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Archive for January, 2010


Sometimes a modicum of denial is a good thing.  This February, we’re putting on the rose-colored glasses that Edith Piaf immortalized in her signature song.  While the winter chill is still in the air… so is love.  Our ideas and inspiration abound on creative ways to lighten the winter load with romance.

Ruard Veltman

I met Ruard Veltman when our homes in Bald Head Island were being shot for the same magazine.  The truly world class architect has worked with other crushes of ours including Bobby McAlpine.  His simple fluid lines and minimal color speak to our aesthetic and if you can’t get enough of him check out his web site for more of his gorgeous work.FEB Des Crush 1FEB Des Crush 2FEB Des Crush3(2)FEB Des Crush 4FEB Des Crush 5

Dinner With Our Secret Crush: Butter!

FEB Impromptu Host

A wise person (yes, it may have been your mother) once said, “all things in moderation.”  We can only retort sometimes a little splurge a little excess is good thing. Cutting to the chase, this brings us to the topic of BUTTER. Much maligned by new wave chefs and just about every diet doctor, butter often makes stuff better. Do your best Julia Child this VD and think about baking a cake from scratch (it will require beaucoup b-u-t-t-e-r).  See below for the recipe fromMowielicious.

Forbidden Love: Butter

Chocolate Sponge Cake:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 eggs, separated

A pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 cup (heaped) cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven the 325F and butter a circular cake tin with baking paper. Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in one bowl.

2. Beat the 6 egg yolks in a separate large bowl and mix in the sugar.

3. Fold in the flour/cocoa mixture alternately with the water in roughly 2-3 additions each.

4. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, then fold this gently into the batter.

5. Pour batter into the tin and bake roughly 45-60 minutes. Check to see if the cake is ready by inserting a metal skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool.

6. Once cool, slice in half, and add a layer of chocolate buttercream. Place the top half back on, and layer another level of buttercream on top. Don’t worry too much about adding a layer of buttercream to the side of the cake, or about how the cake looks. Once you top it with the macaroons and fruit, it doesn’t matter what the bottom half looks like!

Chocolate Buttercream:

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

300g butter, room temperature

200g good quality dark chocolate, melted over hot water bath (I used 80% Green & Black’s)

1. Hand whisk the egg whites until foamy. Mix in the sugar, and place mixture over a water bath. Keep whisking by hand until the mixture turns whitish, is piping hot and the sugar has dissolved.

2. Remove from water bath and mix with an electric mixer on high speed. Keep mixing until the bowl starts to cool down.

3. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time at first, then two tablespoons at a time. Make sure to incorporate the butter properly into the mixture each time you add butter.

4. Add melted chocolate and incorporate completely.

5. Layer chocolate buttercream onto cake as described above, making sure that the top layer is quite thick. Again, it doesn’t have to look pretty as that’s what the macaroons will do.

6. Place the macaroons one at a time all around the cake to form a circle, as seen in the pictures. Add fruit to the middle and decorate with daisies or any flowers my happen to have lying around.

Keep refrigerated and serve cold.

Recipe  from Mowielicous

He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not

FEB garden guru

A handpicked bouquet of fleurs… such a sweet expression of love. But winter can be a deal-breaker unless you live in a warm climate. Fear not Minnesotans (and the like). Creative thinkers can always find blooms for beloveds! With a little bit of luck and good timing you can capture delicate ice flowers early in the morning after a cold night with little wind. Grab a digital snapshot or better yet simply blind-fold your (trusting) honey and lead him in slippers and parka to the special spot.

Adopt a Signature Color in a Trendy Fashion Item

FEB Pull yourself together

At risk of appearing shallow, we think “trendiness” gets a lot of bad press. To be clear, we love classic styling and looks that endure through years and generations. But, we reserve the right to be whimsical, spontaneous and adventurous. If that means pink kicks with a oversized taffeta bow, so be it.  Guys who come along for the ride in hot pink and plaid score high marks in our book.

Show You Have Heart (With Snail Mail)

FEB objects of dsr-flatten

Christmas is not the only holiday worthy of a greeting card. Don’t miss the opportunity to reach out to people you love this Valentine’s Day with a heartfelt message. We love Red Stamp’s offerings (redstamp.com). You can actually customize a VD card for as little as .96 cents. Their site is so easy to use (you don’t have to be a graphic designer to figure it out). While we totally support emailing, blogging, tweeting and the like, there’s nothing like a lovely card in the mail to let someone know they’re special.

Woman’s Heart’s Delight Discovered in Own Backyard!

FEB get outta town

We all know that Dorothy had to go all the way to Oz to find delight in her own backyard. If you’re lusting after a long weekend with your love, but are time and budget challenged, please do this. Get a compass and outline a 100 mile radius from your home base. Pick a destination. Then pack a bag, gas up the car, keep an open mind and set out on the road to adventure. With the right company and the right attitude, a great time is guaranteed.

Hot Yoga for VD

FEB ineedamin

This Valentine’s Day connect with the person you love through gentle motion, stillness and serenity.  We’ve heard about a number of yoga studios offering a couple’s yoga class for Valentine’s Day. We say “beats a box of chocolates.” If you’ve been eager to introduce your man (or woman) to the quiet beauty of yoga, hop on this gift idea. Find a resource in your town with a google search.

Bright Star

FEB off the shelf

Books, movies, videos!  In today’s world we all consume media in so many forms and fashions (our collective heads are still reeling).  We love, love, love Jane Campion’s Bright Star.  The art direction is so dreamy and evocative.  Saw the movie, but still want to see more?  Immerse yourself this digital scrap book.