Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday's Escape: Baros Resort & Spa, Maldives

Oh dear readers, have I got something extra special for you! I don't always travel for pleasure as much as I'd like, usually it's business-related. So I started Friday's Escapes as a way to escape, if you'l pardon the pun. A momentary mindtrip if you will. This Friday's journey is nothing short of extraordinary. The Baros Resort and Spa in the Maldives is one of those places where reality falls away and you are magically transported to Nirvana. I can't think of a more romantic place for a honeymoon. Feel free to gift me a trip;)

Welcome to a rare privilege.
You are invited to relish the ethos of Baros
The essence of the Maldives.
For your vacation in serenity
Be Special
Be destined for Baros.
Baros: that elusive holiday spirit
Euphoric comfort in immaculate elegance
Compelling, delectable, congenial.
Epicurean dining, sublime spa,
sensational snorkelling, divine diving
Sandy arbours, evocative moments –
The rapture of nature, the kiss of bliss.
Baros, a place to love.
Relax: let Baros be your destiny.

-Poem and images courtesy of the Baros Resort & Spa, Maldives

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Ina Garten's Tequila Lime Chicken

I love Ina Garten's cooking show, The Barefoot Contessa, on the Food Network. Ina always creates the most fabulously simple dishes like this week's Tequila Lime Chicken. Perfect for grilling this weekend. Enjoy!

1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeño pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

*photo and recipe courtesy of

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tea For Two - Takashimaya New York

To say I'm a lover of tea is an understatement. The freshness of lemongrass invigorates, calming chamomile soothes and those laced with fruits satisfy my sweet tooth. One of my favorite tea companies, Takashimaya New York, offers a wide variety of tea. Your tea-loving bridesmaids will love the wooden boxed sets. Be sure to try the budding flower with the glass teapot. So beautiful to watch. Enjoy!

Rose Tea
Lemongrass Tea
Budding Flower Tea
Simplistically beautiful glass pot

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Art of Handwritten Correspondence - Red Stamp

We live in a world powered by technology and speed. Need to contact someone quickly? We fire off an email, punch out a quick text message or better yet we send a tweet. What happened to the handwritten note? I don't know about you but I love giving and receiving handwritten cards, they are both personal and intimate, a lovely gesture. Imagine my delight when I came across Red Stamp. The company offers fine stationery and desk top items. In my opinion, their standout service: for a small fee, they will hand write your wedding gift thank you notes! There's a 3-week turnaround time, just place your order and supply the names, addresses and a little something about each gift. Best part, it's our little secret. My top pick is the Swarovski crystal pencils. Love these! Happy writing.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Talk About Making An Entrance

Happy Saturday, dear readers! A friend sent this video to me the other day and I had to share it. What I absolutely love about this couple is they took a standard element and flipped it, making their ceremony their own. Talk about personalization. Enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday's Escape: Hotel Hermitage, Monte Carlo

Happy Friday, dear readers! This week we are off to the incredibly luxurious and chic Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo. A favorite of the international jet set, channel your inner celebrity while staying at this property. Want to really travel at the height of style? Pull up to the marina in your private yacht. Now that's how you make an entrance.

From the hotel's site: "This historic Belle Époque Palace, facing the Mediterranean Sea, was built in 1900 attracting an international clientele seeking the ultimate in service and elegance. Today, the hotel upholds its legendary status with the finest of amenities and has recently completed the renovation of the Excelsior rooms and a breathtaking harbor view. The top floors offer eight Monte-Carlo Diamond Suites including one Duplex that has a private terrace with Jacuzzi and sea-views. Suites and junior suites have harbor view terraces and Jacuzzi."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Dill Biscuits with Smoked Salmon

Dill Biscuits with Smoked Salmon, Watercress and Creamy Dill Spread

1/4 cup cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dill (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
8 dill buttermilk biscuits (cut in half, see below)
1/2 pound smoked salmon
8 sprigs watercress

1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and lemon zest in a bowl.
2. Spread the creamy dill spread on both sides of the inside of the biscuits.
3. Assemble with smoked salmon and watercress in the middle.

Dill Buttermilk Biscuits
(makes about 8 biscuits)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (frozen, grated)
3 tablespoons dill (chopped)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter (melted)

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
2. Mix in the butter and toss until coated in flour.
3. Add the dill and just enough buttermilk to form a sticky dough.
4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and form a disc about 1 inch thick.
5. Cut the biscuits out of the dough and place on a baking sheet.
6. Brush the melted butter on top of the biscuits.
7. Bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

**Recipe and photos courtesy of Kevin of Closet Cooking.**

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday's Escape: Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you all have had a fabulous week. This week I thought we'd keep our trip a little closer to home. If you are a golfer or love someone who is, the Kiawah Island Resort is the perfect stateside destination. What is so incredible about this place, not only is it perfect for families but it also has private residences for rent as well. Imagine waking up in a lovely beach luxury home, watching the kids play in the sand, lounging by the water reading a juicy summer romance novel, access to incredible gold courses and sunset walks along the shore. Ahhh, life is good.
Resort main property
Go ahead, get your Tiger Woods on

Very traditional southern bedroom
It's so old school, classic country club

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I don't know about you, dear readers but in the summer I prefer not to cook. If I must, it will be something lighter and very quick. This dish takes about 8-10 mins depending on how you like your pasta. Plus, Kate over at the parsley thief, makes Ina Garten's recipe fun. She even has pictures to guide you along the way. Manja!

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
3/4 pound linguine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined
kosher salt & pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a splash of olive oil & the linguine. Cook according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter & olive oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic & saute for 1 minute. Add the shrimp, 1 teaspoon kosher salt & some freshly ground pepper. Saute until the shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat & add in the parsley, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

Drain the pasta & pour it into the pan with the shrimp. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, and serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Design Inspiration: The Versace Bed

Design inspiration can come from any where, any thing and at any time. You just have to be open to it. There are no hard, fast rules; no right or wrong. Just go with what speaks to you. I am a huge fan of the Versace design house. It's big, bold, sexy and extremely powerful. When I saw this bed I immediately wanted it. While it is somewhat restrained by Versace standards, it is no less impactful. The strong squared lines of the wall echoed by the lamps, bedside table and the bench at the bed's foot. The square throw pillows and quilted comforter round out the image.

But how does this translate to your wedding, you ask? Easily, really. Take this cake from Carlo's Bakery, for instance. Strong lines, a hint of pearlized shimmer. Feels frosty and cool. Perfect for a winter wedding.

Imagine long rectangle tables seating 20 guests per side with these square glass candle trays running down the center. Cover with white (or even gray and slate blue!) square candles, uplights along the walls, no overhead lighting. Incredibly soft glow. Your guests will look incredible!

This Philippe Starck lounge piece would be lend a sexy club vibe while keeping guests comfortably close to all the action.

A singularly elegant gardenia blossom.

The ultimate design element, a Tiffany's cushion cut diamond engagement ring.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bride of a Certain Age

Happy Monday, dear readers. I trust everyone had a glorious weekend. I spent a little time over the weekend reviewing the current Spring 2010 collections while watching Say Yes To The Dress. (If you've never seen the show, watch it for Randy alone. I so love him!) Amid all of the 20-something brides-to-be, there was a beautiful woman in her early 50s who'd found true love and was preparing to say her I do's. While watching this lovely woman try on gown after gown, I started to think...if I'm a 50+ and fabulous, where would I find an ensemble befitting a woman of a certain age? Leave it to Oscar to understand that love may find you at any age. While I'm not terribly fond of the chosen headgear, a jazzy birdcage veil would do nicely.
I love the hint of sparkle at the waist. And yes, when I'm 50 I'll have legs as fly as hers. Me and Tina!
This coat and ribbon belt are utterly divine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday's Escape: Le Sereno, St. Barts

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you all had a good week and are ready for today's trip. We are heading to the fabulously exclusive Le Sereno Beach Hotel in St. Barts. Located on the Grand Cul-de-Sac, noted by Travel Channel as "one of the best beaches in the world", the intimate 37 suite and villas property is perfect for those seeking a secluded vacation experience. Be sure to pack your favorite swimsuit and those shades that make you look like a movie star.
Imagine taking your morning coffee with this view.
I'm in love with the canopy beds.
The villa feels like a home away from home.
I could sit out there all day, just watching the water. Incredible!
Cocktails in the lounge, perfect way to end the day.
Happy weekend!
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