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 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 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

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 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.