It’s clear…

December 29, 2012

that you have to arm yourself against the suns damaging rays. Still, you look at the beauty of a Winter sunrise…sky clear, snow sparkling…and the those bright Winter rays burning a hole right through your retina and making a bee-line to the center of your brain. Yikes…already a major headache and you haven’t even opened the first of your morning email. Simplequietmodern solution… select any of the frames available with tinted lenses from Lookmatic… like their Reeve…in black, gray or tortoise. Your eyes will thank you, your associates will thank you, and you’ll be putting a modern face forward in the process. If you happen to have  received some Christmas cash that’s burning a hole in your wallet…even better.sno_sun_faviCopy of 70598_Reeve_BlackClear_Face

http://www.lookmatic.com/men/reeve-black-clear/sunglasses

Sunrise photo:http://favimages.com/image/274219/

New Years Eve?  Going out on Amateur Night?   Yikes!…no.  A small gathering in with friends could be the perfect simplequietmodern plan. A few small plates and something sparkling in the beverage department will easily satisfy with a minimum of stress. If you whip up some tasty Greek meatballs during the week you can freeze them and reheat while your guests are enjoying their first beverage. Add some pita, tziki…and a big Greek salad, all easily prepared earlier in the day (or even better…ordered and picked up “to go”). Don’t forget the Baklava for a sweet note and you are done, done and done. How simple was that? You’re welcome.grkmtbllsingr6Fgrkmtbllsflr5Fgrkmtbllsdn2Ftzikimtblls2aFGrkmtbllrcpeBubblefluteF

This Greek Meatball recipe was fromhttp://www.sauceandsensibility.com/?p=1639, really,give it a try.

and may all your Christmases be*….well, all that you wish them to be.

Merry Christmas.pnkbrchblurFpnkbrchclsFpnkbrchwideF

*Irving Berlin

Midwinter

December 21, 2012

Odd name for the Winter solstice which is actually the first day of the season. Call it what you will, it is absolutely my most favorite of days. It marks the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight but signals the slow, steady increase in daylight hours as we move into spring. Sure, it might not seem like a big thing to you but trust me, if you live anywhere near the midwest, you will immediately notice that the sky has not gone to pitch at 4:45 in the afternoon. There is a feeling of hope…yes, that spring is just one season away. So, celebrate with me if you care to, with anything ( hell, everything ) that reminds you of spring… and relish every extra minute of daylight.Copy (2) of whthyc2FCopy of whthyc1F

really simple, really impressive. A basic Choux pastry flavored with cheese, Gougere is the savory version of a cream puff. Traditionally served with Champagne or a glass of wine, these two bite wonders are perfect for holiday entertaining.  Make ’em now…freeze ’em…pull ’em out and reheat when you need ’em…anytime someone stops by or pops a cork. 

Your holiday signature…

December 17, 2012

create it. It’s a simplequietmodern statement that will be fondly remembered year after year by your friends and family. It also simplifies the task of readying your home for the onslaught of revelers each Christmas in the midst of a carrying on with the rest of your busy life. It could be a signature menu for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day supper that folks look forward to every year … vases of assorted Winter greenery and white tulips, narcissus or Amaryllis to usher in Midwinter…the offering of a signature cocktail like a smart  Christmas Manhattan with a splash of Marachino juice…illuminating your Christmas Eve with candle light and a roaring fire exclusively or, simply keeping a bowl full of seasonal Clementines within easy reach. No matter the direction, when repeated every year it will not only become second nature, easily the first thing on and then checked off your holiday to-do list, it will signal the arrival of your Christmas and another season of memories you created simply…seemingly effortlessly.WHTminkProtPINE3FclemsA1Fbirdsnest3BfgngrbrdBrownFCopy of porkroast _mstwartCopy of PhalsFCopy of vintagepnk4F

starting at the top:

White Mink Protea with cut white Pine and Magnolia branches will last for weeks.

Clementines,traditionally the original stocking stuffer, for that blast of vitamin C and natural sweetness.

Nature provided Cardinal’s nest and a scattering of vintage glass ornaments.

“No Brainer” Gingerbread Brownies will kick off the season perfectly. You can find the recipe here:http://www.ohbiteit.com/2012/11/gingerbread-brownies.html

There is nothing like roast pork to anchor your holiday dinner. This lesson from Martha can be found here:http://www.marthastewart.com/920465/bone-pork-loin# My preference is to have the butcher tie two boneless loins together and simply season with garlic and caraway seed.

If you’re not able to secure white tulips you should have no difficulty finding white Phalanopsis orchids in plant form that will last well into the New Year.

Sorting through your collection of mid-century vintage ornaments and separating them in groups of like color can make a modern statement as you revisit and display them each year.

*photo of the roast from Martha Stewart Living

The Dreaded Gift Exchange

December 16, 2012

Dirty Santa, Yankee Swap, Chinese Auction…you know them…you have come to hate them. C’mon, it’s Christmas…and there is really no getting around them. So how about a fresh take? Keep your dollar amount to ten and keep the gifts limited to something consumable. At first thought it seems like it can’t be done but these limitations provide the incentive to really crank up (or down) the creavitity factor. I’ve used this format for family gatherings and everyone , from teens to the oldest generation, had a blast. Oddly enough the shopping portion seemed to be the most fun for everyone…resulting in items like smoked sea salt, Amish butter, vintage sodas and an assortment of Hostess pastries ( which to me was the funniest). In the end, when all of the picking, swapping,opening and trading is done everyone will have had a great time, no one went into debt and no one had to make a trip to the Dollar Store. Yippee!boxw_brch2Fgiftw2BallsA_F