Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Dandy meets the Fabulous Beekman Boys


 Last Saturday, I was invited to attend a discussion and book signing by the Fabulous Beekman Boys. These two Manhattanites, Josh and Brent, purchased the Beekman Mansion and surrounding farm in Sharon Springs, NY with the expectation of retreating to their restored farm on the weekends. Fate had other plans though, and now the two are on their way to building an empire called “Beekman 1802.” Armed with goat’s milk and a dream they are now producing soaps, artisanal cheeses, candles, bath products  and other home goods that reflect their life at the Beekman.

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I purchased their hand-made goat’s milk soap after hearing them explain how the high butterfat content of the goat’s milk and the essential oils are not only gentle on the skin, but are exceptionally moisturizing. 
b.boys 010 I’ve since used my bar and love the feel of my skin after a hot shower.

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I was also impressed with the thought that goes into their products. For example, not only are their candles made of pure bee's wax and essential oils (no synthetic fragrances or chemicals), but each candle is encased in a hand-crafted red cedar box.  Once the candle is empty, just add water to the heavy glass liner, replace the wooden lid and use it as an elegant bud vase. The heavy glass creates a nice base for your most dramatic arrangements!



The Beekman Boys were the sweetest couple and I highly recommend their handmade, locally produced products and their book, “The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers.” Written by Josh, this fun and touching memoir chronicles their adventures at the Beekman and in the process reveals a loving and committed couple living their life and enriching their community along the way.



Follow the Beekman Boys adventures Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on Planet Green!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Tales from the City…

My husband and I had an amazing time touring LA and San Francisco. As we journeyed, I kept an eye out for West Coast inspirations that I could bring back with me to the East Coast.

One day in San Francisco, with no specific plans in store, we decided to venture to Chinatown and then wander around the city to see what it had to offer us.

After a fun flurry of activity and many uphill climbs around the city we came upon the famous “Fairmont” hotel.\
 
Feeling exhausted and in need of rest, we decided to relax a little while in the beautiful lobby. 

As we sank into the welcoming arms of the plush upholstered chairs, I noticed the beautiful floral display in the center of the lobby.
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The gorgeous and dramatic blooming branches took my breath away and I knew that this was something I could recreate in our home back in DC.

Armed with my clippers and an array of glass vases, I set to the task of recreating this beautiful centerpiece with a little flourish of my own.

After clipping off some cherry branches that had just blossomed (if you don’t have any flowering trees nearby, check out your local florist), I added soft gray and black river stones to the bottom of each vase and arranged the branches…splitting them between the three vases. Once the arrangement was in place, I then filled each with water.
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The end result was an eye catching display of spring! Now, when is the warm weather going to arrive??!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tales From the City…


One thing that I loved, while we were in LA, was the sense of style. Men and Women, celebrity or “man on the street,” were styled and ready to meet the paparazzi at every turn.

The stylish atmosphere inspired me to do a little shopping. One of the fun fashion finds I found was this sweater I discovered off of Rodeo Drive (with a little lunch thrown in and a Brian Glazer sighting!).
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I loved the sweater, however, when I put it on back here in DC…away from the glamorous lights of Hollywood…I decided it needed a little something extra. Immediately, my dandy sense went into full fashion mode…
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To spice up my sweater, I decided to accentuate the pocket detail and add a little trim.
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For today’s look, I went with a coordinated grosgrain ribbon that accentuated my dress shirt. The trim was a nice touch that added some needed interest!
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When you’re getting dressed for the day’s adventures, always think about ways you can personalize your look!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dandy is Back

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Hello everyone! I’m back from LA and ready to share some fun creative tips with you. But first, I have some exciting news!

This past fall, I was asked to be a guest chef and test a recipe from the upcoming book, “Dining with the Washingtons” by editor, Stephen A. McLeod.
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This elegant dining and entertaining book from Mount Vernon includes recipes created by noted culinary historian, Nancy Carter Crump, which are adapted for modern cooks and kitchens from surviving Washington-family recipes, as well as period descriptions and recollections of dining with George and Martha Washington.

I tested my particular recipe for ease of instruction, taste, and finished product. I’ll keep the recipe a secret for now, but I have to confess that it was a big hit with our guests when I served them for brunch!
This wonderful and entertaining book is scheduled to be released in September 2011, so stay tuned! In the meantime, you can keep track of the book’s progress on Facebook!
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Cheers!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Dandy is on Vacay!!

The Dandy is in LA on vacation...but don't worry! He'll be back soon with some creative ideas.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Dandy Entertains

We were hosting a dinner party this weekend and we wanted to make it fun and entertaining for our guests. After thinking through upcoming holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Daylight Savings Time, we decided to go with Mardi Gras!

With this theme in mind, off I went to the party store to find what I needed to create my table-scape. After a fun filled trip (I may have gotten off track a time or two), I came home with everything I needed to create a Mardi Gras themed table using feathered masks and lots of beads!

mardi.gras 002  After gathering everything together, I was ready to begin.

Using the beads, I began to drape them over my gold glass candlesticks. To attach them and to prevent them from falling off, I taped floral wire to the top of the candlesticks before placing my candles.


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After finishing the candlesticks, I then threw beads around the table to create a more festive centerpiece.


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Once I was satisfied with the centerpiece, I began putting my place-settings together using strands of beads as napkin rings and placing the feathered masks on top for each guest to wear and take home as a party favor.
mardi.gras 006 Once, my table was finished I began working on the dinner.mardi.gras 005
We wanted to keep it simple, so we found a wonderful Jambalaya recipe for our slow-cooker on allrecipes.com (see below). After preparing the ingredients, I simply placed them all in the slow-cooker and began working on my dessert.

Colleen's Slow Cooker Jambalaya
Prep Time: 20 Min     Cook Time: 8 Hrs     Ready In: 8 Hrs 20 Min    Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails
Directions
  1. In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
  2. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
For dessert, I wanted to make a King Cake. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I needed something that I could whip up in a hurry. Thankfully, I found this recipe for easy King Cake at eatathomecooks.com.
Originally featured in Taste of the South Magazine, this recipe only requires two ingredients!
  • 1 can cinnamon rolls with icing
  • colored sugars – purple, gold and green
Directions:
Grease a 9″ round cake pan.  Carefully unroll a roll and then fold it in half.  After you folding, twist the dough strip a little and place in the pan.  Do 2 more rolls, to make a circle around the outer edge of the pan.  Repeat with the last 2 rolls, laying them in the pan to make an inner circle.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

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After allowing the cake to cool, ice and decorate with the colored sugars;
purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.
mardi.gras 009 I loved the simplicity of it and it looked wonderful!
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Happy Mardi Gras!
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

You Oughta Be in Pictures!

Angel’s Perch–“We’re Making a Movie”

Have you always wanted to get involved in the movies?! Here’s your chance to become a part of an indie feature! Angel’s Perch, which will be shot by a talented group of filmmakers in West Virginia this fall, explores the complicated joys and difficulties of going home. My friend, JT Arbogast, wrote this heart whelming screenplay and you can help him get it produced!

What’s the film about? Inspired by the writer’s own roots in WV, Angel’s Perch is “the story of Jack, a successful young architect living in Pittsburgh, who must make the trip to his hometown of Cass, WV to move his grandmother into an assisted-care facility…But what was intended to be a two day, under-the-radar trip becomes more complicated when Jack can’t bring himself to leave Polly at the nursing home. Torn between the career opportunity of a lifetime, caring for his last living relative and running from his own painful memories, Jack is forced to choose between standing still or facing the pain of his past, so that he can finally move forward.

Inspired by the writer’s own roots in WV, Angel’s Perch explores all the complicated joys and difficulties that accompany the journey ‘home.’ Set in the historic logging town of Cass, the film will be shot on a Red camera and will incorporate local musicians in the soundtrack for the project.”




Go to www.angelsperch.com to learn more about this fun and exciting opportunity! I’m a backer and you can be one too!!
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