Tuesday, December 15, 2009

David's Seceret Recipes!!

David Monn's secret reciepes as seen in Black Ink published by Departures.

Triple Baked Potato

What You’ll Need:

8 Potatoes (40-50 Count Yukon Gold)*
¼ Cup of Sour Cream
¼ Cup of Crème Freche
2 Tablespoons of Double Devon Cream Butter
2 teaspoons of Portugese Salt (Kosher salt if 4oz of Cream Cheese not available)
Grape Seed Oil

* 40-50 count is a size measure used in the Produce Industry and each of these potatoes weigh about a pound and a half each.

Getting Started:
Coat the exterior of the potatoes with grape seed oil. Wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil.

Place them into the oven, and bake at 350 degrees for one hour and thirty minutes.

Remove potatoes from foil and using a thin knife, slice along the top both lengthwise and crosswise and fold back the potato skin.

With a table spoon, hollow out the potato insides getting as close to the potato’s skin edge as possible leaving only a shell.

In a mixing bowl, combine potato insides, crème freche, sour cream, cream cheese, Double Devon cream butter, and salt.

Mix on high until potatoes become a smooth, creamy consistency. If the potato mixture seems too thick or not creamy enough, add heavy cream (or whole milk) to the mixture until consistency is ideal.
Place mashed potatoes into a pastry bag (you may want to use a shell tip to add a design although it is not necessary) and pipe, filling each potato shell. Place filled potatoes back into the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove potatoes and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. Before serving, brush melted butter onto exterior. Place potatoes under the broiler until potatoes become lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.

I serve several condiment options:
1) Royal Transmontanus Caviar from Petrossian
2) Classic chilli
3) Vegetable ragu
4) And of course, lots of butter!

Aunt Julia’s Angel Food Cake

What You’ll Need:

1 ½ Cups of Egg Whites
3 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
½ Cup of Cake Flour
1 Tablespoons of Almond Extract
½ Cup of Almond Flour
1 ½ teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
¼ teaspoon of Salt
Granulated Sugar: Portion 1 of Sugar (¾ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons); Portion 2 of Sugar (3/4 Cup)

Whipped Cream Icing:
2 Cups of Heavy Cream
1 Vanilla Bean (Seeded)
1/3 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 Cups of Bakers Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut
Kalustyan’s Rose Scented Jam (Or your own)

Combine egg whites at room temperature, cream of tartar, and salt. Mix at medium speed for one minute. Add portion 1 of sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat at high speed until egg whites form high peaks. This will take approximately 3-5 minutes.

Combine cake flour, almond flour, and 2nd portion of sugar. Lightly fold into beaten egg whites. Pour into ungreased angel food cake pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Remove, and immediately turn pan upside down on a plate and allow to thoroughly cool.

Whipped cream:

My secret to the perfect whipped cream consistency is to place the mixing bowl in the freezer for an hour prior to beating.

Combine heavy cream, vanilla extract, contents of one vanilla bean, and sugar. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. Turn mixer to high and continue to beat until whipped cream forms thick peaks. Do not over beat or it will form butter!

Assembling cake:
Now for the magic to begin!

With a serrated knife, cut cake into 3 equal horizontal slices. Begin with the top layer of the cake as the bottom layer on the plate. Spoon 1/3 of jam onto the layer and spread evenly. (I make my own rose scented jam at home, but I suggest using Kalustyan’s) Spread ½” thick of whipped cream. Sprinkle generously with coconut and repeat on next layer and the top

Lastly, frost the exterior sides of the cake with whipped cream and sprinkle coconut on sides. I find that slightly pressing the coconut into the whipped cream helps create a consistent, finished look.

Refrigerate immediately and remove it 15-20 minutes prior to serving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Easy Entertaining

Last week, I invited some of my friends over for dinner. I love to cook, and lately have become taken with perfecting my coq au vin recipe, so I asked them to try the latest version and give me their feed back.

For me, setting a beautiful table is as important as serving a beautiful meal. It's all part of the same experience and both parts need equal attention paid. Your table doesn't need to be "fancy" or feature expensive linens or china, but it should be elegant. For my latest dinner, I selected wonderful green grapes and draped them in small glass bowls, and filled some of my favorite silver pieces with sugared orange slices. These little touches made a big difference on the table, and gave my guests something to munch on between courses!!

Check back for more easy tips to take your next dinner party to the next level!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Young Women's Leadership Network

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of designing the Young Women’s Leadership Network (Em)Power Breakfast. Even though I’ve helped the YML Network in the past, the individual stories of the aspiring young women never fail to move me.

The YWL Network partners with urban public schools to create single-gender public schools and college bound programs for inner city youth. The YWL Girls’ Schools have given young women opportunities they may not have had without the help of the Network. This year, the students had the privilege of personally interviewing community leaders, one of whom was Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and several business leaders from companies such as RCA/Jive Label Group, Goldman Sachs and The Estee Lauder Companies. They were even lucky enough to meet one of my favorite musical artists, Alicia Keys!

With the fall season in full swing, the YWL Network (Em)Power Breakfast always serves to remind me that children all across the country are back at school and hard at work trying to reach for their dreams. I take great pleasure in supporting the Young Women’s Leadership Network because it allows me to help provide these young students with incredible opportunities. .

For more information about the YML Network please visit their website at www.ywlnetwork.org.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I feel like there have been a lot of people in the news who have passed away recently. I was saddened to learn of the death of my colleague, Robert Isabell, over the summer, and, more recently, Dominic Dunne.

Over the course of my career, I've been asked by a few special clients to coordinate the funeral and memorial services of a loved one who had just passed away. Although most people don't think about it, funerals and memorial services require just as much planning as any other event, often times more so due to the very short turn around time. I pride myself on giving my clients elegant and memorable events that allow them to say goodbye with grace and dignity.

About a month ago, we did a funeral for a client. When I mentioned that one of the children hadn't received many hand-written notes, someone in my office suggested that perhaps his friends and associates simply didn't know what to say.

A condolence note should be brief, avoid including a personal comparison (when my mother died...), and let the person know that you're there for them. It's perfectly fine to say "While no one can truly know how you feel, please know that I am here if you need anything at all." Obviously, sharing a short remark about the deceased if they were a family member or very good friend is perfectly acceptable, but not necessary if there was no close relationship.

In the end, the effort of putting pen to paper will mean more than the content of the note itself. So no matter how awkward you feel, send that note because it will mean the world to the recipient.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Lights of Broadway Still Shine

Several weeks ago, some friends of mine invited me to join them for a night at the theater. Going to a show is one of my favorite things to do. Taking in the scenery, the costumes, the phenomenal actors and of course the great story lines makes for a wonderful afternoon or evening out.

This time, I saw Mary Stuart. What an incredible show! Unfortunately, it's closed, but I had to talk about it. Director Phyllida Lloyd did an amazing job with the story of the dynamic relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. In a time when men were the heads of the family and leaders, these two powerful women set the bar for female independence and the feminist movement.

The most amazing scene is the much-written about rain scene. Mary and Elizabeth face off in this pivotal moment with Mary, the prisoner, getting soaking wet, while Elizabeth, the executioner, remains dry in a scene that speaks volumes about both the characters both literally and figuratively. The actual rain was accomplished through the use of ceiling sprinklers and water traps and is simply breathtaking. I've never seen anything like it in theater before.

Although the show has closed, I had to talk about it because it proved that great, impactful theater is still alive and well in New York City. There are plenty of options for everyone - from historical to comedy to musical to children's shows. I think the theater is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening and is one of the great things about this city.

As always, check out TKTS booths for daily discounted tickets.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sammy's New Diet!

Recently, a good friend of mine recommended that I speak with a nutritionist about Sammy. While he's always been in good health, Cavaliers are a temperamental breed and you need to keep a close eye on their weight. They're notorious for developing heart murmurs, and any extra pounds can make the problem worse. Happily, Sammy has not been diagnosed with a murmur, but I'm very conscious of what he eats to help avoid that issue in the future and to keep him as healthy and happy as I can.

She recommended two things:
1. Switch him to an all-natural diet
2. Split his proteins and grains.

I learned that dogs (as well as humans) cannot digest proteins and grains at the same time. In order to get the most benefit from both, it's best to split the two into two different meals. Proteins in the morning and grains in the evening.

In the mornings, I give him Dr. Harvey's vegetables with two ounces of fresh, ground raw lamb and 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin and in the evenings, he gets Dr. Harvey's Miracle Food, a half cup of barley and 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin.

Already, I can see a difference in Sammy's health. His coat is softer and more shiny, he's got more energy and a cold that he just couldn't seem to kick has finally gone away.

Check out www.drharveys.com for more information!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lately, I've really been focusing on streamlining and cutting back on things that I don't necessarily need. I think a lot of us have been doing that - getting rid of what we haven't used in a while or don't want or need any longer. Not only have I been doing this in my apartment, but I've also done it at my warehouse.

I realized that I've held on to a lot of things that I no longer needed, and I was taking up space unecessarily. But, the items I was looking to get rid of weren't garbage..they just weren't useful to me any longer.

My office discovered the organization Material for the Arts, based in New York City (www.mfta.org). They distribute donated items to the public schools' art programs, cultural centers and other arts organizations who could defnitely use the supplies. We sent rolls of fabric (leftovers from tablecloths, curtains and other items), rolls of paper, paper flowers, glass cylinders and many other items that I no longer needed to their warehouse.

Since then, I've received dozens of letters from NYC public schools, after-school programs, theater groups and even individuals who've been able to put these things to good use. The Pan American Interational High School auctioned off some items to purchase much-needed athletic equipment while students at P.S. 212 in Queens made Mother's Day gifts out of the things they received.

It's an incredible organization that's doing a lot to help keep the arts alive in spite of these difficult time, and I encourage you to support them in any way that you can.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

End of Summer Perfect Lunch

Everyone searches for the perfect summer lunch for afternoon guests, for me it is my friend Susan Mason’s tomato pie. Heirloom tomatoes are in season and I can't think of a better lunch to round up the end of summer.  Susan’s tomato pie paired with a green salad is a simple and satisfying lunch even when temperatures rise. Below is Susan’s recipe, as well as one for balsamic vinaigrette. Be sure to check out her book Susan Mason’s Silver Service, which includes the tomato pie recipe and many delicious others, as well as event and catering tips.

Susan Mason’s Tomato Pie
Serves 6 to 8

9-inch pie shell, baked
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Spread the pie shell with Dijon mustard. Layer the sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cheddar cheese in the pie shell, ending with the cheese.
Mix together the mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Spread on top of the pie. Bake for about 20 minutes until bubbly. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk the balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper until mixed. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until smooth.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Movies In The Park

Like everyone else, I’m getting pretty tired of all the rain we’ve been having here in New York. On the occasions it does stop, and the clouds roll away, I like to get outside and take advantage of some of the unique, free, outdoor activities available to locals and tourists alike. One of my favorites is the 2009 HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. Every Monday night, from June 15 – August 17, the lawn in Bryant Park opens at 5 p.m. to the public in anticipation of the film being screened later in the evening. The grass is always quickly crowded with families, couples and groups all enjoying a picnic dinner while waiting for the sun to go down, and the movie to begin. While there are several delis, sandwich shops and pizza stands close by to grab something, I like treating myself to something from ‘Wichcraft which has a kiosk right on the corner of the park. But the best is always a home-made picnic packed in an insulated cooler. The cooler will keep dinner cold all day, helpful if you’re coming straight from work. Tonight’s movie is “Kramer vs. Kramer.” For a complete calendar visit http://www.bryantpark.org/. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Favorite Doughnuts!

If you have been following my blog, it is easy to see that I have a pretty big sweet tooth. I love all sort of cakes, cookies, cupcakes and candies, and I have a very special spot for donuts.

There’s nothing better than the combination of the warm dough and the sticky and sweet glaze of a freshly-made doughnut. I would go to the 23rd Street Krispy Kreme every week to get my doughnut fix. I became such a loyal customer that one of the night employees would call me when the shells came off the conveyor belt, because I thought the shells were the best part.

I was really sad when the “Hot” light on 23rd Street went out for good. But, just when I thought I would have to be satisfied with the memories of the best donuts I’d ever tasted, I found something even better!

The Doughnut Plant, located on 379 Grand Street in New York City, opens its doors at 6 am and closes when their daily batch has been sold—which is not long since customers are lining up out the door. All of their treats are made with all natural ingredients and fresh fruits are used to make the glazes. My favorite is their new Crème Brulee yeast doughnut. The puffed dough is full of creamy custard with a toasted sugar topping. Stop by their bakery to try other fun flavors like Tres Leches, Banana Pecan, and Vanilla Bean, but don’t forget to get there early!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Getting organized is something that can be difficult to do, but is extremely necessary! Whether it is taking a day off work to get errands done, grocery shopping or throwing a party, I think a schedule is the best way to make sure everything gets done. If you have a “smart phones” like a Blackberry or iPhone, you will find either a calendar or to-do list. Most of the time the calendar will also have an alarm that goes off at a set time, making remembering your plans much easier! Having a simple wall or desk calendar can be very helpful as well. If you are someone who enjoys and uses technology often, a calendar on Outlook might be more beneficial to you instead. If you want to get really into it, you can even color code your schedule based on what it is – a plan with friends, an errand for the house, or something work-related. It allows you to see how you’re spending your time!

When recording your plans and figuring out dates, I recommend writing down not only what it is that you are doing, but also the time and even location. When your schedule gets busy, it is sometimes difficult to recall who you were supposed to meet where or if it was at 12pm or 2 pm. Do you have any other ideas for organizing your schedule?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I love picnics – grabbing a basket stocked with goodies, getting together some friends and enjoying a beautiful day outside. I think that food is one of the most important and fun parts of a picnic – you can do something as simple as a couple of snacks for an afternoon, or a full meal out under the stars.

For a full meal, I love to grill – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, kabobs, and fish are all options that are easy and perfect for this time of year. There are lots of great marinades available to make a good dish great. Classic sides include antipasto/pasta salads, dips and cut up veggies, and potato and macaroni salads. Grilled fruit (peaches, pineapple, nectarine, etc.) is great sprinkled with brown sugar and served on top of a bed of creamy, cold vanilla ice cream, perfect for my favorite part – dessert! Of course, you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit – it always tastes a little better when you’re on the beach, in the park, or relaxing in your backyard. To quench that thirst, go for lemonades and limeades, throw in some blueberries or cherries to mix it up, or check out my recipe for a fantastic Arnold Palmer – I blogged about it on June 25th. For something more adult, try a chilled Rosé wine or a nice dry white – both are perfect for summer. Pack everything in a willow picnic basket – I love the ones that are insulated to keep everything nice and cold – grab a blanket and you’re on your way!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sammy is my pride and joy; as the saying goes - a dog really is a man’s best friend. Since pets become members of the family, they deserve to be treated like it. Especially during the hot summer months, we must be attentive to the needs of animals.

Even though it’s hot out, dogs still need their exercise. To avoid overheating, consider an early morning or evening walk when it’s cooler. Walks at this time also protect paws from the hot ground. You may not know, but animals can get sunburned too. If you aren’t able to limit walks to early morning and evening hours be sure to put sunscreen on your dog’s nose and ear tips; dogs with light-color coats are especially prone to sunburns and skin cancer from the sun.

Overheating may occur if your pet has been out in the strong rays of the sun. If you notice heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue immediately bring your pet to a cool shady spot and apply cool water to his/her body. Letting them lick ice cubes is also a great way to cool down.

Be sure to keep your pet fully hydrated! Spiking water with different flavors is a very popular trend for humans, so try it with your animals. Try some tuna or beef flavor added to the water bowl. Your dog will be sure to slurp up every drop!

And, of course, don’t forget to make sure your animal always wears an ID tag and collar. This has helped reunite many pets and owners.

But don’t lose site of how important it is to have fun with your pet too! Try some good old fashioned Frisbee, jogging, or playing in a kiddie pool or the local lake to get your pet in the summertime spirit!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer barbeques are one of my favorite things during the few warm months we have! I love getting together with a group of friends and just spend time relaxing and grilling in the warm summer sun. Sometimes though, the average hot dog and hamburger can get a bit boring and repetitive. One of the biggest issues I find myself running into is that I don’t just want meat. Especially with all the delicious light, summer vegetables out, I want to utilize them in my grilling while they last! Here are a few ideas to step up your next barbeque and wow your guests in a seemingly painstaking, yet nearly effortless way.

Shish kabobs are an easy way to create a full meal by combining hearty meat, with healthy veggies. Alternate your favorite meats or seafood with juicy tomatoes, onions, bell peppers – anything your heart desires! If you’re one of those people whose first thought is “burgers” when someone mentions “barbeque”, grilling veggies on the side is a good alternative. My favorites to grill are corn on the cob, asparagus, eggplant and large shitake mushrooms.

Lastly, I really enjoy a cold, crisp, lightly spicy salsa during the summertime. A friend of mine once told me about a fun idea for the grill that allows me to eat a delicious mango or pineapple salsa with something other than chips – quesadillas! Grilling not only allows you and your friends to be outside, taking in the beautiful weather, but it’s a fun spin for a summer get together.

What are some of your favorite things to grill?

Monday, July 13, 2009

AileyCamp is a summer dance camp that provides inner city children between grades six and eight with the opportunity to “use dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression and critical thinking skills.” What I love about this program is that it gives children a sense of themselves. The mantra that the AileyCamp lives by is that there is no such thing as the word can’t. I had the pleasure of meeting Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, the Co-Director of Arts in Education as well as the National Director of the AileyCamp. She said something to me that is so profound that I will never forget. One of Nasha’s rules and wisdoms that she gives to these children is that there is no such word as “can’t”. Can’t means one of two things: either I do not know please teach me, or, I am afraid please help me. The word “can’t” simply doesn’t exist. Furthermore, I believe that the most beautiful expression of the soul is done via dance. This program is so special and provides for children one of the most valuable lessons of being able to express your individuality and to be yourself!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I love to run. It’s the easiest way for me to clear my head after a long day, or to brainstorm about an upcoming project. I also love to take Sammy on long walks when the sun is out.

Whether you are getting in shape for a marathon, enjoy a nice jog or bike ride, or just like to take a leisurely stroll, grab a friend and roam the city! Mapmyrun.com is a great site – it measures the distance of your route, and suggests new routes if you’re bored with your current one. Sammy and I both like it for help in finding new places to take our walks. Below are several parks and areas in the city so you can get up and go!

- Central Park: anywhere between 59th and 110th street. You can walk around the paved walkways throughout the park. If you are up for the challenge, you could run the park’s 6.2 mile exterior.
- East River Loop: whether you are coming from the Upper East Side or down in the East Village, you can get to any part of the East River.
- Hudson River: For those on the West Side, the Hudson River not only has beautiful views, but also has a long path that goes directly along the Hudson with benches to rest on, grass to catch some sun, and even small parks along the way.
- Short Strolls: Take advantage of one of the city’s many parks! Washington Square Park’s half-mile perimeter could be perfect if you are with your dog or pushing a baby stroller. Walking around Battery Park and the Ferry Terminal will give you views of the Statue of Liberty, and is nearly a mile all the way around!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tomorrow I will be on the Martha Stewart Living Radio show and summer is the name of the game. Because the season is here, I will be discussing all things…well, summer! I’ll be giving you some tips on how to have fun at home!

A fun way to invite your guests is by putting the invitation into the fold of a napkin. I love gingham for summer, especially the classic red. A pack of 15 Gingham Paper Beverage Napkins can be found at platesandnapkins.com for $4.95.

Among my list of summer essentials is my favorite recipe for an “Arnold Palmer”. It’s quick and easy - all you need to do is mix Crystal Light (both plain iced tea and lemonade) together with water. The key is to garnish with fresh mint, a slice of lemon, a slice of lime, and a slice of orange.

Another refreshing beverage is classic Pink Lemonade. I love Lorina Sparkling Pink Lemonade - a 25.4 oz. bottle can be found at Whole Foods for $4.99. The bottle is equipped with a swing top and rubber stopper; it’s great because its versatility allows it to be re-used. I use the empty bottle to hold Simple Syrup.

If you’re planning on having the occasion outdoors, you have to keep the bugs away. General Home Store has great 2’ tall bug repellant sticks that come in a tube of 7 for $28.00. The trick is to light them 15 minutes before guests start arriving. This allows the Juniper and Citronella scents to permeate the air, getting those mosquitoes under control!

If you plan on staying inside, I love Vie Luxe Candles. The Capri Luxe Scented Candle is from their “Voyage” collection and its citrus scent is perfect for the season. The Capri Vie Luxe 8 oz. candle can be found at scentsandsprays.com for $45.00.

All these essentials look great packed in a Galvanized bucket. They come in all different sizes and can be used for décor and serving pieces as well. It comes together to be a great gift! They can be purchased from Jamali Garden Supplies Inc. or most other floral shops for about $9.00.

What is a party without music? DJ Fioto created a great summer album for me and you can find all the songs on iTunes. You can also get into contact with him by e-mailing him at Jason@GenerationEvents.com

1. Heaven - Bitter:Sweet
2. Talullah - Jamiroquai
3. Aganju (Latin Project Remix)- Bebel Gilbert
4. Viagem - Daniela Mercury
5. O Bonde do Dom - Marisa Monte
6. Tranquilo - Bebel Gilberto
7. Bora Mora - Daniela Mercury
8. La Esquina - Federico Aubele
9. Time To Lounge - Alkemx
10. Smile - Lily Allen

Don’t forget to tune into the Martha Stewart Living Radio show tomorrow at 7:30 am on the Sirius Network channel 112!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Now that summer is here, it’s time to think about vacations! A vacation is necessary for recharging the batteries and getting ready for the fall and all that comes with it. If you are not able to actually “go away”, you should still take an opportunity to get away from “reality” for a few days.

A great alternative is taking a “staycation”. A “staycation” is simply when you stay in your town or city but explore it as if you’re a tourist. Hit the local museum that you’ve always meant to go to, spend the afternoon in your area park or have a great meal with friends!

Quick tips for a successful Summer Staycation:

• Check your local city calendar for special events—concerts, charity benefits, fairs & festivals, or even a cooking or dance class, etc.
• Turn off your cell phone and hit the sofa with a bowl of popcorn, your favorite blanket and a movie that you’ve been wanting to see, but haven’t had the time.
• Try a new local restaurant or lounge. Rooftop locations are fantastic for brunch on a beautiful day, and great for meeting with friends on a clear night.
• Use your beautiful backyard for once! Make sure you have marshmallows, a sleeping bag, some flashlights and a scary story or two. Backyard camping combines the excitement of an adventure with the luxury of being in your own space.
• A tour and tasting of an area vineyard.
• Try a yoga retreat. Many yoga studios offer retreats at local parks, mountains, beaches, etc. You’ll develop a new appreciation for something that’s been there all along!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I have recently come across Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that does just that; they strive to bestow every child with a pencil in anticipation of establishing the groundwork for a better tomorrow. More than 75 million children worldwide have so much potential to succeed—they just don’t have the means to do so.
Pencils of Promise is currently working on building schools all over the world. These schools will help children from some of the most impoverished places in the world to flourish and build self confidence and self-power. These schools are commonly situated in underdeveloped nations and cater to poverty-ridden families. The most extraordinary detail is that it is a partnered effort among local communities and organizations—together, everyone shares and gives back to help make the future a better place.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yesterday, I hosted a dinner to bid one of the women in my office farewell. Our table of sixteen at Via Emilia, a delicious Italian restaurant that mixes tradition with a twist of modern flair, was full of a variety of appetizers and entrees. Because the possibility of main courses arriving at staggered times exist, eating out with a group can be a bit uncomfortable once dinner arrives. If you get your meal before everyone else does, you never want to start eating if not everyone can do the same. Luckily, the rule of three exists! It may not be well known, but it is a general rule of thumb that once at least three people at the table have received their dinner, it is perfectly acceptable to begin eating. In this fashion, one’s food does not get cold and everyone can enjoy a meal that was meant to be hot and fresh —without the fear of being rude! Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

75th Anniversary of the Apollo Theater

I designed the 75th Anniversary Gala of the Apollo Theater, which took place in Harlem on Monday night. One of the most interesting things from the night were the fun take-out boxes that Great Performances provided for guests. There was plenty of food laid out on the buffets, but if you didn’t want to sit and eat you could pick-up take-out containers full of crispy fried chicken, collard greens, and mini waffles or catfish and mac n’cheese to eat as you swayed to the music. Great Performances also re-invented the traditional po’boy and created new ones with coleslaw and shrimp.

All in all, the food was a fun take on traditional soul food and was a fantastic addition to the great décor, atmosphere and positive energy in the room. It was a fun party, and a great celebration of an important milestone for the historic theater. (Stay tuned for pictures – we’ll post them soon!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

June is the Month for Iced Tea

Iced tea is such a popular summer drink the entire month of June has been named iced tea month! I wanted to share with you my iced tea secret, as well as a few other teas to try this summer.

A little background on the cold beverage...it was created in America nearly 100 years ago. The United States is the only country where the majority of tea is enjoyed cold. In fact, iced tea was invented because visitors to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair weren't interested in drinking hot tea on a hot day ... so quick-thinking English tea merchant Richard Blechynden added ice, and the rest is history.

My secret to a great iced tea is Crystal Light. I keep it on hand all summer, so when guests drop by last minute I can make tea instantly. Another summer tip; I mix 1/2 Crystal Light Iced Tea with 1/2 Crystal Light Lemonade mix for the best Arnold Palmer.

If your preference is green or herbal tea try one of Tavalon's loose teas. Lemongreen and After Dark are great ones to test out. Bodum makes a great loose leaf iced tea pitcher, just add tea leaves, water and sugar, if desired.

Garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and an orange slice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Hudson River Park

I believe one of the most incredible creations in New York City is the Hudson River Park. Due to the work of the non-profit organization known as “Friends of Hudson River”, and other generous donations, the river has been lined with bike and pedestrian trails, as well as lush gardens, scenic views, and playgrounds for children. In any city, it is vital to have a balance between urban and recreational spaces. People are meant to enjoy the outdoors, so these areas allow for celebrating and taking in God’s Green Acre.

Extending from 59th Street to Chamber Street, the park is near completion and will be holding its 10th Anniversary Gala tomorrow night at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. New York State Governor David A. Paterson will be honored and among the dinner chairs are Diana Taylor and my friend Martha Stewart.

For more information on this event that celebrates the time and commitment to the creation and maintenance of the Hudson River Park, visit http://www.fohrp.org/

Friday, May 22, 2009


This Monday is Memorial Day, a commemoration for men and women who have given their lives to protect our country. Show your appreciation to these patrons by wearing red, white, and blue, helping in your community, or by attending a parade.

The National Memorial Day Parade is held annually in Washington, D.C. If you’re in the area, they are always looking for volunteers as well as attendees. Anyone can help the cause by visiting their website http://www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com/.

Put It In Ice

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer—a time of warm weather, outdoor gatherings, and seasonal food. (I, for one, could not be happier that the summer is finally beginning!) Whatever your plans are to celebrate the three-day break—whether you’re hosting or attending a party—here is a quick and visually-appealing tip that can have a big impact.

One of my favorite ways to jazz up a drink is by adding decorative ice cubes. All you need is fruit pieces of your choice, water, and ice cube trays. Place the fruit in the trays, fill them with water, and within a few hours you’ll have fun drink décor. As the ice melts there will be an edible surprise at the bottom of your glass. And, it's a great way for you to use some great summer fruit that you may have around the house.

Friday, May 15, 2009

From One Closet To Another

During her freshman year in high school, Rebecca Kirtman started a charity dress drive in her Florida hometown. She believed “little things can make a difference,” so she gathered and provided 250 prom dresses for girls who couldn’t afford to purchase them. Tragically though, Becca passed away in an automobile accident on August 20, 2003. In remembrance, her friends, family, and community continued the dress drive, now known as Becca’s Closet.

I recently heard about Becca’s closet and I think it’s a great way to help a high school girl attend her prom in style, especially during these uncertain times.
By providing one dress, one accessory, or a few hours of your time, you can make help prom a night to remember. For more information and to find a chapter near you, visit http://www.beccascloset.org/.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marshmallow Cake

On Monday night I had the pleasure of having a piece of a much unexpected dessert. I designed a 50th birthday party at The Modern restaurant, where pastry chef Marc Aumont created a marshmallow tower in place of the traditional celebratory cake. The coconut, vanilla, and pistachio marshmallow pieces were made out of real fruits instead of extracts.

After the incredible dinner Executive Chef Gabriel Kreuther created, I’m surprised I had room for dessert at all. We were all excited to hear that a week before the party Gabriel won the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Chef in New York City. The food, plus the décor and guests, made for a wonderful evening.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rainy Days

It has been really rainy here in New York City and the dreary weather got me thinking about what people do when the heavens open up. The rainy weather often keeps us cooped up inside with the challenge of finding something to do. I know people who like to stare out the window at the rain falling on the sidewalks and street. Others like to relax with some popcorn and a movie. And some like to play board games with their children or friends. I find it interesting that all of these actions make us focus on relaxation. It’s interesting that rain can have such a calming effect on all of us, so even though I’m sick of the rain we’ve been having all week, maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Join the Joyful Revolution

Last night I attended the most amazing event in NYC, the Joyful Heart Revolution Gala, founded by Mariska Hargitay to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. It was inspiring to hear stories from women across the United States who had been helped by the wellness healing classes and retreat the Joyful Heart Foundation offers.

Many people donated to last nights event, including Sheryl Crow, Dick Wolf films, and for the decor, my team pulled together a look inspired by the upcoming summer season and the healing power of water. Ocean blue tables, carpet and floating candles in varies shades of blue water. This look is something you can recreate with candles and food coloring. For scale, in this large space, I added helium filled weather balloons.

You can watch the inspiring 2009 Gala video by clicking here.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I recently went to see Susan Stroman’s new play and I walked away really impressed by the message it gave to its audience. “Happiness” is a new musical about different New Yorkers who get stuck in a subway car together during the morning commute. To get off the subway car, each traveler must remember their life’s happiest moment. The play celebrates those moments that we often don’t pay that much attention to and shows us that if you can’t find happiness in the small things, you can’t have a future. In order to live life completely, you cannot continually search for happiness but instead have to find it in the present, a sentiment that certainly rings true for all of us.

"Happiness" is playing at the Lincoln Center Theater in NYC through June 7th. Go to www.lct.org/showMain.htm?id=184 for more information.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

La Esquina

I recently discovered a very popular restaurant here in New York City that I thought I would share with all of you.

La Esquina, or “The Corner” in Spanish, reflects the traditions of a classic Mexican restaurant food, with an updated atmosphere and food and beverage preparations presentations. These elements are derived directly from the food and social scene happening in Mexico City today. Neighborhoods like Condesa and Polanco in Mexico City are experiencing an influx of international influences and a bold resurgence in the Arts and Food.

The food at La Esquina, reflective of Mexico City itself, draws influence from multiple regions around the country with emphasis on Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz. Our drink list and offerings rely heavily on Tequila and Mezcal to be consumed in the traditional way – with a sangrita chaser. Our wine list has been chosen both because the selections complement our menu and because the selections are derived from both Latin and old-world regions around the globe.

Centrally located at the south end of East SoHo's Lt. Petrosino Park, the Corner Deli is a turn of the century landmark structure. The Manhattan Diner or Luncheonette is one of the last examples of a vanishing breed. Tucked in below a fashionable loft building, the 200 sft. wedge shaped structure has been serving customers for a century, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This charming piece of old New York has gotten a new lease on life with an extensive renovation, and an expansion into the basement vault space below. The new and improved Corner Deli serves delicious Mexican food inspired by the simple home cooked cuisine of the Mexican street vendor. Simple, but intensely flavorful variations of Mexican street food, is the perfect match for the busy bustle of a restaurant that provides dine-in, take-out, and delivery service.

Go to http://www.esquinanyc.com/ for more information.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beautiful Weather

Even though Spa Week in NYC is long gone, take today to Give Back to yourself. This does not mean take a day to get everything done on your to-do list. No errands or cleaning allowed! Just take this beautiful day to enjoy some down time at home or outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the life so much that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves! Enjoy the newspaper, a magazine, or a novel. Do something for yourself you haven’t done before.

With spring in the air, let’s shed our winter coats and take this beautiful weekend to rejuvenate and renew!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Soak up the Sun with a Sponge Cake

With the weather heating up (it’s going to be 80 degrees in NYC this weekend!), I thought it would be a good idea to share a good picnic food idea with all of you. Here is a great recipe for a cake that can be easily taken outdoors and enjoyed in the shade of a beautiful leafy tree.

Perfect for picnics, this easy sponge cake can be carried in the springform pan in which it is baked. Pair it with fresh fruits such as sweet cherries, strawberries or peaches and it makes a perfect snack.

Sponge Cake
For 1 cake (6 to 8 servings) you will need:

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter

Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Beat in vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix to blend. Scald milk in small saucepan. Add butter, stirring until melted. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, mixing just enough to blend. Pour batter into a greased 8 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees until top of cake is well browned and cake tests done when a wooden pick is inserted at center, about 35 minutes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Midnight Run

I’ve come across a wonderful organization here in New York that I thought was more than worthy of a mention on my blog. The folks at Midnight Run organize relief runs during the night to give out food, clothing and other vital supplies to the homeless throughout the NYC area. They are a “volunteer organization dedicated to finding common ground between the housed and the homeless.” They run over 900 missions per year and even coordinate with different shelters and facilities to provide showers, haircuts, and medical services to those in need. Their goal is not to provide a solution to homelessness but rather establish a foundation of caring and sharing between the housed and the homeless so that solutions can evolve. With all of the problems that exist in our world, it is refreshing to find an organization that focuses on the relationships of its volunteers and the people they serve as opposed to the quantities of items or money that are raised.

Midnight Run depends on donations for their items as well as volunteers to actually go out on the runs. Please go to www.midnightrun.org to find out how you can help. If you don’t live in the NYC area, Google a midnight run near you – similar organizations are all over the U.S.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

David Monn on Weddings - Martha Stewart and WWD

Tune in today to the Martha Stewart show: David Monn, Vera Wang and Frederick Fekkai will give their expert opinions on how to have the beautiful wedding of your dreams within your budget!

And, David was quoted this Tuesday's Women's Wear Daily in the Bridal Report by Rosemary Feitelberg.

"Outsmarting the Recession One Bride at at Time."
"Beauty isn't something that comes with a price tag first"... "hopefully people will feel inspired and will feel good." "Weddings give people an excuse for a moment to feel good."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Streamer Tablecloth

We came up with some very creative ideas for our Wedding Showcase on Monday. A lot of people have been asking how I created certain elements, so I’ve decided to post some of our ideas and directions for them here.

Below are directions for how to put together a crepe paper tablecloth. While it took us 3 hours to put together, it only cost $8! What’s more, it’s quite practical and looks like fabric. Guests at the showcase could hardly believe it was paper. It is definitely a do-able project that you can do for a special spring/summer get together or dinner party.

Crepe Paper Streamers Tablecloth
(This project works best with two people.)

-Take a plain paper rectangle paper table cloth and lay on a flat surface
Lay streamers horizontally across the paper tablecloth with a little excess past the cloth underneath.
-Weave vertical streamers through the horizontal ones.
-Once strips are in place, carefully glue underside of woven squares to each other. Not every square needs glue – you can judge which do and which don’t.
-After the glue has dried then pick up table cloth from both ends and place directly onto table.
-Cut the bottom edge to the floor and round the edges for a more polished look.
-Add glue to any strips on the bottom edge, as needed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thank you!

Our wedding showcase was last night and we could not be happier with the turn out. We got to reconnect with old friends as well as meet tons of new people. Our office was transformed, the food was great, and the music was entertaining. Check out some pictures of the party below.

A very special "thank you" goes to all of the following companies who helped us put together this event:

Callahan Catering for the delicious food and cocktails. http://www.callahancatering.com/

Cake Alchemy for their wonderful carrot cake. Yum! http://www.cakealchemy.com/

Xavier Flouret Wine for their fabulous product. www.cognac-one.com/?page=xavier_flouret_wines

Ayala Champagne for their fabulous bubbly. www.cognac-one.com/?page=ayala_champagne

GroundStone for their entertaining singing. www.myspace.com/groundstone1

Empyreal Strings for their amazing musical ensemble. Strings and Metallica…who knew? http://www.empyrealstrings.com/

Party Rental, Ltd. for their wonderful rental products. http://www.partyrentalltd.com/

Ceci New York for their beautiful invitations. http://www.cecinewyork.com/

Linda Pasca from Pen and Paper for her beautiful calligraphy. http://www.penandpaperdesign.com/

The Beistle Company for their crepe paper and honeycomb paper balls. http://www.beistle.com/

Billy’s Bakery for their sugary cupcakes. http://www.billysbakerynyc.com/

One Girl Cookies for providing wedding favor cookies for our gift bags. http://www.onegirlcookies.com/

VivoWhite for their teeth whitening pens that were a great addition to our gift bag. http://www.vivowhite.com/

Ad Source Marketing for providing our gift bags. http://www.adsourcemarketing.com/

Crane & Co. for providing the new editon of their Wedding Blue Book for our gift bags. It’s a wonderful resource – and some of it is available online. www.crane.com/navContentProduct.aspx?Name=Etiquette_Wedding

WellWed Magazine for providing their beautiful magazine for our gift bags (you guys should check it out!). http://www.wellwed.com/
Last, but not least... a HUGE thank you to the most amazing production company, Crazy Duck Productions, owned by Chuck and Sarah Fishbein. They helped us capture the event with video and still shots that are inspiring. http://www.duckyou.com/

Friday, April 3, 2009

Getting Ready!

We're busy getting ready for the wedding showcase on Monday!

We're having fun crafting and putting everything together. Be sure to check in next week for pictures of the showcase along with all of my top secret ideas for fun spring entertaining.

For now, here are some pictures of Sammy lounging on a sample table as we work.

Monday, March 30, 2009

DM Wedding Showcase

On next Monday, April 6th, I will be hosting a Wedding Showcase in my office in New York City.  We will be showing off beautiful new ideas for spring and summer weddings or celebrations.  We will also be showcasing different products by vendors that we work with regularly.  Everything from cookies from one of my favorite bakeries to teeth whitening pens as wedding favors will be highlighted.  

Check back here all this week and next as we highlight the different ideas that we will be using in the Showcase.  

If you are getting married or planning a celebration and are interested in attending, please e-mail RSVP@davidmonn.com for further details.  

Friday, March 27, 2009


In the spirit of spring (NYC is finally warming up!), and because I love India, I thought I would share an explanation of Holi, the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. Holi also signifies the triumph of good over evil, romance, and the magnificence of color. The second day of the Holi festival is Dhuleti. To celebrate the season, everyone dresses in white and colored water and powder is thrown. The naturally produced powders are believed to have a medicinal effect helping to prevent illness with the arrival of the new season.

The celebration of Holi marks a time when all past fury and resentment is dissolved and life presents you with an opportunity to begin anew. Many use this celebration to strengthen old relationships and build new ones. Wearing white signifies that Holi is a celebration devoid of discrimination, with no difference of class, caste, race, gender, or religion, serving as a valuable lesson in humanity to all of us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You Heard It Here First

If you read my blog often, you know that I have a penchant for anything sugar related. I once blogged about whoopie pies and how I had discovered the perfect whoopie pie in the city.

Well, it seems that the New York Times has caught on to the delicious whoopie pies that true dessert aficionados like myself have known about for years. Last week, Micheline Maynard wrote an article called “Whoopie! Cookie, Pie or Cake, It’s Having Its Moment” that explored the origin of whoopie pies. It was quite interesting to learn about the origins of whoopie pies since I grew up enjoying them. Now all of New York will know what I knew already–that whoopie pies are truly a fantastic and delicious treat.

Go to my previous blog to find out where in NYC you can get the best whoopie pies: http://davidmonn.blogspot.com/2008/03/whoopie_28.html

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pick A Color, Any Color

Recently, when an employee of mine embarked on the adventure of painting her apartment she struggled to decide on the right colors to use. The most commonly asked question is “What color should I use?” I believe there are more important questions that apply.

When should you use color?

Can the architecture of your apartment or home support colors?

If you have a room with multiple angles, windows with no trim, walls that are shared by two or more rooms, or walls of broken heights, then I believe that these spaces are best suited for shades of white. White will cover a multitude of sins and the clean finish will empower your home decor.

As a child you are taught to color within the lines. When painting our homes, the architecture of the rooms serves as our lines. We have to stay within the bounds of our architecture to illicit the beauty of the scene.

A second thing to remember is that the quality of paint can make the job effortless or dreadfully impossible. I love the fine paints of Europe. The primer and base coats are formulated to support the top color and the primer found in Europe is the best in the world. Although this significantly increases costs, I believe that there are no short cuts in painting. You get what you pay for.

Here is some food for thought:

The average American Household paints approximately every 4 years.

The average European Household paints approximately every 12 years.