Tuesday, December 28, 2010

5 Things I Heart - Annette Joseph Edition

Fantastical style genius Annette Joseph is super fun and thankfully was willing to do a 5 things segment! I was tempted to ask her for like, 105 things because she has such incredible taste and knows where to find the coolest stuff! I did however let her get away with 6, because I couldn't resist one particular item...can you guess which one I died for?

Marwari Bag~ Hermes
This is the best bag ever, I bought one in Monaco, for myself for my birthday this year, with the encouragement of Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn…It will be with me for a lifetime, and the best thing is it’s comfy and functional.

Vetiver candle ~ (malin+goetz) best flavor ever, I burn it in my studio~ I got it from a friend, ( Gwyneth Paltrow’s chef Julia) it’s her fav flavor and now it’s mine! Available at Bloomingdales.

Hunter gold wellies~ on my holiday gift list, found by my oh so chic and cool new assistant Ginny Branch…I love them so, again pretty and functional just my style. Available HERE!

Axel 3 seater~ Anthropologie LUV LUV +LUV this clever chair~ the fabric the bomb, and the 3 way seats make me smile.

Ordinal Dresser~ also from Anthropologie very me with graphic numbers, I love numbers and letters on anything!

Color saturated rugs from ABC carpets~ I think that this is brilliant, in idea and color! Probably my most fav trend of the year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Cocktails according to Betty (Crocker not Ford...obviously.)

Slammed slammed SLAMMED! But I am not to busy to post about something that matters, a drink at the end (beginning and middle are ok too...) of the day.

Ginger Bread Cookie Cocktail

Gingerbread Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons mild-flavor molasses
1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Gingerbread Cookie Cocktail
Orange wedge
Brown sugar
1 oz Gingerbread Simple Syrup (2 tablespoons)
1 oz vanilla vodka (2 tablespoons)
1 oz half-and-half (2 tablespoons)
1/2 oz coffee liqueur (1 tablespoon)

1. To make Gingerbread Simple Syrup, mix sugar, water, molasses, gingerroot, cinnamon sticks and cloves in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; set aside 1 hour to cool. Strain syrup into glass jar; discard spices. Cover jar, and refrigerate until needed. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

2. To prepare cocktail, moisten rim of chilled martini glass with orange wedge. Sprinkle brown sugar onto small plate, and dip moistened rim into the sugar to coat lightly. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1 ounce gingerbread simple syrup, vodka, half-and-half and coffee liqueur; cover and shake. Strain into martini glass.

Tip: If you can't find mild-flavor molasses you can use full-flavor molasses but reduce the amount by 1 tablespoon.

Coconut Macaroon Cookie Cocktail

Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Coconut Macaroon Cookie Cocktail
1 oz Simple Syrup (2 tablespoons)
1 oz light coconut rum (2 tablespoons)
1 oz half-and-half (2 tablespoons)
1/2 oz white crème de cacao (1 tablespoon)
Toasted shredded coconut

1. To make Simple Syrup, mix sugar and water in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; set aside 1 hour to cool. Pour syrup into glass jar. Cover jar, and refrigerate until needed. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

2. To prepare cocktail, fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1 ounce simple syrup, coconut rum, half-and-half and crème de cacao; cover and shake. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with toasted coconut.

Tip: To toast coconut, sprinkle coconut in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium-low heat 6 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently until browning begins, then stirring constantly until golden brown.

My favorite kind of cocktail after a long long day...

on the rocks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have decided to recycle a post, it's not ideal but I wanted to share this with you all. Every year my father and I make Vasilopita, a traditional Greek New Year's Bread. It's about that time and we are going to be baking all weekend, so if you have nothing better to do bake along with us!

Let me reiterate the fact that I am by no means a cook, it's all I can do to not set the oven on fire (for the second time) But this recipe is special, it's my Yiayia's (Grandmother's)recipe for Vasilopita. Vasilopita is a Greek Tradition, it is a special bread that we make for New Years. It's a sweet bread, super tasty, and we bake a coin into each one for luck. Vasilopita is the bread of St. Basil the Great who's saints day is celebrated on New Years Day. When you cut the bread on New Years Day, whoever gets the piece with the coin in it is supposed to be "King" or "Queen" for the year (meaning they will have a good/lucky/exceptional year) The most senior member of the household is supposed to cut the bread. The first slice is dedicated to my homeboyJesus, the second is for the Virgin Mary, the third is for St. Basil, then a slice for the church, for the house, and then for the members of the family. This is something that I make every year with my father. We spend all day in the kitchen and make a huge mess. My late uncle passed this recipe on to us after he documented my Yiayia making it in 1986--when she was about 78 years old. It isn't super exact or precise, you kind of have to feel it out. If you have made bread from scratch before the whole process won't feel so foreign. It's a long process so settle in for a few minutes of reading.

This recipe makes 4-5 loaves of bread, you will need....

-7lbs flour (high gluten works really well)
-5 sticks of butter, melted and cooled
-11 large eggs
-3 cups of sugar
-4 packages of dry yeast
-4-5 cups of milk
-1 cup brandy (Metaxa)
-1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
-.5 tsp ground cloves
-.25 tsp salt

In a bowl, dissolve the yeast with a little water and a pinch of sugar. Add 3 cups of warm milk (not hot or it will kill the yeast; not cold or it won't activate) Stirring with a whisk, add enough of the flour, a little at a time, to reach the consistency of "gruel" or oatmeal. This is called..."the Sponge"...I know. Cover the sponge and let it rise in a warm place until puffy and bubbly. It takes between 15-20 minutes.

In a large bowl (I do this in 2 bowls because it's just too much for one) Add 3 lbs of flour, the sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and make a well in the center for the wet ingredients. Add 10 of the eggs (eliminate 2 of the whites if you can), melted butter, Metaxa, and the rest of the milk. Then add the sponge. With your hands, begin kneading the mixture into a dough. If it is too wet add more flour, if it is too dry add more milk. Knead until it is smooth, not sticky. Pull out some of the dough--the size of your fist--and set it aside.

At this point pull out your cake pans and butter them up. Shape the dough in to round loaves (in a 9" cake pan it makes about 4 loaves--leave about 2" all the way around the loaf in the pan, it shouldn't fit snug because it still has to rise again) Take a quarter, wrap it in aluminum foil and insert one coin into each loaf. Grab the dough that you set aside and you will need to shape it into the numbers of the new year...I don't really know how to explain it, so just look at the pictures.

Once the loaves have risen--they should almost double in size and fill the cake pan, it is time to bake. I do my oven at 325 for 50 minutes. Take the one remaining egg and beat it with a little bit of milk. When the bread has baked for about 40 minutes, pull it out and brush on the egg wash. Then again when it has about 8-5 minutes left of the oven. This will give the top a pretty, shinny, golden brown color. When you remove it from the oven, run a butter knife around the edge and when cool-ish flip them over and get them out and then let them cool on a rack.

If you decide to try this understand it's like and all day process, but it's really fun. It's a tradition for my Dad and I, we make them every year and I give them away to friends and family. This also happens to make the most AH-MAZING French toast, just an FYI. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cartoules Letterpress

First off I think it's a bit sad that we don't correspond in writing anymore. There is something to be said for a personal, hand written thank you note or just a simple card to say hello. My friend from Cali, founded Cartoules Letterpress; which means "Little Cards" in Greek, a couple of years ago when she was getting married. A self proclaimed "paper fanatic" -- it started because she wanted her invitations to be bilingual (Greek of course) and so she did it herself! She has beautiful cards and can really do anything...visit her Etsy shop for some examples, including lovely personalized note cards.

In addition to being super fantastic and crafty like that (which I fully respect because I am not...not even a little bit) she loves interior design. She asked me to answer some questions for her blog for her one of her Designer Profiles and I was thrilled to do it! So check it out HERE!

Friday, December 10, 2010

What I don't want...

It's that time of year where everyone is rushing around trying to figure out what the perfect Holiday gift will be for their friends and family. While so many people are coming out with their wish list and holiday gift guides, let me help in the opposite direction, by eliminating some of the guesswork. So many times we tell clients, "tell us what you don't like" because it helps us narrow in on what they would like, this is a list to help do just that. Let me tell you what I (and I assume most women) don't want.

1. The latest "As seen on TV" item that is on sale at the checkout counter at CVS. I don't care if you think it will make my life easier/better/more convenient.

2. Any jewelry/bag/scarf/accessory that you are also buying for your mother, but in a different color. We aren't 3 year old twins.

3. Household items, including but not limited to: cooking items, appliances, towels, hangers, trivets, coffee cups, electric blankets, etc. *EXCEPTION* if someone clearly expresses that they want a specific item that falls into this category. Get them the exact item, not a similar version. EXAMPLE: I wanted a Cuisinart Griddler a few years ago, I was very specific and my fabulous sister-in-law got it for me and I love it. However, buying a pink blender is not the same, don't do it.

4. A star in our vast galaxy. If you are going to spend money on something intangible, make sure it goes to a worthwhile cause. Y.S. approved examples:

WWF - World Wildlife Foundation. Adopt an animal for me...something cute of course.

Heifer International
- Buy a Llama in my name. The money you spend goes to giving a lovely llama to a family in the mountains of Latin America where they can sheer the fleece off the llama and use it to make clothes for themselves or for sale. If you aren't into llamas they have several options including, geese, goats, rabbits, just to name a few.

World Vision - For $25 you can give a child clean water, or for $32 you can give them notebooks and materials for school.

The point is, if you are going to spend on something, don't buy me a damn star that I will never be able to find.

5. If you are going to buy me clothes, and you don't know my size, DO NOT mess up by getting me something too small. If you think I might/maybe/almost am a medium, get me a large. If you lower my self esteem on Christmas Day, I won't be naughty or nice to you, just indifferent--that's worse.

Happy holidays--go forth and shop!

Monday, December 6, 2010

5 Things I Heart - Scott Laslie Edition

Scott Laslie used to be my boss (along with Mark of course) back in the day at The LW, now he is super fly fabulous and all over the place. Specifically he has been getting press for his new concept Found Market - which, in a nutshell is a virtual designer in a box! Check out BPF's Decor Demon profile on the business here. Today I bring your Scott Laslie's 5 things, all of which I am coveting as I type.

I absolutely love the abstract paintings by Atlanta artist Dixie Purvis…especially her works in black and white…they are wonderful paired with something primitive, ethnic or traditional...it is artwork that truly works in any interior. Dixie is fine home grown talent at it’s very best!…Available through Sandler-Hudson Gallery, 404-817-3777 Sandler Hudson.

I love the scent from FRESH, called Cannibis Santal…available through Neiman-Marcus…I actually get stopped by someone every day I wear it…its kinda fun!

I love the leather Moroccan poufs in all colors from John Derian. These are great additions to any interior...great to bring out for extra seating or just to put your feet up on. They add great color, too!

European hand tied floral arrangements from Suzanne Cummings Flowers in Chicago…this is truly floral at its best! The presentation is dynamite and these flower arrangements don’t necessarily need a vase...they stand on their own!

I love our new concept FoundMarket.com! It helps people find their personal style in their living space and opens the world of professional interior design to a whole new audience.

Stay tuned for the next installment of 5 Things I heart by Annette Joseph!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Party in the Club(room)

Throughout my design career I have done a fair amount for work for Multi-Family developers and worked on several buildings all over the country. Every time we get to design a clubroom I get really excited because I get to make a functional yet stylish space that is inviting and durable. When MidCity lofts came to MWDA to bid on updating the building we were so excited. Not only do several clients and friends live there, but we love the building. Over the past 2 years we have gone floor by floor making improvements (lobby is next, fingers crossed)and just finished their clubroom, Sky, which has amazing views of Atlanta. Sky needed some love because the original plan and furniture didn't really suit the way homeowners wanted to use the space-so we ripped it all out and created something new! Mark and I love zones, breaking space up with furniture to create places to gather that have specific functions. In Sky we did the same thing. We created a "Library" zone for smaller groups of people to gather which is really inviting as you enter Sky. We created an enormous bar and dining zone that will easily accommodate large groups for parties, or smaller groups for sit down dinners. Next we created a larger seating group with a custom sofa that acts as seating or perching along the back, perfect for cocktail parties. And finally a game zone with a table perfect for poker or whatever and giant chaise lounges to curl up in. I hope you enjoy but more importantly I hope the lovely homeowners at MidCity Lofts enjoy!

Along with this post, because they go so well together, is the debut of my new Yummy Scrumptious logo! Thank you to Jeff Corey and Impact Design Works for all of his work, I love it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas at The Mans

The 2010 Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Christmas House opens TOMORROW!!! I went there yesterday do take care of our flowers and fluff a bit and the whole place looks great! I feel like all the designers have done a fantastic job, some with very challenging spaces. The Christmas House will be open Thursday and Friday 10:00-6:00, Saturday 10:00-5:00, and Sunday 10:00-1:00. I will be there this weekend so come and take a look and say hello!!! For more information or if you would like to volunteer at the Christmas House click here!

ALSO, click here to go to CBS Atlanta's website and watch a video or AH&L editor Clinton Smith talking about the Christmas House as well as the Alliance Theatre, and guess where he is doing most of the interview?!?!?!?

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 things I heart - Ryan Hughes Edition

5 things I heart is back, but now this will become a guest spot! First up--I heart Ryan Hughes, he has amazing taste (evident in his delicious showroom R Hughes) and is a great guy. I asked him to guest post for this month's "5 things I heart" and here is what he came up with!

James Way’s new painting “Boat with Wheel” available through Mason Murer. I have always been a huge fan of James Way, and I simply adore this piece.

Jiun Ho’s new Saumur Cocktail Table available through R HUGHES. I absolutely love the style of it- the combination of the honed gold calucutta marble top with the steel base.

Rhianna’s new album LOUD available on iTunes. I think this is her best album yet- and amazing she is only 22.

New Restaurant- The Sound Table- great vibe, great food...
483 Edgewood Avenue, Atlanta, 30312 (404) 835-2534

Victoria Hagan’s new and first book: Interior Portraits available through amazon.com- one of my favorite interior designers showcases her crisp work in this wonderful book.

Keep a look out for the next edition of "5 things" featuring my former employer and fabulous designer, Scott Laslie!

Also stay tuned for the launch of the Yummy Scrumptious Logo!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Design Wisdom

A brief history lesson: Athena, the Goddess of war, civilization, strength, skill, justice, and most importantly wisdom. He sidekick is an owl, she is almost always pictured with one and many sculptures of her have one included (including the giant 8' sculpture of her in our restaurant, Athens Pizza.) Lately I have noticed owls making a resurgence in the design world, specifically in home accessories and jewelry...YUMMM! I have jumped on this trend and incorporated some owls in our Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Christmas House design (AH&L Christmas House Open November 26th-December 12th--come check it out!) you will have to come see it and try to find where I hid them! Here are some owl accessories that I love right now:

This is a copy of a Greek coin with Athena's owl, I can't count how many I have in some form or fashion, I know I have a pendant or two for sure.

Lovely lamp from West Elm, I really like that the owl is simple and clean and white, can't go wrong with white...ever.

Owl apron from Anthropologie, if I knew how to cook I would wear this...I might just wear it for effect.

Kind of cute in a weird funny way, I do like this owl tea set for some reason. It's from VivaTerra...there is something strange about it that I am drawn to.

Super yummy hardware also from Anthropologie, you can feel smart every time you open a drawer.

Super adorable owl pillows I found on Etsy made by Hilary Cosgrove.

Any my favorite, a great holiday gift (are you listening Sandy?) The "Fantastical Tale" owl bangles from Marc by Marc Jacobs, available at Nordstroms.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Iris is moving in...

It's been a busy busy week full of installations and I am worn out! Aside from a giant client installation on Monday I have been back and forth to the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Christmas House all week. Today I am resisting the urge to go over there and continue to fluff (and continue to search the hotel for Jason Bateman who I met at Valet yesterday with fellow designer Amy Morris. Ok so we didn't meet him, but we stood next to him and giggled, same thing.) I won't give away too much because I want you to come and visit me, but here are a few snaps of how Iris' digs are shaking out...

You can find me at The Mans beginning Friday November 26th through December 12th. The Christmas House will be open from 10:00-5:00 Thursday through Saturday and from 1:00-5:00 on Sundays, I will be in and out and hope to meet some readers (if there are any!!!)

If you follow the link to the Christmas House...HERE you can purchase tickets online as well as in several locations around town. Hope to see you!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lux Finale

Here are the final photos of my beloved Lux Studio. It is a bright and happy place that smells amazing every time I walk in (sometimes I sneak over there and just lay in one of their shampoo bowls and answer emails, it's so relaxing!) I hope you have enjoyed witnessing the transformation!

photos by the lovely and talented Sarah Dorio!