Friday, December 30, 2011

DIY Gold and Silver Leaf Champagne Glasses from DESIGN SPONGE

*You can buy a full kit of supplies here for $19. It will last you for many rounds of glasses.*
1. Clean your classes with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
2. Using your paintbrush, dab a SMALL amount of liquid adhesive on your brush to create a shape or pattern. If you’re doing a longer design, be sure to move quickly because the line will disappear as the glue starts to dry.
3. Let dry for 20–30 minutes. (Don’t worry if you can’t see the glue; it’s still there and sticky.)
4. Carefully take out a sheet of your gold or silver leaf and gently place it on top of your glue pattern/shape. Dab with your fingers until the leaf fully adheres to the glue shape. You can use a soft cloth or sponge to gently press the leaf into the glue.
5. Gently brush away the excess leafing until the shape you’ve drawn is left.
8. Using a clean paintbrush, coat the portion of your glass covered in gold/silver leaf with the leaf sealant (the sealant will dry clear). The design will not be waterproof until it’s coated. Allow the sealant to fully dry, and you’re ready to go!
Note: These are not dishwasher safe. They will be waterproof and safe to drink with, but you’ll want to wash them gently by hand.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Domenico Ghirlandaio's Portrait of an Old Man and a Young Boy (1490)

[Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives]
On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 18 as part of a show of Renaissance portraiture.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Generation Sell By William Deresiewicz

Ever since I moved three years ago to Portland, Ore., that hotbed of all things hipster, I’ve been trying to get a handle on today’s youth culture. The style is easy enough to describe — the skinny pants, the retro hats, the wall-to-wall tattoos. But style is superficial. The question is, what’s underneath? What idea of life? What stance with respect to the world?
Previous youth cultures — beatniks, hippies, punks, slackers — could be characterized by two related things: the emotion or affect they valorized and the social form they envisioned. For the hippies, the emotion was love: love-ins, free love, the Summer of Love, all you need is love. The social form was utopia, understood in collective terms: the commune, the music festival, the liberation movement.
The beatniks aimed at ecstasy, embodied as a social form in individual transcendence. Theirs was a culture of jazz, with its spontaneity; of marijuana, arresting time and flooding the soul with pleasure (this was before the substance became the background drug of every youth culture); of flight, on the road, to the West; of the quest for the perfect moment.
The punks were all about rage, their social program nihilistic anarchy. “Get pissed,” Johnny Rotten sang. “Destroy.” Hip-hop, punk’s younger brother, was all about rage and nihilism, too, at least until it turned to a vision of individual aggrandizement.
As for the slackers of the late ’80s and early ’90s (Generation X, grunge music, the fiction of David Foster Wallace), their affect ran to apathy and angst, a sense of aimlessness and pointlessness. Whatever. That they had no social vision was precisely what their social vision was: a defensive withdrawal from all commitment as inherently phony.
So what’s the affect of today’s youth culture? Not just the hipsters, but the Millennial Generation as a whole, people born between the late ’70s and the mid-’90s, more or less — of whom the hipsters are a lot more representative than most of them care to admit. The thing that strikes me most about them is how nice they are: polite, pleasant, moderate, earnest, friendly. Rock ’n’ rollers once were snarling rebels or chest-beating egomaniacs. Now the presentation is low-key, self-deprecating, post-ironic, eco-friendly. When Vampire Weekend appeared on “The Colbert Report” last year to plug their album “Contra,” the host asked them, in view of the title, what they were against. “Closed-mindedness,” they said.
According to one of my students at Yale, where I taught English in the last decade, a colleague of mine would tell his students that they belonged to a “post-emotional” generation. No anger, no edge, no ego.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Festive Decor

Mulled wine in a fish bowl, lots of natural light, a balsam adorned canopy bed --> how pretty!
Merry Christmas, or merely Happy Sunday, to all!
[this is glamorous // French by Design]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ideas for the Home

Place your iPhone/ iPod in a bowl; the concave shape amplifies the sound.

Use the bottom of a muffin pan to make cookie bowls for ice cream, mousse, or berries.
Neatly fold a fitted sheet.
[The Daily Buzz]

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thomas Keith

Dr. Thomas Keith's Ancient Archway, c. 1855
Dr. Thomas Keith's Women in Doorway, c. 1855

Monday, December 19, 2011

I spy ...

Luca Signorelli, Deeds of the Antichrist, 1500
Fresco from San Brizio Chapel, Orvieto Cathedral
Luca Signorelli, Deeds of the Antichrist, 1500

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Longfellow type of day . . .


The Fire of Driftwood
Devereux Farm, near Marblehead
    We sat within the farm-house old,
    Whose windows, looking o’er the bay,
    Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
    An easy entrance, night and day.

    Not far away we saw the port,
    The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,
    The lighthouse, the dismantled fort,
    The wooden houses, quaint and brown.

    We sat and talked until the night,
    Descending, filled the little room;
    Our faces faded from the sight,
    Our voices only broke the gloom.

    We spake of many a vanished scene,
    Of what we once had thought and said,
    Of what had been, and might have been,
    And who was changed, and who was dead;

    And all that fills the hearts of friends,
    When first they feel, with secret pain,
    Their lives thenceforth have separate ends,
    And never can be one again;

    The first slight swerving of the heart,
    That words are powerless to express,
    And leave it still unsaid in part,
    Or say it in too great excess.

    The very tones in which we spake
    Had something strange, I could but mark;
    The leaves of memory seemed to make
    A mournful rustling in the dark.

    Oft died the words upon our lips,
    As suddenly, from out the fire
    Built of the wreck of stranded ships,
    The flames would leap and then expire.

    And, as their splendor flashed and failed,
    We thought of wrecks upon the main,
    Of ships dismasted, that were hailed
    And sent no answer back again.

    The windows, rattling in their frames,
    The ocean, roaring up the beach,
    The gusty blast, the bickering flames,
    All mingled vaguely in our speech;

    Until they made themselves a part
    Of fancies floating through the brain,
    The long-lost ventures of the heart,
    That send no answers back again.

    O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned!
    They were indeed too much akin,
    The drift-wood fire without that burned,
    The thoughts that burned and glowed within.

        by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1848)

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    An alternative to traditional latkes ...

    ... Sarabeth's Potato WAFFLE recipe! 

    Makes 4 (6 -inch) waffles
     COOKS NOTE: You will need clarified butter or vegetable oil for greasing the waffle iron.
    2 large (1 pound) baking potatoes, such as Idaho or russet, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup milk
    1 cup unbleached flour 
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, chilled
    1/2 cup milk
    1 large egg
    4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup Sarabeth's Chunky Apple Preserves, or applesauce
    1.  Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with lightly salted water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain well and transfer to a medium bowl.  Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes with the butter, then mix in the milk. (You should have 2 cups of mashed potatoes.) Cool until tepid, but not cold and firm.  
    2.  Heat the waffle iron according to the manufacturers’ instructions. 
    3.  In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to combine.  Add the butter and pulse 15 to 20 times until the butter is very finely chopped.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk the milk and egg to combine. Add the flour mixture to the mashed potatoes, alternating with the milk and egg mixture. Mix gently until smooth.  Fold in the chives.
    4.  Grease the grids of the waffle iron lightly with clarified butter.  Using a 2 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop, place 2 level scoops ( or 2/3 cup) of batter in the center of the waffle iron. Close the lid and bake until the waffle is crisp and brown, 4 to 6 minutes.  Transfer to a warmed serving plate.  
    5.  Serve immediately, topping each waffle with a dollop of sour cream and Chunky-Apple Preserves.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Simply the best

    Il Mulino's Vodka Sauce
    Enter code "saucysavings" for a 15% discount on Il Mulino sauces today through December 24 at

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Gift guidance, part deux

    [Pounou ♥'s you]

    Folks, the gift season is in full force, so here are some of my go-to gift sources in times of uncertainty:

    Picture products: Companies like Snapfish, Photobucket, and Shutterfly allow you to print pictures on a wide variety of products (mugs, aprons, t-shirts, etc.). They offer expedited shipping -- as well as gifts that are both useful and meaningful.

    Books: A beautiful book based on the recipient’s interests always does the trick. If you can, splurge for the hard cover book; it lasts longer. Regardless, make sure to inscribe the first page with a thoughtful message!

    Items that promote a cause: These days there are so many products that are endorsed by charitable causes. So when there’s a choice between a plain steel KitchenAid and a pink one, go for the one that benefits breast cancer research. Or when there are two chocolate options side by side, choose whichever one goes somewhere other than your waistline! (The salty turtles from H.E.L.P.are my favorite!)  This seems self-evident, but make sure to really get in the holiday spirit and give

    Memberships and subscriptions: Museum memberships or subscriptions to magazines, Netflix, baseball season tickets, and even dessert clubs (like this one) can make a great gift for someone who has it all. They provide activity that you and your giftee may even be able to enjoy together.

    For more gift ideas, visit the Folded Victory e-gift shop. It’s a collection of things I find special: tableware, chocolate boxes, Italian sauces, etc. Otherwise, there’s some of my favorite things, my mom's e-shop! 

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Charmed by Elizabeth Taylor's Charms ...

    On display at Christie's until December 12!
    Other highlights include the Peregrina pearl and "the Elizabeth Taylor diamond"!

    Glittering sandwich cookies -- also so gorgeous for holiday parties!

    Easier to make than the oh so en vogue macaron . . . and they SPARKLE!
    Recipe at the Purl bee

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Playlists from the Standard Hotel

    Select a city name to have the second playlist play ... hopefully no technical difficulties ! 

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Champagne Pearl Dust Cocktail -- so gorgeous for holiday parties!

    Fill your glasses with your favorite champagne. Place one organic rose petal in each glass. Sprinkle fresh water pearl dust into each glass. Raise the glasses and sip before the bubbles overflow with agitation from the pearls. 

    How to obtain fresh water pearl dust:
    Go to your local jeweler and request very small, organic, fresh water pearls. Grind them in your mortar and pestle to a rough powder and then finish in a vita mix to create the fine powder duster.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Delacorte Clock, Central Park

    The Delcorte Clock, located at the entrance of the Central Park Zoo
    The Dancing Bear
    Christmas Tree Ornaments
    [Hans My Hedgehog]

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    FV's "Gift Guide"

    [New Yorker cartoon by Victoria Roberts]
    This time of year, almost every publication puts out a gift guide. These guides accomplish PR goals or feature novelty products. However, giving gifts is not a checklist of items, but an art. And a guide to giving gifts should explain how to determine the perfect gift for your lucky gift getter.

    First off, there is something inherently wrong with hunting for the perfect gift in the holiday season – and expecting to find it. That’s like going to a bar and seeking out a best friend or looking for the best Philly cheesesteak in the Philadelphia airport. Instead, anytime you see something that might appeal to the person, buy it then and there. You might not find it again, and it’s one gift fewer gift to buy in crunch time. There is no shame in buying Christmas or Chanukah gifts in June if that will make it a better gift.

    Moreover, pay close attention to the wants (and needs) of your giftees: My father collects salt and pepper shakers; my best friend only wears gold jewelry; and my aunt’s favorite cookbook is torn to shreds. Keep a list (in your phone, diary, address book, etc.) of the preferences, interests, and even sizes of your loved ones. That way, you know better where to start.

    With the exception of edible delights or ephemeral occasions, pick something that will last. Don’t buy a gift that is the season’s trend. It will go stale and forgotten. Instead choose a “classic” book, piece of jewelry, or kitchen appliance. That way, it will get used for many years (or even generations).

    Additionally, don’t cheap out. If you’re spending money, spend it on the people you love. It’s the easiest and best investment there is. Giving is gratifying to the giver, and if done well, it can be even more gratifying to the receiver. Moreover, no good person ever forgets generous, thoughtful gestures. And what goes around, comes around.

    Otherwise, make sure to include a card. Wrap the gift in gift paper, aluminum foil, or newspaper. Never buy someone a larger size of something if you are on the fence between two sizes. Include a gift receipt. And, of course, make sure you’re not buying a gift that you, yourself, would want, but that your recipient will value and cherish.