Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Slow + Simple :: The colors of the sun

How often do you take note of the "small stuff?" We are so busy rushing through our lives, trying to get to point B from point A, trying to make it to this meeting and that meeting... chasing the kids, pulling the kids, driving the kids, entertaining the kids, working, meeting deadlines, and trying to get done all that needs to get done by day's end that often we're speeding by with such speed and haste that we don't have a moment to look at the simple beauty around us.

I hate to run. I am not a runner. Sometimes I force myself  to run sprints when I'm out for my long morning walks. I feel as though I should - that somehow it's better for me. But I don't enjoy it and I'm so focused on getting to where I need to get that I don't pay attention to much else.

I live in a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful and tranquil part of the country. I am in a small, almost sleepy, coastal Connecticut town just outside of New York City. You might think that such a place doesn't exist. But it does and it's what drew me to this particular area. When I am able - when I have the time and when the weather cooperates - I get out of the gym and onto the street. I have a coastal route that takes me by the harbor and the beach. I can go all 7 miles, or if I haven't the time I can shorten it to 5 or even 2 miles. No matter how many times I travel these paths I notice something different. A new house, a new flower, a small ladybug grazing upon a large delicious leaf...

Last week as we were driving home from Newport along the terribly unromantic I-95, cluttered with many too many trucks, billboards, telephone poles, and the concrete malls and buildings that make up for most of the scenery, I noticed the most magnificent orange sun setting in the distance. I had to pay attention to the road and as much as I wanted to, I could not focus on the sun. My 13 year old son took my camera that was already fitted with my zoom lens and started clicking away.

The next day I came across his images while I was downloading them onto my laptop. I cropped them ever so slightly to remove a building, some telephone poles and wires and saw the incredible detail, bright and fiery colors and incredible textures. I couldn't possibly slow down, I couldn't possibly stop and focus on the incredible sight myself but I had the photograph. The photograph that reminded me just how important it is for us all to slow down and take notice - It's something I make a point of doing regularly. I hope you do too.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Newport, Rhode Island :: The Bells

About 25 years ago when I was in college some friends and I stumbled across The Bells. It is now chained off but it wasn't back then and we were able to go inside and walk among broken glass, pieces of stone, metal and brick that had given way and fallen.I thought there was something spectacularly beautiful in this dilapidated old barn. As I rarely went anywhere without my camera (then and now) we went in and took loads of photos. I had a roll of black and white film in and shot what would turn out to be some really dramatic photographs with the sunlight shining through and casting the most amazing shadows inside the building. 

One can no longer venture inside as the building is now fenced off. Even with my daring, I'll do anything for a photograph attitude, I was not about to risk my well-being... Had I had a hard-hat on, I might have! But I was alone, early morning, armed with only my iPhone, camera and 2 lenses. 

I was as taken by the beauty of this old ramshackle building as I was 25 years ago. In fact I was more taken. Because my photographs were all black and white, my memory was too. I was amazed by all the color within and on the walls. I was taken by the beauty of the destructive vandalism. I happen to love graffiti. I think it's beautiful and those of you who have been following me for a while will know this. I truly believe there is destructive graffiti that is vandalism, and I do believe there is artful graffiti. 

I walked around the building with my camera and I tried to imagine her in her glory. Oh if these walls could just talk! Much has gone on within the four walls and I am thrilled that the city of Newport has kept The Bells in tact and not tried to raze her. She is after all, a great part of the city's amazing history. While not The Breakers or Marble House, she has her own story to tell and her own beauty within. It was here, I believe, that I first fell in love with graffiti. 

Following is a brief history of The Bells.

The Bells is located in Brenton Point which was named after Governor William Brenton, an early settler, who owned the land as a large farm in the 17th century. The area was originally called "Hammersmith" which he named after his hometown in England. (The original name survives in Hammersmith Farm, the estate once owned by the family of First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis.)

In 1776, during the American Revolution, a battery was set up on the southwest part of Brenton Point as a coastal defense. About 1876, lawyer and businessman Theodore M. Davis built a mansion known as "The Reefs" which later became known as The Bells. The property was then sold to the Budlongs.

During World War II, Brenton Point was also considered a strategic defense area, as it overlooks the entrance to the East Passage, which allows access to Newport and to Conanicut Island. The home was seized during the war in order to erect the coastal defense battery. When the war ended, the battery was dismantled and the property was returned to the Budlongs, who then donated the land to the State of Rhode Island for a public park.

The original manor house was partially destroyed by fire in 1960, and torn down in 1963. Today, the former laundry/servants' quarters building serves as the park's visitor center, with restrooms and the park ranger's office located inside. Until the mid-1990s, the Rhode Island State Park Police maintained an office in the building. The former carriage house and stables of the mansion still stand on the property.

Image via Preservation in Pink

This last shot was taken from the top of the observation tower behind the old barn. It's not that high but I have a terrible fear of heights that seems to have worsened over the years. I stood in the middle of the tower, shaking terribly and clicked quickly - just for you - and hurried back down to safer ground!

All images save for the one of the inside view of the barn are mine and were taken with my Canon T-3 using both the factory and a zoom lens, as well as my iPhone 4S. The image of the interior is the image of Preservation in Pink.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Recipe Roundup :: 13 mouth-watering, healthy corn recipes

Seasons and Supper's Grilled Corn Tomato and Arugula Salad

Corn is fresh and sweet and in abundance right now. It's also incredibly inexpensive. Unless you're having an afternoon barbecue, or have a large family you're probably enticed by the low prices yet wondering what you can do with all that corn. While there's nothing like eating it right off the cob, salted, peppered, hot butter running off the sides, perhaps paired with grilled fish, barbecued chicken or chimichurri steak. Don't fret about leftover corn that hasn't been eaten. There's plenty that can be done with it. Simply cut it off the cob using a large, sharp knife and toss it into salads, salsas, soups, corn bread, tacos and on top of bruschetta. Below we share with you 13 mouth watering recipes. 

This tomato and corn crostini with whipped roasted garlic goat cheese can be found at How Sweet it is.

Liven up your corn on the cob with pesto and lemon instead of traditional butter. Via The Lemon Bowl.

The Proud Italian cook has the beautiful, light salad made from corn, feta and ribbons of zucchini and summer squash. Looks so refreshing, doesn't it?

Once tomatoes start to turn red on the vine they are plump for the pickin'. I adore nothing more than a fresh tomato with just a little bit of salt - It makes for the perfect snack. Mixed it in with some of your fresh summer corn and you have a lovely summer side. This wonderful corn and tomato salad is from Green Valley Kitchen.

Damn Delicious has Sweet Corn Guacamole - 

Could anything be sweeter than quinoa, corn and scallions? Hop on over to Just a Taste if you want the recipe!

Quinoa and corn are reunited in these quinoa, black bean and corn tacos over at Cooking Classy.

Season with Spice has a refreshing looking Thai Corn Salad.

I adore soup, warm and chilled and eat it year round. The New York Times offers us this Cream Corn and Poblano Soup.

For those hot summer nights you might want to try What's Cooking Good Looking's Yellow Tomato and Corn Gazpacho.

This Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette will also help with your garden's overflowing zucchini problems! 

I couldn't possibly have a corn recipe round up without including one of my all-time favorites, Ina Garten's Fresh Corn Salad. It's a favorite in our home!

We hope we've inspired you to find some different ways to cook and use up all your corn!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stylish Warby Parker launches new Beacon Line of eyeglasses and sunglasses

Warber Parker has asked me to help announce the launch of their latest collection, the Beacon Collection which was inspired by "impromptu, can’t duplicate- them all-nighters, when having no plans brings endless possibilities. To set the scene, we called on photographer Petra Collins, whose snaps of unsupervised thrills and sweetly private moments reveal a lot of smarts and humor. Petra joined us one June evening on a detour
through downtown Manhattan’s Doyers Street, an elbowshaped alleyway dotted with preserved neighborhood remnants and modern businesses. The collection name is a hat-tip to the morning star, which you can catch just after sunset or just before sunrise, depending on the time of year. We designed our Beacon Collection frames to make a similarly fine companion to late night dates, rooftop sunrises, and everything in between. There’s something just as unexpected about each new frame: they’re repeat contenders, no matter the hour."

For those of you unfamiliar with this fun, philanthropic and stylish brand their story is short, simple and very sweet. And you absolutely should get to know about who they are and why they came to be.

It all started with a very basic notion. "Glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. (We don’t recommend this.) The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were the options?"

It turns out there was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options.

"We started Warby Parker to create an alternative...
... We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.

We also believe that everyone has the right to see.
Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.

There’s nothing complicated about it. Good eyewear, good outcome."

 Below, the in the Beacon Sunglasses you'll be brighter than the sun!

Nearsighted or farsighted with the Beacon eyeglass frames you'll be a sight for sore eyes!

Starting today, July 22, the Beacon Collection is available at, in stores and
showrooms. For a greater selection of eyeglasses click here, and for a greater selection of sunglasses click here. You should also check out their wonderful blog.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Haxby :: A new line of luxe fashion for the modern man

Hot New Menswear Brand: Haxby

The term “luxury” doesn’t simply mean a lot of money was spent on a product – luxury means top quality in a lasting, impressive product that comes with an additional sense of pride. Haxby is one of the few clothing brands that can back their claims of luxury with real info on their products and production methods, making their releases all the more impressive. There’s no question that this casual menswear is luxurious in the best sense of the word. Here’s a closer look at this new brand Haxby, which is quickly on the rise in the luxury men’s fashion realm.

The Birth of a Brand

Haxby was founded by Timothy White and Michael Dow. These style fanatics traveled for two years to numerous countries to find the perfect materials and artisans to create their products. Their L.A. based design team provided them with pointers in their Savile Row-inspired designs, which are understated while still leaving quite an impression. Dow and White capitalized on the highest quality denim and optical engineering found in Japan, as well as the most luxurious leather for belts and shoes from Italy. It is evident that their travels did not go to waste.

The Products

Haxby’s premiere collection is comprised of casual menswear that bridges the gap between contemporary and classic style. The innovative blend of current looks and custom methods of craftsmanship make for some of the most impressive accessories and clothing of the season. Here are some of the highlights of this limited edition collection.


Haxby intends to redefine contemporary casual footwear with their leather sneakers, handmade and buffed in Italy. Available as high, mid, or low top sneakers, each with rich Spanish cordovan leather, these shoes transcend the concept of “casual shoe” and make for a great-looking accessory to any outfit, whether for work or for play.


Materials for their jeans have been sourced from Japan and Italy, home to the world’s greatest denim mills. With their in-house design team overseeing the assembly of each pair of jeans, the quality of any pair is guaranteed. If that wasn’t enough, the rivets, zippers, and buttons are plated in 24-karat gold.


Their sunglasses also feature 24-karat yellow or white gold, but their manufacturing pedigree is even more impressive. The Masunaga Optical factory in Japan employs the top optical engineers in the world, and with sunglasses that take 200 manual steps for creation, it’s not hard to see why having the best is crucial to crafting luxury eyewear.


The hand-cast precious metals and precision-cut and polished sapphire crystal used in these belts must be handled with care in production. That’s why the designers rely on craftsmen in Switzerland and Italy, who work with only the finest leathers and materials, to craft these amazing and unique belts. Best of all, the wide range of available colors makes accessorizing easier than ever.

The Haxby team promises a full range of outerwear, knitwear, bags and watches are also on their way, and if their current products are any indication, they will continue to revolutionize casual wear with unique luxury that can be worn every day. After all, it seems that these innovators understand that clothing doesn’t have to be loud to make a statement.

For more information please visit their website.