Thursday, March 31, 2011

FLAIR IN NEW YORK - PART III- HOTEL DESIGN THAT INSPIRES

We have been staying at the AMAZING and VERY contemporary W HOTEL NEW YORK.  This is my first time to stay in this wonderful hotel and, I HIGHLY recommend it!  Yes- the rooms are a bit small, but, no problem, because, how much time are you really in the room?  There is MUCH to see in this city, and, all you need is a comfortable place to lay your head---the beds in this establishment are VERY COZY! 


You can truly sit and observe the interior design of fine hotels and, take away great ideas to implement in your home.  I have enjoyed sitting in this CHIC lobby, on and off, for the past two days, and, the ideas are NUMEROUS!




Amazing water wall with cobalt blue mosaic tiles.

Iridescent mosaic tiles with modern votive holders on top

Fresh cut dogwood branches in clear glass cylinders.  I WISH you could see this!  Really pretty! 

Modern vases with a pewter figurine- great FLAIR! 

There are fresh green apples stacked around the entire lobby!  I LOVE to
decorate with green apples! 

AWESOME book shelf design!  Navy blue paint with the POP of white accessories---GORGEOUS!  I stood and stared at this for over 10 minutes before snapping a picture! 

A wonderful boxwood in a white glass container
Design ideas via fine hotels -- an easy way to gain inspiration.  You can rest assured that a top notch design firm is responsible for the AWESOME furniture and details of any AMAZING hotel----take notes with FLAIR and, go home and experiment in your own space. 







Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FLAIR IN NEW YORK CITY- PART II

A FUN day!  New York City can truly be overwhelming unless you have a SET plan on where it is you want to go.  Over the years, I have given people my advice and plan for "ENJOYING NYC IN THREE DAYS".   I truly believe this plan WORKS because, I myself use it EVERY time I am here!  First of all, you need to know:  this CITY is IMPOSSIBLE to see in only a few days!  You could literally tour around for a month and, still have more to see!  How to keep from being overwhelmed and, feel like you MAXIMIZED your time?  Pick one area of town and, spend at least half the day there.....no zig zagging from place to place, stay PUT and, ENJOY!  


I am a traditionalist at heart and, I truly enjoy the feeling of being a "regular" at restaurants that I love.  One of my top pics for lunch?  Cafe' SFA, located on the 8th floor of one of the oldest and MOST FABULOUS department stores in the city, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE.  The designer shoes are on this same floor, gorgeous shoes + a tasty lunch, how can it get any better? 


I was thrilled to meet John Milito, Executive Chef, of Cafe' SFA today.  He was kind enough to let me to take his picture in their very updated and CHIC dining room.  Today, I dined on their wonderful QUICK PICK menu item:  a cup of Chicken Corn Chowder and a half sandwich of chicken breast with their signature mayonaise.  DIVINE!   *Thank you Chef Milito!  I have been a faithful customer for many years and plan to return,  the very next time I come to town. 


Here is my idea of a WONDERFUL day:


American Girl Doll Place at the corner of 49th and 5th.  I HAD to get my sweet girl a surprise! 

Saks Fifth Avenue!  Encompasses the entire corner block of 49th and 50th and 5th Avenue.
I scored a great new pair of jeans here today for spring....kept to my budget and, had a BALL looking around! 

The entrance to CAFE' SFA.  8th floor inside Saks Fifth Avenue.  EXCELLENT! 

Executive Chef John Milito of Cafe' SFA

LOOK at this GORGEOUS lunch plate!  I ate EVERY bite! 

AWESOME light fixtures inside ANTHROPOLOGIE  at Rockefeller Center.  An AMAZING
store for clothing AND home goods!  This store design has much FLAIR! 

One of the TERRIFIC and ARTISTIC windows at ANTHROPOLOGIE.
This amazing work of art is entirely made from wine corks! 


H&M-  Last, but, NOT least......the ICONIC clothing store STUFFED with uber chic items for a GREAT PRICE!!! H & M.  You can EASILY spend $75.00 and, pick up 5 or 6 GREAT pieces of clothing!  What a DEAL!  

FLAIR IN NEW YORK CITY~  PLEASE VISIT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!  


FLAIR IN NEW YORK CITY


NEW YORK CITY!  One of my TOP FAVORITE places on earth!  We arrived yesterday afternoon, I am thankful to be able to 'tag' along as my husband is working here the next two days.  What is it about NEW YORK that I am OBSESSED with?  As I write this, I am facing a sidewalk on busy 49th Avenue.  There are people from ALL over the world in this great city, and, from every culture.   There is no better place to watch people than right here!  I could sit here all day!  Do not worry....I will not sit too long, because, although this is my 20th visit (in my best recollection) to this AMAZING city, I have some shopping to get to. Not so much BUYING, but, I absolutely LOVE to window shop and, visit my favorite stores on the famous 5th Avenue.  These FABULOUS and LARGE stores 'feed' my creative side and, INFUSE me with all sorts of ideas for the season.  From wonderful colors to ALL of the amazing design in the stores and restaurants, when I depart in two days, my "CREATIVE CUP" will be overflowing with new ideas!!


I have a very extroverted personality, but, I ADORE being alone here. I enjoy walking the streets, being lost in my thoughts and, taking time to absorb EVERY detail, from century old churches to the MOST FABULOUS shoes by mega designers, I cannot get ENOUGH!  


Last night, we ate at a very famous and tasty Italian Restaurant, called CARMINE'S.  This legendary eatery is a MUST for you to visit, the next time you are here.  



The entrees are served in family style portions.   We split one order and,
even took a take out container with us. 

There are several locations, but, this one, located at 91st and Broadway, is the original. 

Ahhhh!  Assorted bread basket, EXCELLENT! 

Without question, this pasta dish was the BEST I have had in YEARS!  Angel hair pasta with their signature white sauce, plump shrimp and fresh roasted garlic pods, cooked to PERFECTION!  

Their service is IMPECCABLE!  
STAY TUNED FOR MORE POSTS FROM NEW YORK CITY!  I AM INSPIRED!!  

Monday, March 28, 2011

GIVING GIFTS~ WITH FLAIR

There is truly JOY in giving gifts and, not only giving a gift....giving a well thought out gift.  Celebrating with others is truly a DELIGHT.  A wedding, a new baby, a friend's birthday....there are numerous wonderful occasions to celebrate all year long.  I have been keeping a "GIFT PANTRY" for over 17 years.  I find items all year long and, store them for family/friend birthdays, baby gifts, and  gifts to take to a hostess whenever we are invited over for a dinner or a party. 


Several times each year, my best girlfriends and I have celebrated one another's birthdays with a birthday breakfast or luncheon.  We ALWAYS exchange gifts....yes, even "big girls" need fun presents!  These birthday luncheons are one of the highlights of my year.


Take time for CELEBRATIONS in your life!  Give gifts, small or large and, for EVERY budget.  * You can find AMAZING items for less than $5 or, spend more.....gift giving is ALL ABOUT the thought!  Thoughtfulness in giving gifts is a wonderful way to make a friend or family member feel special.


Do not forget a wrapping station or a wrapping supply cabinet in your home.  My mother has always had a wrapping station in her garage and, she is able to wrap any gift in a quick minute.  Keep tissue paper, ribbon and gift bags on hand at all times.  Upon finding that perfect gift, you will have the supplies to wrap at your fingertips.  


Yes indeed, gift giving is truly an art form.  Why not cultivate this in yourself, starting today? 


Here are a few ideas to get you started:


Baby gifts that are personalized are SO special!  I have been ordering from ALPHABET SOUP GIFTS  for years!  They have quick shipping and, you can even request their wrapping and, they will send it to you in an adorable cellophane bag, complete with bow.  A GREAT website! 

From RED ENVELOPE . Who wouldn't LOVE a silver plated compact mirror with their name or monogram?  This would make a lovely graduation gift or, a birthday gift. 
Stationary!  ALWAYS a nice gift idea!  I love these notecards from KATE SPADE .

From SEPHORA.  A wonderful lipgloss set and, a great price, only $18.  This makes a GREAT birthday gift!  What girl doesn't LOVE her LIPGLOSS??
Age does not apply.....lipgloss is always a great gift!!

Do you have a special man in your life for whom you need a gift?  This money clip is CLASSY and, a great buy!  COACH.  This will be sure to please any man you need a gift for. 

A GREAT salad bowl from WEST ELM.  This would make a WONDERFUL wedding gift!  

Personalized gifts are an extremely thoughtful gesture.  Any time I receive something with our monogram on it,  my heart just melts.  SO THOUGHTFUL!  These cocktail napkins from WISTERIA would make an wonderful wedding gift, graduation gift or birthday gift for your best gal pal.  LOOK AT THIS COLOR!  AWESOME!


May you find pleasure and FUN in being a great and thoughtful gift giver!   GIVING GIFTS WITH FLAIR...NOTHING LIKE IT!   - KINDEST REGARDS, Beth 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

WEEKEND COOKING

Cooking on the weekend is such FUN!  Whether you are hosting a Saturday night dinner party or, a nice Sunday luncheon, you will LOVE these recipes!!  Cooking at home, with FLAIR.....one of my favorite things to do! 


Asparagus is one of the best side dishes.  FRESH and ALWAYS tasty!  


I found this recipe in this month's COOKING LIGHT MAGAZINE. *A favorite resource for excellent and healthy recipes.   Very good! 


Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes 

  • 1  pound  asparagus, trimmed
  • 2  teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2  cups  halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2  teaspoon minced fresh garlic  *(I use the kind in the 
  • produce section, in a jar) 
  • 2  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 3  tablespoons  crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.





Baked Catfish
6 catfish fillets
2/3  cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup milk (skim is fine)
1 egg, beaten OR 2 egg whites
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 to 3 tbls. butter, melted


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, pepper  and paprika in shallow dish and set aside. Mix together milk and beaten egg or egg whites. Dip the catfish fillets in the milk mixture and then into the flour mixture. Place in a single layer in a pan which has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  


Sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with butter.


Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 35-45 minutes.


Source:  The Baton Rouge Advocate  *FLAIR TIP:  Local newspapers (online) are often GREAT locations for AMAZING recipes!  My cousin, Susan Roman Huckaby introduced me to the Baton Rouge Advocate recipe section over 15 years ago and, this newspaper truly publishes DIVINE recipes! 


Best Carrot Cake 



  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 3  large eggs
  • 2  cups  sugar
  • 3/4  cup  vegetable oil
  • 3/4  cup  buttermilk
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 2  cups  grated carrot
  • 1  (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1  (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
  • 1  cup  chopped pecans or walnuts

Buttermilk Glaze 
  • 1  cup  sugar
    • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking soda
    • 1/2  cup  buttermilk
    • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
    • 1  tablespoon  light corn syrup
    • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
    Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
    Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • 3/4  cup  butter or margarine, softened
  • 1  (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1  (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3  cups  sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
Line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
Stir together first 4 ingredients.
Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Source:  MY RECIPES.

HAPPY COOKING!!  Please leave a comment if you enjoyed one or all of these recipes!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CREATIVE MEALS FOR CHILDREN

I want my children to remember meals with creative and FUN presentation, once they are older.  The presentation can be very simple, but, I like to arrange their food on the plate with pretty colors and, with healthy and delicious food.


Here are pictures from what I served tonight.  They were delighted and, they ate almost every bite.....then, I was DELIGHTED!  


Organic chicken strips with Ranch dressing; Carrots garnished with raisins;
Organic apple sauce, sprinkled with cinnamon.  * Plates are vintage by Fire King.  Easily found at antique stores or, on 
eBay.com.

Quick and YUMMY!  Chocolate chip cookies that are ready to bake, by Pillsbury.  Ice cream sandwich (cut a whole one in half); drizzle with chocolate syrup ( I used Hershey's brand) and, top off with a cherry.  The children DEVOURED this!  


Take time to arrange your child's food on the plate.  This is a FUN way to serve dinner and, they will never forget the love and care that you put into their meals!   I call this, loving on your children with FLAIR!  



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SPRING CLEANING WITH FLAIR!

SPRING!  I truly LOVE home organization and, although, at times, I find myself overwhelmed with cleaning out drawers, clothing and cabinets....for some reason, the start of SPRING inspires me to organize and clean out, more than any other time of the year!  YOU CAN DO IT!  No matter what state your home is in, you CAN get on top of it and ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE!   Are you already organized?  Look around your house for even MORE ways to clean out and donate to a great charity.  Are you feeling like your house is in complete disarray?  NO PROBLEM!  You can start one room at a time and, friend, I ASSURE you, you WILL GET THERE!!

We are truly living in a "STUFF" society!  Any time I go to the grocery there is a great sale!  There are good deals ALL AROUND!  From TJ MAXX to Internet specials, our tendency to accumulate MORE and MORE items is tempting.

TAKE TIME TO CLEAR OUT before you buy another thing!! Currently, I LOVE to donate to GOODWILL.  There are several convenient drop off locations near our house and, I can easily clean out one of the children's closets, pack the items in a sack and, drop it off--all within a 1 1/2 hour block of time.  TRULY FEELS GREAT!

Currently, I know of several families who are trying to raise money for overseas  adoptions.  One method by which they are raising money to fund the adoption is by asking people to donate items for a big garage sale/fund raiser. *A great cause to clean out your closets and drawers!  Your unused items could help expand a family!  

FLAIR ORGANIZATION TIPS:

  • Take one room at a time.  Depending on how determined you are: start with one room per week or, one room per day.
  • Do NOT get overwhelmed! Do not think in terms of what ALL needs to be organized.  'Tackle' your house or apartment in baby steps!  Dedicate one hour a day to work on organizing.  *You can even watch a favorite television program while you clean out a drawer or a cabinet.
  • ASK FOR HELP!  There are many GIFTED home organizers out there!  Ask for help!  Hire a professional to help you ( normally, they charge between $60-$70/hour) and, you will not regret it!  I currently have several friends who specialize in home organization.  Several months ago, my friend Brooke Green came over and organized our pantry.  WOW!  The pantry "MAKEOVER" really made a difference in our daily life!  
  • Closets and Clothing- The children grow out of their clothing QUICKLY!  What about your own closet?  Go ahead and implement my 'hard and fast' 6 -MONTH RULE.  Every 6 months, go through your closet and drawers AND your accessories (earrings, bracelets, purses, etc.) --- ANY item that you have not donned in the past 6 months (NO EXCEPTIONS!) is donated to charity.  NO MATTER WHAT!  * Even if the item was expensive or is sentimental ---- CLEAN IT OUT AND DONATE IT!!   I adopted this method 8 years ago when we were living in a house with VERY limited storage and, I have never been the same since!!  CLEAN IT OUT and, CUT DOWN CLUTTER!
  • I am a HUGE believer that order in the home cultivates a peaceful environment.  Try it out and, SEE for yourself!  *For example, a cleared off table with a candle burning in the center or an arrangement of fresh flowers is a very peaceful place to serve dinner vs. a table cluttered with mail. 

  From THE COMPANY STORE .  These stack able bins would look CUTE in a child's closet or, in a pantry.  You could also use them in a laundry room. Stack up three or five of them.

AWESOME basket from Crate & Barrel!  This would look GREAT with blankets
stacked in it or, as toy storage. 

AWESOME toy storage!  My daughter has these bins in her room and,  they help cut out clutter.  From LAND OF NOD .  The Storagepalooza is a MUST!  

LAND OF NOD again!  Isn't this CUTE?  Books in a child's room can get cluttered FAST!  Use this wonderful book organizer in order to get a handle on it! 

From TARGET, the SEVILLE CLASSICS CHROME shelf is a neat item for organizing!   This would look GREAT as storage for dishes or cookbooks out in the open, in your kitchen.  A very clean and modern look.  I currently have one in a closet full of items for a party.  I call it "The PARTY closet".  The shelf holds glass plates, a large coffee maker and, LOTS of other great items to throw an event!  LOVE!!! 
MAGAZINES!   I currently subscribe to seven magazines per month.   One of my most FAVORITE resources for all things HOME!   What to do with issues that can easily pile up?  These magazine
holders are ideal.  
SHOP GET ORGANIZED and you can get your magazines in tip top shape! 

CONTAINER STORE ,  These storage bins are stack able and really great for your pantry.  Do not forget to add a label to the basket, in order to make locating items even easier!

 I WISH EACH OF YOU A VISION FOR
SPRING CLEANING,
 WITH FLAIR!   ~ BETH 





Monday, March 21, 2011

CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE- A CROWD PLEASER

I baked this cake for a meeting tonight and, I noticed that the nine people around the table ate every bite!  This is a QUICK cake to bake and I hope you enjoy it!  


CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE WITH NANNY'S FUDGE ICING 


1 box chocolate cake mix (make according to package directions)
1 can sweetened condensed milk.


Make the cake according to package directions.  Once it is baked, poke holes in the cake, with the end of a wooden spoon. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake and, spread evenly with a spatula. Source: My dear friend Aimee Parkinson (Memphis, TN) gave me this idea many years ago. 
NANNY'S FUDGE ICING 


1 stick butter
1/2 cup cocoa
1 box powdered sugar  (or, 1/2 a large bag) 
1/4 cup milk  (can add add extra 3 T., as needed, to make icing spreadable)
1 t. vanilla


Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa and stir until the cocoa is dissolved.  Turn off the heat.  Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Stir all together. * In order to make the icing smooth, put back on low heat and, stir until the icing is a spreadable consistency.  Pour over the warm cake.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. 


FLAIR TIP:  This cake would make an EXCELLENT birthday cake!  
ENJOY!  Let me know if you like it!!!


ALL THE BEST TO YOU! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

SPRING!  I ADORE this season!  The trees are beginning to bloom in Memphis, Tennessee. Stay tuned, I will post some GLORIOUS pictures of the dogwoods and azaleas once they peak.  This southern city is alive with SPRING and, I am inspired!


Go ahead and "dress" your home for this wonderful season!  You can get MUCH done in only one hour.  Here are some touches I recently added to my home. 

Nothing says "WELCOME" like a front door that has been adorned with decorations of the season.    The wreaths were purchased at ANTIQUES WITHIN and the 3-inch wide green satin ribbon is from MICHAEL'S.  A SIMPLE project!  Measure two pieces of ribbon the same length and, tie in a flat knot.  Done!  This is a very clean and crisp look.  

Vintage milk glass.  These pieces belonged to my husband's grandmother.  You can locate milk glass  on eBAY  or  enjoy a trip to an antique store and, explore away! 

An egg topiary!  This was ready made and, the colors are fantastic!
 Purchased at 
HOBBY LOBBY .

I LOVE this wire mesh Easter basket!   You can find GREAT accents at MANY places!   The basket was purchased at TJ MAXX  and the WONDERFUL pastel eggs were purchased at KROGER!  You can find awesome items ANY where---as long as you LOOK and DREAM!  

Bunny wreath purchased at MICHAEL'S.  Two-inch-wide pink ribbon purchased at the same location. You could purchase two of these and, hang them on double front doors.  This single one is hanging on my back door.  A happy "face" greets us each time we come home. 

A festive door mat at my back door.  Purchased at MARSHALL'S.

"HE" sits beside my back door.  I change his bow, according to the season.  He truly is a wonderful 'friend' and, he was purchased in Memphis, TN at one of my MOST favorite floral shops: RACHEL'S FLORIST.  Cement figurines are great to look at and, add charm to your patio.

By now, you might be able to detect that I LOVE bunnies! This sugared look on figurines is one of my favorite details. This sweet bunny is displayed in my powder bathroom.  I enjoy pulling 'her' out each spring....puts a smile on my face!  From my collection, so sorry, cannot remember where I purchased this! 
GORGEOUS RIBBON!!!!  A favorite 'staple' for the season!  I purchased this wonderful 3-inch ribbon at MICHAEL'S .  This is the ribbon I used to hang the wreaths on my front door (above).  We attended a lovely dinner party two weeks ago and, I used a piece of this to wrap around a chocolate layer cake that I was taking.  You will find MANY reasons to use this ribbon- a wonderful purchase!   FLAIR TIP:  Tie a piece of this wide ribbon around a special birthday gift.  You can wrap the gift with brown paper and, use this ribbon as the finishing touch~ WONDERFUL!!!