Monday, January 31, 2011

Sore Throat Remedies

 All across the country, snow, ice and rough weather continue to wreck havoc on daily routines. My daughter and I were sick with the common cold last week.
Seeing a doctor within 24 hours is next to impossible, and when you finally see someone, it is the same story, just take some Robitussin DM, drink liquids and call me next week!
Fending off a cold and managing children is something all mothers are familiar with. We have to get up and keep going, that is a fact of life, no excuses.

Here are some remedies for sore throats and holding off that cold.  

Try it when your throat feels dry.
It keeps the air around you moist which is important since indoor heat and arid air may dry out the mucous membranes.
Keep the humidifier’s water tank and filter clean to prevent the growth of mold which can worsen symptoms.

Try it when you notice a tickle.
Garlic is known the have virus fighting and antibacterial qualities.
They could help the body heal the infections that cause a sore throat, while fighting the germs that cause pain and irritation. Microwave one or two garlic clove for 10 to 15 seconds to decrease the intensity of the taste, then crushing them in a press and eating the garlic on a cracker. Do this once daily. The compound Allicin which is released when garlic is cut, crushed or chewed helps to reduce pain and irritation.
Garlic supplements are also effective at lowering cholesterol and blood pressure; do not seem to help the immune system.

Zinc Lozenges
Try them when you have a mild soreness along with a stuffy nose.
Zinc lozenges coat the throat to soothe the red, raw tissue. As the zinc ions dissolve, they migrate up the nose there they bind to and may halt the virus causing a cold. Look for drops that contain zinc gluconate, which is easier to stomach than other forms. Take them with food to reduce the risk of queasiness.
Be sure to check with your doctor as some supplements can interfere with other medications.
Try Cold-Eeze Sugar Free

Warm Salt Water
Try it when your throat is feeling sore and scratchy.
The solution is soothing and can kill bacteria in the throat. It can help to increase blood flow to carry infection fighting bacteria cells to the throat to speed recovery. Mix one teaspoon of salt per pint of water to create a gargle and use that mixture once a day as needed.
The water should be warm not hot.

Herbal Teas
Try it when the pain persists all day.
Herbal varieties may contain an immune booster, such as goldenseal root or Echinacea: licorice which is antiviral and antibacterial: or marshmallow herb, which helps to produce the protective mucous in your throat.
These herbs can also be taken as tinctures, which are distilled liquids you place under the tongue. You should be able to find them at a pharmacy or health food store.
Add honey to make it extra soothing.
 Try YogiTea Throat Comfort

Slippery Elm Lozenges
Try them when your throat is red and feels raw.
The powdered bark of the tree keeps your throat moist, which eases the discomfort brought on my inflammation.
Some Slipper Elm lozenges are good when combined with Vitamin C, which some studies suggest have shown to reduce a cold’s duration.
Try Thayer’s Sugar Free Slippery Elm Lozenges (lactose free, which may stimulate pain inducing inflammation)

Over the counter numbing spray
Try it when every swallow aches a little. When this spray hits your throat, the ingredient phenol (a local anesthetic gives instant but temporary relief. The sprays deaden the area for a couple of hours. The simply mask the pain but do not treat the underlying problem. Some relief for a bit.

Prescription gargle.
Try it when it’s downright painful to swallow. At this point you should be visiting your doctor to see if something worse is happening like Strep Throat. This solution will numb the area for a longer time than over the counter medications.
Don’t eat of drink for 30 minutes after a prescription gargle, because in addition to numbing your throat, it can also deaden the sensation in your tongue.

Of course once you have the cold, the best you can do is to drink lots of liquids, and wash your hands all day, and do not rub your eyes with your hands (conjunctivitis).

 Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil - I  have been adding this Seven Seas- This is the best brand to a bit of orange juice every morning for the last 3 years and I have not had a serious cold within that time. CLO is a potent mix of A and D and helps build up a resistance to colds and other ailments. It does not fix my allergies but I am cold free. And I have more energy than I have ever had before.  I used to take this as a child, mom does know best. 

Feel Better Moms!

Source- Real Simple Magazine 2009
Images Istockphotos

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Friday! Au Revoir ! French Week concludes with French Wines.

Burgundy, France

To conclude our "All Things French Week" we take you to the wonderful wine regions of France for a tour of French wines.
The last few years have been tough for French wine.
The online site France24  reports that 2010 was the first year that Champagne was outsold by Italian and English Sparkling wines.
We hope that French wines enjoy a rebound very soon.
These are some of the best picks we gathered from our sources.

The main grape regions in France are as follows

The Loire Valley
The Rhone Valley
Jura and Savoire
Southwest France

A friend from France told us that her favorite is Sauternes (a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc) a sweet white from the Bordeaux region which is eaten with Fois Gras during the holidays.
so the first wine on our list...

Chateau Haut Bergeron Sauternes,Bordeaux
Vanilla, coconut, dried apricots and subtle spices.

Remy Pannier Chinon 2006
Cabernet franc grape, great with seafood and a good substitute for a Pinot Noir.

Hugel Gewurztraminer Alsace 2005
Very tasty and great with spicy foods.

Mouton Cadet Blanc, Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, Bordeaux AC France
A blend of Savignon Blanc,Muscadelle and Semillon. Hints of citrus, peaches and slight minerality.

Cheateau Gruaud- La Rose Bordeaux,  France

Bouvet Brut- Loire Valley, France
Wilted blossoms, sweet hay, a crips apple- quince flavor and creamy texture.

Louis Jadot BeaujolaisVillages, AC Burgundy France
Starting with strawberries and candy floss then to raspberries and red apple flavors. A fun wine.

Trimbach Pinot Gris,Alsace France
Fruity, dry with a crisp acidity.

Dubonnet Rouge Grand Aperitif de France (dessert wine)
Sweet Cherries,homemade cranberry sauce lead to red cherry, lemon zest, cardamom, red pepper, coffee, almond and a int of spearmint ending in a long orange oil finish. wow!

Michel Redde Poilly Fume
smoky gunflints and herbal scents and clean acidity make this wine a winner!
Barton and Guestier Cabernet,Sauvignon France
Cherry and Spice aromas with a peppery but nice finish.

Jaboulet. Cotes du Rhone France
Red berry fruit and smoky black cherry scents.

Chateau Greysac Bordeaux,France
Cedar spice scent, plum fruit taste.

Lefalive (Domaine) Puligny-Montrachet, France.
Chardonnay with layers of baked apples and peach fruits, very consistent taste. A bit pricy but worth it.

Alsace, France

Trimbach Riesling, Alsace
Bone dry, a balance of  delicate and intense fruit flavors and mouthwatering acidity.

Le Vieille Ferme,Cotes du Ventoux,France
Raspberry ripe, lively red at a great price.

Thank you for supporting us during this wonderful "All Things French" week. We look forward to hearing from you.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Additional sources
Wine Guide
Wine Essentials
French Lessons
The Wine Lovers Cookbook

Images by istockphotos

Thursday, January 27, 2011

All Things French Week- "Le temps de faire du shopping" Travel and Shop Pick- Montreal

I remember my first visit to the Ste Catherine area of Montreal. I was so dazzled and overwhelmed by the fabulous apparel and accessories choices, I did not make a  single purchase. The selections were exquisite, edgy, unique and had European flair. One of the best places in the world to shop and what a beautiful city to do it.

Les Ailes de la Mode
This gorgeous department store sells everything from Paper Denim and Cloth to Diesel.
677 rue Ste- Catherine W

Bella Pella
Edible ingredients in bath and body products. Edibles like olive oil and avocado are just a few of the ingredients. Try the chocolate massage bar.
3933 Rue St Denis

Blue Marine and Co
Great store with extensive inventory for hanging out,  from denim to knits.
977 rue Ste- Catherine W

Mid Century design,Scandinavin vases and vessels and 1960's Ouebecoise ceramics.
3901 rue St-Denis

As my Canadian friends can attest, one my favorite stores anywhere in Canada. Jacob is a very similar to Zara, trendy work related clothing and fun clothes for going out.
1220 rue Ste Catherine

Eco Darling
Recycled and sustainable home accessories, clothing and beauty products.
69 rue Villeneuve Quest

Rugby North America
Wonderful leather goods like handbags and jackets.
3526 Blvd St Laurent

Mimi and Coco
Italian made tees and tanks and great prices.
4927 rue Sherbrooke

Sexy,sexy but classy clothing from this great store.
3651 Blvd St Laurent

 Friperies (Friperies is French for secondhand)

Just featured in NY Times article about Montreal this store sells top labels including Dior and Gucci.
1800 rue Notre Dame Quest

La Gaillarde- Friperies
Vintage picks at great prices. Lots of reworked pieces too.
4019 rue Notre Dame Quest

Vintage clothing made from reclaimed vintage fabrics. Loved all across Canada.
4832 Blvd St- Laurent

Every era and at great prices.
151 Ave,des Pins Est

From Adidas to Manolos this family owned business established in 1940 carries venerable brands from all over the world.
1191 rue Ste -Catherine

Mona Moore
Best show store in Montreal, brands from top names including Mark Jacobs and Pierre Hardy. A must visit.
1446 rue- Sherbrooke W

Space FB
A favorite of many in Montreal, designed by Francois Beauregard, clean wonderful athletic clothes in beautiful colors.
Les Cours Mont Royal Shopping Center

Espace Pepin
Art and Fashion are always a wonderful combination. Artist Lysanne Pepin showcases her work along with a fashion line from local designers.
350 rue St Paul W

Best selection of Mid Century modern furniture and housewares at great prices.
1023 and 1036 rue Ontario

A great store to visit, they are always a step ahead of the trends. They stock edgy labels before anyone else.
4910 rue Sherbrooke W

Abe and Mary's
We love shopping and giving to a good cause. This store is an apothecary, a cafe and lovely merchandise from Philip Lim among others. The best thing is that one percent of every sale goes to Alzheimer's research.
4175 rue Jean Talon Quest

Beautiful Inuit art, jewelry and craft. The moccasins for children and infants are very cute!
79 rue St-Paul Est

Au Revoir!

Images courtesy istockphotos.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All Things French Week- " Le Temps De Lire" French Culture and Lifestyle Books.

These our French culture and lifestyle book choices. They help provide some insight into the French culture.

Debra Olliver
Entre Nous: A Womans' Guide to Finding her Inner French Girl.
What French Women Know: About Love,Sex and other Matters of the Heart and Mind.


Carol Drinkwater
The Olive Farm
The Olive Tree
The Olive Harvest
The Olive Route- Audio
Memoir and travelogue, these stories tell journey of English writer Carol Drinkwater and her husband from thier purchase of a Olive farm in the south of France. At times poignant,Carol reveals her struggles to have a baby while juggling her new roles on the farm.

Olives at a Provencal Market

Helena Frith Powell
All You Need To Be Impossibly French- A Witty Investigation into the Lives, Lusts and Secret of French Women.

Mireille Guiliano
French Women Don't Get Fat
French Women for All Seasons- A Year of Secrets, Recipes and Pleasure.
Women,Work and the Art of Savoir Faire
French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook

Ann Barry
At Home in France.

Betsy Draine
A Castle In The BackYard: The Dream Of A House in France.

Peter Mayle
A Year In Provence
Encore Provence-New Adventures In The South of France
Toujours Provence
French Lessons- Adventures in a Knife,Fork and Corkscrew
Provence A-Z, A Francophiles Essential Handbook
Aquired Tastes

Michael Sanders
From Here You Can't See Paris, Seasons of a French Village and its Restaurant

Pont de Alexandre Bridge

Michael Sadler
An Englishman In Paris: L" Education Continenale.
An Englishman A la Champagne

Mary Roblee Henry
A Farmhouse in Provence, An American finds old stones,new wine and love among the French.  

Yvone Lenard
The Magic of Provence- Pleasures of Southern France.
Love in Provence- Romantic Adventures In The South of France.

Patricia Wells
At Home in Provence- By Patricia Wells and Robert Freston
We've Always Had Paris..... and Provence:  A Scrapbook of Our Life in France.

Catherine Millet
The Sexual Life of Catherine M.

Marguerite Duras
The Lover

Simone De Beauvoir
The Second Sex

Au Revoir!

These books are available at online book retailers and book stores.

Thank you for joining us for day 3 of All Things French Week!

Images courtesy of istockphotos


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FashionMom: All Things French Week! Online Shop - Basic French...

FashionMom: All Things French Week! Online Shop - Basic French...: "Basic French (A lifestyle thing) We chose Basic French (a lifestyle thing) as our French shopping online pick because we felt they epitomi..."

All Things French Week! Online Shop - Basic French. Fantastique!

Basic French (A lifestyle thing)

We chose Basic French (a lifestyle thing) as our French shopping online pick because we felt they epitomized what we love about the French people and their culture. The site is clean, simple, cohesive, and tres chic! Quintessentially French. We also like the site because it is easy to navigate, the descriptions are clear, and we love the information and stories of each item. Basic French has been featured in many magazines, such as, Country Living, Everyday with Rachel Ray, and Domino.

The Basic French team is headed by Carol Neiley who has lived in France with her family since 2007. Please check out her blog on the Basic French site and follow her as she travels and sources inventory for the site in France. We applaud the Basic French team for bringing a wonderful slice of French life and culture to us in the United States. The items are just a few days away via mail. The site will be doubling in size and add new lines in the near future, so stayed tuned!

Please find below their bestselling items, some of which are also our favorites.


Foutas - Images courtesy of Basic French

100% cotton fringed foutas can easily be used as a hammam towel, a colorful table runner, or a light weight shawl. They can be used for picnics, guest towels and beach towels. They would be great as throws for sofas at home. Foutas are machine washable and come in amazing colors. I could see myself in one of them as a shawl for chilly evenings in the Atlanta spring and fall.

Red Foutas- Images courtesy of Basic French

Blue Foutas- Images courtesy of Basic French

Mercuryless colorful, indoor/outdoor thermometers  - Images Courtesy of Basic French

This item would add a spicy pop of color to any kitchen or garden!

Marniere Dress/Bensimon Sneakers - Images courtesy of Basic French

So French, so Chic! The Marniere Dress (the site also sells tees for women, men and kids) and Bensimon sneakers. The dress is 100% cotton interlock, with navy/ecru stripes, 3/4 sleeve, boat neck, and just-above-the-knee length. Marniere dresses are made in Brittany and feature Breton stripes. The 1858 Act of France introduced Breton striped shirts as the uniform for French navy seamen. Breton stripes are featured on the flag of the Brittany province.

Bensimon sneakers - cotton canvas with rubber sole and toes. The ultimate in French style, worn and loved by celebrities everywhere.

Pressed cardboard valises with contrasting handles - Images Courtesy of Basic French

These would be great as makeup cases, or storage and luggage for our little ones. They come in bright colors with contrasting stitching and interiors.

Valises - Images courtesy of Basic French

Valises - Images courtesy of Basic French

Valises - Images courtesy of Basic French

Linen Dish Cloths - Images and description courtesy of Basic French

100% linen dishtowels made of the finest fabric and printed in 11 great colors: green, eggplant, light blue, brown, red, white, pink, navy, black, yellow or orange. Basic French reports that these wash well, and get softer and softer over time. They are a favorite of the team.

The Lale Line - Images courtesy of Basic French

This line, from the French designer Lale, is a new addition to Basic French. The team reports that they make excellent quality items for kids. They also make barettes, makeup bags, pencil cases, and the Basic French team loves the unique patterns.

Lale Marlene Suitcase - Images and description courtesy of Basic French

The Marlene suitcase is perfect for a sleepover, storing toys, socks or anything really. Invisible zipper closure, fully lined in contrasting fabric, leather handle, fully collapsible.

Lale Bag - Images courtesy of Basic French

More from the Lale line - Images courtesy of Basic French

Bestsellers For Kids

Pink Children's Valises - Images courtesy of Basic French

Babar Valise - Images courtesy of Basic French

Pressed cardboard valises with contrasting handles and stitching with colorful scenes of Babar and his family, as shown. Babar the Elephant is a French children's fictional character who first appeared in Histoire de Babar by Jean de Brunhoff in 1931. Loved by children all over the world!

Appoline The Cat stuffed toy - Images courtesy of Basic French

A dressable doll from the venerable Moulin Roty workshop.

Balthazar and Valentine stuffed dolls - Images courtesy of Basic French

Moulin Roty's plush, 9" dressable dolls with adorable clothes and lots of French character - Valentine (girl, left) and Balthazar (boy, right).

"Debardeur" (sleeveless tank) from LaCocotte - Images courtesy of Basic French

100% cotton, fabulous quality "debardeur" tank t-shirt from LaCocotte with fluorescent pink silkscreened chick on white t-shirt or metallic silver on French blue.

"Debardeur" - images courtesy of Basic French

Amour Bib - Images courtesy of Basic French

So Cute! AMOUR bibs are 100% cotton terry and machine washable. Available in pink + white stripes with pink ribbon tie closure or lime + white stripes with aqua ribbon tie closure.

"Ma Poupee" by Moulin Roty - Images courtesy of Basic French

"Ma Poupée" dressable, moveable doll in 7-piece outfit. Alice is blond and Clarisse is brunette.

Other FashionMom team favorites

• La Bello Lip Balm - super moisturizing
• Klorance Chamomile Shampoo
• Vichy Baby Booties - love these!
• Dog Collars
• Toile Matchbook Notebook
• Giles Dewavrin Candles
• Striped Pajamas
• Aigle Rubber Boots for kids
• Rhodia Notebooks

Happy Shopping!


Au Revoir!

Monday, January 24, 2011

All Things French Week! - Kids in Paris - Allons-Y!

Kids Travel Pick- Paris

Please note: I did not provide any directions or metro information, so please ensure that you ask for travel information at your hotel. The Paris Metro is very easy to use and navigate.

Paris is one of the best places to travel with growing kids. It is the perfect place for them to embrace another culture and immerse in another language.
Our picks would cover a 10 to 14 day period.

Fast Facts

Central Paris is divided into the Right Bank to the north of the Seine and the Left Bank to the South. In the middle are two islands Lle de la Cite and Lle St-Louis.
The city has 20 arrondissements which start at number 1 in the middle around the Louvre and then spiral out clockwise.
Children under 4 years travel free and then 4 to 9 year old children travel at half price.
Children under 18 get in free at all national museums.
Most children in Paris do not have school on Wednesday so activities will be plentiful on Wednesdays.

Notre Dame
The famous Gothic Cathedral. Make sure that the kids visit the Crypte Archeologique  which has underground excavations of Roman ruins.
If you do not have toddlers, tackle the 255 steps up to the North Tower.
Be sure to watch the rollerblades at Pont du Double.

Ile St Louis
Quaint shops run the length of one of the entire island.
Arch de Noel has wooden toys, plush animals and Babar plates.
Pylones has fish shaped pens and other gadgets.
Ice Cream Maker Berthillon is the main attraction. Try the Blackcurrant sorbet!
There is also the la Charlotte de L’lsle tea room which serves the most exquisite cakes.

This museum will require time and patience in spades, I suggest 2 days to ensure that everyone is happy.
To keep them enthralled, head to the Ancient Egypt exhibit. The collection is amazing and there are many things that the kids would love. Visit the Louvre Bookshop for Children where they carry titles in English. Universal Recto has food from all over the world.
Everyone wants to see the Mona Lisa so add that to the list for the adults at any rate. Ms Lisa and other works of art would be in the Apollo Gallery.
Also see: Grand Gallery of French painting.

Jardin Des Tuileries- After all what is this place called Paris without a garden or park!
See the Arc du Carrousel and head into the garden. . There are paths, pools and sculptures. The little ones may have pony rides, rent sailboats or float in the pool. There is a playground, a carousel and a bouncy trampoline park for ages 2 to 14.
The Musee de L’Orangerie has two rooms with Monet’s painting of water lilies at Giverny.

Centre Pompidou
Kids will love the great spaceship building which houses video art and installations.
This building also houses paintings from Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Miro.
Visit the Galleries des Enfants which has great temporary exhibits for children and has children’s movies.

Musee National Picasso- Marais
Always a favorite of kids,  this Picasso museum also allows for parents and children to enjoy the streets of the Marais.

Musee de la Maggie- a child oriented museum with tricks, optical illusions, funny mirrors. There is usually a magic show.
Take Metro 1 to St Paul or The Bastille.

Stops for the sweet tooth in all of us! But oh what a treat for the kids! 
Left Bank
Pierre Hermes Pierre- 72 Rue Bonaparte
Patrick Roger Chocolatier- 108 Boulevard Saint German
Le Petit Verdot- Rue du Cherche Midi
la Patisserie des Reves

Right Bank
Carett- 25 Place des Voges
404-Rue des Gravillers
La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin- 133 Rue de Turenne
Boulangerie Malineau- 18 Rue Vielle du Temple
Chez Jean- 1 Rue Saint Lazare
Le Restaurant Gastronomique- Hotel Le Bristol

The Champs -Elysees
Most Famous Ave in the world. The wide sidewalks and shops make this a dizzying stop on your trip.
Shops and restaurants line the entire route. Of Course you must walk over to the Arc de Triomphe built by Napoleon.
At its foot is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier which honors those killed in the 1st World War.

Eiffel Tower
 This visit is the ultimate high for children. The tower was built to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution for the 1889 World’s Fair. Go early to get your ticket and take the elevators to the first and second levels, and then all the way to the top. There is a great restaurant in the tower on the first level.
You will get wonderful views of Paris from every angle. Amazing, invigorating and wonderful.
Also visit the Champs de Mars gardens and the carousel.

The Sewers
Great learning experience for everyone.
The Egouts De Paris museum. Dredging machines show how the tunnels (labyrinths) are cleaned and technical explanation panels reveal that the system also serves to bring drinking water to Parisians and to regulate water levels to prevent floods. 1300 miles of sewers in a network of tunnels unique in the world are laid out like a
Paris street
map. Wow.
Alma Marceau via metro

Basilique St
Denis –
Visit this magnificent church and see the Royal Necropolis where there are more than 70 sculptural royal tombs including that of the smart and tough Queen Anne of Brittany.

Stade de France-
For the soccer lovers.
Visit the site where the France hosted the World Cup in 1998. There are fantastic guided tours including trips to changing rooms and the tunnel to the stadium.

The Home of Louis X1V the Sun King.
 For children, the State Apartments with the 240 foot long Hall of Mirrors,  is as magnificent today as it was the 18th century.
A must visit is the Petit Trianon the mini palace retreat of Queen Marie Antoinette and the Hameau which has a dairy and water mill. An unforgettable visit for the entire family.


Monet’s House in Normandy
The Fondation Claude Monet is where Impressionist painter Monet lived from 1883 to 1926. The pink and green house is furnished the same as it was at the time. The Museum of American Art is not far away with works from the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Other picks

Luxembourg Gardens
Pont de Alexander Bridge
La Villette
Centre Pompidou
Musee Rodin
Some children may be disturbed by the sight, so please take that into consideration, then take a visit to The Catacombs- Six million dead Parisians reside in this underground grave. The skulls and skeletons were exhumed from overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Au Revoir!

Images courtesy istockphotos

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gin! Gin! Gin Time! It's Friday!!

Gin Cocktails!

Please note: Ice cubes work much better in a cocktail shaker vs crushed ice. The crushed ice begins to switch to water once the shaking begins.

Let's start with Tom...... all of these are divine!

Tom Collins

2 oz Gin
11/2 oz lemon juice
2 tsp sugar syrup
Splash of soda water

Combine, Gin, juice and sugar syrup in a highball glass. Stir,add ice and fill with soda water.


11/2 oz gin
2 tsp lime juice
wedge of lime to garnish

Shake gin and lime juice in a shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with wedge!

Singapore Sling

1 oz Gin
11/2 oz sour syrup( lemon or lime juice and sugar syrup(water and sugar boiled until sugar is dissolved)
1/2 oz grenadine
splash of soda water
dash of cherry brandy

Fill a shaker with ice,add all ingredients(except water and brandy)
Shake well.Strain into a ice filled Collins glass. Top with soda water and float the cherry brandy on top!



2 oz Gin
1 oz Kirsch(Cherry Brandy)
1 oz Apricot Brandy
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 tsp superfine sugar
twist of lemon to garnish

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Vanilla Kiss

1oz gin
1/2 oz creme de cacao
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps
sugar to garnish

Shake and double strain all ingredients inot a chilled martini glass with sugar crusted rim.

Yemen Fizz

4 red grapes
1/2 oz gin
2 tsp creme de cassis
5 oz Champagne
extra grape to garnish

Muddle grapes.Shale all ingredients and strain into a flute.Top with Champagne and float a small red grape.

Remember to drink responsibly!

Have a fantastic weekend!
We will be back next week with our"All Things French Week"

images istockphoto

Thursday, January 20, 2011

FashionMom: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. What do you think...

FashionMom: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. What do you think...: "Jan 19th UpdateSince we posted this story the arguments for and against the way Ms Chua raised her daughters have reached an all time high i..."

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. What do you think?

Jan 19th Update

Since we posted this story the arguments for and against the way Ms Chua raised her daughters have reached an all time high in the media everywhere across the country. We decided to repost it again.

We think that she made some valid and excellent points in her book.
A recent study just released showed that almost 40% of college graduates cannot tell the difference between a fact and an opinion and they are unable to solve complex problems.  Ms Chua may be on the right track.

Retreat of the ‘Tiger Mother’

TRY this at a dinner party in one of the hothouses of Ivy League aspiration — Cambridge, Scarsdale, Evanston, Marin County:
Bob Daemmrich/Polaris
The author at a 2007 book signing.

Lorenzo Ciniglio/Polaris
Amy Chua, author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” with her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, and daughters Lulu, left, and Sophia.

Declare that the way Asian-American parents succeed in raising such successful children is by denying them play dates and sleepovers, and demanding that they bring home straight A’s.
Note that you once told your own hyper-successful Asian-American daughter that she was “garbage.” That you threatened to throw out your other daughter’s dollhouse and refused to let her go to the bathroom one evening until she mastered a difficult piano composition. That you threw the homemade birthday cards they gave you as 7- and 4-year-olds back in their faces, saying you expected more effort.
Better yet, write a book about it.
What kind of reaction might you get?
In the week since The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt of the new book by Amy Chua, a Yale law professor, under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” Ms. Chua has received death threats, she says, and “hundreds, hundreds” of e-mails. The excerpt generated more than 5,000 comments on the newspaper’s Web site, and countless blog entries referring in shorthand to “that Tiger Mother.” Some argued that the parents of all those Asians among Harvard’s chosen few must be doing something right; many called Ms. Chua a “monster” or “nuts” — and a very savvy provocateur.
A law blog suggested a “Mommie Dearest” element to her tale (“No. Wire. Hangers! Ever!!”). Another post was titled “Parents like Amy Chua are the reason Asian-Americans like me are in therapy.” A Taiwanese video circulating on YouTube (subtitled in English) concluded that Ms. Chua would not mind if her children grew up disturbed and rebellious, as long as she sold more books.
“It’s been a little surprising, and a little bit intense, definitely,” Ms. Chua said in a phone interview on Thursday, between what she called a “24/7” effort to “clarify some misunderstandings.” Her narration, she said, was meant to be ironic and self-mocking — “I find it very funny, almost obtuse.”
But reading the book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” it can be hard to tell when she is kidding.
“In retrospect, these coaching suggestions seem a bit extreme,” she writes in the book after describing how she once threatened to burn her daughter’s stuffed animals if she did not play a piano composition perfectly. “On the other hand, they were highly effective.”
In interviews, she comes off as unresolved. “I think I pulled back at the right time,” she said. “I do not think there was anything abusive in my house.” Yet, she added, “I stand by a lot of my critiques of Western parenting. I think there’s a lot of questions about how you instill true self-esteem.”
Her real crime, she said, may have been telling the truth. “I sort of feel like people are not that honest about their own parenting,” she said. “Take any teenage household, tell me there is not yelling and conflict.”
Ms. Chua is one half of the kind of Asian-Jewish academic power couple that, as she notes, populates many university towns. Her husband is Jed Rubenfeld, also a Yale law professor, and the author of two successful mystery novels. Ms. Chua, herself the author of two previous books, was reported to have received an advance in the high six figures for “Tiger Mother.”
If she has one regret, she said, it is that the Journal excerpt, and particularly the headline, did not reflect the full arc of her story.
Her book is a memoir that ends with her relenting (sort of) when the younger of her two teenage daughters refuses to go along with the “extreme parenting” Ms. Chua uses to prevent the kind of decline that she thinks makes some third-generation Asian-Americans as soft and entitled as their teammates on suburban soccer teams where every child is declared Most Valuable Player.
“I’ve been forced to answer questions about a book I didn’t write,” she said. “It’s not saying what people should do, it’s saying, ‘Here’s what I did, and boy did I learn a lesson.’ ” All this is captured, she said, in the book’s three-paragraph subtitle, which concludes with the words, “and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.”

Born to Chinese parents who were raised in the Philippines and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ms. Chua, 48, graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law, where she was an executive editor of the Law Review. She confesses in her book that she is “not good at enjoying life,” and that she wasn’t naturally curious or skeptical like other law students. “I just wanted to write down everything the professor said and memorize it.”

She was determined to raise her daughters the way she and her three sisters had been raised — which, she said, left them adoring their parents. By her account, her elder daughter, Sophia, complied, excelled and played piano at Carnegie Hall. But the younger, Lulu, rebelled. At the turning point of the memoir, Lulu, then 13, begins smashing glasses in a Moscow restaurant and yelling at her mother, “I HATE my life, I HATE you.”
Ms. Chua’s husband appears only peripherally in “Tiger Mother” — though there is one battle in which she lashes out at him after he worries that she is pushing their daughters to the point that there is “no breathing room” in their home.
“All you do is think about writing your own books and your own future,” she says to him. “What dreams do you have for Sophia or for Lulu? Do you ever think about that? What dreams do you have for Coco?” He bursts out laughing — Coco is their dog.
She concludes, “I didn’t understand what was so funny, but I was glad our fight was over.”
Initially, Ms. Chua said, she wrote large chunks about her husband and their conflicts overchild rearing. But she gave him approval on every page, and when he kept insisting she was putting words in his mouth, it became easier to leave him out.
“It’s more my story,” she said. “I was the one that in a very overconfident immigrant way thought I knew exactly how to raise my kids. My husband was much more typical. He had a lot of anxiety, he didn’t think he knew all the right choices.” And, she said, “I was the one willing to put in the hours.”
Still, she said, her children got pancakes and trips to water parks because of their father, the son of parents more inclined to encourage self-discovery.
The reaction to the book was particularly anguished among those who are products of extreme Asian parents. “I’m horrified that she’s American-born and hanging on to this, when most of us are trying to escape it,” said Betty Ming Liu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants from Vietnam and author of one of the many blog posts about the book. A California woman recalled how her sister became the perfect Asian daughter Ms. Chua aspires to produce, only to kill herself because she was afraid to tell anyone she suffered from depression.
Ann Hulbert, the author of “Raising America,” a history of a century’s worth of conflicting child-rearing advice, who is writing a book about child prodigies, notes that it is not hard to reignite the Mommy Wars.
“There is a kind of utter certainty in her writing,” she said of Ms. Chua, “and that confidence goes so against the underlying grain of American parenting and child-rearing expertise that it immediately elicits a response that then suggests a kind of certainty on the other side that isn’t there, either.”
Friends describe Ms. Chua as self-deprecating and a dry wit, her children as happy, and their home as humming with music and activity and, yes, love.
“Not that she’s without opinion, but she’s writing a memoir, not a parenting guide,” said Alexis Contant, who describes Ms. Chua as her closest friend for 20 years. “She will say sleepovers are overrated, but I have never heard her say, ‘I can’t believe so-and-so let their kid do it.’ ”
Ms. Chua said that her daughters have been eager to speak out in favor of the book; she is shielding them from the publicity. She said, however, that they did ultimately have play dates — though not many between the ages of 9 and 13, due to music practice. Sophia, now 18, has a boyfriend, she told me. “My kids have whatever those things are called — iPods,” she said. “They have iTunes accounts.”
Ms. Chua wrote most of the book in eight weeks, yet struggled with the end, she said, reflecting the East-West tug on her parenting. “It’s a work in progress,” she said. “On bad days I would say this method is terrible. I just need to give them freedom and choice. On good days, when Lulu would say: ‘I’m so glad you made me write that second draft of my essay. My teacher read it out loud,’ I think, I’ve got to stick to my guns.”
This week, her book tour will take her to the places where she has surely sparked the most debate: the Bay Area, Cambridge and the northwest quadrant of Washington.
But first, the family was planning to celebrate Lulu’s 15th birthday. They were taking her and eight of her friends to New York City. For a sleepover.

Town and Country Feb 2011 issue had an interview with Ms Chua

These are her top five parenting philosophies
  1. Music Lessons teach disicipline"Learning to play classical music is difficult and requires commitment. I wanted that culutral depth for my children. FashionMom give her a thumbs up on that one!
  2. Tough Love is still Love- 'Westerners sometimes let their kids give up too quickly.It may have been harsh to call my daughter cowardly(when she could not master a piano score),but the point was,"I won't accept that you can't do it". FashionMom will give a partial thumbs up for this one, I would not call my daughter a coward, but I talk to my daughter every day about finishing something once you start it and not giving up, it is essential for her survival.
  3. Playdates are overrrated. "Occasionally,when I would let them go to sleepovers,they would tell me that it wasn't fun-people got left out. I wanted my kids to be more productive instead. Fashion will give that a thumbs down, there is plenty of time for children to be productive, playdates is a chance for just relaxing, let them go. They are only children once.
  4. Comparision can be motivating."My grandmother compared her kids to each other all the time. I did it to my second daughter when she came along, because I believed in her so much.I always assume strength in my children,while the Western model assumes fragility." FashionMom gives a partial thumbs up, I like to assume strength in my daughter,she must have it! and a little competition within limits never hurt anyone.
  5. Parenting is not a popularity contest. " I want my children to be happy. But my mentality was always parenting them for the future and giving them skills. I'M not trying to be their best friend." FashionMom gives this a 100% thumbs up, we must prepare our children by giving them the skills they need for the future. And trying to be a best friend, sorry not for FashionMom.
I think some of the things that she did would be a bit too much for FashionMom but may works for others. I cannot agree with all of her parenting methods that is for sure, but you know that she wanted nothing but the best for her daughters. If we could just find that balance......

What do you think of this author and her book? Try to read it soon!!
Please give us your feedback, we always love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Squash and Potato Soup

As we settle into January and the long cold days continue, the need for soup has intensified in homes all over the country.

Please find this excellent recipe from Rachael Ray. I hope that it adds some warmth to your day!

2 tablespoons butter
1 leek,white and light green parts only,halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise.
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Half of a large acorn squash-peeled,seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
1 large baking potato,peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
1 tablespoon flour
31/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1.In a large saucepan,melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and bay leaf ;season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until the leek is softened about 7 to 9 minutes
Stir in the squash and potato;cook until softened,about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour,then the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat,then lower the heat to medium low and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is thickened,10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the cream and horseradish.


images courtesy 1stockphotos

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Best Online Websites for Your Home

I know, and I would agree with you that buying a sofa on line is still not something that you would be comfortable with. We need to feel it, sit in it before making a decision and then we need to shop around for a while. This is a big decision!

However, there are some things we can shop for online. It makes our lives so much easier.
This is just a short list, and if you have a favorite place in your hometown please let me know!

Here are some of our best picks for online home shopping!! enjoy!

Drapery( High End) - The Silk Trading Company- They also sell a wonderful line of paints. You can purchase samples for testing.
Drapery( Mid range) - Bed,Bath and Beyond and Target. Target has really improved their line of drapery and fine furnishings over the last 5 years, take a second look you may be surprised at what you find.

 Home Portfolio
If you need any design question answered this is the place to visit. It is chock full with information on furniture placement, how to manage small spaces, it is all there at your fingertips.It has many wonderful bloggers who dispense all sorts of advice.This will be your go to site after one visit.

Exciting and really helpful site that gives many design ideas and offers discussions on any topic out there. Plus, you can start your own group within the site.
Excellent source.

Restoration Hardware
For outdoor and garden if you are looking for something with a little more panache than Home Depot or Lowes or your local garden spot, this site offers everything from Ivy Toparies to amazing planters any time of the year.

Global Table
Minimal tabletop and home accessories with an Asian touch. Located in New York this online site offers beautiful tea sets. If you like no fuss accessories this is the site for you.

Circa Lighting
Great lighting that fits into any style. Prices are reasonable.

Z Gallerie
Wonderful,one of the best stores for home accessories. If you want to wow factor for dining tables, and living rooms this is the site for you. The lighting is large scale and exceptional. For those of us who love a little ostentation. Minimalists stay away!

Urban Archaeology
For salvaged fixtures and furniture from razed structures, to new lighting, and bath fixtures this is your go to site with stores in New York and Boston.

Calico Corners- Fabrics
Beautiful drapes and fabrics for home furnishings and pillows. They sell everything from furniture to fabrics. They also make pillows,trimmings,cushions from scratch and can reupholster your furniture in all of your fabric picks. There is great attention to details. They will send swatches to you for your perusal.
They offer fabrics from Iman Home, Tom Filicia and Ralph Lauren among others. Online is great but, if you can visit a store,you will spend a few hours getting lost among the wonderful colors and patterns. They also offer a free design service.  Enjoy!

Room and Board
This is a must visit on line, get the catalog and in store if purchasing for an apartment or a smaller home in a city environment. Room and Board is also a great source for understanding layouts in small places. If you can visit a store, what a treat!

Novica(in association with Natural Geographic)
 A veritable world basket of beautiful finds. Area rugs from Indian,African masks,wood sculptures from Bali, Mexican coffee tables, wall hangings from Peru.  Local artists finally have the world stage to recognize their craft and support their businesses. You also have the ability to help fund a business with micro credit loans. What a treasure trove!

Pearl River Mart
Great tabletop accessories at a major fraction of the price, I get all of my placemats from this site and they last forever.

The best online source for used, gently used and new accessories and furniture at prices you may have something to say about! Good luck bidding!

William Laman
For exceptional rattan trays, baskets and I love the bleached rattan ice bucket. They also sell teak wood soap trays, antiques and garden decor. This is an excellent source for classy gifts for a bride and groom who already have everything. They do have a gift registry.

This is the best place online for inexpensive art. From Masters to New Artists. They also have hand signed photographs from recognized and new artists.  The prices range from about $100 and up. This is where you must visit first for your art online.

Antiques, Mid Century,Modern and Vintage Furniture are on sale at this site. Great sources from all over the world. A bit pricey but great for sourcing and ideas.

 FrenchSwedishBoho I call the decor, and furniture from one of my favorite stores. They sell everything from curtains to slipper chairs and vintage knobs.

West Elm
Excellent tabletop items and lighting. People swear by the jute rugs, they are practical and last a long time.

Crate and Barrell
Wonderful tabletop and the most beautiful kitchen towels and aprons I have ever seen! Furniture too!

Pottery Barn
The most copied brand out there for their clean silhouettes and colors and I love when the catalog arrives at home. It is also the first place check for lighting(I love the chandeliers), they are always a step ahead of the competition.

Europe By Net
Contemporary designer furniture from Europe. If you want to get a education of some of the top names this is the place to go. I bought my first Flos lights here 10 years ago, wonderful source for everything you need.

"So Haute" Inspired Spaces.Stylish Writing- Blog
I love, love Nicole Gibbons blog. She is a  designer,entrepreneur and blogger it is fun, fresh and I want to be where ever she goes next! She just add Haute TV !  One of the best!

Habitually Chic - Blog
Heather Clawson is an interior designer who profiles architecture, art and design. I love her writing style.

Lonny Blog
Great source for interior design along with an online magazine. I love the watercolor illustrations by
Caitlin Mc Gauley

Happy Shopping!!

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