May your holidays be as bright as a fully lit menorah.
Happy fifth night of Chanukah
and all else you celebrate this winter.
May your holidays be as bright as a fully lit menorah.
This morning I had a few friends over for a pre-winter break holiday brunch. An excuse to drink Mimosas and Bellinis, try out a few recipes, and hang with friends before two solid weeks of family.
I baked orange sour cream muffins with an orange glaze and made the egg soufflé sandwiches from Flour Bakery, with the recipe from Joanne Chang’s second cookbook. (So good.) I also put together a shredded brussels sprout and kale salad with chickpeas and pomegranate seeds. I have no idea if this was any good since I wasn’t feeling lettuce-y this morning. For starters I did cream cheese on pita crackers with smoked salmon and capers or sun-dried tomatoes and fresh dill. One of my favorites.
Since I’m neither an entertaining blogger or food photographer, I didn’t set a beautiful table (there’s only so much time) or take stunning photos. But here are a few decent shots of the me, the food, and the absolutely beautiful flowers. Happy holidays, happy weekend.
Self-Portrait with (Blood) Orange
I was surprised when I cut the orange open. I didn’t expect blood red.
Orange Sour Cream Muffins with Zesty Orange Glaze
Very easy to prepare. You melt the butter so there’s no need to pull out an electric mixer. The most effort went into zesting the orange. The final result, glazed and good. The glaze is very sweet, and very easy. Recipe from Damn Delicious, discovered via Pinterest on my “Breakfast” board.
Egg Souffé Sandwiches
Those famous egg sandwiches from Flour Bakery, straight from the Flour Bakery cookbook by Boston chef and bakery owner Joanne Chang, Flour Too. The egg portion of the recipe is very easy and tastes delicious. You can make them the night before. In fact, the whole reason Change developed the recipe is because her shops don’t have the capacity to fry up eggs on a griddle. Skip the whole baking your own bread part. I served them open face, on croissants from Trader Joe’s, with tomatoes I roasted the night before, slices of melted cheddar cheese, turkey bacon, and a Dijon mayonnaise sauce.
Gorgeous asymmetrical white and green centerpiece from Bloom Couture Floral Studio, a new florist in Boston’s South End. The arrangements have a distinctly modern Japanese aesthetic, created with a mix of classic flowers, like white roses, and others that I rarely see and can’t name (but I’ll find out). Look carefully at the leaf on the left. . . the metallic gold square is a nice touch.
Architect and collector Lisa S. Roberts new book DesignPOP (Rizzoli 2014) surveys the best furniture and accessories (so far) of the 21st century. In between the bold photographs of these iconic contemporary pieces, Roberts discusses new materials and processes, as well as how sustainability and social responsibility, influence designers’ paths. She points out that even the definition of designer is changing as disciplines merge. For example, products from companies like Apple and Dyson often exemplify considered cutting edge design.
As I flipped through the colorful pages of DesignPOP, I was struck by how many of the items I’ve come across in my life, and even own. While I covet high end design, I don’t have the funds for splurging on it. However, Roberts mixes the practically unattainable with practical everyday products
For example, she puts forth the Soft Urn designed by Hella Jongerius, which appears to be a traditional pottery vase, but is instead made of silicone. I discovered silicone urns a number of years ago (I think mine are by Menu though), and love them because if the kids knock them over, they won’t break.
I’ve bet you seen the Bobble, even if you don’t realize it. Bobble is an ergonomically-shaped, thin plastic water bottle with built in filter, designed by Karim Rashid. I have one for each of my kids to keep by their bedsides; I purchased them at Target. I’ve never changed the filters… should probably get on that.
Other designers highlighted include Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Marc Newson, Marcel Wanders, Yves Behar, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Philippe Starck, Ross Lovegrove, and Jasper Morrison.
I sent Roberts a few questions to answer about her findings and favorites from DesignPop, answered below, complete with products featured in the book.
Were most of these products familiar to you before starting the research? Any new finds?
I knew many since I follow the industry very closely. But during my research I discovered the Flip Flop Vase by Diederick Schneemann, the Chubby Chair by Dirk Vander Kooij, the Lytro Light Field Camera by New Deal Design, and the Nest Thermostat by Tony Fadell.
Flip Flop Vase by Diederick Schneemann
Made from recycled flip flops washed up on Kenyan beaches .
Chubby Chair by Dirk Vander Kooij
Made from 3D printed recycled refrigerator plastic, with their waste made into clothes hangers.
Nest Thermostat by Tony Fadell
$249 at Amazon
We purchased one of these, drawn in by both the design and “smart” functionality. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it to work with our HVAC system, but not for lack of trying. This 2.0 version may be easier to implement. They have a great help line.
Your picks all come out of the 21st century. What are some products designed before 2000 that may have been included if you expanded the time frame?
There were a lot of game-changing designs before 2000. There’s the Vermelha Chair by Humberto and Fernando Campana, the Wiggle Chair by Frank Gehry, and the Bookworm by Ron Arad.
Vermelha Chair by Humberto and Fernando Campana
$12,821 at Switch Modern
The upholstery is completely made of intertwined cotton ropes.
Wiggle Chair by Frank Gehry
$1,140 at AllModern
Designed back in 1972 and made from cardboard.
Bookworm by Ron Arad
$408 at Lumens
I’ve always been intrigued this piece in the MoMA catalog. It’s flexible and can be made into any shape.
Which brand new products would make the list if you did a follow up?
The Carbon Balloon Chair by Marcel Wanders. It’s made of carbon fiber and resin, weighs about one and a half pounds, and can hold up to 198 pounds. Also the Polygon Chair by Joris Laarman, which combines advanced technology with hand assembly. It’s comprised of mathematically designed CNC milled pieces that are assembled like a puzzle, by hand.
Carbon Balloon Chair by Marcel Wanders
An ultra light carbon fiber chair inspired by balloons.
Do you own any of the products featured in the book?
I own many of the products in the book. Some are on display in my personal gallery and some I live with. I love the Collapsible Strainer by Boje Estermann because it takes up so little space in my drawer. The Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit sits in my foyer and is as attractive as it is comfortable. The Fred Humidifier by Matti Walker comes out whenever someone in the family has a cold. I also have two Midsummer Lights by Tord Boontje that hang over the conference table in my home office.
Collapsible Strainer by Boje Estermann
$60 at Lumens
Last year I bought a collapsible silicone salad spinner at T.J.Maxx for our little condo in Florida. It is one of the best gadgets you can buy, because really, who has room for a salad spinner. Ditto for a full-size colander.
Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit
Two-and-a-half years ago I interviewed Dror Benshetrit at his studio in NYC for Design Milk. He had one of these chairs there and I was instantly smitten. It’s felt and very visually satisfying. The full interview is here, and you can see some extra tidbits and photographs here.
Midsummer Light by Tord Boontje
$98 at A+R
I bought two Midsummer Light shades, one in citron and one in violet, many years ago, thinking I might use them in the guest rooms on the Cape. I didn’t, but I still have them. I know one day I’ll find the right spot. They’re magical.
Which are your favorites?
The iPhone because I can’t live without it and the Bank in the Form of A Pig by Harry Allen because it always makes me smile. I love my Rainbow Chair by Patrick Norguet because it captures light in the most amazing way, casting a rainbow shadow on the floor. Also, of all the designs I own, it has increased the most in value since I purchased it!
Bank in the Form of A Pig by Harry Allen
$200 at Nordstrom
This design, which is now done in shiny turquoise, pink, gold and other colors, was modeled on an actual suckling pig that had died of natural causes, cast it in resin. $10 of every pig bank sale goes to the Humane Society.
Rainbow Chair by Patrick Norguet
$8,500 on eBay
Which design do you most covet?
Tide Chandelier by Stuart Haygarth, but it’s so big, I would have no place to put it.
Tide Chandelier by Stuart Haygarth
£20,000 – 30,000 at Phillips
A valuable example of trash to treasure.
Design Pop by Lisa S. Roberts (Rizzoli, 2014)
$26.27 at Amazon
• • •
I’ve been meaning to write about my beauty squad for a while. I used to write the annual Best of Beauty picks for local magazine Improper Bostonian, so believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of beauty services in Boston. It’s always fun asking an aesthetician to wax just one side of your bikini line so you can have another aesthetician attack the other side. Same with eyebrows (though not really recommended). With all that experimentation and plethora of free services, I’ve actually remained pretty loyal to my longtime favorite hair stylist, facialist, spa, and mani/pedi place in Boston—Kristen Moshiek, Natalie Maibenko, Mandarin Oriental Boston Spa, and MiniLuxe.
Recently my circle has expanded to include fitness peeps too. I joined the David Barton gym which is opening on Arlington Street, but not until March. (I was one of the charter members of the David Barton gym on the Upper East Side in the ’90s, so there’s some nostalgia involved.) But better than a gym is the virtual fitness routine I started in September. A childhood friend of my husband’s named Sarah John trains me by Skype twice a week. Last week I added her friend, yoga instructor Kristy Wright-Terrell to my morning fitness mix. I actually love it.
Here’s a little bit more about each of them, and others I rely on to get me gorgeous. (Note: These lovely ladies are not paying me, and don’t provide me with regular free services. I have received comps from some of them through work, but these are the professionals to whom I pay money when I need beauty help. They’re that good.)
H A I R
Photo by Jared Leeds • Boston Weddings
I’ve been getting Japanese hair straightening treatments since the mid-’90s, before it was a thing. (No, my hair is not curly, just annoyingly bumpy.) When we first moved to Boston, a colleague of my husband’s recommended Kristen Moshiek at Beaucage Salon on Newbury Street. Kristen, who is so sweet, talented, and pretty, has been straightening my hair ever since. Whenever I had to actually pay for a haircut, I went to her too. These days, Kristen is a new mama almost three times over and focuses on styling hair for brides getting married in New England. This past summer I interviewed Kristen about bridal hair styles and such in “The Tress Tamer” for Boston Weddings.
While I’m lucky enough to have Kristen travel to my home to straighten my hair, I needed to find someone in town for cuts and color (starting to sprout pesky grays). Kristen steered me to the funky and energetic Emily Reale at Beaucage Salon. Emily, who often sports blue or magenta strands herself, mixes color to perfection and gives great haircuts. And despite the Newbury Street address, the $45 price tag is highly affordable. Emily does wedding hair too . . . maybe I should find occasion for an updo.
S K I N
Natalie Maibenko is my absolute favorite aesthetician in Boston, and one of my favorite people. This generous and ambitious Eastern European beauty has been servicing my skin for many years. I first discovered her at Beaucage as well. She was a massage therapist then, and gave me the best massage ever. Ever. When it was time to write Best Ofs one year, I tracked her down at an Aveda salon near Quincy Market for a repeat performance. With all the excellent local publicity, Natalie was able to forge out on her own with a small South End practice. Now Natalie has her own beautifully designed space, Unique Verve, on Newbury Street, where she concentrates on facials. Natalie is always up on the latest skin science and consistently invests in new technologies. Her newest tool is a Visia skin scanner, which gives a multi-dimensional view of six aspects of the skin for individualized facial rejuvenation treatments. But I’ll let Natalie explain it. Make an appointment.
M A S S A G E + R E L A X A T I O N
If I want a pampering massage, spa treatment, soak and steam in Boston, the The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston is my top destination. There’s no other spa that comes close to its service and facilities. I love, love, love the hot tub and steam room. There’s also icy showers and such, in which I do not partake. Recently the Mandarin treated me to its Time to Release spa treatment. a full-body massage that uses volcanic hot stones and Mandarin Oriental’s signature Release body oil (a calming blend of cypress, eucalyptus, clary sage, juniper berry, frankincense, pine,and jasmine) to help focus the mind, recharge the body, and release muscle tension. This massage was pure bliss. (Anybody reading this who wants to send me a present, I’d like another massage at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston. Thank you.)
N A I L S ( + W A X I N G )
For mani/pedis, and more recently, bikini waxes, I go to MiniLuxe on Newbury Street, where I’ve been going since they first opened. (They now have locations in number of Boston suburbs too.) The bright white and pale wood space with bamboo floors is a pleasure to sit in. (I hate sitting still for manicures.) The prices are a few dollars higher, but the atmosphere and practices are a thousand percent more sterile. Another Beaucage find, Donna Charloff, runs the training program that ensures the manicurists there know what they’re doing, so I don’t have a regular favorite. Every manicurist does a good job. I’ve very rarely been disappointed in the quality of MiniLuxe mani/pedis. (Sometimes the scheduling system can be wonky, so if you book online, make certain your confirmation email comes through.)
C O R E T R A I N I N G
I’ve never actually met Sarah John, once known as Sarah Dubitsky, in the flesh. But I’ve been hearing about her for years, and even sat with her dad at the Blackfish bar in Truro for dinner one night. Sarah is a friend of my husband’s from his childhood summers on the Cape. We became Facebook friends, exchanged messages, and this fall, I signed up for his private virtual training sessions. Sarah, a former teacher and corporate lawyer, is a mom to three adorable young kids (they make an appearance in our sessions from time to time) who became interested in fitness during one of her pregnancies. You can see her leading a paddleboard fitness class in the photo above. Through her company, Sarah John Fitness, Sarah offers private and group core training. She is in VERY good shape, and is great about modulating the pace and exercises to my needs. It’s the first time I”ve actually enjoyed and stuck to workouts. Thank you Sarah.
Y O G A
A couple of weeks ago Sarah introduced me to her friend Kristy Wright-Terrell. Kristy is super sweet, with a lovely, lilting Southern accent, and is slowly, patiently teaching me yoga. Last week marked my very first yoga class ever, and Kristy’s very first Skype training session ever. We’re learning together. I start and end the week with one hour of yoga with Kristy. I love the stretching, though not sure I’ll ever learn to really relax.
B A L L E T
Inevitably there are days I can’t connect with Sarah or Kristy, so if there’s a long stretch between sessions, on the weekends I boot up my quickie vdieo from Ballet Beautiful, 15-Minute Beautiful Body with Mary Helen Bowers. Bowers is a retired New York City ballet ballerina with unnaturally long, lithe limbs, and apparently trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan. That, and her airy white studio, was all the convincing I needed.
A T H O M E
Not to sound like a fitness nut (because really, if you know me, you know I am severely lacking in that department), I’ve taken to using the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair at my desk for a bit each day. (It’s slightly too short , so if I use it for hours my arms fall asleep.) It definitely helps me feel more conscious of my midsection during my marathon computer sessions. The ball comes in handy for sessions with Sarah, and my kids like to see how long they can kneel on it before toppling over. This balance ball contraption has been a win-win.
I’ve also purchased a few other items for my fitness ventures.
S H O P P I N G
• • •
Here’s my second batch of photos from Art Basel Miami 2014. (Here’s the link to Art Basel Miami 2014 Part I, in case you missed it last Monday.) I feel like a lot of the works were similar to last year’s Art Basel Miami 2013, though I didn’t see quite as many neon and textual pieces. I wonder if this year’s presentations were a little less edgy?
Nevertheless, I am always excited to see work by artists whose work I’m familiar with, like modern masters such as Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Kenneth Noland, and Josef Albers, or those just slightly less known, that I learned about in college art history class, like Louise Nevelson. Then there are the more contemporary artists that I learned about from exploring museums in New York, such as Nan Goldin and Damien Hirst, or more recently, Pinterest, such as Ed Ruscha.
Even if you don’t have the astronomical budget it would take to decorate your home with artwork from the top galleries that exhibit at Art Basel Miami, it is still incredible to attend. The central show at the Convention Center is really more like a museum exhibit. It’s interesting to see work by artists that form the foundation that inform today’s more contemporary artists, and our overall design aesthetic. It will help develop your eye for when you are shopping for more affordable artwork for your home.
Here are 35 pieces of modern and contemporary art from the Convention Center at Art Basel Miami 2014. If you happen to know any of the artwork I wasn’t able to identify, please share. (I actually wandered around on my own for an hour in hopes of carefully documenting everything I photographed, but I still missed a couple.) Thanks!
Unidentified artist, but how great is that backdrop?
Simmons & Burke
Liu Wei (detail)
Glen Rubsamen (video)
Sheila Hicks (detail)
With all the attention paid to crystal encrusted statement necklaces and sparkly earrings in the last few years, it’s refreshing to see jewelry with a minimalist aesthetic make an appearance. Triangles in particular have been popular.
In early November I put together “All the Angles,” a roundup of geometric jewelry for the Boston Globe. Here’s a followup on that, with many more modern geometric jewelry picks, from triangle necklaces in marble or copper to rose gold pyramid studs to diamond encrusted geometric rings.
S H O P P I N G
1 Tri-Color Triangles Necklace, $78 at Samantha Faye.
2 Brass Necklace #3 by Iacoli & McAllister, $70 at Room68.
3 Black Marble & Brass Necklace #1, $120 at RillRill.
4 Temple Ray Studs by Bing Bang, $150 at Club Monaco.
5 Zen Square Ring with Crystals by Campbell, $98.50 at Club Monaco.
6 Tyler Triangle Diamond Studs by Jennifer Zeuner, $165 at Dress Boston.
7 Isosceles Cuff Bracelet, $24 at Madewell.
8 Gold Pavé Crystal Pyramid Studs by Eddie Borgo, $95 at Charm & Chain.
9 Gilded Frame Necklace, $32 at Madewell.
10 Arrowstack Necklace, $55 at Madewell.
11 Rose Gold Coin Earring by Campbell, $110 at Club Monaco.
12 Black Diamond Geometric Triangle Studs by Kacey K, $800 at Charm & Chain.
13 Mini Vertical Diamond Stick Pendant Necklace by Jennifer Meyer, $750 at Barneys.
14 Lapis & Gold Triangular Studs by Jennifer Meyer $395 at Barneys.
15 Two-Tone 14K Gold Triangle Earrings, $323.99 at Kay Jewelers.
16 Rose Gold Pyramid Triangles Earrings by Ylang, $280 at Ylang 23.
17 Opal Inlay Triangle Ring with Diamonds by Jennifer Meyer, $725 at Ylang 23.
18 Personalized Rectangle Bangle by Jemma Wynne, $3,360 at Ylang 23.
19 Arrowhead Drop Earring+Stud by Loren Stewart, $425 at Barneys.
20 Triangles Necklace by Arme De L’Amour, $255 at Net-a-Porter.
21 Small Drop Earrings by Malin Henningsson, $210 at Aha Life.
22 Axis No 1 Ring by Yield, $395 at Aha Life.
23 Gold Blondie Ring by Adornia, $425 at Aha Life.
24 Rose Gold V Necklace by Gabriela Artigas, $210 at A+R.
• • •
Trendy coffee shops. So common now. A must in everyday life. But I remember when coffee first became a thing. I visited friends in Seattle in the early 1990s, and coffee was everywhere. There’d be neon signs touting “Coffee!” blinking everywhere you looked. It was as though we were in another universe, in which coffee was a magic elixir. Of course, coffee is indeed human fuel and fancy, frothy coffee drinks are now as ubiquitous across the country as Coca-Cola. Another early coffee memory comes from the same era, from my first trip to Italy. Those Italian espresso bars, with those shots of espresso in those dollhouse sized espresso cups.
It didn’t take long for coffee culture to infiltrate the East Coast. Trendy coffee shops popped up all over Manhattan, and with them, coffee shops where one could luxuriate over caffeine. I distinctly recall when Big Cup opened in Chelsea. It was 1994, and coffee houses with oversize sofas were still a novelty. It had a beloved ten-year run, before falling victim to rising rents. By then, sofa-strewn cafés were a firmly entrenched part of urban living.
In the quest for a perfect cup of coffee, state-of-the-art espresso makers, in all their shining glory, were fixtures in sleek, preferably loft-like kitchens, where citified folk could craft post-dinner coffee for their sophisticated, art-loving friends. Cappuccinos and lattes too. And with that all the accoutrements, like milk frothers and coffee bean grinders and stainless steel jugs, from upscale coffee gadget companies like Breville, Bodum, Nespresso, Krups, etc.
More recently, the personal one-cup coffee maker has become the must-have coffee gadget. We’ve had a Keurig and a competitive brand (can’t remember which) of single serve coffee maker. Apparently, according a recent press release I got, brewing coffee at home can save $830 a year.
Coffee culture is still going strong (evidenced by the abundance of coffee art images on Pinterest if nothing else), despite the backlash of pricey concoctions from big businesses. If you’re lucky enough to live in a thriving metropolis, or funky college town, or are able to travel, you know that independent trendy coffee shops (excuse me, coffee bars) have become a thing.
Trendy coffee shops have their own design formula too. Painted brick or subway tile. Check. Black accent wall or reclaimed wood accent wall and counter. Check. Perfectly designed bare bulbs or banged up metal pendants hanging down from the ceiling. Check. Industrial style seating. Check. And, the bearded hipster baristas. Check, check, and check. The most au courant design details all come together in today’s coffee bars, be it in Berlin, Melbourne, or Portland.
Here are 32 interiors of trendy coffee shops from around the world. All similar in their coffee culture aesthetic.
Barry Cafe, Melbourne
Designed by Studio Techne • Photo by Ben Hosking
Cielito Cafe, Mexico City
Design by Graphic Ambient • Photo by Jaime Navarro
See-See Motorcycles & Coffee, Portland, Oregon
Living for the City
Cafe Falco, Montreal
Photo by Thibault
Ernst Kafferoaster, Ernst, Germany
Photo by trishates
La Esquina, Copenhagen
Tapped and Packed, London
via Mocha Latte
Feast of Merit, Melbourne
Design by Rustique
No Fire No Glory, Berlin
Photo by Ilenia Martini
Beacon Coffee & Pantry, San Francisco
Photo by Spotted SF
All That Is Solid, Glasgow
Bars & Racoons, Paris
Photo by Mamie Boude
Design/CGI photography by Diego Querol/3dqart
Le Bon, Berlin
What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today
Four Barrel Coffee
Front Coffee, San Francisco
JB Kaffee, Munich
Cosy Coffee Shops
Outerlands, San Francisco
Photo by Sonia Yu
Panther Coffee, Miami
Revolution Coffee, Singapore
Revolver Coffee, Vancouver
Scandic General Hotel Coffee Bar
Photo by Patrik Lindell • Dwell
Tandem Coffee Roasters, Portland
Photo by Patryce Bak
Timberland x Bonanza Coffee Roasters pop up, Berlin
Photo by Stephanie Duval • 70 Percent Pure
Yeite, Buenos Aires
• • •