Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Kind of Camping

I enjoy camping for the most part. Being outside, hiking, communing with nature, cooking over an open fire . . . but, I don't like piling the van high with every conceivable item our small family of three may need, I dislike not being able to get thoroughly clean for days on end, and I do not like to be cold while trying to sleep. There's something that feels inherently wrong about trying to recreate an indoor kitchen outside when it's not a convenient setup such as your own backyard. Washing and drying dishes after a meal just seems wrong, as if I should not be allowed any utensils at all. But the alternative to that, freeze dried food, is just not a option (I mean, come on, are you kidding me?) Besides, I think you still need utensils; I suspect that you don't just tear open the foil package and pour the contents into your mouth. And, I like to eat good food, real food.
So, I've discovered a wonderful balance: "Glamming" - glamorous camping. The right amount of rigorous outdoor activity, the preferred method of socializing with strangers (during a meal enjoyed in a common eating room or restaurant and not while washing my pits over the women's sink), whilst still being close to the elements, but within a protective {and cozy warm} cocoon.

The Whitepod resort is a unique eco-tourism concept that won't betray your vow to reduce your carbon footprint allowing you to be as "green" as you possibly can without totally roughing it - i.e., no digging the minimum 6" deep "personal toilet". Nestled high in the charming village of Les Cerniers of the Swiss Alps, it strives for a low-impact, resort-like accommodations that minimizes water and electricity usage, reduces waste production, while favoring the use of renewable resources and increasing awareness of the guests. Spend the day skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, or even dog-sledding, then relax with dinner and drinks at the community chalet {fraternizing appropriately} or massages at the spa. 

While "ghetto camping" doesn't appeal to me, I've never experienced TRUE camping - hiking and roughing it in the back country. And, although the thought of my rugged, out-doorsey husband relieving his pack and sweaty shirt from his broad shoulders is very appealing, I'm not positive how I would fare out there in the wilderness for several days. Not a pansy girl prone to complaint, I desire the experience, if only once. But, the Whitepod resort is certainly a camping trip I know I could do again and again.

All images courtesy of Whitepod Resort.

If you want to be thrilled every time you walk into your home or office, VISIT MY WEBSITE and CONTACT ME so I can help you create the perfect balance of harmony, health and dynamic space.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Good Morning, Monday.

I'm still sick, but oh-so-much-better than I wasI I've had this photo for awhile. I love the decrepit elegance of this space. Perhaps it's a bit like I feel? Some sense of beauty is emerging underneath an old and flaky exterior.

Via Stylist, Arabella Mcnie
I'm also dreaming of creating for the sake of creating. Or, perhaps for Christmas pressies? I want to get totally immersed in something. After our first mushroom hunt this past summer with our painter friend, Stanislaw Kaostka, I took these photos of his paint palette and brushes. Stanislaw paints like the old masters with rich, flamboyant but intrically detailed strokes. His tools of the trade inspires me.







But, not now. Back to work on other fun things.


Enjoy Monday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just a Tree


I'm starting to think about Christmas and all that goes with it. Gathering with friends, cooking special meals, decorating, waiting for the snow to fall, wrapping presents beautifully. But, I've been under the weather, so instead of shopping for the tree, I'm waiting for the tree to be brought to me.



And for now, it's just a tree.

A Simple Sunday


This is a photo looking out our kitchen window that my husband took one Sunday morning last winter. It's Sunday, a perfect day to hang out by the fire with my sick body, tired from a bad cold, and look out at  this view once more.





Saturday, November 27, 2010

A (an off-) White Christmas . . .
with a bit of rust, zinc, twigs and Nordic light


Peeling paint, tea-stained linen, even a pile of crispy fall leaves would look right at home in the Danish company, Walther & Co's, holiday vignettes. Clearly for Christmas but I think the quiet elegance of the simple materials evokes more than jus the holiday season, but the season of winter itself.


Via Walther & Co


Via Walther & Co


Via Walther & Co


Via Walther & Co


Via Walter & Co

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Christmas Wish List . . . 


When I was young, my older sister and I used to pour over the toys in the Sears catalog for months and months before Christmas, dreaming about all of the fabulous presents we'd love to awake to on Christmas morning. Each day we would go over every page making sure that we didn't miss an important detail that may move one toy up on the list above another. Elaborate dollhouses, mini motorized vehicles, and massive Erector Sets; most were way beyond the means of a family of six on an extremely limited budget. But, it was the dreaming that we enjoyed, so much so that one present we wanted was the Sears catalog! The "window shopping" and fantasizing about all of the toys was magical despite the knowledge that they would never be sitting under our tree.


So, this is my adult Christmas wish list. Even though some are frivolous, too expensive, and just not necessary, it's the dreaming that I enjoy.

Tom Dixon "Beat" light fixtures. Inspired by water carrying vessels, the hand beaten brass ages naturally, creating a patina black external surface in contrast to the warm golden interior. Completely contemporary, but with a sense of history. Via Tomdixon.net.


Granite mortar & pestle. Marble is too smooth for seeds but steer clear of granite that is too pitted as food particles can imbed in the side. Via Temple of Thai.


Not a purse replacement but a bag to transport a few extras. Via My Sparrow.


The best bear ever is always the Golden Bear in Vail. I've coveted this sculptural bracelet for well over 15 years. Unfortunately, it's almost doubled in price since then. Via The Golden Bear.


Again, the Bear. It's the chain that makes this one special. Via The Golden Bear.


Darling chalet slippers from my other favorite Vail store, Gorsuch.



I have a ski helmet. But, this gorgeous helmet by Bogner has the classic design of a fine automobile. Similar price tag, too! Via Gorsuch.


NOMA Restaurant was rated the best restaurant IN THE WORLD this year. Chef Rene Redzepi shares some of his best recipes with gorgeous photos. Via Amazon.com


Lena Christiansen's hand hammered oxide sterling silver necklace looks sexy with the open blouse. But, seriously, how does this work in real life? No matter, I can probably make something similar for a fraction of the price. Gorgeous regardless. Via Lena Christiansen.


After all these years, I do remember the one item that always topped my Sears list, year after year:  the ski-bike. About ten years ago, Vail Resort started offering ski-bike rentals for a nighttime cruise down the mountain, equipped with a headlamp. In our litigious society, I'm surprised that something that seems even remotely dangerous as racing down a wooded mountain under the cover of dark is offered at a large resort as Vail. Or perhaps, ski-bikes are just not as exciting as I had imagined them to be all these years.


Maybe I should add a a ride on the seated ski to my Wish List and fulfill a childhood fantasy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Meatloaf:
Comfort Food with a Healthy Kick

Asparagus Bread Pudding from 101Cookbooks.com
Guest Blogger, Molly Anderson-Childers

Lately, I’ve been on a comfort food kick. When the weather changes and grey days bring rain and snow, I crave things like bread pudding, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. These calorie-rich foods- especially abundant around the holidays- are my nemesis. Comfort food as we know it is designed to wreak havoc on any diet.

How can you update these classics for the twenty-first century? Sometimes it’s as simple as making a smarter choice at the supermarket, and substituting ground turkey for ground beef. Deer, elk, antelope, or bison burger are healthier alternatives with a richer flavor. If you’re not used to the taste of game, you can mix it half-and half- with hamburger. This ain’t your mama’s meatloaf!

Instead of mashed potatoes dripping with butter, try roasting your taters instead. Here’s how:

Preheat the oven to 400. Place a sheet-pan inside to warm. While the oven is heating, scrub and dice several potatoes. Slice a red onion- not too thin. You can also use carrots, beets, and other root vegetables, or add apples and sweet potatoes to the mix. Add a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, and basil to the mix. Remove sheet-pan from oven and spread potatoes evenly on the hot surface. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown, turning once halfway through- much healthier than mashers.

Chopping fresh shallots from the garden. Photos via Molly Anderson-Childers at Stealing Plums blog

Baby onions fresh from the garden. Photos via Molly Anderson-Childers at Stealing Plums blog

Here’s an updated version of a true Americana classic- bread pudding- from my kitchen to yours.

Savory Southwestern Bread Pudding
(Serves Four)
Ingredients:
5 slices whole-grain bread
1 ½ C. milk
1 C. grated pepper jack cheese
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ C. roasted pine nuts
2-3 roasted green chiles- seeded, peeled, and diced
Fresh or dried herbs- sage, rosemary, basil, thyme- to taste
1 red onion, diced fine

Method:
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 1- quart casserole. Tear bread into bite-sized chunks and mix with pine nuts, chiles, herbs, and onion in a separate bowl. Scald milk and cool slightly. Then beat in cheese, eggs, and seasonings. Pour into casserole and add the bread mixture. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until firm.

Note: To add some contrasting flavors and textures to this dish, use cornbread, crackers, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, etc- any extra bread you have around the house. Leftover cooked rice or roasted potatoes are also yummy and can be mixed right in with the bread.
T
o make this tasty dish, I modified a classic recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook- using the best of fresh local produce and homegrown herbs to make it my own. For another variation on this recipe, visit www.101cookbooks.com – I loved their recipe for Asparagus Bread Pudding shown at the top of this article.

Molly Childers at Stealing Plums


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Ready for the Season


Via


Looking Back . . . 


The ski season has begun here in Colorado! It was opening weekend in Vail and it started off strong with plenty of snow. I love the sense of nostalgia that skiing brings me since my Dad put on my first pair of skis when I was four. 


Black and white photographs look modern even when they are old.


Via




As I was perusing vintage skiing photos online I actually found the ski jacket that I bought for myself when I was twelve years old. I don't care for it now; think I prefer the classic clothing above.


Via

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Easy Fall Decorating


Decorating for Fall can be as easy as going to your pantry and pulling out vegetables. All varieties of gourds and squashes are abundant this time of year. These are simple arrangements - how much easier does it get than sticking a couple of gourds under a cloche? 


Via
Paired with pine branches and herbs, the monochromatic theme in muted grayed-out greens gets its interest from the variety of textures. If you prefer a more vibrant color scheme, try variations of orange colored squashes.


Via
Hollowed out gourds make long lasting vases.

Via
 There are well over a hundred species and varieties of gourds and squashes.


Via

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Walls are Alive!
And can help Keep you Healthy









"Living Walls", or vertical planters, are the hot, new, must-have landscape design element. They can disguise the most uninspiring walls and serve as a more interesting alternative to conventional fencing. They can provide privacy, sound barriers, habitat, moisture, and shade in addition to providing flowers, fruits and vegetables. Living walls differ from trellises, ivy and climbing plant-covered walls in that they feature growing medium that allows plants to take root in the wall, not just at the base of it.

Exterior walls come alive with a cascade of beautiful plants. Via Bright Green USA

Instead of a trellis that trains plants to grow upwards (time consuming!), use a living wall cell product. This one by Bright Green USA

Undulating walls covered with plants creates a grassy oasis of nature in an otherwise gray and dense city. By Mass Studies via Treehugger

Living walls have become very popular the last several years with the onslaught of sustainability and "certified green" claims of almost every product you can think of. But, unlike the "greenwashing" the globe has experienced, living plants, which contain chlorophyl, are essential to life as they help convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. (Okay, yeah, we all know that; but you can't accuse greenhouses of greenwashing their product!) They not only provide small-footprint gardens for beauty, insulation, and food, but can also improve your indoor air quality by removing formaldehyde and other potentially harmful gases from the air according to a two year study by NASA.

The ten plants most effective at removing formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from the air are:

  • Bamboo Palm
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • English Ivy
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Janet Craig
  • Marginata
  • Dracaena Massangeana
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
  • Pot Mum
  • Peace Lily
  • Warneckii
Accent an interior wall without the worry of finding good looking planters. Product and photo by Bright Green USA
Some of the plants don't adapt well to the particular wall environments (think vertical, shallow planting space, limited nutrients and moisture — all the variables that can make a wall design challenging). Check with your local nursery or horticulturist for advice on which plant may work best for your conditions. Soil cell sizes vary so larger installations like the one below would be better suited for living wall products that have larger cell options.

The largest green wall in North America is over 4,000 square feet of living plants! Via  gSky Plant Systems


For the home gardener and cook; grow your own herbs and vegetables at arm's reach. Product & photo by Bright Green USA

For help in creating beautiful, healthy interiors, contact Shaun at designhouse.
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