Monday, October 16, 2017

Martha Stewart (and others) Tells Us Stories

D&DB (Decoration and Design Building)-the midtown NYC trade destination hosts:
 THE POWER OF STORYTELLING: People:Progress:Product

The DDB Fall Market-last week-hosted inspiring panels -heralding the visually/verbally talented hard-working industry individuals and wonderful wares displayed in open product showrooms. No surprise- hundreds of interior decorators and architecture professionals attended- eager to share/learn... timely tips centered around the theme of "DESIGN IS A STORY" aka what a home environment says about its occupant(s)---and how to translate personalities and spatial requirements into a welcoming place to live.
No doubt, all of the fast paced talks (plus Q+As) with the top professionals, hosted by editors of top magazines (including Elle Decor, Domino, Metropolis, Home&Design, Architectural Digest...) were superbly informative.

We suspect however- that design icon, Martha Stewart -was  the biggest STAR present-a participant in a terrific panel set in the spectacular Baccarat showroom-a space gloriously packed with the company's hand-blown crystals, glassware, tabletops and drop dead gorgeous chandeliers worthy of Versailles Palace. AND all left unbroken despite the equally packed in crowds.

Although the cult of Martha-eluded us in the 20th century... we always suspected this successful business woman had an edgy-entertaining side---she graduated Barnard College after all. It wasn't until a gal we went to summer camp with-went to work for the practically biblical read must for weddings (Martha Stewart Weddings)...that we got a bit of inside insight on this Big Personality person-now on must see broadcast display via VH1's -Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party.

This one hour session, The Power of Experience: Enhancing the Five Senses-was ably led by Departures Editor in Chief, Dan Rubinstein...who began with the other accomplished two panelists- interior designers Stephen Sills and Shawn Henderson--- recounting favorite design projects for clients that physically spoke volumes about the occupants' personalities (and imo-the customer's choice in who they hired, too).

Martha Stewart-has herself as a client, in a way-and impressed everyone - with detailed descriptions of her Maine kitchen-located in the former Edsel Ford estate-and how design details and materials -included using local elements (raw woods, hog hair).
NOTE-one of her 21 'brand' kitchens.

Our biggest practical takeaways---once one walks through the front door... were on the critical importance of light and clean air-.particularly in the kitchen.

A fab tip from Ms. Stewart ...for a delicious smelling welcoming home--- bake an apple or poach some pears= a waaay better aroma than conjured up by potentially toxic interior sprays or candles.

Other tips/ observations to a question we asked- (past design trends-missed and should return or cringe worthy-and should  stay banished)... included-the desirability of now out of favor 18th/19th century furniture - incredibly well priced too (Martha Stewart), stereo-typed interpretations of modern design-like ho-hum low slung couches-around a coffee table-should be ditched for what MODERN design should be-stream lined elegance (Stephen Sills) and a reinvigorated interest for fabrics with metallic accents (Shawn Henderson).

Instagram and social media pros and cons- were also discussed-including the millennial tendencies to experience life in the virtual world-versus IRL -like visiting the wonderful period rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
On the plus side-multi-cultural experiences-often gained through travel...are a necessary part of today's world and in turn-environmental experiences...("Politics Aside," M.S.).

Applause, applause, applause.

Observation: One could have sold tickets to the public for this event-set it in a large auditorium-and donated the proceeds to a worthy charity like Hurricane Relief...or  Habitats For Humanity. Just saying.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Healthy Sips-Best Cocktail Mixes

Alcoholic liquids... the opposite of some of the new better for you functional fluids hitting the market can be the perfect pairing of dress-upped, mixed drinks.

Ideas on how to update the last decades fav Red Bull and Vodka-include now 'cleaner' carbonated alternatives-plus fluids boasting health benefits.
The new behind the bar staples???
Lifeway's slightly sparkling organic Elixir-fresh tasting-in fruity tangerine, elderberry, hibiscus and our fav, warm spicy ginger-delivers active culture probiotics. Served chilled -with clear alcohol-like gin or vodka-or 'straight up'- over ice ...naturally low in calories-and gluten/caffein free, vegan +kosher. 

Apple Cider vinegar is the old/new remedy for human ailments-including diminishing detoxifying inflammation,  sore throats, help in weight loss, support heart health, improve blood sugar/insulin levels etc. That abrasive tartness though-on its own-or swoished in water-isn't for most. Palate problem solved- by Up Mountain Switchel's slightly sweetened (organic Grade A maple syrup) Lemon-(with raw organic apple cider vinegar)+ added organic ginger root/lemon juice +pure mountain water... for subtle spicey-easy to drink thirst quencher-is actually delicious-as it mellows out the vinegar taste. In bottles or aluminum cans.
For cocktail time-add 2 parts U.M.S to 1 part= bourbon- with dash of bitters -plus orange/cherry twist...or an equal ratio to vodka with lime juice adorned with fresh mint...or dark rum/lime garnish (all on the rocks). For margaritas-2 parts each (w/ tequila) plus fresh lime juice-salt rim optional or a take on a  21st century Old Fashion-2 parts U.M.S. to one part rye whiskey. NICE.

Monday, October 9, 2017

BRANDBLACK, KEEN Master Function/Fashion Footwear

Checking out subway passengers' footwear-(vs addictive smartphone screens)'s clear that woven knit uppers atop sport/lifestyle kicks have become the style of choice... shared with workboots-depending on the hour of the day.

Athletes all? Nope-clearly commuters are opting for trendy comfort ---partially why THAT shoe market niche -looks-wise-boast straight off fashion forward runway handsomeness and functional driven outdoors' details of techy components that are fit fab+ durable.

One of the 'hot' brands out there...BRANDBLACK-a 'lifestyle'  men's apparel/footwear company that would synch just right if purveyed by Dover St. Market-as easily as adorning the uncompensated forms/feet of off duty b-ball pros.

This may be a smirk inducing take on the Birkenstock/sock Grandpa phenomena-but we bet there's a consumer base for this ONE PIECE Tabi  $140 sandal/sock merger. The unibody construction is unique-woven tubular knit upper -3M abrasion tough-manages to be 100% seamless and water resistant-with typical four point closure system and grippy top of the line Vibram® outsole -typical of the best rugged sandals out there. Interesting.
Our new shoe obsession for guys=BRANDBLACK DELTA ($140)
Vibram® outsole was developed just for BRANDBLACK-non-marking outsole with basketball court players  in mind- dribbling on sweated on wooden floors, executing quick fast pivots-and mad dashes/dunks- moves aided by a tricked out  segmented blade construction. Nifty.
Woven knit upper-(Jetlon Lite)-ultimate eye catching functional shoe. Check out the zoned sections of the upper-and the thought out lacing pattern-clearly engineered for ideal fit/comfort like the best body mapped athletic wear (should be). The tongue is only attached at its bottom allows for ultimate tug free fit  (we wish our running shoes were made this way)...and the back tab-aids in on/off- is the only stitched on feature to knit upper. Other features...supportive thermo-plastic heel counter, and cushioning in that footbed too-we checked it out. 
Bonus-the outsole 'color coordinates' with the upper.
Why not buy too pairs-and with it up? Four color combos available now...including urban friendly, black, pictured below.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Eddie Bauer's Breakthrough- EverTherm Jacket

 "Down Re-Invented" is quite the claim-but for those seeking the ultimate warmth/weight ration efficient jacket-Eddie Bauer's new EverTherm jackets (M+W) delivers. ($249-$299)
FINALLY-barely heavier than a simple nylon shell (9.12 oz)-but protective vs. cold temps ( to -15º)-the EverTherm basic slim silhouettes- in weather tough super durable material (StormRepel®)-are insulated with a proprietary high loft -no puff down- stuffed inside without the quilting/baffle stitching usually needed for the feathers...meaning no cold spots and a streamline design.
Delivers in longer parka for women + jacket lengths (M+W) ...with or w/o hood...with zip close chest/hand pockets.
Eddie Bauer's Men's EverTherm Jacket $249-in Cardinal Red. Part of the First Ascent collection of tech gear worthy of any   winter activity.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wines Divine for Holiday Fare

Holiday fare with something 'pumpkin-spice' -or peppermint chocolate -match well with Octoberfest beers and schnapps-but earthy aromatic red wines as well as balanced white wines-can also pair off well.
At-Il Gattopardo -several rich red wines made from Romagna Sangiovese regional grapes were paired perfection with the elegant rustic southern Italian appetizers served.
The new to us  Sangiovese red wines-sharing the characteristic rich berry garnet color of Brunellos - are helpfully subject to the new Romagna appellation regulation (12 sub-zones) that safeguard and promote these delicious aromatic sips to consumers on this side of the Pond.
One of our favs...Il Nespoli (Poderi Dal Nespoli S.r.L. Soc. Agr.) Romana Sangiovese Superiore Riserva- a red wine with fine, elegant tannins with characters reflective of the medium textured terroir. Pair with hard cheeses, meaty entrees-or we think, spicy autumnal fare-like warm up pumpkin squash soup.
Another top pick-Bron & Ruseval
 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva Bertinoro 2013 wine-aged in oak barrels-full flavors rich floral  hints.
Grenache grapes made into white/red wines from the southern Rhone valley + Aragon Spain- Basque region-also bring holiday cheers for seasonal grub. On the left-Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Anayón makes delicious full bodied varietal white wine made from 30 years old Chardonnay vines aged in American oak barrels for six months +clarified before bottling. On the right-and in the glass-Department 66 Grenache 2014 from Languedoc-Rouissillon, France-is simply transporting-with deep berry flavors, mineral notes-and smooth tannins...

Monday, October 2, 2017


It's Limited Edition seasoning season!

Holiday Flavors of spicy cinnamon paired with that ultimate patch product-pumpkin ...adds flavorful aromatic hints to sweets, staples and life's liquid must, coffee.
Tops Picks for Pumpkin Spice
Spice Islands Gourmet Blends-Pumpkin Spice-aromatic fresh ground blend of comforting cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, mace+nutmeg...add to dough destined for desserts, sprinkle a pinch on seasonal gourd vegetables or baked fruity slices or fillings...add atop frothy cappuccino or tempting vanilla ice cream=insta sweet celebration. 
GoGo squeeZ-delicious sweet applesauce in fab portable, shelf stable BPA free pouch-adds tiny hints-of cinnamon-y spice with apple/pumpkin goodness-a guaranteed children pleaser-that's also non-GMO certified,  gluten, nut, and dairy FREE  FYI-perfect for leaf peepers-take these along on autumnal hikes, pumpkin patch picking jaunts, or weekend lazy long bike rides...imo-an ideal natural snack -100% fruit (60 calories per)-with neat top can reseal if there's any leftover contents. Which there won't be.

FACT: The addition of any of the plant-based, dairy-free- CALIFIA FARMS Creamer-made from Almond milk with rich coconut cream- in our morning java makes most needed caffeine jolts, super tasty 🍮. SOON-delicious holiday fare limited editions of these half n' half slayers-will deliver--including the pictured- warm sweet Pumpkin Spice blend version. Made with real pumpkin puree & the ideal amount of spicy hints -easily elevates hot liquids to dessert status, but better, with this seasonal Almondmilk Creamer-having only15 calories and less than 2 grams of sugar per serving. Needless to say, our sample quickly became the household fav -every much so we think this fast growing company needs to deliver these creamers in gallon sized options. PLEASE :-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pro-Aging Review: DEFENAGE™ SKINCARE 8-In- BioSerum

Our New Hero Product

Preventive care+pro-health-are the 'new' positive buzzwords. In the skincare world there are many choices that ascribe to the aforementioned marketing smart adjectives-but rarely do we get too excited about any of these products...scientifically  based or 'natural.'

Partially because-after awhile-they all seem similar...with active ingredients sourced from same private label companies-or if blessed with unique components-sell in fancy packaging that doesn't ensure purity or longevity of the ingredients =and are insanely priced.
Accessibly priced, mass market skincare---on the other hand-often leans loaded with irritating fillers or fragrances that are off putting, of dubious chemical nature-(maybe even banned in the EU)- and not that effective.

Packaging Plus-air tight pump dispensers for 24/7Barrier Cream + 8-in-One BioSerum  ensures efficacy of ingredients-snap off tiny white tab-the top swivels-clockwise/counter-clockwise... open/close. The ultra-fine-sugar crystals +triple enzyme technology scrub=2-Minute Reveal Masque- in the tube -only need one light squeeze for the right amount of product- for entire face. Can be used 1x week-  rids facial skin of dead cells-as it contains papaya fruit and healing aloe juice. It kinda warms up -in a good way too-on the skin-and should be left on a reasonable 2 minutes before rinsing. FYI- super sensitive or openly irritated skin should not use scrubs ...generally speaking. Applied as directed-we think these products as packaged will last 5-6 months. Sold online-separately or as a trio package-in full and handy TSA fly kit size.
Happily-and surprisingly-we are jazzed about DEFENAGE™ Skincare-a new fast acting-and also, importantly-fast using new trio of skin solutions (a 1-2x a week 2-Minute Reveal Masque, and 2x daily 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream, and  8-In-1 BioSerum). ... because it's based on a unique smart formula that's self adjusting, loaded with unique skin saviors-patent-pending powerful regenerative peptides-(AgeRepair Defensins™-discovered by scientists at the parent company-Progenitor Biologics™) plus other functioning ingredients (like niacinamide) that efficiently- improve the skin's barrier functions vs environmental assaults + aid the renewal of adult stem cells-for gradual improvement of one's topical facial appearance.  BTW-priced in the prestige end of skincare-but not so precious as to cost a month's rent.