The Ruinart Champagne Harvest

ruinart_champagne_harvest_002

Ruinart represents elegance through time. Savoir Faire – the knowledge and precision built upon generations of learning: care of and for the vines and land. While I’ve sipped their elegant rosé on many vast occasions, this particular harvest began in Paris. In a quaint Marais bistro I sat, par hazard (by chance), next to a coiffed Parisian gentleman. When I told him I happened to be attending the vendage (harvest), he expressed his intimate experience of what Ruinart meant to him.

I was utterly enchanted.

He said the beauty of Ruinart lays in the elegant curve at the neck of the bottle. The way the slender cork releases herself with just the slighted murmur. That the difference between her and other champagnes is found in both the sense of nostalgia for the past which we carry in our hearts, a tradition we capture each and every time we partake in her pétillantes (sparkling bubbles), and found in her relevance as a modern lady who has no interest in being left on a shelf. Each evening she wishes to be appreciated to the fullest.

That particular evening, in a house of Baccarat, filled to the very brim with the most glimmering crystal, we dined and celebrated the two houses, models of history and their elegance.

  ruinart_champagne_harvest_003

The following day was the harvest. Each vine must be picked at precisely the right moment. 220 hectares of grapes sweep through the rolling countryside of Reims. A vast field of vines: chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier. This was apparently a challenging harvest year.  Early hail and rain, followed by a sultry summer led to a smaller harvest, quick maturation and sweet rich grapes. According to Chef de Caves, Frédéric Panaiotis, the reds in particular possess just the perfect balance of elegance and tension.

ruinart_champagne_harvest_004ruinart_champagne_harvest_005

I personally picked grape bunches off the vine. Extraordinary. My fingers were sticky and sweet. I felt of the land. Completely enamored. Such a far reach from the lives we spend at desks, engaged constantly with the cold feel of technology on our finger tips.

There is something profoundly beautiful and timeless in cultivating the land; an enamored symbiotic relationship between the touch of soil, the history of this legendary champagne house, the cycle of seasons. Past and future joined in intimate perfection.

Continue reading “The Ruinart Champagne Harvest”

A Summer Soirée with Zac Posen & Ecco Domani

Ecco_Domani_Zac_Posen_02

I love New York in the summer. The parties are always at their most magical, and the people so beautiful. You would never know walking down a bustling street in Soho that behind a secret walled garden a glamorous summer soirée hosted by fashion designer Zac Posen is underway.

Under sparkling lights and fitted cocktail dresses, it was a perfect way to celebrate the newest collaboration between designer and wine maker. For two years now Zac Posen has been creating limited-edition bottle designs for Ecco Domani‘s Italian Pinot Grigio. Last year’s bottle was silvery burst of flowers and this year’s inspiration, taken from Mr. Posen’s 2016 collection, is reminiscent of joyful dancing bubbles in tones playing off of the wine’s crisp floral notes.

If Zac Posen is the go-to designer for the glamorous, classic Hollywood, lady-like women of the world then it is of no exception that his Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio design would be anything less. Perfect for a summer party table, the bottle is dressed for the occasion and all the joy that comes with….

Happy Summer! 

Ecco_Domani_Zac_Posen_03 Ecco_Domani_Zac_Posen_04

Ecco’s Sparkling Rosa Cocktail

  • 1 bottle Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
  • 12 oz Fresh Lemonade
  • 12 oz Fresh Grapefruit juice
  • 24 oz Club soda or sparkling water
  • lemon-lime soda
  • Mint for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Serve in wine glasses or low ball glasses with ice and garnished with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices. 

Ecco_Domani_Zac_Posen_05 Continue reading “A Summer Soirée with Zac Posen & Ecco Domani”

A Picnic in Provence

A_Picnic_In_Provence_02

It was perfect. A picnic in Provence where it is so simple, so easy, it’s practically laid out for you! Bouncing around visiting the little ancient villages perched on hilltops you are bound to bump into one of the farmer’s markets that migrates daily from town to town. Stalls of cheeses, cured meats, fresh eggs, provencal olives, rustic breads, almond based sweets and the most delicious seasonal produce all lined up for discovery. There is no flashy marketing, just the country staples.

It brought me such joy.

We’d pick up a bottle of local wine which, in this region, is treated much more like a casual daily ritual than a precious commodity. More like an expression of joy from the earth and the community, and the simple pleasures of life. I bought an old monogrammed linen sheet from a yard sale which provided ample space for all our accompaniments to rest in afternoons under cherry trees, or hilltop vistas, lying down for a nap or to read a book, or even just listening quietly to my Renoir playlist as I watched the clouds roll by in all their funny shapes up there in that big blue sky.

A_Picnic_In_Provence_03

Below, caught in the wind under the cherry trees in a Reformation floral dress and Maison Michel hat

A_Picnic_In_Provence_05 A_Picnic_In_Provence_06    Continue reading “A Picnic in Provence”

Discovering the world of Diptyque

Celebrating 34 years of the french perfumer Diptyque.

Candles are a nightly ritual for me in our home. It not only perfumes the air into a story of that moment in time but it creates an ambiance that soothes my soul. Everyone looks more beautiful bathed in candle light and no room is complete without it. One of the best gifts I love to receive is that of a beautifully scented candle. Like in the above photograph, Kevin slipped this Fig Tree Diptyque candle under the Christmas tree for me, which I have saved to burn in June when figs are in season. It smells of summer and her grassiness, reminding me of my happiest moments in France each time I light it.

I recently had the opportunity to interview their very French and chic creative director, Myriam Badault, at a pop-up Bazaar at The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn. 34 is a signifiant number for the brand I came to learn. It is the address of the starting point for Diptyque, the original store in Paris at 34 Saint Germain founded over 50 years ago and which still stands to this day. The name Diptyque actually derived from the structure of this store’s two facing windows. Voilà! But that’s not all – I came to find out that this brand is so much more than beautiful perfume candles.

Founded in 1961 by three friends: a painter, a set designer and an interior designer, they originally created printed upholstery fabrics. Soon after opening the shop they expanded their wares to become a sort of stylish Parisian bazaar, selling found objects from around the world with amusements of discovery from their artistic endeavors. It wasn’t until 1963 they began producing candles and perfumes in 1968 which the house is so known for today.

Celebrating 34 years of the french perfumer Diptyque.

Continue reading “Discovering the world of Diptyque”

Images of a Weekend

Images_of_a_Weekend_02

For all the horror that winter brings in Manhattan, she certainly makes up for it in June. The city is happy, the energy is good, and behind every turn awaits an explosions of flowers, artists, farmers market harvests, and the sparkling sunlight. The Hudson glitters like a canary diamond and, for once, even the garbage trucks seem to hum quietly to themselves while lovers quarrels are called to a truce in place of strolls through the park in all the quiet pleasures of life.

I went to the farmers market, I walked Riverside Park, I explored Gotham Market and learned that rice crispy treat ice cream is a thing and it’s amazing. I started watching the 2nd season of Chef’s Table (one of my all time favorite food shows) and enjoyed my new Diptyque candle that smells of home cooked Madeleines. This I photographed {above} with my Monica Rich Kosann locket and a memento from one of the sweetest moments of the weekend — when I stumbled upon a poet writing poems for donation which he bases on any theme you told him. I asked him to make me a poem on Provence and this is what he wrote…

The image need not be imagine

it’s beautiful as it is

The people need not be questioned

they’ve an honest way to live

Give to the land and in return

the land gives back to you

It’s funny how we go so far

to learn the truth

-Lynn Gentry

“Provence”

Riverside Park

June 11th, 2016

Images_of_a_Weekend_18Images_of_a_Weekend_03 Continue reading “Images of a Weekend”

The Ralph Lauren Home Collection

Recently I was invited to discover the newest collections for Ralph Lauren Home. Three distinct styles but still within Ralph Lauren’s signature classic Americana vibes. If these vignettes inspire you for a little home makeover, check out the RalphLaurenHome Instagram for more home decor inspiration!

hoxton

Inspired by East London’s Shoreditch area, this eclectic and bohemian home collection is perfect for a layered, loft-like space with a modern industrial feel. These home pieces were created to evoke a feeling of history, warmth and being collected over time.
 Ralph Lauren Home Collection Ralph Lauren Home Collection Ralph Lauren Home Collection

Continue reading “The Ralph Lauren Home Collection”

Calliope

caroline-and-darry-615l

10 Questions with Calliope store co-owner and creator Caroline Ventura

What’s in the name Calliope?

CV: She was a Greek muse of eloquence and poetry. Supposedly she was the muse Homer looked to when he wrote The Iliad. It’s also a weird ass looking pipe organ on wheels, so that’s fun.

Calliope_03 Calliope_04

What was the concept behind the space?

CV: We have a multi-use building in which both our studios (Michael’s design practice Sub Rosa, and Caroline’s gold smithing project BRVTVS) reside, as well as a gallery space next to Calliope, and also our home. We wanted to create a welcoming space where people could come and shop without the “seriousness” of other stores. We sell home goods, it shouldn’t be some stuffy place that you’re afraid to walk into and are scared to touch things.

Continue reading “Calliope”

Southern Hospitality

Southern_Hospitality_02

For the past week I have been down spending time in a digital detox in one of my greatest loves, Savannah, Georgia. I love how sweet and floral the air is here, her quiet shores, the romance of the spanish moss that filters the golden light all framing hauntingly beautiful southern architecture. It’s sticky and sweet like the memory of a perfect kiss.

If there is one thing Savannahians do well it is southern hospitality and what is more welcoming to a guest arriving than a cocktail exploding in local flavor?! Traditionally, the pineapple is a symbol of warmth, welcome, friendship and hospitality. You’ll find these all over Savannah on door knockers to lanterns, restaurant menus, to stationary. Inspired by the beauty of traditional symbolism I thought these tumblers by The Pineapple Co would be the perfect vessel for a Savannah themed welcome drink.

Going off of local ingredients native to Georgia and some good ol’ fashioned Savannah made bourbon I put together a light and fruity cocktail I’m calling Southern Hospitality... because nothing is more charming than a nice boozy welcome in a pretty glass.

Southern_Hospitality_09Southern_Hospitality_03

Southern Hospitality 

Per cocktail:

  • 10 blueberries
  • A quarter of a peach (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • Fresh lemon juice from a whole lemon

Muddle together and strain.

Add:

  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 oz bourbon  
  • 5 dashes lemon bitters

Pour over rocks and garnish with a slice of peach, a blueberry on a pineapple frond and a sprig of mint. 

Southern_Hospitality_07

“SAVANNAH IS A PECULIAR PLACE… RULE #1: ALWAYS STICK AROUND FOR ONE MORE DRINK. THAT’S WHEN THINGS HAPPEN. THAT’S WHEN YOU FIND OUT EVERYTHING YOU WANT KNOW.”

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Continue reading “Southern Hospitality”

Sound of Luxury

Sound_of_luxury_01

Sound has the power to take you through time, back to places or moments you want to last forever. Like an intoxicating spell, it provides the power to dream in the future, feel in the present, and dance into your past in a way no other sense can. And if you can harness that power of sound, of music, why not have it wrapped elegantly around you? A journey can truly begin not only with where the vehicle physically takes you, but where your heart and soul want to go, too…

I recently spent a weekend in L.A. with the Lincoln Motor Company experiencing their “Sound of Luxury” pod, which celebrated their new 2016 MKX model by making use of the power of Revel speakers in a 360-degree sound experience that took you out of our world and into another. As one guest put it, “It was like being inside a piano.”

We had the opportunity to interview Kevin Voecks, the sound engineer for this groundbreaking experience within each and every Lincoln MKX equipped with Revel; Paola Prestini, who composed the original score for this special weekend event; and a few of the special guests invited along on this ride where sound touches on that universal thread of human emotion that we all share…

     Sound_of_luxury_06

Above, stepping into the new Lincoln MKX with available Revel Ultima Audio System shown to begin the experience. 

Sound_of_luxury_05

Speaking with Kevin Voecks Revel sound engineer, on the importance of designing a system customized to the environment:

“The better the music sounds, the more it affects you, the more the emotional component is conveyed.” – Kevin Voecks

Continue reading “Sound of Luxury”

Old School Photography

Holiday_Card_2015_002

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.

Holiday_Card_2015_003

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!)

Holiday_Card_2015_004 Holiday_Card_2015_005 Continue reading “Old School Photography”

Holiday Coffee Cocktails with Nespresso

Holiday_Coffee_Cocktail_Nespresso__06

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

Holiday_Coffee_Cocktail_Nespresso_01

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 Continue reading “Holiday Coffee Cocktails with Nespresso”

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 Continue reading “A Southern Holiday Party”

ROE Caviar

ROE_Caviar_02

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.