Friday, October 31, 2008

A New Take on Trick-or-Treat

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a major sweet tooth. The three C’s, cakes, candies, and chips, are always extremely difficult to avoid. Some days I worry, though, that my sweet tooth may fall out!! Well, someone else is worried about this problem too, and he is a dentist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This year for Halloween, Dr. Jeffery Bartlett and many other dentists around the country are joining together and offering to buy candy from his patients and the community. For $1 a pound, the dentists will collect candy from children in order to save their teeth and health and then ship the candy overseas to our troops in Iraq. Dr. Bartlett personally deals with broken braces and cavities due to increased sweet intake; however, we must all be more aware of the sugar that we consume and the dangerous effects they can cause to our bodies, such as tooth decay, hyperactivity, and weight gain.

These concerned dentists are making a fun and creative shift to the holiday of Halloween. They want kids to go out and dress up like ghosts and princesses, but they are tired of seeing children walk into their offices during the first week in November with Now-and-Later and Laffy Taffy stuck in their braces!! Share this story with your dentists around the area, and see if you can start this awesome outreach with your community as well. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Here are some articles that have featured this story:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Because it is the Halloween season I would like to suggesgt some delicious chocolate treats from Lake Champlain Chocolates. This amazing company based in Vermont has everything from a white chocolate ghost to a cauldron filled with seasonal chocolates. So if you are looking for something special to hand out to your trick-or-treaters, Lake Champlain chocolates is the place for you.

If you already have your Halloween candy, Lake Champlain Chocolates has something amazing and delicious for all holidays! Just visit to see how you can make all of your holidays yummier!
What is your favorite holiday treat? Please leave me a comment.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Scent of Johnny Appleseed

So often, I catch myself wishing that I was a professional perfumer, able to capture a scent in nature and recreate it for my own use in my home or at event sites. I am continually purchasing candles that best capture natural scents, but they never quite achieve the “authenticity” of Mother Nature like I dream of. But who says you can’t bring nature into your home to fill your rooms with the heavenly smells of...let’s say APPLES!

The most amazing way to keep the fall sweetness in your house is to fill beautiful baskets of apples in select rooms. By placing more than one basket you create a theme that ties your d├ęcor together and you gradually create an orchard-like feel inside. The more the apples ripen, the sweeter the smell. This is one of my favorite times of the year, because I can experience walking through an apple orchard on my way to the dining room!

Above is a picture of the entrance of the restaurant Bouley in lower Manhattan. Chef David Bouley uses this idea in all of his restaurants.

Tell me about your favorite fall scents!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Get Inspired!

Every day I strive toward answering the question "have you made today better?" with a resounding "yes!". Bringing beauty into the mundane is a sure way to improve things, and nothing brightens a home or office quite like fresh flowers.

New York City's world famous fresh flower market first opened in front of Madison Square the mid-nineteenth century, and continues on today just blocks from its original location. A walk down West 28th street from Seventh Avenue to Broadway is like taking a walk through history to a simpler time, when business transactions were made face to face and sealed with a handshake. The sidewalks are lined with every variety of foliage and flower, and bustling with vendors who are passionate about what they do.

Living and working in the midst of the flower market, my seasons are marked by the changes in its offerings. I'm constantly inspired by its sights and smells. Sadly, the market faces an uncertain future as it struggles to compete with luxury buildings, rising rent, and the influx of handbag wholesalers moving into the neighborhood.

A New York Times article from 1875 described the mission of the market, saying, “No one, unless he is desperately poor, will be able to say after the market is open that he cannot afford to decorate his table with flowers!” This sentiment is true today: the market is there, so take advantage! There's no reason not to brighten your life with the beauty of fresh flowers.

The flower market back when it was thriving.

Flower Market Association Dinner

I visit the flower market (which is around the corner from my office) about twice a week on my way to work to see what is in season and for inspiration on the events I am working on.

Flower Market Association

Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

David Monn and Artisanal Cheese bring Fall Entertaining to YOUR home

David Monn has entertained the likes of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey, Oscar de la Renta, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld and now he’s bringing entertaining to you with his amazing selection of the world’s finest cheeses by Artisanal Cheese Company.

The first product offering from the new partnership is the David Monn Cheese Course. This unique monthly assortment includes three hand-selected cheeses, two condiments, and a package of Artisanal’s very own crackers presented in a ribbon tied French Hat Box. Every collection is a culinary collaboration between David Monn and Artisanal affinage, Waldemar Albrecht. Each exclusive monthly offering includes enough cheese and accompaniments to entertain 6-10 people. Cheese descriptions and a reference card with pairing suggestions are included in each package. The signature cheese series is available exclusively on and

And, for the ultimate cheese entertaining experience, David Monn has joined forces with Waldemar Albrecht to host a newly created workshop entitled The Art of Entertaining with Cheese. Participants will have the opportunity to experience firsthand how to serve a proper cheese course and set a beautiful table for any event or occasion. Each guest will experience a cheese course tasting complete with exceptional wine pairings. A portion of the proceeds of this introductory class will benefit The Art Fund - David Monn’s charity that helps place art education back into America’s schools.

Now you can entertain your guests the way David has entertained celebrities, queens, heads of state and titans of business for years.

Go to the David Monn Collection or for more information.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Watch Me On Martha Stewart Live Tomorrow!

See the MARTHA details:

Turn on Martha tomorrow (Tuesday) morning and you’ll see me talking about some of the great fall tips that have inspired my most recent decorating decisions!

I’ll be talking about fall colors and their practically infinite possibilities on your dining room table. Starting with orange burlap table clothes and napkins, I’ll show you how to fringe and fold to start the settings on your table. Using a pumpkin and leaf centerpiece display you can continue your personalized touch. To finish off the table, simple wooden candlesticks painted your chosen color will bring great flare for an evening dinner.

Check out your local TV listings to see when Martha will be on near you to get exact details on how to set your own beautiful table and fall look.

My inspiration for my fall table is the beautiful foliage that is happening right now in New England.

Here is how to make the leaf and pumpkin centerpiece that will be featured on the show.

1. Cut a pumpkin in half.

2. Carve out the inside of the pumpkin.

3. Cut a piece for floral foam to fit inside the halved pumpkin and place inside pumpkin.

4. From a branch of leaves, attach 5 leaves of different sizes to a floral stick using floral wire.

5. Place into the oasis evenly until you have completed your centerpiece!

6. Enjoy at your fall table!

Be sure to tune in and see me explain this centerpiece and more!

Click here to connect to all the information I discussed on the show.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Open Your Cupboards and Who Knows What You’ll Find!

When opening your kitchen cupboard, are you someone who looks up to the top shelves to find a number of uninteresting, random vases that you have collected over the years like me? Whether you received them with flower arrangements or inherited them from a distant relative most times the only purpose they serve in our lives is to collect dust. Well today is the day to dust them off and finally get some good use out of them!

1. Walk into your yard or down your street and look up! Cut down a few beautiful branches to use in your arrangement.

2. Now, take your simple vase and measure out a piece of brown butcher paper that will fit around it.

2. Cut the butcher paper to size and wrap the vase neatly like a present.

3. To add a finishing touch tie a piece of twine around the middle of the vase.

4. Fill the vase with water and begin filling the vase with the branches evenly.

5. Continue until the vase is full and place in your home to enjoy!

A few seasonal branches, possibly some leaves and tall grasses and you have found a perfect, FREE, and non-traditional use for those vases after all!

Above is a picture of the arrangement that is in the middle of my office right now!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation

I am constantly being inspired by the people around me and the issues they are concerned with. One of the largest diseases impacting our world today is Alzheimers - it is a disease that effects almost every one I know.

I was recently told about a foundation that is extremely impressive in fulfilling their mission towards improving the research for Alzheimer’s disease is the Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation. Established in 2004 in New York, the ADDF’s goal is to provide opportunities for the public to assist them in supporting scientists working on drug discovery for Alzheimer’s, a disease that currently effects 18 million Americans.

ADDF holds many events across the country in order to spread the word of its goals as a foundation. By visiting their website we can keep up with what they are accomplishing and how we can join in on their upcoming events. Continue to ask your friends about what types of organizations they are actively a part of, because through cooperation with friends charities grow rapidly and create amazing places in which to participate.

What charities are you a part of, let me know!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Patty Cake…Patty Pan!

People often ask me for ideas about what to do with thier pumpkins and squash once the fall holidays are over. When being asked this yesterday I was reminded of my grandmother’s Patty Pan dish that I used to enjoy in the morning when spending time at her house. Patty Pan squash, often called White Bush Scallop Squash, is a white or yellow-saucer shaped summer fruit. Like my grandmother would often show me as she cooked breakfast, Patty Pan is extremely simple to cook, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can boil, steam, or fry Patty Pan and the flavor and nutritional value of the squash will surprise you every time!

Below is a great recipe for morning Patty Pan that my grandmother surely loved, hopefully you will enjoy it as well.

Patty Pan Squash with Bacon

1 ½ lbs patty pan squash, stems removed, washed well and cut into ½-inch slices
3 slices bacon
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. In a cast iron skillet fry the bacon on medium heat until crisp. Set aside. When cool enough to handle, break up bacon into small pieces.

2. In same pan, fry the patty pan squash until golden brown on both sides, stirring often to avoid burning, about 10 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to serving dish.

Please leave a comment and let me know your ideas about using squash in your kitchen!

Monday, October 13, 2008


This year for Halloween I’ve been thinking about how to a change the traditional decoration theme. Instead of the usual orange and black, graveyard and goblins, clean up the holiday by going all white!

White ghosts, white pumpkins, white table clothes…the possibilities are endless when you begin to think about it. Use white pumpkins as a centerpiece for your table and build off the white theme. Agricultural guru Amy Goldman recently wrote “The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds”, where she highlights her white gourds and pumpkins. There are great accessories for a white Halloween everywhere you just have to expand your horizons on having a spooky holiday!

Here are a few of ideas of how to create your white Halloween:

“The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds” by Amy Goldman
Barnes and Noble-$40

White Pumpkin Candles-$19-44
Pottery Barn

Glitter Skull-$19
Pottery Barn

Ghost Goblet - $74.95 for a set of 4

Clear Candelabra - $51.99

Dripping Candles - $.95 each

Please leave any comments with your special Halloween plans!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Solution Involves More Than Simply Wearing Pink

This October marks the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Because of the amazing increase in breast cancer awareness in the United States, there are so many different ways that you can add to the cause.

Philanthropist and photographer Evelyn Lauder can be held as an amazing example for us to follow as we look to assist in finding the cure for breast cancer. Evelyn has started the Evelyn Lauder Breast Cancer Center on 205 East 64th Street which provides numerous facilities from art therapy services to nutrition services for those who are currently suffering or recovering from breast cancer. Through her website, you can learn more about what Evelyn has done to make such an impact in the world of breast cancer research and hopefully find a way that you can assist as well.

The new film on Lifetime entitled “Living Proof”, starring Harry Connick Jr., is something I recommend you seeing while it is being featured this month. I attended the premiere of the film and I was blown away! You should definitely mark “Living Proof”’ as a must see movie for your month to increase your enthusiasm towards finding ways in which you can help raise funding and awareness of the breast cancer problem that thousands of Americans suffer from each year.

“Living Proof” show times on Lifetime:
October 18 and 20 @ 9pm
October 19 @ 8pm

Evelyn Lauder's Website

What has inspired you this breast cancer awareness month?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who Says Old Food Tastes Bad?

If you haven’t noticed already, there have been a great abundance of tomatoes in the markets recently and they are extremely cheap. Instead of purchasing tons of tomatoes in order to make use of all the miscellaneous tomato recipes you have collected over the years think about preserving!

When I was growing up in small town Pennsylvania, one of my favorite activities to do was to help my grandmother can and preserve vegetables at the end of the summer. Canning for her was a chore and something she dreaded to do at the end of the summer, but when we did it together it was fun!

Here is one simple method of preserving tomatoes at home:

Step 1: Wash tomatoes in cold water. Carefully remove tomato stems, and place tomatoes in a strainer.

Step 2: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place tomatoes in the boiling water for about a minute. Remove tomatoes from the pot and immediately rinse them in ice cold water. Peel the skin off.

Step 3: Place tomatoes in clean mason jars.

Step 4: Place the jars into a pressure cooker or hot water bath and follow instructions carefully. This is the freshest way to preserve tomatoes.

Step 5: Store frozen tomatoes in a deep freeze for up to a year. Store frozen tomatoes in a regular freezer for up to 6 months.

Step 6: Store pressure-cooked tomatoes or hot-water bath tomatoes in a cool dark place. Use the tomatoes within a year.

Your jarred tomatoes make a great gift for your friends throughout the holiday season. While whole steak and chicken can last in your freezer for almost an entire year, canned fruits and vegetables can often last longer. If you follow the proper techniques of preserving your food, you can enjoy their great taste a year or two later.

If canning tomatoes with your family makes you want to can more food items check out the book "The Complete Book of Home Preserving", which has various ways to can and it also has many recipes that are great to use with preserved foods. Remember preserving does not need to be a chore when you turn it in to a fun family activity!

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
$23.96 at Barnes and Noble

Water Bath Canner
$45 at

Pressure Cooker
$89.99 at

Tell me about your favorite preserving methods and memories!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ditch the glue, mess, and money. All you need is some fresh FRUIT!

Often times, people look at photos and articles concerning DM events and feel intimidated by the extravagance of the detail and feel as if recreating our table settings or flower arrangements is unapproachable. What you may not realize is much of what we put together for lavish parties can also be accomplished in your own home!

When making centerpieces for my fall events, one of my favorite is a fruit centerpiece. While it is just as beautiful as flowers, they are cost effective and edible! Follow my simple instructions to create something beautiful for your fall table.

1. Pick a container that is the correct size for your table.
One large centerpiece works best for a round table, but if your table is rectangular table try two slightly smaller arrangements. Always remember not to make your centerpiece too high - you want your guests to be able to see one another!
2. Insert a brick of dry oasis floral foam into your container.
3. Using clear floral tape, create a gird of 1" squares.
4. Fill the container with water until the oasis is saturated.
5. Using a floral stick pierce the fruit and insert the other end of the stick in the oasis.
Be sure to have the most beautiful part of the fruit facing out.
6. Continue placing the fruit in the oasis until your entire bowl is full.
When using grapes wrap a piece of floral wire around the end of a floral stick, creating two free ends roughly 4" each. Wrap the wire around the central stem in your bunch of grapes.
When your centerpiece is finished use single grapes to fill in holes.
7. Add a touch of green by placing a little bit of ivy to the arrangement.
8. Speaking of green, when dinner is over, send your guests home with some fruit to reduce the waste from your party!
Do you have any centerpiece tips? I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Finding Homes for our Homeless with HELP USA

While walking down the streets of New York, whether you are a resident of the city or a tourist here for the weekend, there is no way that you can avoid bumping into or interacting with homeless men and women throughout the streets. Being such a large issue in most cities across the country HELP (Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged) USA, founded in 1986 by Andrew Cuomo, works to house, counsel, employ and improve the health of homeless across the country.

HELP works daily to bring homeless in through their doors and eventually send them back out into the world better prepared to account for their own actions and to provide for themselves and their families. Ways in which we can help improve the situation of the homeless, domestically abused and struggling veterans on the streets can be seen on $250 donated to HELP pays for two weeks of food and shelter for a family of four. Also a new way in which you can easily help the organization raise money for their cause you can purchase their “Comfort Food” merchandise. 100% of the proceeds of the merchandise purchased benefit HELP USA.

For the full information concerning the programs and history of HELP USA visit their website. With the homeless problem being such an intimate part of our lives, move yourself to make changes to assist those in serious need in your neighborhood. Money, time, and most of all affection will change the lives of so many members of our community.


Comfort Foods, "HELP Tower" (as pictured)
$25, Order Online

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tune in to Tune Up Your Fall Parties!

Today I will be appearing on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Show discussing some of my favorite tips for the fall season. I love to host parties almost as much as I enjoy planning parties for others, and one thing that you must remember when throwing a gathering for any size is how the experience begins and how it ends. It begins with the first thing your guests smell and ends with the last thing they taste. Also, shop at home- always have staples like chicken or vegetable stock, seasonal fruit, items you can pull together for any type of party! Its FALL so time to change your home fragrance. Candle scents that are great to spread throughout your home are the smells of sandalwood, fig, almond, pumpkin. Ralph Lauren's Estate scent captures the season perfectly.

A great fall menu will also be one of the topics discussed on Martha. Crock-pot cooking and stews are always house warming and soul warming as the weather cools. My favorite introduction to fall is my sherried winter squash soup recipe. It takes 20 minutes to prepare but it tastes like you prepared for days!

David's Squash Soup
8 Servings
41/2 cups cooked and pureed butternut squash (it can be frozen squash)
11/2 cans chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 bottle Tio Pepe Gonzalez Byass Jerez dry sherry
3 tabelspoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream

I follow that up with a fabulous, fun main course of Cheese. A four course Cheese Course as the main meal. Its unconventional, but you will find it a crowd pleaser. I have partnered up with to offer my very own suggestions of how you present a cheese course and what to serve along with it.

As far as desserts go, Romertopf, seasonal fruit toppings for cakes and ice cream, is definitely a great finale for an already delicious meal. One of my favorite fall desserts is Betty's Carrot Cake It is one of my fall staples for entertaining. Seasonal gourds and baskets of apples create striking centerpiece displays for your dinner table and throughout your home.

Tune in to Martha Stewart Living on Sirius Radio today at 9am to hear more details about what I am doing this fall and what you can do to expand your home experience!