Friday, April 29, 2011

A Dandy Does NY

Another exciting venue we attended while in NY was the International Exposition of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art (S.O.F.A). This amazing exhibition, held at the historic Park Avenue Armory, is the world’s foremost fairs of contemporary Decorative arts and Design.

As we walked among the many artist and gallery booths, we were constantly struck by the beautiful artworks in front of us!

A few of my favorite pieces at the exhibition included these porcelain figurines by artist, Chris Antemann.
Chris-Antemann-Les-Dormants
Kendrick_Moholt_Chris_Antemann_The_Slip_photograph_7065_374I love how these exquisite figurines, inspired by 18th century porcelain figurines, bring a modern touch and feel to the traditional medium. As stated in her bio, “Chris Antemann's work employs a unity of design and concept to  simultaneously examine and parody male and female relationship roles...Themes from the classics and the romantics are given a contemporary edge; elaborate dinner parties, picnic luncheons and festive celebrations set the stage for her twisted tales to unfold.” Each whimsical scene was so exquisitely detailed that the longer you spent with the piece the more that was revealed to you.

Another piece that I couldn’t resist was this nesting chair by Jae-Hyo Lee.
scan0004Crafted from the trunks of pine trees, it's massive scale belies it's soft almost silken touch and cradling comfort. It was…needless to say…hard to tear myself away from it.

A final piece that I loved was this hand-stitched textile soft sculpture. Created by artist, Alison Mercer of Wales. We had the honor of dining with Ms. Mercer and she explained that her work at the local maternity ward in Wales, heavily influences her sculptures. Each piece reveals a mother's yearning, love and loss.


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This particular soft sculpture is entitled "Broody Girl" and signifies women who want to have a baby, but who are unable to have one.

We had a wonderful time at the exhibition and left exhausted but satiated. It was now time for a wonderful dinner and a full glass of malbec!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Dandy Does NY

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While in New York, we checked out the Van Cleef and Arpel’s “Set in Style” exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. This elaborate display of jewelry dates back to the founding of the design firm in Paris in 1896 by brothers-in-law Afred van Cleef and Salomon Arpels.

The exhibit, divided into six themes including Innovation (stylistic and technical); Transformations; Nature as Inspiration; Exoticism; Fashion; and Personalities, resonates through the history of this great design firm.
Some of my favorite pieces include this Peony brooch designed in 1937.
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The rubies and diamonds are set with the patented “mystery-setting,” in which matched gemstones are grooved and set in channels so the setting is invisible. As we watched the display video, it was fascinating to see how the mystery-setting was accomplished and equally fascinating to find out that 50% of the gemstones are removed in the process!

Another breathtaking piece was this Walska brooch/pendant containing a 95 carat yellow diamond, sapphires, and white diamonds.
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Created in 1971, this piece transforms in a variety of ways. The wings come off to form earrings, the tail comes off to form a brooch and the pendant can be detached and worn separately. How economical!!

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These are only a few of the 350 pieces on display from the Van Cleef and Arpel’s collection. The exhibit also features jewels from the private collections of Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace, The duchess of Windsor and DC’s very own Marjorie Merriweather Post! If you are heading to New York, I highly recommend this fascinating exhibit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dandy Desserts

Looking for a delectable sophisticated chocolate treat for you and your loved one’s this Easter!



My friend Courtney made these decadent chocolate covered peanut butter cheesecake pops for our dessert party and it was a huge hit! Make them for yourself or if you can bear to part with them, give them as a gift!





The popsicle sticks can be purchased here or at your local crafts store! The Recipe is below:

 

 

 

 



 

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pops

Ingredients

Cheesecake:
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
Chocolate:
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Popsicle Sticks


Directions
For the cheesecake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil letting long flaps overlap on each side. Spray foil with nonstick spray.


Break up the brown sugar to remove all lumps. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until very smooth. Add the cream and beat slowly; then add the yolks and vanilla mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peanut butter. Take care not to over beat the mixture; this incorporates too much air and causes the cheesecake to crack.


Pour and evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven to release some heat, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees F. Continue to bake the cheesecake until the outside is set but the center is still loose, for about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and cool cheesecake in the oven for 45 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.


Lift cheesecake from the pan by lifting up the foil. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into
1 1/2-inch cubes. Stick a wooden pop stick halfway into each bar and freeze for 1 hour.


Meanwhile, put the shortening and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.)


Dip the pops into the chocolate mixture, and stand on waxed paper to set, about 5 minutes. Serve cold (straight from the fridge), or freeze up to 2 weeks. Frozen pops make a cool summer treat, or can be allowed to temper for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.


Upgrade: Coat the pops with chopped nuts or candies for a really decadent finish. To do this let the dipped pops drip over a bowl for 15 seconds before rolling them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Dandy Does NY

Of the many adventures in NY last week, one of my favorites was meeting fashion designer, Nanette Lepore.

Guided by Adrienne Alaimo, a sweater designer for Ms. Lepore, we toured the design studio in the garment district and had the great honor of meeting the designer herself.

As we toured the studio, we witnessed the behind the scenes work that goes into each garment. It was fascinating to learn that the designing, pattern-making, cutting and production of Ms. Lepore’s designs are produced here in the United States. In fact, Nanette Lepore maintains 85% of her production locally in the garment district. 1 Ms. Lepore is one of the principal players in the “Save the Garment District” movement in NY and is very adament about producing her clothes in the United States.

As our tour ended, we were invited to the showroom to view the pieces of her Fall 2011 collection fresh from the runways of Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park. We were amazed at the intricate beading, textures and cuts of the fabulous clothing and I only wished that she had a menswear line as well.

It was wonderful to meet Ms. Lepore and very kind of her to take time out of her busy schedule to talk with us. It was fascinating to meet the person behind the name, and equally interesting to catch her in a moment of “real life.” While we were asking questions of the high profile designer, she took a call from her daughter and instantly became a “mother” in front of us. It was great to see the humanity behind the designer and it made us all appreciate her even more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just finished with the Van Cleef and Arpel's exhibit. I can't wait o share my favorite pieces! Now off to the S.O.F.A. show!

A Dandy Does NY

Today promises to be a fun and inspiring day.

Heading off to the S.O.F.A exhibition


...and then off to see the Van Cleef and Arpels exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt, http://cooperhewitt.org/EXHIBITIONS/set-in-style/. Maybe the Dandy can take home a little souvenir!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just met designer Nanette Lepore
Just left an amazing visit with Malcah Zeldis. So many fascinating stories of her artwork and life!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Dandy Does NY

Making the most of my time. Learning to cable knit on our ride to NYC!
...not a very Dandy way to travel but we'll make it work! Stay tuned for more dandy adventures in New York!
A bus ride a metro ride and a lot of walking....finally made it to bethesda. NYC....you getting closer!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dandy Desserts

Hosting an Easter Brunch? Looking for something that will wow your quests?!

Recently, my husband Brian and I attended a wonderful brunch hosted by our friend, Steven Courtney and his partner, Mitch. Steven is an amazing chef and I love when we receive an invitation to dine at their home.

Everything at the brunch was delightful. However, it was his upside down apple muffins that I have not forgotten. These decadent muffins are not what your momma served on Sunday mornings. Baked and then flipped upside down and filled with home-made apple topping, nothing can prepare you for the exquisite taste! In fact, I was supposed to share mine with my husband, however, after one bite I just looked at him and said “Um…you’ll have to go get your own.”

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FOR THE APPLE TOPPING:
3 apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (if you would like)


FOR THE MUFFINS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon ( I add a bit more)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, stir together the apples, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 8 tablespoons butter and pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 15 minutes. Distribute the apple slices among the muffin cups. Add walnuts, if using, on top of the apple slices. (can be made the day before and placed in refrigerator until it is used the following morning)

3. To make the muffins, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together 8 tablespoons butter, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until smooth. Distribute the batter on top of the apples. Bake until the muffins are slightly puffed, about 20 to 22 minutes.

5. Allow the muffins to cool partly in the pan; turn onto a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life Made Simple

What would a Dandy be without manners…unthinkable! However, today’s world is a tricky place for a gentleman and one does not always know how to act or dress in certain situations. Besides the Domestic Dandy, where can one go for advice on what to wear and how to wear it, what to say and how to say it, and how to act? While perusing the Anthropologie store one sunny Saturday, I discovered this charming book, “How to Live Like a Gentleman: Lessons in Life, Manners, and Style.”

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Written by Sam Martin, this wonderful guide is filled with practical advice on classic manners and style a regular guy needs on a daily basis. As Mr. Martin states, “Putting the gentle back into man means nurturing the classic male qualities of kindness and thoughtfulness, patience, and trustworthiness.”

Armed with the Dandy and this trusty guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true gentleman.

Purchase your copy here!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Always One to Accessorize

This past weekend, we were hosting some friends at Redbud Terrace. Unfortunately, my spring floral display was not as fresh as it could be and I needed to come up with a design idea to replace my wilted branches.

A quick dash to my craft supply room delivered some gold mesh ribbon, candles, glue dots…and an idea!

After disposing of the fallen flowers, I quickly cleaned my vases and placed three tall pillar candles inside each one.
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After carefully measuring the circumference of the glass cylinders, I then cut the appropriate length of ribbon and affixed it to each vase using my trusty glue dots.

Results! A beautiful shimmering centerpiece that added some dramatic lighting to our festivities.
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Note: I really wanted my flames to shimmer, so I secured the ribbon at varying levels according to where my flame burned the brightest!
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