At the moment, my family is enjoying a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado – a place that we have visited many times in the past for the gorgeous mountains, fabulous snow and charming town.  But in addition to the usual benefits of skiing here, I credit Vail with adding two very different loves to my  life!  The first is my darling little dog, Oliver!  At Vail, dogs are pretty much everywhere – hanging out in hotels, walking along the cobbled streets and sleeping behind store counters.  My children and I had been lobbying my husband for a dog for years and after a stay here several years ago and observing the adorable dogs throughout the town he relented!  Within a month of our visit, a fluffy white Maltese joined our family!

The other addition is culinary:  an affinity for truffle french fries!

Vail was the first place where we found truffle fries on menus and my entire crew has been hooked every since.  Of course our first meal in Colorado this weekend included truffle fries which this time, were served with an aioli dip!  Delicious!

Even if you can’t get to the Rocky Mountains, here’s a recipe to try at home!  Truffled French Fries

And just for fun – meet Oliver Bailey!

 

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Have you Met Matchbook?

by Host Bee on February 15, 2012

For the past year, I have been so enjoying the online magazine, Matchbook:  A Field Guide to a Charmed Life!  The magazine is the perfect mix  of articles, fabulous finds, design inspiration, music/reading recommendations and much more.  (Matchbook Magazine)  Every issue has introduced me to something new – something I aspire to for this blog!  Matchbook describes its readers in this fun way:

THE matchbook girl…

VIEWS THE WORLD THROUGH ROSE COLORED GLASSES • LOVES TO THROW DINNER PARTIES, BUT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO BURN THE ROAST • VALUES ECCENTRICITY OVER CONVENTION • IS THE FIRST TO LAUGH AT HER OWN BAD JOKES • KNOWS THE CHA-CHA, THE CHARLESTON, AND THE TANGO • PAINTS HER NAILS BRIGHT CORAL WHEN SHE’S FEELING BLUE • IS INFINITELY CURIOUS • COULD HAPPILY LIVE OFF OF RED VELVET CAKE • PENS HAND WRITTEN NOTES TO HER GRANDMOTHER • HAS A SIGNATURE SHADE OF LIPSTICK • SECRETLY THINKS SHE MAY BE BABE PALEY REINCARNATED • RECEIVED AN iPAD FOR HER BIRTHDAY, BUT WILL NEVER GIVE UP HER LIBRARY CARD • HAS A BUCKET LIST A MILE LONG AND DREAMS A DIME A DOZEN • IS SMART, BUT NEVER A SHOW-OFF • LISTENS TO THE DAY’S FORECAST, BUT TRUSTS HER OWN INTUITION • NEVER SAYS NO TO A SUNDAY MATINEE AT THE THEATER • IS QUICK TO BLUSH, BUT NEVER SHORT OF A WITTY REPLY • HAS A SKIP IN HER STEP AND A TWINKLE IN HER EYE •ALWAYS SHARES HER LAST PIECE OF GUM

And in the most recent issue, has compiled the list of 50 must-read classics for the Matchbook girl!  How many have you read?  (Classic Matchbook Girl Novels)

 

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Using Typography for Decorating Impact!

by Host Bee on February 10, 2012

Throughout my home, you’ll find letters in every shape, color and material tucked into groupings of art work, doubling as bookends and filling empty wall space!  I started collecting letters (especially H’s and P’s which are my last initial and my husband’s!) years ago in order to create collages on my walls that were visually interesting and diverse.   Still today, I rarely pass up an addition.  And additions are really easy to find at Bay City Cargo!  (Bay City Cargo)  Bay City Cargo specializes in vintage theatre marquee letters that have been reclaimed and repurposed! I just love these letters and the instant character that they will bring to your home!

For more ideas, take a look at the Busy Bee Lifestyle post:  Trends in Decorating ~ Typography! (Trends in Decorating ~ Typography)

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Sharing my Birthday with Charles Dickens!

by Host Bee on February 8, 2012

Overshadowing my not so very glamorous birthday on February 7th, is the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birthday!  I have always loved that I share my birthday with writers like Dickens, Sinclair Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and thought that maybe my pleasure in writing is somewhat karmic!  In any event, there are numerous special exhibits honoring Dickens’ milestone birthday in all corners of the world.  The closest is taking place at the J.P. Morgan Library in New York City where an exhibit entitled Charles Dickens at 200 has been organized. Other modern day nods to this incredible novelist include two new biographies – Becoming Dickens by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Becoming Dickens)  and Charles Dickens:  A Life by Claire Tomalin. (Charles Dickens: A Life), as well as a new film version of Great Expectations to be released later this year, starring Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham!   Should neither the written biographies or movie release appeal to you, there’s always Dicken’s World – a $100 million indoor theme park in Southeastern England!  Opened in 2007, this theme park recreates classic scenes from Dickens’ novels, in the form of rides, exhibits and shows!  This was all news to me, but what a wonderfully fun way to introduce children to Dickens!  Happy Birthday to us all!

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Midnight in Paris – A Movie Review!

by Host Bee on February 6, 2012

On Friday, I wrote about the movie Midnight in Paris as it related to Gertrude Stein’s fabulous art collection. Happily, I had a free evening last night and watched this film On Demand through my cable service.  It was simply fabulous!  A modern day Hollywood script writer, Gil Pender,  (Owen Wilson) travels to Paris with his fiancee and her parents.  By day, he is a tourist in the city, but at midnight he is transported to the world of Paris in the 1920’s – when the city was filled with writers, painters and poets of epic renown!  After midnight, Gil interacts not only with Stein, but Picasso, Hemingway, Man Ray, Dali, Josephine Baker, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and so many more luminaries of this era.  As Gil is called to be a true novelist, the plot takes a few more twists and turns that I promise will delight anyone who sees this film!

The film prompted me today to dust off a gift I received last Christmas:  the French version of Rosetta Stone!  I may be on a Francophile stint for the next few blog entries!  Bonne Nuit!

 

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Thinking about Gertrude Stein on her Birthday!

by Host Bee on February 4, 2012

Gertrude Stein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on  February 3, 1874 and along with her brother, Leo, played a role of incredible importance in the history of modern art.  As American ex-pats living in Paris during the early decades of the 1900’s, the brother and sister team acquired so many works of art that the walls of their 27 Rue de Fleurus were a constantly rotating gallery.  It has been said that their salon was the first museum of modern art!  The Steins favored artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec and their purchases gave these artists both financial support and critical exposure.

What fascinates me about the Steins, and Gertrude, in particular, is the extremely casual way that they lived among these masterpieces.  Works of art were stacked around their salon, hung from floor to ceiling and propped against walls.  Their ability to identify emerging artists was remarkable!

Today, Gertrude Stein’s influence is still strongly felt both in the world of art and film!  An exhibit entitled The Steins Collect:  Matisse, Picasso, and the Paris Avant-Garde, will open at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 28th. (The Steins Collect)    

What makes this exhibit even more appealing is its salon style presentation!

Turning to the world of film, Woody Allen’s most recent movie, Midnight in Paris, revisits the Steins’ Parisian home with a would be author and the regulars who frequented the salon:  Hemingway, Picasso and F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Cheers to Gertrude on the anniversary of her birthday, with thanks for her invaluable contribution to the world of  modern art as we know it!

 

 

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Decorating Your Home for Winter!

by Host Bee on January 29, 2012

In the first post on Busy Bee ‘s blog, I shared photos of my own Christmas decorations – both inside and outside my home!  After I finally took down the tree, wreaths and lights, I wanted to still leave a touch of winter on my mantel and side boards and was pretty pleased with the results!  Here’s what I did:  the Christmas mantle included three terrariums topped with faux snow and small glass ornaments.

After the holidays, I swapped out the ornaments for tiny, snow-trimmed pinecones.  I also turned three decorative glasses upside down, filled the “cup” with more pinecones and sealed the pinecones in with clear tape.  The upside down glasses became candle holders for some pinecone shaped candles  I really like the clean, natural look especially after the busyness of my Christmas decor!

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Terrariums for a Touch of Spring!

by Host Bee on January 26, 2012

Outside, the sky is grey and dark and it feels like spring is far, far away!  One of my favorite ways to bring life to my home all year long is through terrariums –  I even decorated my mantle for Christmas with snowy terrariums!  It’s really easy to create your own terrariums and there are simple-to-follow directions on Busy Bee’s website.  (Tabletop Gardening!) But if purchasing one is easier for you, head to Twig!  Based out of Brooklyn, this shop offers a wonderful selection of terrariums and I think their prices are reasonable. (Twig)  For another fun and spring-y idea, Uncommon Goods is selling “postcardens,” a combination garden and postcard in one!  The card is sent in the mail and after a bit of watering by the recipient, a garden will begin to unfurl in the paper arches of a mini city!  (Botanical Post Card Gardens)

Twig: Brooklyn, New York

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Bring French Flair to Your Home!

by Host Bee on January 24, 2012

I spend a lot of time thinking about Europe – and France, in particular!  In light of the fact that I am firmly planted in New Jersey, I’m always looking for different ways to bring Parisian flair to my home and kitchen!  From cookbooks like The Balthazar Cookbook, to novels like The Paris Wife, to lifestyle books like Parisian Chic:  A Style Guide, and grocery store splurges on pate, it’s fun to add a bit of joie de vivre to everyday life!  While the website Basic French won’t have you speaking French, it does offer a terrific array of imported housewares, decorative pieces, linens and much more!  (Basic French)  I especially love these colorful, cotton foutas with their wide array of stylish uses and bright enamel thermometers!

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The Best New Landmarks of 2012!

by Host Bee on January 21, 2012

The beginning of each year brings us many lists – food trends to follow, the latest colors, what’s in and out in the world of fashion and much more!  I really enjoyed Travel and Leisure’s  article, 2012 Best New Landmarks.  Covering several categories, the results were compiled through a reader survey of the world’s most iconic sights – both old and new!  Given that some of the landmarks opened as recently as 2011, it’s interesting to see how a new building can become an instant classic!  Here are a few highlights. Enjoy the virtual tour!

Museum:  Museo Soumaya, Mexico City (2011)

best new landmarks of 2021

 

Park/Public Space:  National September 11 Memorial (2011)

best new landmarks of 2012 - 2

 

Entertainment Venue:  National Stadium, Beijing (2008)

best new landmarks of 2012 - 3

 

Skyscraper:  New York by Gehry (2011)

best new landmarks of 2012 - 4

 

Bridge:  Grand Canyon Skywalk (2007)

best new landmarks of 2012 - 5

 

 

 

 

 

(Click here to read the full article.)

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