Sunday, December 31, 2023

How to Properly Saber Your Champagne Bottle To Make New Year’s Celebrations Pop With Joy!

Wishing you peace, love, and good health in 2024. 

And great adventures in the new year…

For tonight, we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner and a movie at home.  

And copious amounts of champagne.

Have you ever sabered your champagne?  It’s quite an adventure unto itself.  Here’s how:

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Two Badasses Forged in Fire: Sparks Fly with Celebrated Woman Blacksmith Elizabeth Brim & Anthony Bourdain


I had the extreme honor to host Elizabeth Brim, Blacksmith, for my recent Ladies Who Lunch Conversations.   Elizabeth is an extraordinary woman with a notable, artful career forging feminine imagery in her ironwork. I first met Elizabeth at a Balvenie whiskey event celebrating the art of the craft as chosen by their brand curator, Anthony Bourdain.  

Elizabeth and her art impressed me so much I just knew we’d circle back together at some point.  She and her art are truly unforgettable.  

And so is her ubiquitous strand of pearls that she wears even while forging. Why the feminine fashion in a world of Y (chromosomes)?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Connecting the Gold Dots To Create An Abundant, Happy Holiday Table Design


It’s said that one of the reasons we all love dots so much is that dots are linked to the amygdala or the emotion in our brains proving why we’re attracted to the shape. Plus, the dots mix play with abundance ~ two things that are proven to bring joy.

Subconsciously, I must’ve just felt the liveliness and energy that dots make us feel, so I was drawn to celebrating our holiday table with happy, gold dots as a design theme.

Here’s how I layered this timeless and versatile look:

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Color of the Year: “Peach Fuzz” Steps into the Spotlight for 2024 ~ My Peachy Plant Suggestions for Home & Garden

The trend setters at Pantone announced its 2024 Color of the Year: Peach Fuzz as a “velvety gentle peach whose all-embracing spirit enriches heart, mind, and body.”

If there ever was a year for a nurturing, emotional tone, next year is shaping up to be one that will welcome this lovely, calming pastel.

It is a peaceful ambassador color that plays well with others too. 

Here’s some pretty plant suggestions for your Home and Garden.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Best Holiday Gift Picks For The Home To Celebrate The Glamorous Hospitality Spirit All Year

Do you want to gift ~ and maybe receive (or gift to yourself!) ~ thoughtful and unique home entertaining presents? 

I have curated some swoon-worthy ideas for your consideration. To inspire you …

I’m ever so grateful to all who tell me that you delightfully relish my garden designs, my tablescapes, and my garden-to-glass creations.  

In turn, I thought I could best demonstrate my gratitude by sharing and suggesting some of the items that make my world sparkle and shine. So in the spirit of the season, here is my curated list sure to elevate your holiday gift-giving.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Seeing Red for the Holidays: A Festive Pomegranate Lemon-Ginger Cocktail Recipe from Gail Simmons


It wasn’t all thaaattt long ago that I was invited to attend a Pure Leaf tea tasting ~ for the second time ~ featuring celebrity chef Gail Simmons and her tasty drink creations for the brand.

Gail created a refreshing, seasonal drink that’s just so perfect for the holidays ~ especially with the red pomegranate juice and garnish, along with the warm-tasting cinnamon..

Here’s the tasty recipe that’s sure to make your holiday Happy Hours joyful for you and your guests: 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Tips on How to Make the Best Ice For a Prettier, Better-Tasting Cocktail


Just saying the word “ice” is cooling, crunching, crackling, isn’t it? 

It’s a kind of sound symbolism or onomatopoeia ~ or at the least a phanopoeia! 

The snap, or ting, ting, ting of the ice dropping and hitting the inside of a glass is our aural cue that a happy hour is about to launch.

But ice ~ good ice worthy of a good cocktail, that is ~ appeals to more of our sense of sound. There is their sight and taste, too.

Ice is an artful, sensual ingredient in your cocktail confections. 🧊🍸

Here’s how to shake up memorable mixology:  

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

A Silver & Gold Holiday Tablescape to Give Thanks For, Day & Night


If Thanksgiving’s gray November skies make you think of gloomy, think again when setting your table. Gray is a classic color theme to add elegance to your tablescape ~ a perfect canvas or backdrop for adding gold and silver elements to shine both day and night.

Here’s how I layered the glittering look:

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Sneak Peek: New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show® Brings Back the GLOW & Magic: How to Plan Your Visit


In the town so nice, they named it twice, it’s only fitting that there are no less than two Holiday shows at the New York Botanical Garden.

NYBG's Holiday Train Show® returns for its 32nd Year, with more model trains and an all-new outdoor display.

Night and Day: The incomparable show “leaves the station” Saturday, November 18, 2023. 

I suggest you get there as soon as you can. And you may want a return trip. Or two! 

Plus, there's the NYBG outdoor Light Experience, GLOW to dazzle your senses, galore, Friday, 11/17.

Here's what the magic is all about:

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

One Woman's Personal Journey to Find Happiness & Love After the Deaths of her Son & Husband - Six Months Apart


This is a touchy subject.  Death almost always is… While we may intellectualize the unwelcome fact of it and recognize that it will happen to all of us and those we love, it’s also true that we are never, or rarely, prepared for it.  Especially when it strikes at your heart twice. Within six months of one another. 

My recent Ladies Who Lunch Conversations guest, Susan S. Warner, got the one-two, gut-wrenching punch of losing her son and, while still reeling; whipsawed when her husband died shortly thereafter. 

To help herself and others heal, Susan has written a tender, heartfelt, intimate book about her journey from the depths of despairing grief to one of hope and love. 

It’s more than thoughts and prayers… 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Drink with the Season: It's Sweater Weather ~ A Fall Cocktail Recipe to Warm Your Happy Hour


It’s Sweater Weather season in these parts. 

It’s really such a fabulous, fashionable season.  Mother Nature’s tableau is a blaze of color ~ 🍂:🍁 She’s waved her magic wand, turning leaves into stunning shades of fiery red, spirited, happy orange and all shades of brown: taupe to mocha to tawny and cinnamon. 

So too, our cocktail confections should celebrate the cozy season. 

Whether enjoying a fireside cocktail hour or a leaf-peeping picnic, here’s a terrific drink to shake up ~ a "gift" from my cocktail book, Art of the Garnish. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Black is the New Green: 10 Black Plants to Create Dramatic, Spooky Halloween Displays


The venerable Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen song crooned by Ol’ Blue Eyes, “That Old Black Magic has me in its spell…” speaks to the romantic enchantment of love while hinting at the tyranny of Eros. Likewise, the black magic of black plants has mesmerized me. 

I confess I have long been entranced by black plants and flowers. These cosmopolitan divas add drama and depth to elevated garden designs and container compositions.  

Looking to add some sophistication and classy style to your Halloween decor?  

Here, I share some truly elegant Black Plants to add mystery to your home ~ (in any season). 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Illuminating Tablescape Design: How to Add Moody Lighting For Glowing Warmth When You Gather With Guests

As September waned, I enjoyed the luxury of determining, “What would be the theme for my latest table design?”  I was leaning into a Halloween look.  No, Too early for my style.  But no denying autumn was upon us; twilight and evening darkness sneaking in… hmmm. Then a light bulb went off. Literally. 💡 

I could celebrate the power of light and its casting off the dark, along with its illuminating symbol of the spiritual, the divine, and oh yes, intelligence.  In my mind’s eye, I could see the design “performance” lit up by Kleig lights.    

Let there be light!   

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Books Take Us to Magical Places & Adventures; Reading is Freedom: How to Mark Banned Books Week


How do you “mark” the Freedom to Read week?  Note I didn’t use the word, “celebrate?”  I thank my lucky stars that I have been given the blessing and luxury to read. And write. Anything… (almost). 

As a writer and a freedom-loving American citizen, I can hardly believe that we’re in this situation.  

Let’s talk about this. No more shusshing.  🤫Unless it’s your favorite librarian. Silence begets censorship. 

Regrettably, it’s also Banned Book Week 😥 ~  (October 1-7), an annual event that highlights the value of free and open access to information. And today is the day of action.

How bad is it?  

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Light is Healing Hope & Joy: Learn How this Mother Invented a Solar Light, Helping Children and Their Families


It took a compassionate Mother to help children ~ and Mother Nature. While teaching as a Professor in Architecture and Material Technology at Columbia University, Alice Chun created early prototypes of solar lights. Initially fueled by her passion to design a healthy light source for her son who suffered from (urban/pollution) asthma, she was also driven by her desire to help the underserved; in turn, Alice invented the world’s only self-inflatable, portable solar light that is a lifeline to those without electricity. Alice named this invention the SolarPuff™.  Today, Alice is an award-winning inventor and humanitarian who brings awe, wonder, & joy.  Learn about her incredibly inspiring journey: 

Friday, September 29, 2023

How to Tackle Your Autumn Garden To-Do List ~ Seasonal Tasks & Celebrations

We can just feel it. It’s the time of year in the northern zones when we can all take a collective moment to breathe, take stock, mark the season; shift our focus and celebrate the bounty and the beauty of the garden. 

Go ahead. You’ve worked so hard, after all. 

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like the gardens’ starting gates open in Spring with a bang and the race is on, never slowing down? Till now.  

But before I share how to tuck your garden “Beds” in for their slumberous winter sleep (wink), let’s take a minute to embrace this pretty season of color and harvest bounty and seasonal splendor.  

Monday, September 18, 2023

Take It From the Dames ~ This is a Cookbook You Must Have ~ Recipes from Top Women in the Food & Wine World

Today is the day!

It’s the launch of Stirring the Pot, the first-ever cookbook created by Les Dames d’Escoffier. Can you believe that?!

The book will go on sale, September 18 – and will entirely benefit the LDNY scholarship fund.

Les Dames d' Escoffier New York, the most influential and accomplished women in the food and wine world, present their favorite recipes for everything from simple weekday meals to spectacular party dishes.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Get Ready: Negroni Week Kicks Off September 18th ~ Great Recipes to Drink For A Cause

Turns out that the classic cocktail: the Negroni - an iconic blend of equal parts aperitivo ~ including, Campari, gin and sweet vermouth - not only mixes up a refreshing drink but also mixes business with pleasure, and a good cause: Slow Food International & USA. 

Negroni Week kicks off Monday, September 18 - 24th so you can look forward to lots of Negroni drink creations, coffee brewed with Negroni, and more. In fact, every week can be considered Negroni Week when you can shake up these fabulous recipes:  

Thursday, September 14, 2023

NYBG’s Climate Week 2023 Symposium Examines the Past, Present, and Future of Ecological Restoration as a Means for Increasing Resilience in a Changing World

Not a moment too soon.

In conjunction with the global Climate Week 2023 in New York City, The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is hosting an important and topical symposium: “Cultivating Resilience.”  The 2023 Symposium aims to examine the past, present, and future of Ecological Restoration as a Means for Increasing Resilience in a Changing World”

Here are the details NYBG shared with me to pass on to you, dear friends of Nature. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!* This Tablescape Offers Your Guests the Inside Scoop!


What’s Black & White and “read” all over?!

The Art of the Tablescape is telling a story with style and creativity while showcasing a welcoming, inviting place to dine with your guests.

Well, my latest table setting hews particularly close to the storytelling that is so key to art (and me). In fact, this design theme is ~ News!  As in news stories in good ol’ fashioned newsprint and magazines. 

The characteristic newsprint colors of black & white made for an elevated, sophisticated composition, I’m happy to “report!” (Can’t stop the news references 🙂)

The accessories made for a whimsical, rich news story.

Here’s how:

Friday, September 1, 2023

“Here’s My Card” ~ True Tales of A Successful Networking "Shero"

Networking is an art when you know your business and are driven to help others succeed.

My recent Ladies Who Lunch Conversations guest, Lois Whitman-Hess, Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. Her client list is the gold standard of brands.

Still, meeting someone who has a great story to tell and a product or service to market ~ she hands them her card.

“Call me.” Invariably, they do!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Do You Ever Think About Death? Barbie Asks. Here Are Answers About How to Go With Grace


Even our girl “Barbie” thinks about the inevitable.

For me, I love life so very much, I am compelled to think of our mortality.  Death. 

At the same time, I’m befuddled why more folks refuse to even entertain the thought of dying.  After all, it’s gonna happen to all of us. Guaranteed.

I started writing this post a few weeks ago. I admit that even for me, a writer and advocate of dialing up the death dialogue, it’s curious it took me until my father’s death anniversary to actually  complete it.


Let’s talk.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

How to Order, Grow, & Harvest Organic, Magical Garlic; Plus Homegrown Recipe From One of NY's Best Chefs


I’ll argue that few plants can match garlic ~ worshiped for its beauty, ease of growth, variety, its performance as a culinary chameleon, and captivating history. 

Garlic has been used as money, food, an aphrodisiac, and magic… 

Garlic gave strength and courage to athletes and warriors, protected maidens (!) and kept out blood-thirsty vampires & witches, and the black plague. Come on ~ you can’t ask more from a plant. Now is the time to order for next year. 

Here’s how we grow and harvest these aromatic bulbs.  

Thursday, August 10, 2023

How Do You Celebrate National Book Lovers Day? My Book Invitations for Reading with the Season


“If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need.” Cicero.

Whether you consider yourself a bookworm as I do (so Cicero, no? ~ nesting the garden together with the book-as-moniker) or a bibliophile or bookaholic or lectiophile ~ there’s an official day to express your ardor: National Book Lovers Day.

While the literary event is now celebrated globally; like a true mystery, its origin and creator remain unknown to date…

What I do know is that I’ve come to recognize that I read a wee bit differently in each season. Do you read with the seasons? 

Let’s talk books.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Barbie Cotton-Candy "Pink Cloud" Cocktail Recipe Makes Happy Hour Pretty-in-Pink Delicious Fun!


Barbie is a dream girl ~ potent and pretty.  And inspiring…

Having left the cinema featuring Barbie the Movie determined to design a Barbie Dream Garden, (see previous Post), I also wanted to honor her with her very own signature Barbie Cocktail.

I knew the drink would have to be equally pretty-in-pink, glamorous, and delicious.

Here’s my fun, cotton-candy, cocktail confection. Plus + Bonus Drink recipe.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

A Barbie Dream Garden Fantasy with Pink Plant List! ~ "Ideas Live Forever:"

Pinke Erlebniswelt: So verrückt ist das neue Barbie-Haus in Berlin | Express

It’s been said that it’s a Barbie World and we’re all just living in it! 

The Barbie movie is a dreamy comedy, candy-coated with a potent message. The frothy, fun, escape is a fantasy that we all can deservedly indulge in.  And while Ruth Handler, Barbie’s inventor, says that Barbie doesn’t have an ending, I couldn’t help but feel as I left the cinema that the one thing missing from the perfect world of Barbie Land is a garden.  Barbie needs a Dream Garden.  And then she’ll really know what it feels like not to have an ending!  A gardener’s work never, ever has a finish… So as an homage to our plucky, smart, compassionate heroine, I set out to design a Barbie Dream Garden for her and the other Barbies.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

A Woman in the Kitchen? The Legacy of a Southern Culinary Legend Continues to Inspire & Teach Us


A Culinary Legend is an accolade bestowed on those who revolutionize our eating style. To have done so in an era when social and media didn’t go together like peanut butter and jelly, it’s all more remarkable Edna Lewis earned enduring consideration as the “First Lady of Southern Cooking;” recognized as one of the most important and influential American chefs.

She also merited an “answer” on Jeopardy, and a US Postal Stamp!

Here’s her story and the family legacy as told by her niece, Nina Williams-Mbengue, the manuscript’s typist for Lewis’ cookbook, ‘A Taste of Country Cooking.”

Monday, July 17, 2023

How to Style A Patriotic Table For Summer Entertaining at Home

It’s fun to design a summer tablescape that can take you from Memorial Day, to Independence Day, through to Labor Day.  Summer skims by all too quickly so having a table setting that you can use all season.

Here’s some decorating ideas that I hope will inspire you to use your red, white and blues in new and glamorous ways ~ to rather set it and forget it ~ till you’re ready for autumn.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Fun, Festive Ways We Celebrated The Best Patriotic Independence Day Party with Family & Friends

It did feel a bit like double-dipping.

As if I’d implored, “Make mine a double.” Double Birthdays, that is.

On July 7th, we celebrated not only Mother’s 98th Birthday!!

But it was also when the town marked Independence Day with their spectacular fireworks. So we saluted both with one sensational party.

Here’s how Bill and I worked to create a patriotic party that mixed the old-fashioned “America the Beautiful” with Mother’s extraordinary birthday.

Friday, June 30, 2023

How to Welcome Summer House Guests With A Spirited, Refreshing, Garden-to-Glass Hostess Drink


How do you welcome Summer?  And your vacation-time guests?  

Most folks calibrate the start of summer with all the festivities that are part of the 4th of July.  It doesn’t get much better than music, grilled food, cool, refreshing drinks. And Fireworks.

Hospitality is in my wheelhouse. So when guests arrive, I greet them with a special refreshment.   

What’s the cocktail to be this year?  Well, Let’s Make it Interesting…

Mother Nature’s Mash Up: Are Plants & Critters Creating their Own Melting Pot? And Accelerating Seasonal Garden Chores?


I had barely come to lament and accept that the peonies were all-too-soon past their prime blooming period. A truncated season. Peonies are pretty much my favorite flower so I am particularly bereft when they are gone…

If you’ve been feeling like you fell down the rabbit hole as you gaze with curiosity into the landscape and garden, you’re not imagining things. Plants and critters seem to have abandoned their clause that  “Time is of the essence.”  

Who gave them permission to take on a “time is fluid” attitude?? Let's Blame Mother. Mother Nature!

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Everything's Coming Up Roses: June Tablescape Design Celebrates America's Favorite Flower & Comfort Food For Solace


Gypsy’s stage mother, Rose, belts out “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” ~ the big, brassy paean to the power of positive thinking.

With June hailed as “rose month,” it was pretty much a given that my tablescape would feature America’s favorite flower, the rose, in a starring role.

That, plus roses have a nearly universal meaning of love and respect; making roses a perfect part of a funeral flower arrangement. 

Is that a pivot?  Not really. A journey of grief can be considered that positive thinking that Rose sang about. 

My tablescape was to be pretty and a tribute to comfort food and floral design as part of bereavement. 

Why?  I’m eager to share with you.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Desperate Times Require Desperate Measures: Good Garden Design Solutions Power-Up Sustainable Spaces


Spring gardens have always been revered as a time of renewal and rebirth; but I had a space that sorely needed more than an awakening.  

I was staring down a full-on Olmstead! A complete makeover.  

Here’s how we “crushed” a new, native and sustainable, low/no maintenance  garden design.