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Jan 29

Featured Designers of Design for All at Target

Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009 in Favorite Finds, Happy Home, Shopping Spree, Wallet Wise

Recently, I received a Get To Know Your Friends Better chain letter, and my friend wrote,  “In Target” as the “Place I Would Rather Be Right Now”.


Target’s tag line; Great Design. Every Day. For Everyone.   This store is the single most reason I get jealous of the ‘burbs’. There simply is no better way to utilize your lunch break or spend your down-time before a dentist appointment.


Target is constantly adding new designers and new lines to their Design for All campaign. The products are innovative, fun, well made and look just as good as the alternative at half the price.


To search their list of designers Go Here, but these are a few products that make me want to drive to Jersey this weekend.


Hayden Harnett



















Sigerson Morrison Teal



































JK Jemma Kid








Thomas O’Brienthomas-obrien















Jan 26

Project of the Month

Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009 in Going Green, Wallet Wise


If you have ever dabbled in jewelry making or reaped the benefits of someone else’s hobby then you can participate in this fun mix and match project. I have gathered up all my outdated necklaces, my chokers, those with tarnished toggles and odd color combinations and ripped them all apart.


After last Friday’s blog I started to recognize some trends for this spring and I laid out some color combinations with the necklaces that were simply collecting dust in my jewelry box.


Color Combinations

Light Green & Pale Pink

Red & Yellow

White & Aqua

Brown, Tan, White

Green, Clear, Gold

Sea Green

Pale Orange


Pink & Aqua

Green Mossy Hues

Purple & Orange

Black & Gold



I can’t wait to complete the combinations & recycle my old necklaces.



Jan 23

Necklace Trends

Posted on Friday, January 23, 2009 in Favorite Finds, Gift Guide, Shopping Spree, Wallet Wise

Right now many retailers have great jewelry pieces on sale and ones that will look great through the spring and summer. Retailers are stressed about excessive inventory, so pick a weekend in February to visit your outlet malls and shop online TODAY! Since starting my research some great options have sold out already.


Check Your Jewelry Box!

Gold Chains in a variety of lengths (16, 18, 24 & 32 inch)

Long Pearls

Pendant Necklaces

Chunky Beads and Gems

Long Beaded Strands


Here are a few HOT finds and 100% are ON SALE NOW!


Ann Taylor     Aldo          Adia Kibur         BCBG        Bop Bijoux 


       BR          Blue Fly      J. Crew         Bergdorfs    Anthropologie


    J. Crew           Blue Fly      Wendy Mink    Anthro             Bloomies


AnnTaylor       BR               Blue Fly        Anthro             GS Lillian


 Blue Fly        Wendy Mink     Wendy Mink     Ann Taylor      Blue Fly

 MOre More More…But Act Fast

How To Wear 

Jan 21

Cooking in Istanbul

Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 in Deep Dish

I spent the New Year in Istanbul, Turkey and took a cooking class at Cooking Alaturka in Sultanahmet. The wildest coincidence was 3 people were from my hometown Richmond, VA. Who would have thought Richmond had gone global.  I will share the rest of the menu over the weeks ahead, but here is the main dish and it was amazing. 


A friend, honeymooned in St. Lucia and brought back herbs she has enjoyed cooking with since the dream vacation came to an end. I was jealous when I saw all her little herb jars labels St. Lucia Oregano etc. I made it a priority and came home with Cumin, Hot Pepper Flakes, Tomato Paste, Hazelnuts, Roasted Pistacios, Cinnamon, Olive Oil, lentils and whole pepercorns. This cooking class gave me an idea of what spices and ingredients to buy at the Spice Market.  I have since bought my own air-tight Crate & Barrel glass jars to store all my goodies.


Hünkar beğendili kuzu

Lamb stew in tomato sauce on smoky eggplant puree


A classic Ottomman dish, “Hünkar beğendi” is the eggplant part of the dish, and translates into “Sultan’s Delight”. It’s an interesting combination of Middle Eastern and European flavors:  smoky eggplant puree mixed with a little bechamel sauce and grated cheese. The lamb stew can be prepared in advance, but the eggplant puree is best served fresh. Also great with meatballs, chicken, or, for vegetarians a mushroom ragout.


Serves 6:

For the meat:

1 kg / 2 lbs cubed leg of lamb (kuzu butu)

2 tbsp (corn) oil (mısır yağı)

2 bay leaves (defne yaprağı)

2 onions (soğan), chopped medium-size

1 carrots (havuç), cut diagonally in slices

1 red bellpepper (dolma biber), cut in diagonal slices

1 green bellpepper (or charleston), cut in diagonal slices

2 cloves garlic (sarımsak)

1 tbsp tomato paste (domates salçası)

½ tbsp bellpepper paste (biber salçası)

1 tsp red pepper flakes (pul biber)

1 tsp whole peppercorns (tane kara biber), cracked coarsely, salt to taste

3 tomatoes, skinned and cut in medium-size pieces with seeds and all


For the puree:

1 ½  kilos/ 4 lbs / 6 aubergines/eggplants (patlıcan)

1 tbsp butter (tereyağı) and a little oil for the butter not to burn

1 tbsp plain flour (un)

250-300 ml / ½ pint milk (süt)

50g / ½ cup “kaşar” cheese (replacable by a mild Cheddar, Gouda or Gruyere), grated


To prepare the meat: Heat the oil in a pan with a thick bottom till very hot. Add the meat and brown all around. If any liquid comes out, let this evaporate before adding the vegetables. Add bay leaves. Once all liquid is gone, add the onions, then the garlic, carrots and bellpeppers, and cook the vegetables a little before adding the tomato and bellpepper paste, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook the pastes a little, till they start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Push meat and vegetables to the side and add tomatoes to the middle. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes or so (cooking time depends on the type of meat you are using). Add salt towards the end.

To prepare the puree: Remove the biggest parts of the leaves and pierce eggplants if wanted. Cook them over a gas flame or charcoal until completely soft inside and charred outside. Remove the skin with a little knife, holding the egpplant vertically by its stem, scraping the skin off in a downwarts motion. Once cooled off a little, chop the flesh into 1 inch cubes. Melt the butter with a little oil in a saucepan, and stir in the flour to make a roux. Then pour in the milk, stirring all the time and, once thickened, add the cheese, allow to melt, then add the eggplants. Season with salt to taste. Divide the eggplant puree over the plates, make a hollow in the center and arrange the meat in it with a little of its own liquid. If desired the plate can be decorated with a grilled tomato and a grilled hot green pepper to add some color.

Jan 19

Get Creative & Get Organized

Posted on Monday, January 19, 2009 in Happy Home, Shopping Spree

Chalk surfaces are an interesting element worthy to bring into the home. Chalk boards stimulate creativity through doodling and can help organize a family or dinner party. Whether subtle through a candle, box or painting a patch in your kitchen it is a fun and trendy idea. The chalk paint has endless possibilities.


Chalk Board Candles














Whale Chalkboard













Chalk Cheese Trays

Wine and Cheese Party anyone….













Chalk Board Paint

Chalk paint is ideal for the molding of swinging doors, cabinets or the outside of a pantry door. It also easy to paint on a removable surface, like a metal pliable sheet, that can be placed over your fridge door or framed and hung.













Storage Tubs













Chalk Wall Paper Planes




Jan 13

Cozy & Cute All Winter Long

Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 in Shopping Spree

On January 4th, the first day back from vacation, my brother said those dreadful words “now is when the city gets really freakin’ cold” and boy did it. This week the weather-man said 8 degrees at night and 18 for a high, what is that? I hate to say it northerners we have had three very subtle winters in a row….so we are due. But, knowing is half the battle, so prepare your self and stay warm.


We all have heard that our body heat escapes from our head so what a perfect place to start.  



Solid colors and structure for work

Weekends are a fun time to play with beanies and poms

Trends include- Fur and oversize berets

* To Combat Flat Hair, take your side swept bangs or the top of your part back towards the crown of your head and barrette it and then put on your hat.


Classic Winter Hat













Oversized Beret



























Bucket Hat














Tie Back Cloche















Stitched Aster Cloche















Knotted Chapeau











Jan 9

Bullion Coins

Posted on Friday, January 9, 2009 in Favorite Finds, Gift Guide, Shopping Spree

A co – worker came in yesterday wearing the greatest coin necklace. As I inquired it got more fabulous and I have to have one. Her grandmother collected a few of these bullion coins from Canada, America, China, Australia etc. over the past 50 years and had them made into necklaces for the women in her family. My friend received her Chinese Bullion in the year she was born, awe. Her mother has received the Canadian and the American Buffalo. Aunts and cousins have also been adorned with this precious metal from South Africa etc.


The coin is HEAVY. Bullion means, a metal deemed to be precious if it is rare. It contains one troy ounce of pure 24k gold and it is legal mint, so not to be carried around lightly. It is a collector’s item and investment that will always be of value. Many nations mint bullion coins, of which the most famous is probably the gold South African Krugerrand. They will run you approximatly $700- $1000. 


Anyone having a daughter this year?

Here are the images on the coins and once I get a photo of her necklace I will share.

Jan 7

Taking on the Butcher

Posted on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 in Deep Dish

 Cooking for groups or making that special WOW meal for your hubby means pulling recipes, making a shopping list and heading to the grocery store. The butcher can be a bit intimidating when you see the recipe call for a top round and can’t find those exact words on a package of beef. What should I substitute top sirloin or maybe chuck? Well here are some notes that have helped me learn the way approach the man in the white coat.  


Before you head to the store:

1.      Know which meals you’re shopping for and how many people.

2.      Standard restaurant portion is 8 ounces, but that is why we are all obese so cut back to 4-5 ounces if that will be enough for your guests.

3.      Nothing gray or discolored should appear in your butcher’s case. But it’s hard to assess quality from behind glass. Beef should be bright red, though slightly darker if vacuum-packed.

4.      Don’t be afraid to ask a butcher for the freshest steaks, but if your in a specialty shop the butcher might look at you strange because they might specialize in aged beef. Aging beef allows beef to soften as the tissue breaks down. Wet aging and dry again are available, but you’ll pay for it.

5.      USDA grades: grades primarily deal with the amount of intramuscular fat in meat — the more marbling, the higher the grade.  Higher grades often have more fat and more calories than leaner meat. The three grades to look for are prime, choice or select, in that order.

6.      Posh Terminology: “Natural” simply means that no colorings, and generally no other additives, are used in meat. It says nothing about animal health or feeding. “Organic” indicates rigorous standards, but has more to do with the quality of animal feed than what that feed consists of. “Grass-fed” doesn’t indicate whether an animal was fed grass all the way to slaughter; many are finished on grain or corn. (”Grass finished” is more useful.) “Vegetarian-fed” simply indicates a farmer didn’t use feed containing animal protein or byproducts.

7.      Lean cuts include top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder, arm roasts, round steaks and roasts (round eye, top round, bottom round, round tip), and at least 90% lean ground beef.

*The Cooking Explanation:

The chuck, brisket, round and shank are the most exercised muscles and hence, the toughest.  A pot roast can be made from chuck via braising, (cooking the meat in a small amount of liquid for an extended period of time).  Chuck is also useful for stew meat, making stock, and ground beef.  Your average hamburger is mostly ground chuck. 

The brisket is home to corned and barbequed beef.  The classic corned beef and cabbage is made from boiling the meat.  Pot roast can also be done with brisket, again by braising.

The round includes the top round, bottom round, heel round, eye round, and rump roast.  Sometimes ground beef is made from the round as well. Although all round cuts are tough, the top round is the tenderest, relatively speaking.  Because of this, it can be roasted.  London broil comes from the top round and can also be grilled.  All of the others however, do best made into roasts with moist heat methods.  Notice that making a “roast” does not necessarily mean that the meat will be roasted.  At the risk of belaboring the point for clarification, roasts such as pot roasts from tough cuts, require braising.  Roasts made from more tender meat are made by actually roasting. 

The shank is definitely best when braised as in the classic dish osso buco.  It can also be used for stews and stocks. 

The short plate and flank contain meat of medium toughness.  The muscle fibers are relatively coarse but contain sufficient intramuscular fat to maintain tenderness.  The short plate gives us short ribs which are braised or boiled as in New England boiled beef.  Skirt steak, (from the short plate) and flank and hanger steaks, (from the flank), are delicious when grilled.  However, they must not be overcooked, benefit from being marinated, and should be cut against the grain for a softer texture.  Mexican fajitas are often made from marinated strips of flank steak.

The rib, short loin, and sirloin render the most delicate cuts of beef.  Broiling, grilling, sautéing and roasting reign supreme here.  Rib steaks, (also known as delmonico or prime rib), rib eye steaks, (without the bone), and rib roasts, naturally come from the rib.  The sirloin provides a variety of sirloin steaks differing on where in the sirloin they are cut from.  Sirloin can also be ground and mixed with ground chuck for primo hamburgers.

Finally, the crème de la crème of beef: the short loin.  Picture a porterhouse or T-bone steak.  The larger side is referred to by all the names at the top of the article:  top loin, strip, New York strip, shell steak, etc.  The smaller side is the tenderloin or filet mignon.  The porterhouse and the T-bone are the same except that the porterhouse is cut from the larger end of the short loin and thus provides more of the filet mignon.  Both the top loin and the tenderloin can be cut into individual steaks, or larger roasts.  In the case of the top loin, the steaks may or may not be attached to the bone.  The tenderloin is always boneless except when part of a porterhouse or T-bone steak.



Jan 5


Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009 in Shopping Spree

Whether it is your new year’s resolution be more creative or simply part of your personality to be unique, here is one product that helps cater to your freedom of expression; Bespoke. 

Launched in New York’s SOHO at 21 Mercer this past November Nike released Bespoke. Bespoke allows buyers to switch out 31 parts to the ever popular Air Force 1 shoe including base, overlay, accent, lining, stitching, outsole, laces and deubre. The ability to choose from 82 colors and iconic materials has attracted a decent amount of celebrity support. The process takes about 4 weeks to complete and at $820 a pair these shoes might only be open to the very serious shoe connoisseur. To make an appointment you have to visit the 21 Mercer location.

Don’t be discouraged if Bespoke is not in your budget, check out NikeiD. NikeiD opened in 1999 and offers online creation or in-store consultation at a participating Niketown. Choose from a variety of styles make your next pair of kicks your own.

Here my the MellowMintiD…

Jan 2

What to do with old Christmas Cards?

Posted on Friday, January 2, 2009 in Going Green, Wallet Wise

1. Use as next years Christmas tags, Just cut out what would make a pretty tag, punch a hole in the top with a paper-punch, and use a ribbon to attach to the gift.

2. Children’s Memory Game, Cut out matching size squares from construction paper and your Christmas cards and glue two together with a glue stick.

3. Cut out shapes i.e. stars, circles, etc and string them for ornaments for 2010.

4. Use them for Place Cards at your next dinner party.

5. Turn it into a post card and send a note to a friend.

6. Christmas Ornaments, use cookie cutters to draw shapes and cut out with shears or craft scissors. Punch a hole and string with a ribbon.

7. Bookmark, laminate and punch a whole and string with yarn.