Last Minute Eco Chic Tips, Tricks & Treats

Comforting, healthy, delicious...I love pumpkin. If you just decided to have a Halloween party, here are a few ways to turn this veg into an eco friendly, less than scary soiree in minutes. Happy Halloween.

  1. Select your color scheme: black & orange; chocolate & white, orange & green. Coordinate your linens & china and use whatever you have at home.

  2. Pick up an assortment of pumpkins or squashes in interesting varieties and sizes and create a natural tablescape.

  3. Low on squashes, fill in with apples, oranges and pine cones. Set a place for each guest with a reusable leaf or baby pumpkin.

  4. For extra elegance add a bouquet of poppy flowers and dine by soy candle light.

  5. For a kids table, fill colorful containers, mugs, reusable totes with treats of all kinds like licorice and lolly pops and sprinkle wrapped candies between them. Add crayons & paper at each place setting and let their imaginations run wild...before their big night out.

  6. Steep mulling spices or cinnamon sticks in red wine or cider for a sweet but spicy holiday aroma and drink.

  7. Keep the menu simple with a green salad and a delicious ravioli dish like this fave. I use the 365 frozen butternut squash ravioli from Whole Foods. For dessert, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler and have everyone dip and roll their own organic apples into their favorite chocolate and chopped nuts or candies.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage by Giada De Laurentiis...
1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound fresh pumpkin ravioli
1 stick unsalted butter
6 fresh sage leaves
Large pinch grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 amaretti cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread hazelnuts onto a baking tray. Toast hazelnuts in oven until light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Coarsely chop the cooled hazelnuts and set aside.
In a 10 or 12-inch saute pan with high sides, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the vegetable oil to prevent the ravioli from sticking to one another. Add ravioli and cook for 4 minutes or until they float to the top. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove ravioli to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
In a small saute pan, melt the butter. When butter is sizzling and starts to brown, tear sage leaves into the pan and fry for about 20 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg. Pour butter sauce over ravioli and sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts. Grate amaretti cookies over the dish and serve immediately.


Architecture for Humanity & Sustainability

The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami is now showcasing local artists and designers during their 5 Minutes of Fame & Time For Design Wednesday night forums. This past Wednesday night was a phenomenal discussion on sustainable architecture & design. Jennifer Siqueira, founder of Architecture for Humanity Miami spoke about their new local chapter and their goals for a more sustainable Miami. Architecture for Humanity promotes sustainable communities through the power of design. Their first local project in Miami was a community vegetable garden in Coconut Grove.

Another Architect, Hugo Mijares of Modulaire also showcased his designs. His team won 2nd place in the Live The Box competition for their mixed use development. His passion is to maximize design by minimizing the impact on the environment. How? By recycling self supporting, infinitely indestructible cargo containers. They are fascinating and you may have seen other very cool prototypes like those above by Adam Kalkin. But this is the only firm I know of in Miami who is looking to reuse them for residential, commercial and high density mixed use spaces. Four to seven of these 8 x 20 ft shipping containers, 8000 lbs of corrugated steel, may be attached for one single family home. Simple marine grade plywood, plantings and pools are all designed within this very affordable, eco friendly and functioning structure. Word is that you may spot one in Miami during Art Basel.


Meeting Rachel Ashwell

I had no idea that when I was writing about the new Shabby Chic Couture boutiques last week I would be meeting Rachel Ashwell in Coral Gables last night at Books and Books. What a coincidence! It was quite wonderful and pleasant to see such a turn out in Miami. I am still inspired this morning.

Rachel Ashwell was so lovely, personable and inspiring....
She shared highlights from her brand new and most beautiful book; She shared a bit of her personal story, inspirations, comforts and values. She brought cameos, pins and a few of her favorite tea stained fabrics. And spoke of authenticity and quality. Rachel was acquainted with the world of design by her parents. She spent her childhood antiquing in England with her mom, a doll restorer and her dad, an antique books dealer. I also spent childhood weekends antiquing with my parents who are American Antiques dealers. We shared a moment reflecting on a similar experience and a love for beautiful things.

I am inclined sometime today to revisit the heirlooms and collectibles most dear to me. Declutter my office a bit... And enjoy my renewed appreciation for the muted colors, florals, texture and beauty around me.


DCOTA Event: The Art of Entertaining

Yesterday, as the rain finally brought cooler weather to South Florida, my husband and I headed to the DCOTA (Design Center of The Americas) for the Art of Entertaining. A debut lifestyle event sponsored by Florida International Magazine. South Beach Florist Pistils & Petals, Jo Malone Fragrance Bar and rare showroom openings were available for some good shopping. But the real highlight of the event were the cooking demonstrations, wine tips and delicious treats by South Florida shining Chefs.

My favorites included Chef Tim Andriola of Timo in Sunny Isles Beach. He demonstrated an extraordinary handmade truffled ricotta ravolini with chanterelle mushrooms in a marsala sauce. For true italian flavor, he suggested cooking the boiled pasta together with the sauce. Chef Sam Gorenstein of BLT Steak, located at the newly renovated Betsey Hotel in South Beach provided samplings of their famous and deliciously oversized gruyere popovers. While a basic recipe, for extra height and loft, his secret is to pre heat the popover pan first at 350 and make sure the milk is warm. And Chef Didier Lailheugue of Paris' legendary Au Pied de Cochon now located too on Washington Avenue in South Beach tempted us with tuna tartar, a trio of French cheeses & house wines

The DCOTA is celebrating it's twenty first year in South Florida. It is the largest design destination for the trade in the world with over 150 showrooms specializing in kitchen, bath, fine furniture, decorative fabrics, accessories, lighting & materials etc. Please feel free to contact me for more information or to schedule your own shopping tour or service.


Shabby Chic Returns

Rachel Ashwell is reinventing Shabby Chic into a Couture Collection with two newly opened stores in Santa Monica (her original space) and New York with London to follow next year. I just read a tweet this morning referencing yesterday's New York Times article. And I am thrilled to update my last post from March regarding her store closings. It is amazing to me that in just a short time and 20 years since her mere beginnings in 1989, Rachel Ashwell is bringing Shabby Chic back.

In my last post, I provided some eco chic tips that to me Rachel Ashwell has inspired. Well, when reading more about Rachel's new projects on her blog, I was happy to learn that her slipcovered furniture, tables and bedding are all made in the USA. The vintage pieces are recycled from another era, and none of the bedding is packaged in plastic. She seems to be more deliberate and purposeful, concentrating on "authentic workmanship" by local craftsmanship that I am so excited to see. And while the Shabby Chic concept is iconic in decorating, I agree times are fitting for Rachel to bring back an affordable, accessible and comfortably chic revival, with a new and fresh approach.
Also available is her new book, Shabby Chic Interiors.


Miami Art & Design: Artist, Ricardo Pelaez

Op Pop Hibiscus, 2009

Every month, Art & Design Night is held on the 2nd Saturday in the Miami Design District from 7-10 pm. It is an opportunity to gallery hop, meet local artists, enjoy cocktails and music. As we approach our winter season, the crowds get larger and the events get bigger. One of my favorite galleries is Etra Fine Art and this past Saturday night, my gallery opening pick went to Art in Context, work by Ricardo Pelaez, Colombian Artist and Naples Florida resident.

A native of Medellin, Colombia, Pelaez studied architecture and art in Colombia and Florence Italy. I read that his background is in graphic design and that his earlier work included etchings which is evident in the multi media and layers of texture and pattern used in his current work. Each piece is actually an installation and a dialogue between iconic imagery and contemporary design like Frank Gehry's signature cardboard chair above.

Fritza, Bitte Sitz, please sit!

Here he references Gustav Klimt's "Fritza von Riedler" of 1907, art nouveau motifs, decorative pattern and color. Pelaez intends to blur the line between art and design as he transforms Master Paintings and repurposes contemporary Design and fabrication into a three dimensional artful and interactive experience.

If you haven't yet been to the Miami Design District, it is worth a visit. Home to some of our best art galleries, trendiest design boutiques and now great fashion and food too. A few of my favorite design shops include Jalan, Jalan, Kartell, NiBa, Marimekko Miami and the phenomenal Senora Martinez, owned by Chef Michelle Bernstein and her husband. The Design District is located between N.E.39th and 41th Street and N.E. Miami Avenue and N.E. 2nd Avenue.


Meet Lonny

She is...

a new online friend

eco friendly

design inspired...

check out her debut at http://www.lonnymag.com/.

Michelle Adams, Creator and Editor in Chief of Lonny Magazine is also owner of one of our favorite organic textile companies, Rubie Green . As you'll see from the first read, she fills the void for all of us missing Domino magazine. In fact there is a feature story on Deborah Needleman, Editor in Chief of Domino plus Top Design's Eddie Ross and much more.