Category Archives: Lifestyle

Old School Photography

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Each year, these prints are my little labor of love. This year’s holiday card began almost one year ago, at the beginning of 2015. While shooting a project for Tiffany & Co., we had the opportunity to rent a private helicopter to get aerial shots of Manhattan. I learned two things from that early winter morning ride: 1. I am deathly afraid of helicopters and 2. I wanted this year’s holiday card to be a print of my great love, New York City. Looking down on her from this birds eye view gave me a new visual sense of the layers of history in this city from which we build our own futures. I understood her in a new way and that’s what I wanted to capture.

Considering there is not enough Xanax in the world to get me in a helicopter again, I had to find a new strategy for shooting at this high but intimate angle. Though I love the views from the obvious choices—Empire State Building and Top of the Rock—they didn’t give me the towering sense I was seeking. From the tops of those iconic buildings, the city is dwarfed and dense, slightly out of reach. As luck would have it, our friends from The New Potato were hosting a party with Riviera Events on the 68th floor of the newly completed Four World Trade Center. It’s one of those moments in life where everything falls into place, as if designed by destiny. Here we are in the Financial District, where we work, standing in a building that is part of the present, looking down on the past. It was just what I wanted.

It was an incredibly difficult shot to take. Using a Linhof 4×5 film field camera, the cityscape was not bright enough to register on the ground glass where you do your framing and focus check. Only a few faint street lights were visible for me to use as a rough guide but for the most part I was shooting blind. This also applies to metering: I had no way of knowing if I would be right on the money or not, so I just applied what I knew about the sensitivity of film to light and my experience with it the past 19 years. The image that ultimately made the final print was a 5 minute exposure on Ilford Delta 400ISO film.

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After the image was captured, we packed up and headed to my favorite darkroom in Boston for printing (which made for a great 24 hour Snapchat story!)

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Holiday Coffee Cocktails with Nespresso

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Tis the season, as they say. With all the up coming parties and family get togethers, I thought it would be fun to do a classic twist on the simple pleasure and ease of  Nespresso coffee as either a sweet delectable treat or seasonal cocktail to keep the party going. Whether it’s through holiday entertaining in good taste among family and friends or savoring a moment alone on the couch, these are great ways to be a stylish host without too much effort but maintaining the best quality. 

The new VertuoLine Evoluo Machine creates both a splendid cup of coffee or shot of espresso with Nespresso’s signature layer of naturally-formed crema. My friend Molly who is a food writer and stylist developed two holiday coffee cocktails based on these functions of our machine. Of course, it would be a great idea to gift an Evoluo for the holidays and break in the machine with a fun treat like these! 

Hot Mocha

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1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 shot Nespresso espresso

handful marshmallows, to serve

dusting of white sparkling sugar & edible silver stars

to spike (optional)- add a shot of whiskey or bourbon

Heat the milk, cocoa and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until steaming. Whisk to combine. Make a shot of Nespresso espresso in a large mug. Pour hot chocolate mixture over the espresso and top with marshmallows. Serve immediately. *Makes 1  Holiday_Coffee_Cocktail_Nespresso_03 (more…)

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A Southern Holiday Party

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

It feels like only a moment ago we were hosting last year’s holiday party for friends. My how fast a year comes and goes with so many new memories to stowaway in the vault. For this year’s get together in our new Upper West Side home I wanted to bring to life a piece of my past to make the meal even more personal and intimate by taking our friends on a culinary trip down south, to taste my southern roots and warm comfort food.

When I think about southern food I always think about BBQ and biscuits. A saucy slow cooked meat rolled in spices and balanced by the buttery softness of a warm biscuit. It’s sinful and wonderful and went beautifully with Ecco Domani’s full bodied Merlot. For the non-meat eating guests we offered southern catfish baked and served in my cast iron skillet my grandmother passed down to me which is seasoned with love, as I like to say, and a great compliment to Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio.

Of course, any time I host friends or family I like to start with a cheese plate for people to graze on while we finish preparing the meal. Following my simple rule I outlined in this post, I chose a wonderful soft goat cheese, aged gouda, manchego cheese to be accompanied by roasted almonds, apples and artisanal crackers. Wanting to start with a crisp and light wine, we opened Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio for the cheese course though it goes perfectly well with the Merlot too if you prefer.

In the end, no matter what you serve or what you wear, it’s about making memories with friends and loved ones, sharing stories, being at peace and above all, loving one another this holiday season. Cheers….

See below for entertaining tips and southern recipes created for this night by my friend Jared who is, as we call him, the cookie monster. Everything was served on handmade pottery (a wedding gift from my parents!) by Clayworks in the East Village and another very personal, homey touch to this intimate gathering.

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

For last year’s holiday party we set individual photographs I had taken of each guest at their place setting to not only arrange the seating in a beautiful visual way but for each of the guests to take home a gift from the evening. This year I decided to create individual bouquets for each place setting that the guests could take home and enjoy for the days to come. Living in New York City this is a wonderfully easy way to play with your creativity. On 28th and 7th is the most fabulous flower market where you can find anything your heart desires. I love more than anything exploring in and out of these shops and creating my own story though flowers.

Above, setting the table in Maud Heline’s Arlanik white button up shirt dress made in Brooklyn  (ps- it’ has pockets!!) 

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio (more…)

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ROE Caviar

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I recently entertained for the first time with caviar. Of course I’ve had caviar on many occasions at parties, but in very small amounts and without a story of what it is or where it came from. It’s funny, every time I think about caviar served at a party I remember the scene from “You’ve Got Mail” where Tom Hank’s character takes all the caviar garnish at a party during the middle of a quarrel with Meg Ryan.

I’ll be honest, I never really knew what all the fuss was about with caviar. Maybe I just never had good caviar? Or maybe it is the fact that I was raised in Texas, far from the glittering crowd that would appreciate such a delicacy, instead, as children, making fake “chocolate pies” in the mud with my brother.

When my friend introduced me to ROE Caviar, a sustainably farmed California caviar only available in November & December,  I decided it was time to focus and decide where I stand on this glossy little black wonder.

Well… now I know.

It’s heavenly. Salty, delicate, fresh, delightful… it’s like the joy of champagne in solid form. It was thrilling to try and even more delightful to serve. How shall I decide on a beautiful way to present it and what to serve it with! Our guests loved it. To my surprise, they loved it more than I even expected, and I think more than they expected as well.

One of our dinner guests is Swiss-German, something I like to call him when he begins to fix anything broken in your apartment or builds the perfect autumn fire, taught us to put a dab of caviar on your skin between your thumb and pointer finger and taste it off the flesh. Sounds weird at first but hey, I didn’t get to where I’m at in life by not trying new things. So I did and tasting the nuances of the caviar was pure luxury and experiencing the cold, wet texture of the caviar against the contrast of your skin and wetness of your mouth was frankly… sexy. I am thankful I do not have a drug habit but I am fearful I might have a caviar one which could possibly be worse!

So here’s to trying new things and sharing it among friends. Below is the recipe from our friend Jared (who also makes Salt Box Cookies) for homemade blinis we served alongside sour cream and chives for the perfect holiday hostess platter of my new love, caviar.

Caviar Blinis

1/4 cup potato starch

1/2 cup flour

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 tbsp melted butter, plus more for skillet

In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In separate bowl, lightly whisk buttermilk, egg and melted butter.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk batter.

Place a skillet over medium/low heat and brush with butter.  When skillet is hot, spoon scant tablespoons of batter on to the skillet about 2 inches apart.  Once pancakes rise and bottoms are golden brown, flip and brown the other side.



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