Positively Radiant [Orchid] in 2014

Positively Radiant [Orchid] in 2014

It’s official! The color of the year is “Radiant Orchid!” The soft enigmatic magical lavender purple replaces last year’s Emerald, which in turn pushed the Tangerine Tango off its plushy 2012 throne.
Regardless of how pointless you think this may be, there is a lot of hard work and many people and influences behind this decision.
Pantone, the world’s leading authority on color and its “Color of the Year” has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.
And it’s not like they just pick a color from a box of crayons.
The color of the year selection requires careful consideration. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

What Radiant Orchid item will you wear?
How will you incorporate Radiant Orchid in your decor?
I know I will start with a gorgeous Radiant Orchid lip color to brighten up my Holidays! How about you?

Advertisements

Cooking My Heart Out: On pumpkins, fall, fashion, school and Grandma

It’s Fall, my favorite season! Just look at its brilliance, abundance and color! There is nothing like fall! It’s like the Goldilocks of all seasons.  I love it!

pumkins

Pumpkins are about as close to the top of my list of favorite things about fall, as a round heavy shapeless and hard to cut vegetable can get. Besides the fact that they are so good for you, they are also a fashion inspiration. I can pretty much find all pumpkin colors in my closet.

PumpkinColors

But my favorite thing about the pumpkins, is the desert that my grandma used to make for me.

Many years ago, I’d come home from school, and the intoxicating aroma of pumpkin and cinnamon would fill the house. My grandma’s pumpkin rice walnut pudding was my favorite treat in the fall. She made it frequently; mainly to indulge me. And also to make good use of the enormous pumpkins we had in the yard.
Today, when I was freaking out my dogs, chopping pumpkin and making the dessert I grew up with, I wasn’t aware that it was my grandma’s birthday….I always thought her birthday is on Oct 15, until my dad asked me if I made it in her honor. I guess I did…

I posted a photo of my dish with the memory snapshot above on Facebook and several of my friends asked me for the recipe.

So here it goes:

The best pumpkin to eat is either the Green Hubbard (pictured below) or the butternut squash. Both work well. I sometimes even use sweet potatoes. They have pretty much the same consistency.

GreenHubbard1

This slicing job isn’t for everyone. You MUST find either someone qualified who has done this before, or have it sliced at the store… Better yet, just find pre-sliced pumpkin, or just do it with sweet potatoes.

Or if you are like me and think that you absolutely must do it yourself, you may proceed AT YOUR OWN RISK! I do NOT recommend it for several reasons.

1. I have had friends rushed to the emergency room because they almost sliced their fingers off, trying to slice a pumpkin!!!

and

2. The process is extremely noisy and may scare the living daylights out of your pets. As it’s evident in Exhibit A. (“We might be next!)

Scaredy Dogs

This is what the Hubbard pumpkin looks like inside. (I like to gather these seeds, dry them on a paper towel and throw them in the garden in spring. And then wait for pumpkins come Halloween time. )

GreenHubbard2

Once you’ve chunked your pumpkin, you can prepare the rest of your ingredients and begin:

Pumpkin/ Rice/ Walnut pudding

My Grandma’s recipe.

WHAT YOU NEED

2lb Green Hubbard Pumpkin ( or butternut squash or sweet potatoes) This is the weight you need after it’s been cut and cleaned. So look for a pumpkin that’s heavier. If you have leftovers, you can make a delicious pumpkin soup.  Recipe for that will follow soon.

1 cup of Arborio rice (the one you buy for risotto, you can also use a japanese rice called Kokuho )

1 tsp of vanila

4 cups of milk

cinnamon

1 cup ground walnuts

5-6 TBS brown sugar

2 TBS butter

HOW IT’S DONE

Once you’ve established who will be cutting the pumpkin and have it chunked, (the flesh of the pumpkin is easy to cut.) you can proceed with slicing the flesh in 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. They can be in any of shape the bigger chunks came out to be. There is no rule about that.. 

Get your baking dish and put a few pieces of butter at the bottom of it.

With your hand, sprinkle the dry rice to cover the bottom of the dish. Liberally, but not more than a layer of grains

Now arrange a layer of  the pumpkin slices

Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, ground walnuts

Now again

Rice

Pumpkin

Sugar, cinnamon, ground walnuts

Continue like this until you finish all your ingredients.

You need to top off with sugar cinnamon and walnuts and leave some of these toppings aside..

Take the milk and carefully pour on top of everything, just below the rim of the dish

Sprinkle again with Sugar, walnuts and cinnamon.

Place the baking dish on top of a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil (you want to minimize the damage to your oven. who wants to clean burnt on milk!)

Bake in preheated oven on 350 for 45 min or so… If your oven is temperamental, cover the dish with foil for 30 min at 400, then take the foil off, switch to broil on 450F to brown the top.

I am really bad with measurements. I hardly ever measure anything.. unless I bake a cake or bread. This is a very relaxed recipe. If you like rice, then put some more. I personally prefer more pumpkin.

Bottom line about the rice and the milk is that it’s 1 part rice to 4 parts liquid – this gives the rice a nice plump feel with a little crunch in the center. and it is not too dry.

so if you take 1/2 cup rice, then you need 2 cups milk

if you go for 1 cup rice – 4 cups milk

2 cups rice – 8 cups milk

etc. you get the drift.

Since I wasn’t sure where I was going with the baking, I did it a little differently.

My Impromptu Recipe (Pumpkin Rice Walnut Pudding 2)

Armed with my knife and meat tenderizer, I chopped the  green Hubbard pumpkin in chunks.

Arranged it on a cookie sheet sprinkled with brown sugar and baked it for 30 min.

Meanwhile, I boiled 1 cup rice with 4 cups milk, 3 tbs sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract (but not all the way… i.e. I didn’t let it absorb all the liquid)

Then I put little chunks of a tbs of butter on the bottom of a baking dish

Poured the whole milk-rice mixture in the dish

covered it with the “pumpkin puzzle” (once it was baked it was even easier to slice it in little squares and trapezoids)

Put all the ground walnuts on top, sprinkled with the rest of the brown sugar, added cinnamon, some more milk to fill the dish, and baked it for about 20 min (until the liquid got absorbed and the top was browned)

Now that I’ve done it both ways, I still prefer the original recipe. The one I made today is very good , but I’ve done it the original way, and I will go back to doing it like Grandma. It is a more incorporated taste and I guess I am just partial to the sentimental value of a layered look and taste.

I miss you Grandma. Happy Birthday! You would have been 98 today.

PUMPKINPUDDING

How does spring smell?

How does spring smell?

Interview with Dr. Joachim Mensing, fragrance psychologist

Q: What is the reason for our wish to use fragrance?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Fragrance and perfumes are offers for personal transformation, indented to bring us from our ACTUAL SELF – how we feel, closer to our IDEAL SELF – how we would like to feel. Behind them is the secret wish to transform our selves unconsciously to give us for example, a more feminine, more sensual, more dynamic or self-confident appearance than what we really feel. They also create a certain atmosphere and emotional setting.”

Q: How do women select their perfumes and what are their preferences?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “To choose a perfume is a very complex situation that we can only explain to a certain degree. The reason is that we smell with our emotional centre in the brain and have associations with our long-term memory. I encounter this phenomenon everyday myself. The decision seems to be somehow irrational and is taken spontaneously and connected with the remembrances and feelings that we had and would like to re-experience again. They seem to appear out of the blue. The fascination for a certain fragrance is hidden in our subconscious and linked with desires and moods that are difficult to articulate. Of course there is no doubt that there are more and very important factors for the decision
to a certain fragrance like the image, the sympathy, the packaging, advertising but also recommendations and word of mouth. Exciting is, that certain wishes and moods come up more intense in spring, e.g. the wish for change, for spontaneity and to enjoy oneself are overwhelming. We want to live a more playful and frivolous life, we want to live our fantasies, be creative and also be provocative. In the U.S. there is a definitive higher preference for fruity floral fragrance family during this time of the year.
Perfumes that seem to express this spring-feeling are e.g.
Just me, Paris Hilton
Life, Esprit
Orange Tonic, Azzaro
Daisy, Marc Jacobs Chance, Chanel”

Q: To what kind of fragrance family do these typical spring fragrances belong?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “If you take all prestige perfumes of the U.S. market that are categorized into the six big international fragrance families:
Citrus Green,
Floral Aldehydic,
Fruity-Floral,
Floriental,
Oriental and
Chypre,
the dominance of the Florals in the U.S. is clear to see.
The US market is characterized (like the English) by the spectrum of beautiful floral notes, which come in all kinds of facets and crossovers, ranging from fresh-fruity to Aldehyde-brilliant, to the cozy warm interpretations of the so called Florientals. Over 70% of all fragrances belong to one or the
other Floral family. Year around the Floral –Aldeydic fragrances are dominating with a market share of close to 30%, but every spring, the fresh-fruity floral become the favorites of all Florals. The refreshing, flowery fragrance Happy perfume by Clinique is a good example.”

Q: What are the differences between a spring and a winter fragrance?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “A typical spring fragrance smells mostly of fresh notes that belong to the type Citrus Green. Their market-share in the U.S. is about 15%. But in the latin countries like Italy, Spain and Brazil, they have around 18-25 % share. The citrus green fragrances reach out to a more extrovert personality who wants to feel more dynamic and energetic. They hate the idea of professional routine and don’t want to be bored. They set a signal with these refreshing and stimulating citrus- green-aqua notes like:
Eau de Lancôme, Lancôme
Escale à Portofino, Dior
Energizing Fragrance, Shiseido
Concentré d’Orange verte, Hermès
On the contrary, a typical autumn/winter-fragrance shows the longing for romantic sensuality. It is the wish for more emotion, tenderness and comfort. It is also the expectation to be spoiled and to be cosseted. This emotional setting is covered best by the Floriental fragrances that have a market share of about 10% in the U.S. for the whole year. Even more
important for this time of the year are the Orientals in the US, with a market share of over 12% for the whole year. The Orientals express with their depth, spiciness’, warmth and mystery (many of these fragrances are loaded with intoxicating and intensive ingredients such as musk, vanilla, exotic resins and wood), which we especially cherish in the winter month.”

Q: Do spring scents contain extracts of spring flowers?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Indeed, a lot of the citrus green family have the smell of young leaves and plants. The combination with hesperidic notes like grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime and modern aqua notes creates a sensation of fresh, ozone and southern which our long-term memory associates pre-dominantly with Mediterranean climate sensation.”

Q: Do we respectively to our nose smell different during spring time?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “This is also a fact, because we are more open to all environmental stimuli and more curious. Our awareness is more differentiated and our nose reacts more sensitive. We smell with our emotional centre in the brain, which is the circuit of hormone production.”

Q: Which fragrances would you recommend for Easter, Passover and what would be the best Mother’s Day choice?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Easter was in earlier times a celebration of fertility and in the Christian believes, it is a time for transformation. The same is true for Passover. So fragrances that express a joy of life and new beginning fit perfectly. Most of the people are surprised about their feelings and discover a new joy of life. They want to live more intense and cherish their way of life, Fruity Floral notes like
Pretty Nina, Nina Ricci
Cherie, Miss Dior
Inspiration, Lacoste
are just the perfect fit for this kind of mood. Mother’s Day on the contrary is thankfulness, honor and homage. To show this we instinctively search for most precious gifts. Here, the Floral Aldehydic notes are defined from elegant, sophisticated and expressive top notes that show a brilliance and pureness of petals. The loved ones will be honored by an aura of respect, confidence and utter appreciation. Examples of this classic, elegant fragrance family are:
No.5 Eau Premier, Chanel
J’adore, Dior
Caleche, Hermés”

source: beautypress.com

The Real Scarlet O’Hara

I think I met the real Scarlet O’Hara today. Gracefully aged, she was taking measured and careful steps along the endless disheveled isles of the bargain department store. Her hair was perfectly coiffed in little ringlets, which were fixed with copious amount of hairspray, followed by ever so slightly combing, for enough woomph and control. Her ashes of rose Chanel suit and the flowered button down taffeta blouse, were in perfect harmony. Just enough pink in the blouse was pulled by the suit’s solid color. Her lipstick and nailpolish matched perfectly. The jewelry was rich gold and pearls. And the buckle flats mirrored the buckle in the closure of the purse. Impeccable make up covered a pair of bright blue eyes, which scanned the people around as if to make sure they didn’t notice how frail she is.
This polished appearance was the result of preparation and thought. She walked with dignity and despite the apparent pain she was in, she walked straight and upright.
I walked a few steps behind her. Almost felt like hiding between the Ralph Lauren and INC sections and wait until she is far enough to notice me. I wanted to preserve her dignity which was her stronghold. I didn’t want to let her see my concern. I wanted to see her triumph over her age-old enemy – time! I wanted to see her in all her appropriateness and Southern finess, take a gold-ringed middle finger and show it to the Clock: “Eff you! You can’t break me down! I may fall but I will never crawl! I have seen the wrath of much worse monsters than you! I have fought and I have won! You are just a vindictive little invisible menace and because you are invisible you deserve to go unnoticed! If you had any guts and dignity yourself, you would show yourself! But your miserable existence is scared of its own image and that’s why you keep showing us ours. Therefore I am braver, stronger and more beautiful than you! Therefore I will not whittle in your presence you cowardly bitch!”
Just as I was rooting and cheering for her, seeing that she perked up and her stride became more steady and a bit faster…she slipped and leaned on the ballustrade of the bridge..  So I succumbed to the urge to help her and by doing that “random act of kindness” I destroyed her one chance to beat time for today..
She said it was “awful nice of me to help an old lady,” she called me a “sweetie” and “honey” and in the spirit of the great southern tradition of politeness, she even “blessed my heart.” Then she respectfully declined and told me doctors told her she needed hip replacement surgery but she told them they don’t know anything! 
And she kept walking. A bit slower, but head high.. She can worry about all this tomorrow…