Here is my another little step in adding some Spring into the end of winter. Jazzed up Rice Krispie treats. It doesn’t seem that something so very simple can make us so darn happy. But it certainly does. That delicious combination of marshmallows, Rice Krispies and butter with the magical dusting of multi colored sprinkles really put smiles on our faces. If you ask me the sprinkles are what elevated this humble treat to star status.
Vowing to keep brightening it up…even as snow is flying outside I wore a bright pink jacket and one of my favorite 90 carres (Belles du Mexique). (Step 4 in my “Fake It Until You Make It” Spring post). It is a riot of color in a design which features spinning dancers. I must admit that wearing this super bright pink with a splash of orange did make me feel spring like. Not so much the boots and down coat I had to don to make it through the blizzard outside. But at least inside I feel lighter and brighter.
Flowers are in the vase, and sprinkle coated Rice Krispie treats are on the counter and I am wearing a pink spinning rainbow. It is brightening up in here!
It looks a bit like spring around here as the tulips are just about to bloom! I may need to pick up another bunch for my desk. I can feel the winter thawing already. Perhaps it is just in my own mind but that works, right? One of my 5 Steps to fake an early spring complete!
A beautiful vase + one bunch of flowers = Springtime in the kitchen!
There are few things in life that I look forward to more than the Olympics. Every two years I sit down in front of the television and get up two weeks later. Actually this year the Winter Olympics were 18 days long!
Our tradition is throw an Opening Ceremonies Party comple with food from the host country (although some years are much more difficult to plan than others…this being one of them). In years passed I have used the traditional Olympic colors: red, blue, black, gold, green and white and the 5 rings.
This year I decided to change it up. No colors at all. I thought just gold with touches of white and black and a spash or two of silver.
I first assembled the bar (Bien sûr). A Russian Vodka anchored the bar followed by a bottle of wine, glasses (gold of course) and a silver bowl of gold wrapped chocolates. My favorite touch was the gold lit twigs in the clear vase. Usually in use at Christmastime they reminded me of the Olympic torch and so they were a fun addition.
Next I tackled the sideboard. My father has this great greek reproduction bust. I can’t remember a time it wasn’t in our home growing up. I think it is Apollo. He seemed a fitting addition and so I borrowed him to rule over the festivities. Next came the clear candlesticks with green mini wreaths on top. I bought them years ago for use at Easter but in reality I use them all year around. They reminded me of the wreaths put atop Olympian’s heads.
I needed something special for the center of the sideboard. Rings. Five. Gold. Olympic rings. Off to the craft store I went for 5 styrofoam rings and a can of gold spray paint. I used Design Master 731 Brilliant Gold Colortool Spray. This is important as regular spray paint will dissolve styrofoam. A quick spray, some toothpicks between and hot (low melt) glue and the rings were ready to go. I especially liked how the bright gold spray paint turned out to be a deeper antique gold look once on the strofoam. A roll of gold glitter tulle for the table and the decorations were complete.
It was fun to have the Olympic decorations out throughout the games…not that we needed a reminder that the games were happening…Figure Skating on TV all day nearly every day (bliss) took care of that! And on the “non skating” days I learned all I’ll ever needed to know about curling.
Anyone who knows me understands my great and enduring love for all things Hermes. I’ve been collecting Hermes scarves since the love of my life gave me one on our honeymoon (a couple of decades ago now). With that in mind I thought I would brighten the pre-spring table with some Hermes Colliers de Chiens Table Inspiration. Colliers de Chiens is a new (er) Hermes scarf design which I am in love with.
In my quest to add a bit of spring into my life one of the 5 steps (from this post) is to add some color to the dinner table.
What better starting point than one of my newest silks? What makes this “Colliers de chiens” (AW 2013) 90 carre so extra fun (in addition to the riot of color) is that the design is dog collars. Adorable. I don’t even have a dog…almost makes me wish I did! Almost.
The thing about having such a specific inspiration for a table (or outfit for that matter) is that it tends to pull together colors which I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of myself. I let the masters at Hermes do it for me. In this case the bright fuchsia along with slate blue and teal. There are so many colors in this scarf it would be easy to use any combination actually. Fuchsia and yellow, red, slate blue, cobalt blue, teal (both light and dark), gold. You name it.
I was drawn to both the fuchsia and slate blue and also the fuchsia and teal. I began with a cocoa colored grasscloth place mat. I wanted the colors to really stand out against a neutral base. For the fuchsia and blue I started with a linen blue place mat. My cream Wedgwood china goes with absolutely everything. Then the punch of a bright fuchsia napkin. I anchored it with a brown water goblet and a bright pink wine glass and in this case opted for the Be. Bright wine. I find it impossible to resist a cute wine label. And how uplifting is wine called “Be. Bright”?
I honestly wasn’t sure what exactly these napkins would go with when I purchased them but I use them all the time. I don’t know how I lived without this fabulous color in my arsenal! It must be calling to me because soon after I got the napkins the scarf ended up in my closet. It isn’t exactly the Pantone color of 2014 “radient orchid” but it is somewhere on that spectrum.
Adding color to the table brightened up the mood around here. It is positively amazing what a few minutes thought and a fuschia napkin can do to life one’s spirits. And did you catch my obsession with colored glassware? Yep. Add it to the list!
One of my goals with this blog is to be ever mindful that I would like the spirit of Joie de Vivre to permiate my life and the life of my family.
joie de vivre is defined as joy of living; enjoyment of life; ebullience, a keen enjoyment of living, carefree enjoyment of living and a delight in being alive.
We are good at celebrating special occasions but I don’t think we think about making life every day an excersise in that same spirit. Don’t get me wrong…it is difficult to think about a carefree enjoyment of living when the oven broke with dinner still in it, there is a missing soccer cleat and we needed to be out the door 5 minutes ago.
The idea for me is to try and integrate the concept of JdV (Joie de Vivre) as a thread in the fabric of our family life every day. It isn’t difficult. It isn’t expensive. It isn’t time consuming. What stops me from doing it? I just forget to take the time to look up from my busy days and add some sparkle. It is taking the time to pour that ice tea into beautiful glass with a spring of mint. It is buying a bunch of tulips at the store and having that beauty to look at for a week on the kitchen table. It is pulling together a little cheese board, pouring a glass of wine and sitting with the love of my life for 15 minutes on a Friday night right after work. That is Joie de Vivre.
This is the little something that will be waiting come this Friday (not this exact one…this was my late lunch).
Putting this lovely together is not at all difficult, time consuming or expensive. Two types of cheeses (whatever is in the fridge), dried fruit, grapes, cookies or crackers, quince paste, wine, and a few serving items.
To assist in having all the goodies on hand to produce a lovely cheese board for yourselves I have put together this little checklist. Save it to your phone and the next time you are at the market open it for inspiration!
We love St. Patrick’s Day around here…after all, we live in Chicago where the river is dyed green each March 17th. It won’t be long before the green day is upon us and the boys can’t wait. They look forward to all the shenanagins assoicated with this mischief filled holiday. And me? I just love anything that involves the promise of gold and these St. Patrick’s Day Mini Pots O’ Gold certainly fill that bill!
I like to make these little pots o’ gold as we turn the calendar from February to March.
Have you ever heard the adage “fake it until you make it”? I think I am going to test that theory because I am really, really, ready for spring. Unfortunately, it is quite some time off. I have to admit it is difficult to wax poetic about adding joie de vivre to everyday life when right now the everyday is gray and dreary. But that is the journey isn’t it? Finding some color in what can seem, at times, a black and white world. To make matters worse I have been wearing lots and lots of…you guessed it, black and grey. Don’t get me wrong, I love how elegant basic black can look. I wear it often. But as I looked in the mirror, again donned in slim black pants and a grey turtleneck, I realized that I had given in. Detesting the dreary weather but then dressing to match it! How crazy is that? What is it about a rainy day which makes us dress in similar colors rather than reach for the shocking pink or sunny lemon yellow? There is something so terrific about bright yellow rain slickers and red rain boots and I have always adored fun colorful umbrellas. And yet, here I sit. Dressed in black. Mourning the long winter. Okay people. Time to shake things up. If spring won’t come, I will create my own.
So my strategy is simple. Bring on the color. Color on the table, color on the plate, color on me, color in the house. I am going to fake spring until spring arrives. Here is the plan:
Buy flowers. I love crisp white…but now I want bright. The brighter the better.
Set the table with a bright and unexpected combination of color (I have some raspberry colored napkins which might just do the trick).
Make a salad. Make sure it looks like a color wheel exploded and tastes delicious.
Wear color. Nothing muted allowed, bright and bold. Pink and orange, why not?
Arrange a spring like display either on the kitchen counter or coffee table. Somewhere where we can see it often.
I know Spring is a ways off yet. But that does not mean I have to live in a greige world until then. I’m imagining daffodils emerging as we speak. I will post on how my quest for an early Spring is proceeding!
It’s cold and dreary and we are all fed up with freezing weather and piles and piles of snow. I wanted to come up with a special something to drive these mid-winter blahs. So as an suprise afternoon snack I made these Chocolate Mug Cakes. Individual little treats perfect for one. And what makes them even better is that they are done in 3 minutes…in the microwave. I use Pernigotti Cocoa for this. I love that deep chocolate flavor! I used to be available at Williams-Sonoma but I don’t think it is any more. I found it here (the packaging isn’t that exciting but the cocoa inside is divine!
An amazing way to serve this is to top with a small scoop of ice cream. Mmmmm. The winter blues are vanishing before my eyes!
How about a little special treat for a snowy Monday evening? A pre-dinner bite of melty feta goodness to eat with that frosty glass of white wine.
This has to be one of the easiest and most delicious appetizer recipes in my repertoire. In fact, when I first discovered it I made it three times in one week for lunch. That is the sure sign a recipe is a “keeper”.
Fabulous feta. It is a magical type of ingredient. It tastes so different depending upon how it is prepared. Crumbled over a salad it has that great bite. Heated it mellows and becomes the perfect vehicle for whatever little treasures you might want to bake right along with it. In this case, roma tomatoes, red onion, capers, oregano and olive oil. A sublime Mediterranian combination of ingredients.
They key with the recipe is to add the ingredients to your taste. I have given quantities however you should add more or less of whatever you prefer. No hard and fast rules here. Some quick chopping, assemble ingredients in a baking dish, bake. Done. A quick toast of some thinly sliced baguette slices and you are in business!
I have always been a big fan of typography. There is something special about letters…perhaps because I have always loved to read and write. But also because using letters and words can also bring a sense of whimsy to holiday decorating. Especially if the letters are oversized. This year I thought I would combine my love of typography, oversize letters and Valentine’s Day for a Valentine Typography project…what resulted was a Valentine’s Day jumbo Faux finished silver XOXO Letters extravaganza!
The first order of business was the letters themselves. I wanted oversized…at least 12″ high, sans serif, in a font which had a modern graphic feel (not too chunky). I had been working on Olympics Party decorations (more on that in a future post) and so was a bit behind in tracking down what I wanted. Normally I can find just about anything I can dream of on the internet but because of my Olympic project it was too late to order anything. Off to the stores I trekked. I say trekked because it is very much like Siberia here. Tons of snow and bitter cold. But I digress…
Four stores into my journey I finally found what I was looking for. Note to self, large letters = Jo Ann Fabrics. The selection of letters was quite something, a whole aisle in fact. There were even HUGE paper mache letters which had to be 3 feet tall. Another note to self, figure out that to do with those enormous letters!! Within that aisle of type I found the exact letters I had imagined. Oversized, san serif, modern looking wooden letters. I especially liked that there were very flat, it added to the modern appeal.
Standing in the “alphabet aisle” it suddently occured to me that I was in such a rush to find the perfect letters themselves that I neglected to finalize what I was going to spell. I did have a short list but hadn’t pulled the trigger on what exactly it should say. It came down to: LOVE, KISS, XOXO or I (some sort of large heart) U. As I looked at the letter shapes it became immediately clear that XOXO was the winner. There was something about the O’s that made me swoon. Oh shoot, that would have been a great one SWOON. I picked up two X’s and two O’s and off I went into the frozen tundra.
I knew I wanted something metallic looking, shiny, but not too shiny. After a quick sanding and a base coat of white primer the letters were set to be transformed. It took three coats of metallic Silver Craft Paint to cover them. They were shiny. Too shiny. I dove back into the paint drawer and mixed up my go-to glaze of black, burnt umber and water. The consistency should be of dirty water. Nice image I know but that is what it looks like! With a foam brush I covered a section of the letter and then wiped most of it away with a paper towel. Work quickly here because the glaze dries fast. In no time at all the letters had that patina I was looking for.
I love the way the letters look…especially with the contract of a huge red glittered heart between them. I could almost swoon.