solstice. It was the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer. Let’s celebrate with a truly classic summertime drink. A first cousin to the Sea Breeze and Cape Codder, the Madras is cool and refreshing. Here’s what you’ll need.

One ounce of orange juice

Four ounces of cranberry juice

One and a half ounces of vodka

Lime

Mix the orange and cranberry juices with vodka in a highball glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Cheers!

 

Jun 192012
 

My new Facebook friend Corey McIntosh has been mad about design since he was child. His firm McIntosh Interiors was founded in 1998 and specializes in residential and light commercial design. Here’s what has caught Corey’s eye this month:

“I’ve always loved Dex Studios (http://www.dexindustries.com) for all things concrete. I can always count on Dex for great looking countertops, vessel sinks, pedestal sinks, troughs–even furniture. But Dex Studios has recently outdone themselves with the introduction of a new collection of wall tile called, “Dimensions.” Dimensions are ten multi-dimensional wall tiles, made of concrete. Aren’t they cool?”

Visit Corey at http://www.McIntoshInteriors.com.

 

Jun 152012
 

The Aztecs made a fermented beverage from the agave plan that they called Octli, but it wasn’t until the sixteenth century that tequila was officially established. Today, there are more than one hundred distilleries making over nine hundred brands of tequila.

Some tequilas are better than others. Choose a high quality one; it’s worth it (especially the next morning). I like Patron.

A great tequila is good straight up or mixed. One of my favorite mixed drinks using tequila is a Silver Dog. Why not try one this weekend?

You’ll need one and half ounces of silver tequila and three ounces of grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed is best, of course). Mix in a highball glass with ice and garish with wedge. I like a salted rim.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Jun 102012
 

Chadwick and I worked together at Fleishman-Hillard when I was in public relations some moons ago. He now owns a brand communications consulting firm, working with some of America’s top chefs, journalists, and food influencers. Chadwick is my go-to person when it comes to food and wine. Here’s what’s on Chadwick’s mind these days:

“The near-summer weather is perfect right now for al fresco dining. Here’s an entertaining trick for casual dinner parties that’s sure to impress, yet literally takes minutes:  grilling avocados. The best part… the avocados don’t have to be soft and ripe! Simply cut the avocados in half, length-wise. Remove the pits. Lightly toss in golden olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on medium-high heat, skin-side down for 4-5 minutes, or until the avocados start to bubble along the edge of the skins. They should be slightly brown and soft. Place them on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt for crunch. Spoon your favorite salsa on top. Serve immediately. I like to serve with “Food Should Taste Good Multi-Grain Chips” – their nutty taste works well with the smoky avocado flavor.”

You can visit Chadwick at https://www.facebook.com/chadwickboyd and @chadwickboyd on Twitter.