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Feb 25

Who Loves to Travel?

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 in Favorite Finds, Ticket Trips

Anyone itching to get out of town, planning a family reunion or honeymoon?
Here are some helpful sites, hotels, search engines I use, read about or know someone who loves. There are millions of options out there for your ideal vacation stay. 

Please add places you have been and loved.
Shout Out…Jefferson Hotel- Richmond, VA made the T&L Top 500 Best Hotels 

 Luxury Hotel Accreditations
Relais Chateaux
Preferred Hotels
Orient Express
Rocco Forte Collection
Virtuoso
Leading Hotels of the World
Five Star Alliance 

New Hotels
Four Seasons Seychelles- East Coast of Africa
The Estate at Grace Bay Club- Turks & Caicos Islands
Singita Grumeti Reserves- Tanzania
Pelican Hill- Newport Coast, California
Seven Seas- Thailand
AVIA Napa- Napa, California
Fontainebleau- Las Vegas, Nevada

Boutique Hotels
Leading Small Hotels of the World
The Porches- North Adams, MA
Ellerman House- Cape Town, South Africa
AVIA Savannah- Savannah, Georgia
The Inn at Perry Cabin, St. Michael’s Maryland
Hotel Fauchere, Milford, PA
Farm 215- Overberg, South Africa
Blackberry Farm- Walland, Tennessee

All-Inclusive/ B&B
Excellence Riviera Cancun- Mexico
Paradisus Palma Real Resort- Dominican Republic
Round Hill- Jamaica
Secrets Resorts- 4 New in 2009 & 2010
Iberostar- Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Hayden Street Inn- Healdsburg, CA
The Lodge at Woodloch- North Eastern, Pennsylvania
The Round Barn Farm - Waitsfield, Vermont Last Snow Shoe Dinner of the Season 3/14
Holiday in Tuscany- Chianti Region of Tuscany- Cooking School 

House Rentals
Home Away- Vacation Rentals
Vrbo- Vacation Rental by Owner
Mustique Island- Deals between May 1 - November 14
(Blue Waters / Cotton House)
Casa Paraty, Brazil 

Online Travel Advice, Booking, Help, Guides…
Travel-Ticker.com
Smarter Travel.com
Booking Buddy.com
Kayak.com
Seat Guru.com
Travel Artistry - Tell them I sent you!
Home & Abroad
Vayama
Yapta
One Time
Side Step
perrinpost.com- Conde Nast Consumer News Editor Wendy Perrin’s blog 

Current Deals
Fairmont Hotels have cut rates through April 15
Deal @ Fairmount Pearl in Mexico until April 30th
Starwood Hotels- 2nd night is ½ price including W & Le Meridien hotels Through March
Los Cabos, Mexico- $950 for 3 nights in a Villa, Flights & airport transfer & $100 credit
Half Moon- Jamaica prices are down to $250 a night April - early December

Feb 16

Labor of Love Cookies

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2009 in Deep Dish

 

I made this recipe after watching Tuesday’s Martha Stewart Show and encourage everyone to use this as an alternative to your iced sugar cookie, the dough is delicious. The reason I call them Labor of Love Cookies is because the process is time consuming. I had a few hick-ups along the way so I will share them with you so next time we all will have great success.

  1. Chill the batter minimum of 4 hours to overnight, the colder the better.
  2. Don’t over mix the batter
  3. Have 2 Silpats
  4. Optional: Have Rolling Pin Spacers

I used heart and kisses (lips) cut-outs b/c that is what I had, but the dough spread pretty wide while baking and the shape didn’t hold very true. I ended up using my cookie cutters again on each cookie as it cooled and they turned out great. They were the perfect heart shape, but I think that is kind of cheating and I have left-over crumbs. Any ideas of what to do with the crumbs? I guess they would be a great ice cream topping. 

Once you have rolled out your chilled dough, try to cut as many cookies out of that original roll. You can remove any dough boarders that will be used for the next roll, but it is ok to leave it on the silpat during the freeze time b/c the shapes are easy to separate when cold. The left over dough after eat cut out should be chilled again before you roll out for round two. I made about 20 Small, Medium and Large Hearts from this batch. 

Chocolate Cookie Cut-outs, Martha Stewart
Frosting, All Recipes 
ChefMaster Gel Based Food Color, Pretty Party Place 

Ingredients

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen .

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.
  2. Place butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Turn dough out onto a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Form dough into a disk on baking mat and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  3. Lift baking mat from baking sheet. Roll out dough between baking mat and plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 3 1/2-inch lady-bug-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer baking mat to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove baking sheet from freezer and trim scraps. Reroll scraps between a nonstick baking mat and plastic wrap and repeat process.
  5. Bake cookies until crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Feb 16

Follow Up

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2009 in Favorite Finds

Keeping you posted on the updated developments of old blogs. 

Jan 9 : Bullion Coins… continued

Here is the photo of my co-workers Chinese Bullion Necklace

buillion1bullion2

 

 

 

 

 

January 26: Project of the Month…continued

Here is the necklace I made

 dscn0410

 

 

 

 

January 29: Target Designers… continued

A new one….Orla Kiely’s Retro Patterns a kitchen, dining and storage collection.

orlakiely

 

 

 

 

 

C-Thru Ruby Perfume sold at Target, Walmart and Kohls. C-Thru is an Estee Lauder product geared for teenage girls, so buy for your daughter and use for yourself.  

c-thru

Feb 10

Shop Your Closet Day…

Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 in Shopping Spree, Wallet Wise

polyvore

This time of year buying the whole outfit doesn’t always make the most economical sense. Here in NYC there are at least 2 more months left of winter and sales are everywhere because spring lines are waiting in the wings to take over the shelves.  If you are anything like me, your closet is filled with in-style, out-of-style, premier designers, economy brands and a few staples. In attempt to be a fashion savyy dresser, the ultimate conundrum is where to spend your money and make the most of your closet.  

Since starting Mellow Mint, I collect images of well dressed people from magazines and clothing catalogues making note of items I think would look good on my body type, are trendy, and show different ways to wear something I already own. I stuffed these images in a drawer and did little with them, until yesterday. 

THE STORY: This weekend, there was a shoe sale 75% off winter shoes plus I had a $20 off coupon from TopButton.com my fashionista shopping sale site. Based on a positive experience this time of year in ‘08, I knew I was looking for a pair of boots. The dress code in NYC is boots and my current pair was getting a serious workout. I found a comfortable neutral light brown pair boots and suede tan wedges for spring. 

When I got home, my husband wanted to see what I bought and the buyer’s remorse set it. Did I really need these, were they excessive, necessary and did they add to my wardrobe. I tried the boots on with my skinny jeans and they didn’t look at hot as I hoped. I tried the wedges on and he said “not a fan”. I started looking through my closet and rifling around and quickly said, oh well I can return them and I hate all my clothes. 

THE SOLUTION: I came across my image collection and started pulling out a few items that matched the images. Little by little I started putting together combinations that I had not yet done this season. Keeping in mind the two new pairs of shoes, an article titled ‘Now & Later’ from LUCKY Magazine and another titled ‘25 days of outfits’. I designed 11 new outfits. I took notes to remind myself of these new outfits, but if you are interested in setting up an online catalogue of outfit options, explore Polyvore.

More Fun Links/ Video…

Polyvore
Suite101.com by Gill Hart
InStyle Spring ‘09 Fashion Trends
Lucy Magazine Style & Advice Section & Now & Later piece on the Today Show
Stacy London….Splurge or Save on the Today Show.
Stacy London… Answers Viewer’s Questions Part I and Answer’s Viewer’s Questions Part II on the Today Show.

Feb 6

Cooking in Istanbul II

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2009 in Deep Dish

Kabak mucveri
Zucchini (Courgette) patties with herbs and cheese 


Serves 4-6: 
2 big firm zucchini/courgettes (kabak), seeds removed and grated with their skins
1/2 large onion (soğan), chopped or (preferred) 1/2 bunch of spring onions (taze soğan)
4-6 eggs (yumurta), depending on size and the batter’s consistency
3-5 tablespoons plain flour (un)
8oz/200g white feta-type cheese (beyaz peynir), soaked in water if very salty, and crumbled
Large bunches of dill (deroto), flat parsley (maydanoz) and mint (mint), chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (kırmızı biber)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sunflower oil (ayçiçek yağı) or corn oil (mısır yağı) for frying
Yogurt, mixed with garlic, crushed with salt in a mortar en pestle. 

Squeeze the excess water out of the grated zucchinis, if necessary. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the flour to a smooth batter. Add the cheese, herbs, red pepper, courgettes and the finely chopped spring onions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Let de mixture rest for minimal 10 minutes, preferrably in a lukewarm place (middle of stove e.g.) 

Heat a little sunflower oil, just enough to cover the base of a frying pan. Drop a small ladle full of the courgette mixture into the oil, repeat until the pan is filled, and fry the blini-size pancakes until golden-brown on both sides. Make sure the oil is not too hot, because the sides will burn and the insides won’t cook. 

Drain on kitchen paper, if necessary, and serve hot (preferred) or cold, with the garlic-yogurt on the side.

Feb 4

Elephants & Babies

Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 in Diapers N Drool, Gift Guide

Elephants, weighing in at over 200 pounds at birth, you can’t help but respect the mother who carried him. Whether you are shopping for a mommy-to-be or choosing your own nursery theme elephants are the ideal icon. 

  • Elephants look great in yellow, green, blue & pink.
  • Very popular and heavily available
  • Matures well from baby into toddler
  • They are real
  • Babar & Dumbo
  • Easy to draw
  • Educational

Very Sweet Lifeelephant-stuffed-animalelephant-hamper                     Home Decorators elephant-crib-sheet                   Giggle 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moma Store                        Estella NYC                Virginia Johnson                          

elephant-mobileelephant-onzieelephant-tote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Target

 

elephant-humidifier

Feb 2

Evil Eye

Posted on Monday, February 2, 2009 in Favorite Finds

evil-eye-amulet

As a teenager, I recklessly blasted evil stares at athletic opponents, ex-boyfriends, and clicks of girls referring to the look as giving someone ‘the evil eye’. Have any idea where this concept originated?

 

Over the New Year, I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, where the” evil eye” is a prominent symbol. Every taxi driver has one dangling from their rear view mirror; local artisans carve evil eyes into ceramics and beads and the duty free stores are stocked in “evil eye” paraphernalia.

 

The cardinal sin of envy is heavily written about in the books of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The evil eye seen all over Turkey is an apotropaic talismans, an object that wards off evil, similar to the act of knocking on wood.  It is believed that a person who resents another’s  attribute or material possession they  themselves  are  lacking, can wish the other person to be deprived of it by  casting  a jinx or curse through their evil eye. The token evil eye is hung in hopes of warding off these stares, gazes, and looks of envy. Some people believe the effects of jealousy can manifest into illness, death, and misfortune. 

 

I did pick up one evil eye while in Turkey and have since noticed them in fashion and home decor. Nothing wrong with warding off evil!

 

 

Mink NYC: Scarf

 evil_eye_scarf_blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron Basha: Charm

 

aaron-basha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Etsy: Painting

 

evil-eye-art