A Crazy Week

This week has truly been a challenge. I lost a good friend of mine on Monday morning, and the week was a little off after that. My friend was a poet and friend who always made you feel anything was possible, and that usually it was just you standing in your own way. I know she wouldn’t want me to be sad, but it just feels a bit odd not being able to get my coffee with her and her quick wit. Starbucks trips won’t be the same without her, life won’t be the same without her. I’m so glad I had the chance to not only work with her professionally, but got to know her as a friend. One of the few I’ve gained as an adult.

I started working with a new bride this week also. It kept my mind busy for sure. Went to the first dress fitting and did a site visit in the bitter cold temperatures. Couldn’t see much of the site due to the foot of snow still on the grounds (the wedding is outside).

Wedding Reception Space

Wedding Reception Space

 

We have a short amount of time to get everything in place, but this is going to be fun for me and something to document for you all to see. Stay tuned for updates on this process. It should be really fun and eventful. The theme of the wedding is fiesta with a little Dia de los Muertos twist.

Papel Picado

Papel Picado

Taking the good with the bad this week, my friend’s “Legacy” is big in the community and in my heart. Live loud and bold, full of color and spunk. That’s advice we can all live by. To my friend Chantay “Legacy” Leonard, I’ll miss you.

chantay piece

Chantay “Legacy” Leonard

 

Staying Fabulous in 2015

January is almost over and I’m sure your resolutions are well under way. I don’t really make resolutions, but I do try to strive to be better than I was the previous year. Now, my goals are probably like many other’s: lose a few pounds, get more organized, and eat better.

meditation rocks

There are many things we can do to lose weight. I don’t like diets very much, so I try to just use better judgement and practice better portion control. Exercising has never been something I was good at sticking to. Mainly because as a kid I was in an African dance company, so I was always exercising three times a week with rehearsals and classes. These days I’m constantly moving around, but as we get older we have to work a little harder at weight loss. Walking is a great start to exercising. I walk pretty fast in general, but adding cardio somewhere in the week is something that I would do to break up the monotony of the walking routine.

Family Plan

Getting more organized is something I’m good at in general, but with keeping up with kid’s extracurricular schedules and appointments can cause me easily to get off track. One way I try to combat chaos is to regroup myself and my weekly tasks and schedule on Sundays to make sure I’m ready for the upcoming week. One thing I would like to implement is a weekly menu for dinners. It’s so hard to finally get home and try to figure out what to fix for dinner. Our schedule can cause us to get home late, but trying to find meals I can make ahead so all I have to do is heat them up will help that.

Whatever you do, stay on track and don’t stress if things don’t always go as planned. That will save your nerves and sanity.

Share with us your resolutions, tips, and experience. We’ll share ours as the year goes on.

Happy 2015!

Knowledge from Grandma

During the holidays I went to eat dinner at my grandmother’s house. She had a huge dinner spread, as usual, with something for everyone. A little history on my grandmother…

My grandmother is the reason I gained an interest in cooking. I was a picky eater and because of that, my mom told me to make my own food. Once I got the hang of it, my grandmother fueled the fire. Grandma’s kitchen always had some of the most interesting ingredients and tools. I always wanted to help in the kitchen, but then I became more involved with the prep of the meal.

Ok, so back to Christmas dinner. My grandma’s menu was:

  • Roasted Quail
  • Standing Rib Roast with Gravy
  • Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes
  • Ribs
  • Collard Greens
  • Lima Beans
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Biscuits and Cornbread

We pulled out the best china and talked about family past, random experiences, and laughed. The food was good and the company was great!

So, when going back home I of course got some leftovers to take with me. Now, I tasted all the food except the lima beans and quail. There was a lot on my plate. At home, I reheated the greens and roast with gravy and stuffing. The collard greens were the best I’d ever had!

I had to call my grandmother and ask her where she got the greens from. She told me a story about a farm she got vegetables and fruits from through the summer season who was too busy towards the end of the season. So she talked to the owner and asked if she could just come at the end of the season when the garden is pretty much empty. The owner agreed and after the first frost my grandma said she went with her machete and my grandfather and got about a bushel of collard greens.

The funny thing about this is, my grandmother is a sick woman with a lot of bone issues and wears braces for her legs and back. So the fact that she wanted these greens bad enough to prepare for the holidays is simply dedication.

The knowledge my grandmother gave me about this endeavor is that when she got the greens from the ground after the frost, they were still somewhat frozen. So when she got home, she cleaned them and froze them properly until she was ready to use them. The frost froze the greens when the season ended and that preserved them, so pretty much made the greens more tender. These greens melted in your mouth. So tender and flavorful. Not bitter or tough.

IMG_3925I learned something new from my grandma (as usual). Go get your greens after the first frost. Much like life, you have to wait for the right time to get something. Just because you want it when it’s ‘in’ it may not be the right time for you. Random lessons from gardening/food has about life.

Wedding Wednesday | 1.14.15

1.14.15

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Wedding Before

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Wedding After

 

Did you or someone you know get engaged this holiday? Well we are a full service event planning company that can help make your big day special and stress free. We do everything from wedding showers, receptions, and weddings. We can even help plan your bachelor/bachelorette parties as well. Ke Event Designs specializes in organization, planning, logistics, event styling, and vendor coordination and contracts. We would love to be a part of your special event, and will always rise to the occasion.

You can find us online here and on Thumbtack

Drink of the Golden Globes 2015

1.11.15

So tonight’s Golden Globes are on and it’s pretty good so far. Have your favorites movies won yet? Did you see the dresses and dapper gentlemen on the red carpet?

Well we all couldn’t get tickets to the big bash, but there is one way to feel included. Cocktails!

Here are the drinks created for this year’s Golden Globe affair. Try them out and enjoy the show.

Moet Impatient Sunset Starlet drink

MOËT SUNSET STARLET
3/4 ounce Lillet
1/2 ounce dry curaçao
3/4 honey
1/4 lemon juice 
2 dashes orange bitters
Spritz of fresh clementine + twist
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial 

1. Combine Lillet, dry curaçao, honey, lemon juice and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.

2. Pour over ice into a white wine glass and top with Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

IMPATIENT VERSION
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce honey
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial

Combine vodka, Cointreau and honey in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a white wine glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

MOËT BIJOU ROUGE
2 ounces Greenbrier gin
1 ounce Carpano (or a nice, sweet vermouth)
1/4 ounce Luxardo
1 tiny dash St. Elizabeth allspice dram bitters
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

Combine gin, Carpano, Luxardo and dram bitters in a cocktail shaker. Stir very well with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial and garnish with brandied cherry.

IMPATIENT VERSION
1 ounce gin
1/4 ounce dry curaçao
3/8 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Brandied cherry garnish (with a touch of the brandied cherry syrup)
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

Combine sweet vermouth, gin and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker over ice and pour into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial to taste and garnish with a brandied cherry.

The drink was created by the Impatient Foodie Elettra Wiedemann. I would love to do this one day. Looks like so much fun and a great honor to be asked to curate a cocktail for a fancy bash such as the Golden Globes. Try one and share your thoughts.

Congrats to all the winners!

Year Gone By

1.1.15

2015 silver glitter

Happy New Year!

 

2014 has gone as fast as it came. Looking back, I have to say it was a decent year. Busy, but still good. I wanted to take this time to thank my readers and say I appreciate your comments, views, and shares. I hope that with all I have shared with you that you found something inspirational.

I wanted to share with you the top posts of this year. The ones you felt that were the most intriguing and got the most of your attention.

1. Mad Monday 3.3.14

stacked bracelets

2. Throwback Thursday | Return of the 80’s

Jem

3. Vintage Living in a Modern Age

Vintage George Nelson Walnut Spike Wall Clock

4. Fall Color Paint Palettes

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5. Stylish Saturday | Kentucky Derby 2014

kentucky derby hat

2014 was full of collaborations and wonderful posts. I only hope that this year brings all of you much joy and prosperity. I hope to continue to inspire and that you will continue to support Ke Event Designs.

Cara Delevingne and Pharrell for Chanel’s latest short film

Ke Event Designs:

I read about this yesterday and thought it was awesome! Can’t wait to see the whole film.

Originally posted on the CITIZENS of FASHION:

Cara Delevingne and Pharrell for Chanel
“Reincarnation” is the latest Chanel film signed by Karl Lagerfeld that tells the story of the birth of the famous Chanel jacket .Starring Cara Delevingne, ethereal as Sissi in an Austrian castle with Pharrell Williams as her royal knight, playing Franz Joseph.

And with a leap in time the story takes us to 1954, to an episode in the life of Coco Chanel: when the fashion designer, on vacation in Austria, was enchanted by a jacket worn by the lift attendant at her hotel. That style, revised and updated, became the basis of the famous jacket by Chanel.

“It was time to show the origins of the Chanel jacket, inspired by the one worn by the lift attendant in a hotel near Salzburg in the 1950s,” says Lagerfeld. “Reincarnation is the story of a lift attendant’s jacket being reincarnated as a timeless piece of women’s wear.”

To celebrate the upcoming Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Métiers d’art collection…

View original 110 more words

The Chew-ish Sausage Biscuits and Gravy

The other week we were watching The Chew and saw a recipe Michael Symon demonstrated that piqued our interest. It was a challenge for me, because I’m not a big gravy person. The Andouille Sausage Gravy with Corn Biscuits recipe was something I wanted to attempt but make my own. On the show, the gravy looked too loose for my taste, so I wanted to make sure I modified the recipe to be what I wanted. I also don’t like corn meal biscuits, so I just bought some pre-made biscuits to just work on the gravy.

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The gravy was pretty simple, but I modified the recipe slightly. I don’t like spicy sausage, so I used a simple mild sausage without the casing. I also cut the amount of chicken stock I used because I knew it would thin the gravy too much for my taste. So, below is my version of this recipe.

 

Sausage Gravy

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onion (minced)
1 pound Mild Sausage (casing removed)
2 1/2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
Salt

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of Olive Oil and the Mild Sausage. Cook the Sausage, breaking it up into small bits as it browns. Cook Sausage until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Onion and a pinch of Salt. Cook until the Onions start to break down and become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the Flour, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Chicken Stock, and Cream. Simmer for 15 minutes or up to 45 minutes on low heat. The Gravy will thicken and reduce slightly.

To serve, slice the Biscuits in half. Spoon the Gravy over the Biscuits and garnish with Parsley

IMG_3783

 

I have to say, I don’t like gravy really and making it from scratch has always been somewhat intimidating to me. I’ve seen my great grandmother and grandmother make gravy so easily, but have never really tried it myself. In culinary school, I learned the concept and how to actually put those skills into practice, but I have never tried it fully on my own. This recipe was actually quite tasty and I would recommend it to anyone who likes sausage gravy and biscuits.

If you want to see the whole recipe from the show, including the biscuits, feel free to check it out here: Michael Symon’s Corn Biscuits and Andouille Gravy Recipe

Vintage Living in a Modern Age

I love being creative with everything from food to decorating my surroundings. I love patterns and color and texture. Using different mediums while decorating any space can give it a big boost. One thing I love using is color in a room to give an accent. A muted color with maybe an accent color on one wall or bold wallpaper is one way to incorporate color in a room.

When looking for furniture, I prefer to find unique things that fit my personality and overall style to go in a room or the house. Resale shops and consignment shops are great places to start. You are sure to find some gems there. Estate sales are also great resource for great finds. There’s also a great online option for vintage finds, Chairish. They have a wide variety of vintage furniture and decor accessories that are sure to add character to any space in your home, and can be easily styled.

Vintage George Nelson Walnut Spike Wall Clock

Chairish Vintage George Nelson Walnut Spike Wall Clock

This vintage George Nelson Spike Wall clock is a key example of a popular 50’s decor item that still goes perfectly with any modern decor.

Chairish Golden Velour Three Seat Sofa

Chairish Golden Velour Three Seat Sofa

This golden three seat sofa is just the pop of color to add to any family or living room. Has a vintage comfort and modern flair to it. I love the shape of this piece. It’s stylish without really having to try too hard.

benjamin-moore-paint-wedding veil

Benjamin Moore – Veil

This Benjamin Moore Veil shade would be a great base color in any room of the house. You should have a base color that you use throughout the house to build color off of. It helps to ground and connect the house design.

Art Deco Unique Burled Walnut Tall Dresser

Chairish Art Deco Unique Burled Walnut Tall Dresser

In any room you need a statement piece. Something that truly grounds the room’s design. This Art Deco dresser from Chairish definitely makes a bold statement. It’s classic and the shape is easy to incorporate in to any size room also. The scale of furniture is important. Can’t have a piece that won’t fit, no matter how great the piece is.

AF-705

Benjamin Moore – Cinder

Gray is a great color for a bedroom or living room. Maybe even a kitchen. Benjamin Moore Cinder is a great shade to add to one wall or all four. I love this shade because it’s warm and goes with pretty much any color.

fretwork trellis wallpaper

Ballard Designs Fretwork Trellis Wallpaper

Now I love a good pattern, and this Fretwork Trellis Wallpaper from Ballard Designs is a good example of a bold and chic pattern that can add to the design of a room. I think adding this paper to one wall as an accent would be enough to make a statement in a room.

1940s Chartreuse Slipper Chair

Chairish 1940s Chartreuse Slipper Chair

This vintage chartreuse chair would definitely be a great pairing with the fretwork trellis wallpaper. I love the contrast of a bold dark wall color with a bold piece of furniture.

I love adding vintage pieces to a room because it gives new character and style to the space. You don’t have to add a lot of things, just make sure that what you add means a lot to the space and you. Shop Chairish for more vintage finds for your home.

Classic Timepieces

There are some accessories that are just for show, but others can serve functional purposes while also being fashionable. Finding the right watch is like finding the final piece of a difficult puzzle. When looking for the right watch, you have to step outside of the box and find something that will be a bit more personal. In men’s fashion, the watch is very essential to pulling a look together completely. Invaluable.com, an online auction house that has more than 30-million  bidders annually, has hundreds of  unique timepieces that are stylish and sometimes vintage.

Men's Rolex Watch

Men’s Rolex Watch

Sometimes there are moments when you feel you don’t have anything to wear, but you know you have your staple accessories that will pull together any outfit. For men, this is no different. In modern times, men have been known to take in consideration more what they wear and how they look when getting ready. And what better way to pull together a look than to find a great outfit to go with your statement piece: a rose faced steel Rolex watch.

j crew gray suit

The Ludlow tweed suit from J. Crew is one way to add to the rose faced Rolex watch. The gray tones help the face stand out and shine.

banana republic leather jacket

 

Even adding a leather jacket from Banana Republic, the watch still will hold its class and style. There is a timelessness to leather and steel.

banana republic navy pants

Whether it is casual or formal, the watch will still make this Banana Republic navy chino and Army green combo seem fashionable. Who doesn’t love a man in chinos.

j crew dark gray suit

Of course, the everyday working man needs a timepiece that will help him arrive in a timely fashion. Nothing says style and power like a Rolex. This Ludlow gray Italian flannel power suit from J. Crew will definitely show your style and class.

Using an auction site like Invaluable.com to find unique men’s watches is one way to ensure that your guy won’t walk into the boardroom or local pub to find someone wearing the same watch. He will definitely stand out and show his sense of style with the choice of watches on the Invaluable.com site. There are many options in any price range. With the holidays fast approaching, you are sure to find something for that dashing gentleman on your list.

Warby Parker | Clear View

10.8.14

So you all know that fall is my favorite season. And I think I love accessories more than clothes. With all the choices we have for adding to our outfits, we cannot forget the glasses. Glasses are an accessory as well, whether they are required or just for show. Glasses are a subtle accent to our overall look.

This fall, I came across a wonderful company that has one of the most classic fall lines. Warby Parker has some styles that you can wear with your everyday look, or you can go for something more unique.

FALL2014_stills (1)There are many options to choose from, but the most ingenious the acetate and titanium frames. There are also other shapes and materials to choose from. Your personality will shine through with any frame.

WP14011_CHANDLERTI_175_OPT_TOPDOWN

Chandler Ti

The Warby Parker fall line will simply enhance any sense of style. With a chunky sweater or a business suit. There is a pair for the football game and the boardroom.

WP14011_HARDY_175_OPT_TOPDOWN

Hardy Striped Pacific

 

WP14011_COLEY_500_OPT_TOPDOWN

Coley Crystal

Since I was a child I always wanted to wear glasses because I thought it was cool. The choices with the new Warby Parker fall line make me feel I could get a pair for every mood.

And if the style wasn’t enough to get you excited about getting a pair, how about this. For every pair of glasses you purchase from Warby Parker, they will donate a pair to someone who is in need of the gift of clear vision. So, why not be fashionable and conscious while helping someone in need. Stay classy people and do it in style all the way up to your frames.

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Warby Parker truly has something for everyone.

Get yours today.

~Enjoy

 

Scandal at The Limited

9.25.14

Olivia Pope Clothing Line

This week, the most clever collaboration happened. For all the Gladiators out there, you should know that Kerry Washington, costume designer for “Scandal” Lyn Paolo, and Elliot Staples, Head Designer at The Limited, have collaborated to create a new line of Olivia Pope inspired designs for the everyday Gladiator.

kerry washingto lyn paolo

 

The style of Olivia Pope has been the talk of the fashion world since season 1 of the popular show Scandal. Now with this collaboration with a national retailer, the designer/costumer who created the visions, and the star wearing the visions, many of the show’s fans will be able to have a piece or two in their wardrobe that give them the feel of a Gladiator.

olivia pope and sketch

Many of Olivia Pope’s classic outfits are replicated for this new line, which was available in stores this Tuesday. So if Olivia Pope is a fashion icon for you, get to the nearest Limited and get your power suit ready.

scandal limited_1

The oversized sweater with wide leg pants are pretty much a must. But if you must do a formal jacket, try the side zip checker jacket.

scandal jacketOf course you have to have the cape that has been an epic piece for Ms. Pope since season 2. This plaid version comes in two shades, and will definitely show your power and class.

cape sketch

Don’t forget the wrap coat too. Ms. Pope has made the wrap coat a fall must. A classic and timeless look returns to show the femininity and style of a powerful woman. The soft colors only add to the powerful appeal.

Scandal at Limited

 

So if you are a fan of the show and cannot wait for the season 4 premiere tonight, don’t forget to go and get your Gladiator gear soon at The Limited store near you.

 

Fall is Here!!

fall falling

Fall began at 10:29pm last night. I am so excited and love this season so much, that I can’t wait to share the plethora of things I love this season. The colors haven’t began to change yet, but the hues are so magnificent. They began to contrast with the tree bark and grass they fall on.

Our fashion begins to change and evolve into thicker fabrics, more layers, and richer colors. The beautiful sweaters and the thick wool fabrics. They make me excited to get dressed! I love a warm sweater, colorful scarf, and a pair of jeans. With a pair of nice boots or ballerina flats.

Akris Fall 2014

Plaids are also great for fall. Especially in rich colors like grey, wine, or wheat. A skirt or dress in plaid is great, but growing up going to Catholic schools, plaid became a favorite for me all year round.

Fall Ralph Lauren

Wool coats are great! Warm and stylish. Paired with a lovely tote or satchel, they become fashion statements. Any length will do, but add your favorite scarf and your daily wear is all set.

H+M Home Decor

Home decor also changes a little during the cooler months. We use more candles to decorate or provide ambiance for a dinner party. The subtle light adds a bit of warmth to that fall gathering of friends.

H+M Home Decor_1

Choosing candles that use natural tones and materials in their holders just adds to the seasonal flair. Of course, richer scents like patchouli and bergamot are more common in fall, you can also choose scents like vanilla, musk, and spice.

OPI Fall Polishes

 

We also change our nail colors to match the season. OPI is one of my favorite brands of nail polish, and their Fall 2014 collection doesn’t disappoint.

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Adding some outdoor elements to your home can help bring the season indoors. Gourds, apples, and a blend of grasses help bring warmth to your fall decor.

fall hyacinth wreath

Decorating your door with a fall colored wreath helps welcome your guests to your home. Choosing flowers in fall hues can make a big difference.

fall wreath

Or you can use ornaments to create the same effect. Wreaths are a simple way to make your home ready for the fall season.

Oregon Autumn

The fall colors outside are so warm and inviting. The brisk air makes it a necessity to drink warm beverages and eat warm dishes.

warm blankets

Wrapping up in a warm blanket by a fire with a good book, or enjoying a morning cup of coffee or tea is a weekend must.

Fall Foliage

The scenes of fall can be so captivating and beautiful, as they represent a change in our environment.

red fall leaves

Take a walk and enjoy the views and colors. Enjoy this season as much as I do.

Happy Fall!

 

Fall Paint Color Palettes

9.22.14

Fall is quickly approaching, and if you are like me you love to immerse yourself in the colors of the season. Decorating the house can be fun and choosing colors for the walls is like choosing a new nail polish. Color is important because it can change, enhance, or disturb your mood. Choosing wall paint is something that you should do with care.

welcome fall

There are a lot of things to consider with paint. What the room is used for? How much sunlight the room gets? Where are the windows? What color to paint the ceiling? Do you have moldings? Wainscoting? Chair rails? You have to think of the little things to make sure you choose the right color for your space.

Fall front door

No matter if it is indoors or outdoors, color is important. Always go with what goes well with your home and use of the spaces. No matter what, choose what is comfortable for you. You have to live with paint for a while, so be sure to make certain it is a color you can live with.

fall color combos

Color isn’t just for the walls. You can incorporate fall colors on your furniture and the accessories you choose to accent your room with. Upholstery can add an element of color as well.

benjamin moore Sioux paint

This Benjamin Moore color, Sioux, is calm and can enhance neutral and muted tones. The color on the wall is subtle but packs a punch as far as color. The off white furniture just helps the wall color stand out.

Fall Dining room

This neutral color on the wall helps to accentuate the floors and makes the white furniture pops. The piping that matches the wall color helps to connect the two colors to the space. I may not always be a fan of white furniture, but when paired with a bold and dark wall color, it works perfectly.

coastal fall colors

These coastal colors are muted and represent the fall season on the coasts. Our coasts in this country have different shades of green and blue, and paired with the muted colors of the foliage they create this wonderful palette.

Orange color schemes

Now the orange fall palette may seem a little bold for an indoor room, but there are ways to incorporate shades of orange effectively. Add orange accents to the room, paint an accent wall with a lighter and neutral tone. Paint a built in a bold color so that the books and accessories help break up the color, and that way the bold color won’t overpower your room. You can also take bolder colors outdoors.

autumn color journey

Darker colors are best done in small dosed inside. If you take these bold colors outside, use them on a front door, window frames, or shutters. Using such dark colors outside also will help your house look like it’s one with nature as the leaves change throughout the season.

fall preserve hues

Fall colors are also those you can find in some foods and preserves. These tend to be colors more suitable for inside the home and in most rooms of the house. They easily go well in any kitchen of course, with the exception of peaches and orange-like colors. Those don’t do well in conjunction with food.

fall vegetable palettes

 

Another interesting place to take color inspiration from is food, mainly vegetables. Fall vegetables are rich with color. Eggplant, tomatoes, squash and gourds, greens, and root vegetables. All have an array of colors that can work in any home.

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Use nature as a guide to choosing colors for your home, but use nature and the things around you as inspiration. Once you find a palette that fits your lifestyle and needs, you can get your paint and get started with transforming your home. Adding paint to a room will give any room a boost, and maybe even boost the use of the room.

So use the outdoors to inspire the indoors, and share that inspiration with your friends and family who come to visit your home. Add a little paint to your home to keep the fall feel all year round. Color can go from season to season, so be adventurous. Enjoy the colors of the season and Happy Fall!

 

Crafted Infusion

9.18.14

People are always trying to find ways to update things to give them new life. Food and drink included. There are timeless recipes, but there are so many varieties of a recipe that can speak to someone’s unique palette. Whether it is adding herbs, spices, or deconstructing a dish, making any recipe your own is always encouraged.

I’ve been cooking since I was about 9 years old simply because I was a picky eater, and I was not a fan of boxed foods. So my single mother basically told me to do it myself. So, I looked at a package and found a basic recipe on the corn meal and did just that. I have been creating and altering recipes ever since. Even while in culinary school, I was always thinking of ways to change the standard recipes we were working with in class.

As I have gotten older, the same creative mind has worked in the world of cocktails. I came across a restaurant that was already in the lead for their unique take on Parisienne café fare, and their bartenders kept up with that creativity with the cocktails. Behind the bar I saw antique apothecary bottles with herbs and spices in them. I asked the bartender what it was and it was the first time I had heard of infusing spirits with herbs. I had come across some rare infused vodkas (not flavored, there is a huge difference) at a coworker’s dinner party once, and that was already mind blowing.

 

Now you can buy infused vodkas, although not common. You can buy infused liqueurs, which are more common. But sometimes, you can’t find the flavors you want when trying to create a unique craft cocktail.

Charbay infused vodka
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Infusing vodka (or other spirits) is pretty simple. The process is fast and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most time, creating the cocktail takes more effort than the infusing. I’ve talked about infusing before, but here are a couple of recipes for infusing herbs and fruits for creating something more creative cocktails.

Infused Vodka

  • 4 cups vodka
  • Funnel
  • Mesh strainer
  • Coffee filter
  • Quart jar with lid
  • 4 cup capacity glass bottle with lid or cork

Now, you can choose any of these ingredients:

  • 2 oranges or lemons
  • 1-2 large sprigs of basil, or another favorite herb (rosemary, mint, etc.)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup clean berries
  • 1 cup fruit, cleaned and cut into chunks (pineapple, apple, melon, mango, etc.)

Now here’s the simple part. Take the herb, fruit, or vanilla bean and place in a jar. Pour the vodka in the jar, then put the top/cork on. Place in a dark place at room temperature for a few days. Fruits are stronger, so they will take less time (maybe 2 days). Herbs are a little more subtle and will take longer, maybe 3 days. Do NOT store them in the refrigerator. Pour the vodka through coffee filters set in a mesh strainer, and it’s ready to use.

Basil and herbs – roughly chop and add to jar.

Orange, lemons, melons, berries, fruits – Use citrus peels, no white pith. Cut fruits up roughly. Smash berries slightly leaving them in tact. Grapefruit and blood oranges can be added in pieces, rind and fruit.

Vanilla bean – Cut in half and remove the seeds. Add both the pod and seeds to the jar.

vanilla-rose-cocktail

Vanilla Rose

  • 2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka
  • 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • Lavender simple syrup
  • Dash of fresh lemon juice
  • Half of a vanilla bean
  • Lemon twist or wedge for garnish

Chop a half of a vanilla bean in small pieces width-wise and place it in a mixing glass. Add the lavender syrup and muddle, crushing the vanilla bean. Fill the glass with ice, add vodka and vermouth. Shake vigorously. Fine strain and serve either up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.

Antioxidant Apple Martini - VeeV Cocktail

Mary Rose Cocktail

  • 2 parts rosemary vodka
  • 1/2 part creme de cassis
  • 1/2 part cranberry juice
  • Splash of club soda

In a shaker, combine vodka, cranberry juice and cassis. Add ice and shake. Pour a splash of club soda into a chilled cocktail glass. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass, over the soda.

You can play around with flavors and combinations of flavors. Put them in decorative glass jars and give them as gifts. It’s funny how something handmade will make a hostess feel when you hand them a pretty and hand labeled jar.

Enjoy!