Cachet du Jour. You only live once, you might as well live well.
Cachet du Jour. You only live once, you might as well live well.
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer season, grilling season, bikini season and my all time favorite — no-cook summer recipes! If you’re slaving away in the kitchen or standing at a grill all day, you’re not enjoying the party so what’s the point?
My super easy tips will have you spending more time having fun and less time cooking. I like parties that are simple and focused on the guests. Yes, you have to serve food. But, you don’t have to spend the next three days in the kitchen like some Pioneer Woman Wannabe-although, you might want to check out her Dr. Pepper Ribs because they’re really worth the extra workouts.
First things first, Food!
Go food shopping. Just because you’re not really cooking doesn’t mean your family and friends aren’t hungry. One of my fave little tricks is to buy a bunch of fried chicken from the supermarket and lay it out on pretty platters and watch them go to town! Unless you’re from the deep south or your name is Paula Deen, chances are their fried chicken is better than yours. Personally, I think Publix Supermarkets have awesome fried chicken, but just use your judgement depending on your location. You can grab some sliders, buns and tons of fixin’s like cole slaw, potato salad, three bean salad, etc. Then, make your own green salad and there you go! Small plates and single serving food are always popular, too. It looks modern and cute and doesn’t do too much damage on the waistline… especially if there are bathing suits involved. Supermarkets nowadays have have everything you need!
I confess, I like getting people drunk. Parties are just better when the guests have a little buzz on. Make your life easy and get beer, wine, champagne and make one signature drink. That’s it. You can make a special cocktail in some fruity color and you’re done, red usually does the trick. When you use pretty glasses and cute garnishes, it helps. As always, no red plastic cups. It’s not a frat party and I don’t care if “its easier”. There are too many drink recipes to list, but if you Google “party drink recipes” watch what you find..I think champagne and anything is kind of fabulous. But, make sure you have plenty of soft drinks and water for the non-drinkers. (My friends are not these people)
You can pick up this cool steel tub at Home Depot for just over $13.00! It’s a steel tub, there’s not a big difference in quality that requires spending more than that. I also thought this idea was genius..make ahead cocktails! I’m not really into Mason Jars, but you could use bottles instead. LOVE.
Music is Key
You can serve all the fab food and beverages galore, but with no kickin’ tunes, your party sucks. Get a good playlist going and pump it up loud. For my parties, I like to keep it sort of upbeat neutral with a mix of pop, hip hop, dance, salsa and some classic bar music which is a big crowd pleaser..Hello, Brown Eyed Girl! No jazz, classical or easy listening. Ugh, they’ll be out the door after the first drumstick. The best wireless speakers for the price these days are hands down coming from JBL. Trust me, they’re AMAZING and start at under $50. Is it unpatriotic if I just play the Justin Bieber remix of Despacito on a loop ALL DAY?? I know he’s Canadian but Puerto Ricans are our people and well, I’m OBSESSED. Ok, suave suavecito the f-ck down, Cachet. 😉
When it comes to decor for Memorial Day, I say tread lightly. Your home doesn’t have to look like 4th Of July threw up on an American flag. You can go with one color like red, or clean and simple white with a few red or blue touches. Fresh flowers go a long way. And remember, you can reuse a lot of these items for July 4th, so keep that in mind if you buy seasonal decor. Simple is stylish, overkill is tacky. And foil decorations are a horror show.
One Little Detail
Do something your guests will remember. An activity, a cool favor, a fun extra something. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. I love the simplicity of a paper bag of chocolates or potato chips, a jar of BBQ sauce that you used. The simpler, the more chic it is. I also like taking a photo of each person upon entering the party and then sending it along with a thank you. It’s a nice touch and everyone loves photos of themselves, unless they look bad and/or wasted. And don’t post photos of people if they look bad just because you look good, it’s so obnoxious and it’s a really quick way to piss off your friends. Don’t be that person.
Say Thank You
I might be partial because I have a–wait for the shameless self promotion here–>stationery collection, but I’m a stickler for this. Something so small and so inexpensive screams volumes about a person. Emails and texts are okay, but a real card is better, thankyouverymuch. Make the effort, you’re not that busy. As the host, you can make a short video using any number of apps and then email the link to your guests. Fabulous, right? And practically free! Details like that are never about money and always about character.
Most of us have special ways of celebrating the holiday and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. In turbulent times there is a special meaning to this holiday, so take a moment to remember those who have given their lives so we can live freely. Be proud to be an American, fly that flag high and party like a rock star.
Happy Memorial Day and God Bless The U.S.A.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve seen tropical themed everything..from Dolce & Gabbana to paper plates, it’s everywhere! The tropical trend is hotter than ever. I’ve been a fan of it for quite some time and don’t think of it as a trend, but rather a classic and very chic look in both home and fashion. When some people hear “tropical”, they immediately think of Jimmy Buffet and piña coladas, which makes me cringe. But when done right, the tropical decor look can be luxurious, chic and very sophisticated.
So, how do you do it? The key is unless you are a professional, it’s best to stick with a “less is more” approach since it can be a pretty bold look. That said, one of the best ways to start is with lighting and accessories for the right balance with the rest of your home.
Just remember, It’s not about making your home feel like a luau. It’s about adding natural elements, rich color, texture and a laid back vibe that can work in several decor styles.
Here are some of my suggestions from Bellacor that I love:
Say hello to the your new favorite table lamp..It has a chinoiserie vibe, which is also somewhat tropical. So, you get two fabulous looks for one! Remember, you can always switch out the lampshades down the road and change up the look entirely. I have a pair of these in my Miami home. They came with navy blue shades and I used white instead in my very tropical bedroom.
The Veraluz Banana Leaf One Light Sconce is subtle, sustainable and sophisticated. This sconce is perfection. The milky white hue is so elegant. A pair of these would look amazing in a bathroom, a hallway, a bedroom or even an office.
No tropical look is complete without a few of these iconic banana leaf pillows from Surya. You really can’t go wrong. You can pair them with a white chair or a black and white stripe and they look chic. I like the 20” x 20” for the drama.
Tropical decor is really all about natural elements and this piece is called the East at Main Merriam Brown Abaca Round Accent Table and adds that perfect island touch to an awkward corner or even as a side table. And at a little over $100 it’s a no-brainer buy!
This Veraluz Banana Leaf Mini Pendant is the perfect touch for an all white kitchen. It adds a freshness, color, just enough of that fabulous tropical vibe and you don’t have to water it. Score!
Whether you live in Miami or Montana, a tropical decor look can work for you. Get out of your comfort zone, have fun, take chances and be sure to share your experiences with us. I would love to see how you made this enticing and stylish look work for you!
Style is about details, not about price tags or labels-dont get me wrong, those help-but not necessary. See below.
Flamingos are chic and fabulous and add a little je ne sais quoi to any room. Your kitchen will look cooler. Or, throw it on your desk or use it for cotton balls in your bathroom. Trust.
Flamingo Cookie Jar, World Market $14.99
Yellow, when it’s the right shade, is so perfect. This is that perfect shade. You can use these up until the Chriatmas tree goes up. Pair with wood, pink, blue, whatevs. You are golden. Oh yeah, dont forget your 20% coupon, I know you have a stash of them. 😉
Bermioli Rocco Sorgente 15.5 oz. Cooler Glass, Bed Bath & Beyond $6.99
There are a lot of greens that I LOVE. Then, there are a lot that gross me out. Plus, cheap velvet is the WORST. If you buy cheap velvet, you look cheap. This is the perfect rich, emerald/kellyish green.
Watercress Pillow Cover, by Williams-Sonoma $99
As we enter into Spring, we almost always think about fresh starts, the proverbial “cleaning house” in its various forms and dusting off what we deem as old and unneeded. That said, I decided to freshen up my demo reel. I’d like to think that a quick Google search brings up whatever anyone needs to know about me. But, the reality is that you have to do it yourself. In a funny way, all things in our lives involve a certain element of DIY, right? It’s always about doing things for yourself. So, thanks to my very talented and Emmy Award winning friend, Frank, here’s my new demo reel. It’s just a snippet of what I do, but an important snippet. When I look at these images I am reminded of how hard I work and how that work is rewarded with doing some really cool things with amazing people. And that I am proud that I have created a life where I can inspire people to try a little harder, know that anything is possible if you just try and that in the process we can have SO MUCH FUN.
Before you tackle any type of Spring Cleaning in your closet or your garage or your makeup bag, clean your mind, your thoughts and reset your goals. Rid yourself of what you don’t need, pay more attention to what you brings you joy and to what brings joy to others around you. It’s only then when the other stuff really starts to matter.
This Spring, I am tackling new projects, exploring some things that I’ve really wanted to do but been fearful of (yes, even I get fearful!) and letting go of what hasn’t proved to be productive to myself or my family. I thought it would be exhausting, but it’s really quite energizing and I encourage you to do the same. Chasing what you love is a journey you will never regret. You can clean out the basement later. 😉
I heard a great quote on YouTube the other day I’dlike to share with you:
“The only way you can do good work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Listen to your heart and your gut, hey almost intuitively know exactly what you need.”
And that my friends, is the ball game.
While “blush” has been somewhat buzzy the last few years, it’s actually a timeless classic. it works in any season and always looks elegant. No Easter Egg vibe anywhere, because ew.
Here’s what I’m coveting in blush:
Talisman London Bespoke Low Backed French Style Sofa About $4000. Don’t even think about eating tacos on this, please.
. Bauble Bar Earrings $36 On trend without trying too hard.
Pink Alabaster Glass Dinner Plates $7.95 each Pier One A “Rose All Day” kinda vibe.
Sam Edelman Leya Shoes In anything darker they’d be a horror show.
Yves Dolorme Prestige Bath Mat $135 at Harrod’s. Luxe details are important, that’s why.
Dior Vernis Gel Shine Incognito $27 at Nordstrom It’s time to say goodbye to Hello Baby
Abalone Shell from Sherwin Williams. A little deeper but looks lighter on walls.
Have a fabulous day. Crush the blush. XO
Have you ever walked into a room and just felt like whoever you were talking to could see very pore on your face? Well, I have and it’s not fun. Think about it..The doctor’s office, a diner, the DMV, the Emergency Room. What clears a room faster than the 100 watt lights that accompany the words, “Last Call!”?See where I’m going with this? It always boils down to one thing: LIGHTING
It’s true. You could be decked to the nines with a fresh blowout and your makeup done to perfection, but if the room is lit poorly you will immediately feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, at press time there was still no cell phone filter to remedy that problem. Conversely, when you walk into a space that is well lit, you don’t notice it. You just feel good. This is why top restaurants often hire lighting designers. It’s a fact..If you feel like you look good, you’ll be relaxed, have a better time and linger. If not, you want to hightail it out of there in no time! Right?
Why not use the same approach in your own home? It’s not that hard. Here’s how you do it.
LAYER YOUR LIGHTING
Don’tbuy into the idea that a one-and-done overhead lamp is always the right solution, it’s not. Dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms should all have multiple lighting sources. A floor lamp, a table lamp (or two), an overhead lamp or chandelier. You can use some lights for reading, others when you have company, all three when you’re cleaning or doing something that requires lots of light. But, this is definitely Rule #1.
DIM ALL THE LIGHTS, SWEET DARLIN’
Every room, even the bathroom. Think about it, if you want to relax in a luxurious bubble bath, doesn’t it make sense to dim the lights? Exactly! Dimmers are inexpensive, easy to install and come in a plethora varieties of styles and colors nowadays. Also, lots of dimmers can now be controlled by an app on our smart phone, so you can arrive home already feeling fab. Genius.
DON’T MISS THE STYLE OPPORTUNITY
A great lighting fixture can make a room, just like a great pair of shoes can make a $50 dress look like something off the runway. Depending on what your goals are, this can be achieved very easily with lighting. A statement chandelier, an azing pair of table lamps anchoring a chest, an unexpected sconce in a hallway or bedroom. Instantly fabulous! Don’t think of lighting as an afterthought, think of it with as much thought as the twenty-seven paint colors you looked at before deciding on the one that was perfect.
THINK OUT OF THE BOX
This comes easier for some of us than others. For example, I’m known to use chandeliers in kitchens and bathrooms because-why not? If it’s your house, you make the rules! Unexpected design touches are what makes our homes unique to us.Lighting is a fabulous way to acheive that. So many parts of lighting are customizable..heights, brightness, even your shades. I often change the lampshades on lights I buy..an antique lamp feels current when paired with a high gloss shade. A brightly hued lampshade can be used to coordinate better with a room’s decor instead of just white, The possibilities are far reaching and fantastic.
And now that I got you all excited about lighting your home (and looking amazing), here’s a special treat for my readers: Bellacor is giving away a gift certificate for $500 worth of lighting found on Bellacor.com! Follow them on social media (@bellacorlighting) and leave a comment here with your favorite lighting ont heir site and make sure you enter to win here: Bellacor Giveaway!
Hurry, because this giveaway ends on 2/13/2017. And GOOD LUCK!!!
Yes, folks. It’s true. That’s me, all three stories of me on the Reuter’s Screen in Times Square. This was a very emotional moment for me.
All the disappointments, all the no’s, all the rejections, all of it led to THIS. I never give up, I shoot the arrow straight, I never worry about the other guy and I just go for it.Everyday.
Keep doing your thing.
The Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York opens May 12th through June 9th. Located in The Carlton House Townhouse at 19 East 61st Street, it is everything New York design is about..glamour, sophistication and elegance. A 10,000 square foot space, twenty one of the world’s best interior designers and architects and ticket sales that help fund after-school and enrichment programs for the kids of NYC’s Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, it is THE event in New York’s design world not to be missed.
If you can’t get there, not to fret, I partnered with Kohler, one of this year’s sponsors, to bring you all the must have highlights.
This year’s show proves glamour, thank goodness, is here to stay. Rich colors, textural everything, gold, bronze and silver metallics, European styling and unapologetic opulence. It’s ok to be fabulous. In fact, let’s take it front and center, shall we?
As you enter the front hall, you are instantly taken by the sea of rich blues and crimson. Designed by David Collins Studio, the exact blue is Cooks Blue from Farrow & Ball. The rich, crimson sconces are designed by Candia Lutyens. Hello, fabulous!
Immediately, ou are met with a delicious, dizzying array of interior design inspiration, inside and out. Art, architecture..and that kitchen entertainment closet, oh my.
Since all parties end up in the kitchen, let’s start there. Designed by Clive Christian Interiors, the use of Kohler, Kallista Plumbing, Dekton and Miele come together to create a functional kitchen with serious Rock Star cred.
Jennifer Lopez is a Kips Bay Boys And Girls Club alumna. And so, a powder room in her name. Welcome to the JLo Powder Room in all it’s glam glory!
Here’s a closeup of the sink and faucet designer, Gil Walsh used..The Margaux Tall Single-Control Faucet in Brushed Bronze and the Briolette Vessel in Transluscent Doe. The photo is by Tony Duran, the wallpaper is made partly of cork (yes, really) and the mirror is by Barbara Barry for Baker.
This salon by Brian Sawyer and John Berson caught my eye because the armless sofa is both elegant and chic. The colors are soothing but rich. The primly tucked throw and tailored pillows are perfection.
Phillip Thomas took classic antiques, chic objets and had the walls spray painted in fun bright hues by Andrew Tedesco Studios. Brilliant and full of energy.
Harry Heissmann pulled out all artistic stops in this room..combining a mosaic wall hanging, an amazing mirror by Christopher Spitzmiller, chic objets (that frog!) and Purist fixtures by Kohler in brushed gold throughout. The Jacquard vanity has two doors and six drawers..also, Heissmann used two towel bars on the vanity doors, a clever touch.
In the Master Bath, designer S. Russell Groves took a different approach. Modern, clean lines are front and center. A little humor, color and glamorous hardware offer a nice balance to the room. Kohler’s uber-chic-meets-high-tech Numi Intelligent Toilet might be the gadget we all need in the bathroom. Groves used the Reve drop in tub, Jute Wall Hung Vanity and Purist brushed bronze fixtures throughout.
If you don’t know, now you know: Steel Pergola.
Opulent elegance is not an oxymoron, Alex Papachristidis proves.
Garrow Kestigian took chalkboard paint-among other things-to a whole other level of sophistication.
Vignettes separate the good from the great interiors.
Did someone say LED lights sewn into the window treatments? Yes, Victoria Hagen did!
Les Ensembliers used French fabrics and lots of warm, gold shades.
In the end it all comes down to this. To date, The Kips Bay Decorator Show House has helped raise over $20,000,000 for the Boys And Girls Club and over 10,000 young people in New York City.
Here are some of them.
For the record, I think it’s always ok to be glamourous.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Kohler Co.
First things first: I am so NOT a baker. I don’t even cook that much. It’s not that I don’t like to cook, I’m just busy. But whenever I do try my skills in the kitchen, my dishes are usually really good. Weird, right? The running joke in my family is, “Courtney made this??”, which I’m totally ok with, but by now my culinary street cred should not be such a shocker.
On Easter Sunday my family and I were eating at home since we just returned from a fabulous, taco-and-tequila-filled week at the ahmazinggg Nizuc Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico..check out my Instagram account for all the ridiculous photos. After all that restaurant food and a week’s worth of laundry, we decided to make it a chill stay-at-home dinner. On a whim, I decided to try making my favorite dessert-tiramisu.
Tiramisu is one of those desserts that just looks difficult to make, right? After Googling “easy tiramisu recipes”, the search options had me scared. Phrases like “double boiler” and “egg white peaks” are way above my pay grade. Whoa, I don’t even know what a double boiler looks like. But my steely determination would not give in, so I pressed on and..voila! There it was!
Giada DeLaurentiis had a recipe that looked really easy..in fact, so easy it felt suspect. Surely, it must suck. Plus, a lot of my foodie friends have said her recipes come out with varied degrees of success. But, this was so moron-proof I had to at least give it a try.
Whenever I read a recipe online, I immediately read the reviews. They are chock full of comments from people far more adept at cooking than I am and I find them very useful. There was some talk of it not being sweet enough, but other than that things looked pretty stellar so I decided to go for it. Now, one of the reasons I don’t bake is because in cooking, as in life, I’m not great at following the rules. I prefer eyeballing over measuring and this tends to be my downfall. This recipe was no exception, but it somehow worked in my favor this time.
As I was making the tiramisu, I tasted it and decided to make a few adjustments:
I added more sugar. I used 1/2 cup, she said a few tablespoons.
I added a teaspoon of Pure Vanilla extract, she did not list this in the ingredients. (I think a teaspoon of vanilla makes everything better)
I added some Cabot’s Whipped Cream-a big squeeze is my best description. Redi-Whip would be fine but I’d shy away from Cool-Whip since it has a distinct flavor and it grosses me out.
I didn’t have cocoa powder or one of those flour sifters, so I used some Easter chocolate I stole from my kids and shaved it on a fine grater. A broken bunny ear did the trick!
After I completed it, I covered it with foil and put it in the refrigerator for three hours.
If you want to try something new this weekend, this is easy and divine!
Let me know how yours turns out and if you made any changes, too!
Giada DeLaurentiis Tiramisu (with a few changes)
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
A big dollop of whipped cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups strong espresso, cooled
24 packaged ladyfingers (one package)
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings or cocoa powder, for garnish
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes
Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth
Add whipped cream, vanilla
Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.
In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom.
Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.
Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours.
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