Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, NYC

In a tiny room tucked away on West 10th street is where I found this adorable vintage cookbook.  Could it be more perfect?

Bonnie Slotnick's specialty store is pretty special. Overstuffed with rare vintage cookbooks (some even signed by the likes of Julia Child and Ruth Wakefield, the inventor of Tollhouse), this place is great for inspirational browsing and shopping for memorable gifts. 

If you are a lover of food, unique recipes, vintage cookware and kitchen gadgets, add this spot to your list of places to check out.

If you don't live in New York City, Bonnie will take orders via the phone or email and help you uncover exactly what you are looking for.  If you do stop by in person, tell her that Mermaid sent you! ;-)

PS: Thank you to Daniel Movitz ( for taking that beautiful shot of my vintage book on a Brooklyn rooftop.  You are so cool!

Holiday Ice.

I love these vintage inspired frosty vases around the holidays.  Fill the little ones with bright colored candies or light with votives which reflect beautifully off of the mercury glass. The larger ones look festive holding flowers like amaryllis and greenery.

A mismatched set will look great clumped together or strewn down a long table for a lovely holiday dinner party.

I purchased these at a tiny home store in NYC which has since closed it's doors.  You can find different versions and price points at West Elm or search online for 'Mercury Glass Votives and Vases'.

Let me know what you find!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taco Tuesday.

Mexican food makes most of us feel...well, festive.  And full!

I think Mexican is one of the easiest ways to host a party in a pinch.  You could order take-out or whip up a quick and easy guacamole, place a few soft flour tortillas in the oven, empty a bag of tortilla chips in a bowl and throw some coronas on ice!  Or, cute are they?   Almost as cute as this authentic stone ground bowl a friend got me from Rosa Mexicano.

Below is a great recipe for Guacamole.  Serves 2-4.

Rule of Fin: If an avocado does not "bounce back" to the touch, it is not ripe. Keep pits in your guacamole to keep it fresh and prevent browning when you store in refrigerator.

• 2 ripe avocados
• 1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
• 1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
• 2 T cilantro leaves, finely chopped
• 1 T of fresh lime or lemon juice
• 1/2 t coarse salt
• A dash of freshly grated black pepper
• 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Garnish with limes, red radishes or jicama. Serve with tortilla chips or soft flour tortillas.

1. Cut avocados in half, remove pit. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
2. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired ° of hotness. Keep the tomatoes separate until ready to serve.  Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients.  So, start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.
3. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.
4. Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Hermes Scarf Wears Many Hats.

Town & Country magazine asked my good friend and interior designer, Sarah Tallman, to create one of her signature 'Scarf Floor Pillows'  for their Spring issue.

She and I went through my batch (I've loved collecting different scarves over the years) and settled on this green, nautical-inspired Hermes scarf  (  which now has a home on my living room floor. 

I like to use it for extra seating if I have a few friends over or as a makeshift table for cocktails or tea.

The Hermes scarf or any kind of scarf really can wear many hats!  I've seen people frame their scarf and hang as a decorative piece of wall art and also tie as a purse. I've used mine for head wraps and table runners. I've tied one into a 'scarf-shirt' and wore it under a suit.  I also tied one of my faves as a bright, patterned 'cumberbund' when wearing all black.

Some Sophia scarf-spiration...

And, a great guide below to get you started: "40 Ways to Tie a Scarf". (

Happy tying, Mermaids! xo

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Little Afternoon Coco.

What is it about her?  I created my own little shrine to Coco because every time I look at it, I am reminded that the most beautiful, feminine qualities are timeless. 

When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe replied, "A few drops of Chanel #5."  Marilyn would be 85 this year! I'm sure she would still be knocking it out of the park looks-wise.

I recently went to a perfume lab and did a blind "smell-test".  Turns out, my favorites were either very French (no surprise there!) or men's cologne.  What is your favorite scent and how does it make you feel?

Mama Jaded Me.

I was home for Thanksgiving and spent some memorable time with my family.  To cap off the trip, I also shopped my Mom's closet.  If you met my Mom, you may say:  "Michele, I love your ring!" and she very well may take it off her finger and hand it to you.   I've inherited that trait from her too--my philosophy is if you have fallen out of "love" with a material thing, why not pass it along to someone who is newly in love? 

Of course, one will never part with certain sentimental pieces of value.  For my Mom, one is a 70's ceramic hand-painted owl hanging from a rope that my Dad bought her at a tag sale when they first began dating.  

For me, I would not let go of a shrimp ring from the 80's that belonged to my Grandmother which I like to wear around my neck on a chain.  And, now, I'll add these four things to my "keep-forever" file.  A jade and pearl necklace with antique gold coins, a filigree gold bangle, the sweetest gold puffed heart and a chunky Jade bracelet from the 60's. 

Thanks Mich! xo

Loaves & Fishes

I recently spent a week in the Hamptons, one of my favorite places to hunt and gather.  From the beautiful Farmer's markets to the specialty shops, one of the most well-known could be Loaves & Fishes

Located in Bridgehampton, this store is a mecca for a cook and culinary eye candy for someone who just loves beautiful kitchen accessories and finding unique gifts.   In addition to the store, Loaves & Fishes offers a cooking school and even a gift registry.

I picked up this little gift to thank our East Hampton hostess for sharing her little spot of heaven with us!

Stay Curious, Don't Stay Too Long.

Life is the ultimate seesaw.  We stay in one place too long and we might feel bored or stifled.  We move around too much--seeking and searching--and we can become a bottomless pit of curiosity, never feeling fulfilled.  For me, I think finding a balance will be my forever quest. 

I keep these books in my living room to remind me to always travel and to stay curious.  But, I keep the mala beads on top because they were given to me at a yoga class right down the street from my apartment.  Which, reminds me that the best gifts are sometimes right around the corner.

The monkey is sort of my apartment's best friend.  On any given day, you may see him on a make-shift bar holding pistachio nuts and another week he will hold court with matchboxes in his banana bowl for easy candle lighting.  Some weeks, he also travels to my desk to hold a stack of my business cards. So, he moves around alot, but also likes to be right at home.

Gypsies & Desert Moons

I love when something small inspires me to host a party.  Like a postcard or a book. 

I feverishly snatched up this book "Gypset", published by Assouline, when I saw it marked down at Saks on the top floor. The styles are seductive whether you love a bohemian look or not.  Think squash blossom turquoise necklaces, flowing pants and scarfs in the hair.

I gave a copy to my mom (she named her dog Gypsy!) because she was a former boho-chic kind of girl, but also, I knew she would find inspiration for decorating her home in the book.

I can't wait to invite friends to arrive in their own version of a Gypset style to the party.  I've already ordered little gold bell anklets to pass out to the ladies at the door and am working on a recipe for a "Desert Moon" cocktail.  

Until then, let's keep the free spirit in our souls, Mermaids. xo

Fall Fetes.

Fall is in the air. High boots, chunky sweaters and lots more walking around the city now that it's not like walking through "Humidity Soup".  Other things I can't wait for: Pumpkin soup, butternut squash "fries" and hosting an Octoberfest party.

At my Octoberfest party, the perfect party favor will be the ingredients to make homemade mulling spices packaged in a mason jar with a recipe card. 

As the guest of a Fall fete last month, my perfect hostess gift was this pot of lavender honey I picked up in September from the Sag Harbor Farmer's Market.

This is my favorite recipe for mulling spices. It’s so easy!

2 t whole allspice
1/4 t whole cloves
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 strip orange rind, thinly peeled

Put the above ingredients in a plastic zip-top bag and beat gently with a rolling pin. Bring two cups of water to a boil and then add a couple of tablespoons of your mulling spices. Simmer the mixture for a warm and inviting smell. Store the remaining mulling spices in an airtight container. An even easier way to achieve this is to simmer apple cider on the stove mixed with a few sticks of cinnamon but be careful not to overboil!  I once ruined a great pan by turning the water on too high.

Mull away Mermaids. XO