Make a difference

January 25, 2011

Yesterday, Liam Holt passed away. He was a lovely six year old boy who had a rare form of cancer and was way too young to die.   His story was a heart breaker but sadly, not that uncommon.   I met Liam through this mother, Gretchen Holt,  PR Director of OXO, a company that makes the best kitchen and garden products.  Gretchen threw really fun dinner parties at all the best restaurants in NYC. She brought together editors and made them friends.

When Liam was first diagnosed with this really rare cancer, she looked the illness right in the eye and fought it hard.  She learned that pediatric cancers don't receive much funding from government or private sector yet cancer is the leading cause of death of children.  She started an organization called Cookies for Kids' Cancer and started with a single bake sale that sold 96,000 cookies. Having volunteered to make cookies for this inital sale, it was truly awe inspiring to watch so many volunteers make, bake and package that many cookies.  It reminded me of what we can really do when we stop watching Bravo and take up a cause.  Fueled with deep knowledge and almost superhuman determination, Gretchen's organization has taken the simple bake sale concept and blown it up to fund new research.  

Susan G. Koman has become synonymous with breast cancer and now that cancer has a 90% survival rate.  Susan's dying wish to her sister was that she cure cancer.  Her sister has made great strides in doing just that.  Now Gretchen is on the same path to finding a cure for pediatric cancer. I remember one conversation with her when she said she had attended over 20 funerals for children that year.  As a person who can barely handle St Jude's commercials, I was shocked to learn there hasn't been a new drug for kids' cancers in over 20 years.  That is crazy.   Read about some of the kids (including Liam) who inspired the group of folks who joined Gretchen and Larry in starting this amazing organization.

Consider helping. 

Option 1)  Buy some cookies.  They are delicious, make great presents and ship nationwide.

Option 2) Consider hosting a Bake Sale.  Get a kit on the site that walks you through the specifics.

Option 3) Donate money.  Always a winner.

Mail Donations to:
Cookies for Kids' Cancer

31 Hoffmans Crossing Rd.
Califon, NJ 07830
Stock & Security Donations:

Live large.... and with meaning,  

Sippin' something hot

January 23, 2011

With frigid temperatures and a frozen landscape, it's time to break out the hot chocolate.   Having grown up on watery Swiss Mix versions, I never knew what hot chocolate really was until recently.   In a trip to Paris, it hit me how often chocolate chaud shows up on menus. They are just nuts for the stuff!  It got me thinking about New York's great chocolate spots like La Maison du Chocolate that make hot chocolate really something special but I never really get the craving till the snow is on the ground.  Recently on an absurdly cold afternoon, I joined friends at the City Bakery and discovered for myself the pleasures of the drink.  For $5, you get the richest cup that's topped with the world's best marshmallow. It's like heaven.

Stumptown Coffee in the uber-hipster Ace Hotel serves a delicious variety that's not as sweet, even almost bitter. It's a Mexican version that has hits of spice and richness to it.  The barista poured melted chocolate into a cup then swirled in frothed milk.  Just watching the production of it makes the mouth water.

Want a mix version to make at home?  Jacque Torres has a  yummy mix that's won a few awards though it's still better when they make it.

My fav, Donna Hay, serves up DIY mochas that would really end a dinner party in style.  Chocolate curls, a shot of espresso or chocolate and steamy milk make a terrific (no cook) dessert on a cold night.

The real hero may be the chocolate used but the part that makes me smile is the marshmallows. And aren't they having their moment??  A way to raise the hot chocolate bar is add some fancy marshmallows in different colors, shapes and sizes.  Marshmallows have replaced cupcakes as dessert du jour.
Here's some that I love.... come in six flavors and are delish!

Levity Gourmet Marshmellows also come in fun flavors but vanilla is my fav!

And good old Whole Foods carries organic homemade version too!  Pick up a box to top off your next cup.  

Live large, 

MoMA Rocks

January 19, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art isn't just a world class museum but a place to drop plenty of cash as well.  They have a truly stellar gift shop that's worth bookmarking.  I hit their Spring/Summer preview this week to get a teaser of what's coming.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Check out this Phillip Stark chair that combines three iconic chair designs into one look.  Perfect for any modernist who can't decide which high design chair to buy.

MoMA always has a few quirky things that cause a smile like this leaf doorstop. 

Another quirky thing they have in their spring line are household scissors made for both lefties and righties, keeping families happy.

A clever clock that is practical yet cool, this number hits the mark.

Exclusive to MoMA these melamine gold bowls are expensive looking but actually well priced.  They give a lot of look for not that much.

MoMA is showcasing Turkish designed product so be on the lookout for those really interesting pieces.  They will only be available for a limited time this spring/summer so be on the lookout on the website.

Live large,

Happy Birthday, Cary Grant

January 18, 2011

Today, is his birthday and it's being celebrated by TCM with movies of his all day.  Archibald Alexander Leach or Cary Grant as we know him, would have been 107 today. Talk about style, the man had it it boatloads.  So much so, there's whole books written about it. 

My personal favorite film was His Girl Friday with the fabulous Rosalind Russell (of Aunt Mame fame).  I don't know which is better- their outfits or their banter.  

His favorite film was North by Northwest where he has a dramatic run in with a plane while dressed perfectly.  He had some great lines in that movie. Here's one:

Roger Thornhill: Now you listen to me, I’m an advertising man, not a red herring. I’ve got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don’t intend to disappoint them all by getting myself “slightly” killed.

If you haven't seen one of his films in a while, run to rent.  Overall, he made 72 films so you have options. 

(And didn't he get paired with the loveliest ladies?  Here's two style icons hard at work-Grace Kelly and Mr. Grant on the nail biter To Catch a Thief. Only Cary could make an ascot look cool instead of absurdly uptight.)

My Top Ten Cary Grant Movies  
1. His Girl Friday
2. Notorious
3.  An Affair to Remember
4.  To Catch A Thief
5.  The Awful Truth
6.  Bringing up Baby
7. North by Northwest
8.  The Philadelphia Story
9.  The Bishop's Wife
10.  Houseboat (this is the weakest but we get to see Cary with the girl who got away-Sophie Loren). 

With Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story. 

Things to learn from Cary:

1.  Classics always look good. His well cut suits and classic style seem as cool today as they did in 1940. 
2.  Have a sense of humor.  He's devilish smile might give him away but he had a way of making light of things but getting his point across. 
3.  Be more than a pretty face.  He was known for being the up most professional actor who was always on time and well prepared.  I like that in a guy.  
4.  He kept his private life private.  He ended his friendship with Sophie Loren after she wrote about their love affair. I wish more stars kept their dirty laundry from our eyes. 
5.  He liked to dress well. And didn't it suit him?  He makes wearing a tux seem like the most comfortable thing in the world.  Sigh.   Sure hope Heaven is having fun with you, Cary.  

Live large, 

Hunt for inspiration

January 11, 2011

This past weekend was WinterJazzFest in NYC. For a measley $35, you could sit in one of five venues and check out the latest in jazz all weekend. What a deal... Several top acts were there like Steve Coleman and  Chico Hamilton but the real acts where in the audience.  The crowd had Personality Plus.  It got me looking for style inspiration in the club scene and in the amazing artists singing onstage.  Here are a few  favorites acts.  

Cassandra Wilson's dreamy voice is mesmoriming with tons of attitude to back it up.  

JD Allen and VisionFugitive has soul and depth and some funk.  

Nomo brings the party onstage with a high energy act. 

Without music life would be a mistake.  ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Just like anything else, we get in ruts and if January is about anything, it's about busting those wide open.  This January, pick a few new artists to support, hit a club (or two), stop and listen if a musician is doing their thing.  Embrace a new sound, a new color, a new voice.  

Live large, 

ps  On the hunt for new ideas and art, I stumbled upon True Grit star, Jeff Bridges (otherwise know as The Dude to folks who grew up in the 80s) website and suprised at how great it was.  He's got a cool voice and behind the scene take on things.  It's worth checking out, if not bookmark.  

Good for a laugh

January 10, 2011

Gray skies and long work days.  Post holiday blues.  January has always been my least favorite month here but leave it to Improv Everywhere to turn things around.   

With a mission statement like this, what's not to love? 

  • Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 byCharlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 100 missionsinvolving tens of thousands of undercover agents. The group is based in New York City.

    Their latest mission took place on this past (very chilly) Sunday and involved hundreds of folks taking the public subways without pants in NYC and 50 other cities in 24 countries.  Check out this hilarious video  

    Keep'em coming, Improve Everywhere!

    Live large and with great laughs, 

Decor Ideas for 2011

January 4, 2011

With the start of the new year, the annual purge has begun.  Looking for new ideas for my apartment, I tumbled upon these images.   In thinking about updating my pad, there's a few things these pictures teach me. 

#1) Have some serene and quiet moments in my home but also have a bit of glamor too.  Somehow, this image convenes both. 

#2)  Work the objects.  
Veranda Magazine has gotten on my radar more since there's new direction at the helm.  This photograph seems fresh and timeless. Love the feel of it.  That desk is for big girls only!  And don't get me started on those lamps.... Maybe it's not so much as getting new things but moving them around for new impact. 

#3)  Consider the whole apartment (aka floors and ceilings) to update. 
This last image was from a scouting trip to Nolita. It's the interior of the shop, Haus, on Elizabeth St.  It's a charming store run by blogger meets interior designer, Nina Freudenberger.  I love the chevron floor done in different shades of grey.

Lastly, is a picture of some crazy music group that plays at Union Square Station in full get up. Reminds me to bring a bit of humor into things in 2011.  

Live large, 

Fireplace Withdrawal

January 3, 2011

With a rare snowfall covering NC when home for the holidays, I spent a fair amount of time fireside. After a few rough starts, I managed to get pretty good at starting them by week's end.   Back in my white box in New York,  I'm having serious withdrawals from my hearth time.  Reading just isn't the same without the "snap crackle" of burning wood nearby.   Here's a few inspirations to keep my yearning at bay.

Love this from Elle Decor.  Sooooo cozy and a comfy leather chair to boot!

Another one that's well styled without being overstyled. 

A bit more fancy than the others but I like the modern hearth, partnered with the contemporary pieces.  

It's always a question on what to do with a fireplace when the temperatures head north. This home from Living Etc offers a nice idea.  Now, if only getting the wood perfectly cut to fit that nicely into the fireplace was as easy as it appears. 

The Domino gals were inventive with a nonworking fireplace by wallpapering it and adding the colored wood.  It pairs nicely with the dramatic black mantle.   Nice touch for those lucky enough to have a mantle, even if it can't light up. 

Live large, 

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