Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Eats: Feta-Avocado Salsa

 Last night we hosted a fundraising dinner that is part of a local charity's annual "Dining With Friends" drive. The idea, at least originally, was that groups of friends would get together at each others homes for dinner and then all of the individual dinner parties would come together at one final party, The Red Party, for desserts, drinks, and dancing. As the event has grown, many people host their dinners ahead of the main event, which is what we opted to do. The theme for this year's Red Party is "Salsa!" (as in the dance, not the dish.) We played off of that theme and had an entree bar with various meats, cheeses, and shells, Spanish rice, re-fried and black beans, and a host of Mexican appetizers. One of the biggest "hits" was this super easy dish, that is great with pita triangles or plain old tortilla chips. Thanks go to one of my neighbors for sharing this recipe with me a while back! The amount here is perfect for dinner with a few couples, and can easily be multiplied for larger gatherings.

Feta-Avocado Salsa
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons Red Onion, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
½ Teaspoon salt
½ Teaspoon oregano
2 avocados, chopped
Mix all ingredients except avocado together. Just before serving, add the avocado.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Houses of GCB

Have you seen ABC's new comedy, GCB? It's a hilarious romp through the high falutin and high drama lives of a group of Dallas ladies. High school mean girl Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) returns to Dallas following the death of her husband, a ponzi scheme crook. Annie Potts, who I grew up loving as the secretary in the "Ghostbusters" movies and as lovable divorcee Mary Jo on "Designing Women", plays Amanda's perfectly coifed, richer than rich, mother GiGi Stopper.

Neighbors and former classmates Sharon (Jennifer Aspen), Carlene (the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth), Cricket (Miriam Shor), and Heather (Marisol Nichols) round out the talented cast. The show is set in Dallas' Highland Park neighborhood, and all the ladies live in houses the size of a boutique hotel.

The sets were designed by Denny Dugally and Bryan Venegas, the duo responsible for the sublime Walker residence on the sadly defunct "Brothers and Sisters" that previously held "GCB's" time slot. While none of the GCB sets speak to me the way Nora Walker's Pasadena mansion did, the team did a fantastic job on them. Let's take a look:

Gigi's foyer is the size of most suburban homes. The dramatic stairs, acres of marble, and of course a larger than life oil painting of the lady of the house, make it an entrance to remember.

Gigi's trophy room. The armory of guns make sure she isn't afraid of "a damn thing."

Carlene's living room is gorgeous. Dramatic dark walls serve as a backdrop for pops of vibrant red.

And Carlene's bedroom is equally striking, with its eggplant walls, high canopied bed, and family-room sized sitting area.

Sharon has recently started a food company that specializes in Bible-based cuisine. No surprise then that her southern kitchen is a gourmet's dream come true.

Tough as nails Cricket gets a Texas modern retreat from her corporate world. Her bed is enormous! (She and her hunky hubby probably aren't spending much time cuddled up in it.)

The sitting area of Cricket's bedroom. Stone and storefront glass combine for a sleek but comfortable look.

And her office has a telling set of framed shark jaws above the desk. Cool, slick, and tailored, just like the character it was designed for.

We've yet to see down-to-earth Heather's house. I picture her living in a comfortable contemporary loft or a transitional styled townhome. Of course, she hopes to snag herself a deep-pocketed husband, so we might see her moving into a Highland Park mansion too.

So, whose house is your favorite? Do you think the designers did the characters justice with these sets?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In The Works

I'm working with a repeat client on the interiors of a newly purchased condo at the beach. First up are the two guest rooms, which we have outfitted with pieces from Lexington's Tommy Bahama collections.

In one guest room, we picked this bed and nightstands, from the Ocean Club collection:

The tall headboard makes quite a statement, so my thought is that there won't be a need for much pattern or color. The sheeting and top of bed coverlet will likely be white. When the owner's parents visit, this will be their room, and they like yellows. So here are a few choices for fabrics:

The top image shows one fabric in it's full width. Beautiful colors and depth of pattern, but may be too much for this space, even if we used it just for a couple of shams. The lower image is a cabana stripe with cording that repeats the reds and blues in the print. I imagine using it for the drapery.

An alternate for the same room would be to go even less bold. Crisp white bedding, a solid but textural fabric for the drapes (such as the nubby deliciousness on the left) and a small geometric for pillows and banding (either of the choices on the right). I'm leaning in this directon versus the top choices.

The second guest room has the opportunity for more pattern and color. We'll do an upholstered headboard in there, paired with these nightstands and a similar dresser from Tommy Bahama's Beach House collection for Lexington:

For that room, I pulled together these three fabrics that I am absolutely in love with:

Forgive that my camera "muddied" the colors a bit. The large, crisp, print has an apple green background with pops of teal. My thought is to do the drapes for the wall of glass with this, adding some luxurious trim at the leading edge. The upholstered headboard would then be covered in the silk textured apple green, and piped with teal. The nubby plaid would be perfect for the bedskirt and pillows. I plan to band a white duvet with apple green ribbon detail and pair that with white sheets and coverlet.

Both of these rooms have light carpeting, and we plan on keeping the walls white as well--crisp and clean is the idea here! What do you think?

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