Amanda Nisbet is a true powerhouse in the world of interior design.
I first stumbled across jewelry by MeiraT Designs when looking for a Christmas gift for my mom.
In the Spring 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens’ special Storage publication you can see a great mudroom project I completed for one of my clients.
My friend Felice Marcy and her business partner Annabel Marisca opened a fitness studio called CST 50 that fits all of my criteria for a really great workout.
When I want to cook a light meal or a side dish to go with a fish such as grey sole, I will make this dish.
Amanda Nisbet is a true powerhouse in the world of interior design. She is full of energy, with an exuberance that shows in her interiors.
Born in Montreal and educated in the U.S., Amanda Nisbet now lives in New York. Early in life, she aspired to be an actress. After a couple of commercials and small roles in smaller plays, she changed direction. Acquaintances who loved the style of her apartment often asked for her help in decorating their own homes. Amanda’s interior design skills come purely from talent — she did not go to design school or receive any formal training. I’ve been fortunate enough to see her speak twice and find her work to be so inspiring.
What I like about Amanda Nisbet’s design style is the fearlessness of her work. Her designs are saturated with color in combinations that are really empowering. She has a great sense of scale with art and a playful, avant garde feel. You can see her personality in her interiors. I really identify with her love of color.
I first stumbled across jewelry by MeiraT Designs when looking for a Christmas gift for my mom. I wanted something a bit unusual, which is exactly what I found. When I later visited the MeiraT website, her philosophy of “designed for a woman, by a woman” really resonated with me. These pieces are meant to be wearable day and night, beautiful and noticeable.
MeiraT has had a lifelong interest in jewelry design, drawing inspiration from her European and Middle Eastern background. What I love about MeiraT Jewelry is the asymmetry of many of the pieces. Some elements of her designs have a rawness to them, as if the stones are are just dug out of the ground and left unpolished. At the same time, they are delicate.
There’s a consistent rhythm to the jewelry across the brand. The pieces are organic, dainty and pretty. There really is something for everyone with MeiraT Designs, whether you prefer diamonds and gold or a more earthy tone.
In a working space, incorporate organization with easy access.
In the Spring 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens’ special Storage publication you can see a great mudroom project I completed with Julio DiBiase of Dibico Construction for one of my favorite clients. This mudroom is a perfect example of how a functional space can be beautiful without sacrificing utility. This client has a strict no-shoes-in-the-house rule, so incorporating plenty of accessible shoe storage in the mud room was a big priority. Other storage spaces allow for maximum organization, keeping the mudroom tidy and creating the perfect waystation for the family when coming and going. Extra closets allow for convenient storage of everything from seasonal outerwear and sports equipment to camping gear and picnic accessories. Easy to clean surfaces and materials are another key element to this mudroom. I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy; there are a lots of great storage ideas throughout the issue!
Don’t shy away from using different patterns.
I’ve talked before about the role of fitness in my life, as both a way to take care of myself, stay focused, and provide an example for my daughters. I like to mix up my fitness routine with cross training, running, and other effective workouts. I’m always excited to find something new that is interesting and challenging, especially when it’s being done by someone I know. My friend Felice Marcy and her business partner Annabel Marisca opened a fitness studio called CST 50 that fits all of my criteria for a really great workout.
The CST in the studio name stands for Cardio, Strengthen, and Transform, while the 50 indicates the 50 minute workout session that makes up each class. Classes at CST 50 feature an innovative piece of equipment called the Megaformer. Invented by certified weight and Pilates trainer Sebastian Lagree, the Megaformer uses resistance and counter-resistance for a workout that challenges your entire body.
Felice and Annabel have known each other for a long time; they went to high school together in Greenwich and had careers in finance. They commuted to the city together for years, but both maintained an interest in fitness that started when they were young. Felice took a Megaformer class in the city and quickly noticed how it changed her body from the inside out, improving her strength in ways that she could easily see in the mirror. She appreciated how the workout was easy on her joints, too. When she and Annabel started talking about making family-friendly career changes, they decided to bring the Megaformer to Darien where they are both raising young families. Together they opened CST 50 and their passion for the benefits of the Megaformer workout continue to inspire people to achieve new levels of fitness.
Felice refers to the Megaformer as a deconstructed Pilates machine, but makes it clear the benefits far outweigh other fitness routines. The Megaformer stimulates and engages muscle groups so that you immediately start to sweat. It is an intense, but safe, workout that can easily be modified for people with injuries or joint problems, but also grows with you as your fitness level improves. The core benefits of a workout with the Megaformer are enormous. No other workout engages your core during the entire routine, making it an efficient way to achieve a highly effective workout in under an hour. It’s ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels. While some men may look at the Megaformer and think it is a Pilates style workout more suited for women, in reality it is just as challenging and highly effective for men. Felice and Annabel’s husbands both attend CST 50 classes about three times a week, finding it a time-effective way of keeping fit for the sports they enjoy.
All of the instructors at CST 50 are trained and certified in both movements and sequences on the Megaformer. To see a schedule of classes or learn more, visit the CST 50 website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. Their 1 Year Anniversary is approaching, so keep an eye out for upcoming special events at CST 50!
This dish is one of my favorites! It reminds me of enjoying meals in trattorias while traveling in Italy, restaurants in New York City’s Little Italy, and on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. They were good times spent with my family while enjoying great food.
When I want to cook a light meal or a side dish to go with a fish such as grey sole, I will make this dish. The recipe is from one of my favorite chefs, Giada DeLaurentiis. You can find this recipe and many others in her book Everyday Italian.
As Giada says in her book, “Spaghetti with clams is very different from spaghetti with clam sauce, they are not the same dish. The first is a dish with a light, fragrant dressing tossed with whole clams and in my opinion the only way to make this dish.”
To make this dish you will use Manila Clams. They are a smaller clam and are sold by the pound. You can also use Cockles or, if you prefer a larger clam, you can use small Little Necks, which are sold by the dozen. I use linguini instead of spaghetti, which is flat pasta. If I can, I will buy the pasta fresh. When using fresh pasta, you may want to increase the amount used by a ¼ of a pound.
Spaghetti with Clams
1 lb dried spaghetti or linguini , or 1 ¼ lb fresh pasta
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ½ to 3 pounds Manila clams, scrubbed clean
½ to 1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon course black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
Grated Reggio Parmesan cheese
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium high flame. When almost smoking, add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden brown and the shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the black pepper and let it absorb for a minute.
Add the cleaned clams, wine, sea salt, chopped parsley and basil. Cover and simmer until clams have opened; discard any that do not open. Whisk in the butter to thicken the sauce slightly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Do not rinse the spaghetti with water; you want to retain the natural starches that help the sauce adhere to the spaghetti. Toss the spaghetti with the clam mixture in the pan to coat. Add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley. Ladle into individual bowls and top with the Reggio Parmesan cheese.
Serve with your favorite salad and crusty Italian bread. Enjoy!
Continuity of details is important.
When I go out to eat, I am not one to nibble on a salad. I really enjoy a great steak, especially from Blackstones Steakhouse in Greenwich. Blackstones has the perfect combination of excellent food and beautiful decor. They are known as one of the best steakhouses in town and for good reason.
The ambiance at Blackstones is quite elegant. The decor has a masculine vibe that is still sophisticated and in line with the quality of the food and the attentive service. With a black, grey, and white palette, the interior is saved from an overly industrial feel by the softening texture on the walls and the interesting artwork. The bright shelving behind the bar gives the space added light. Blackstones achieves a New York City chic that is definitely welcome in the suburbs.
In addition to steak, the menu boasts an impressive selection of appetizers, salads, and sides for both lunch and dinner. The bar menu features several signature cocktails as well. As you’d expect, however, the steak is the star of the show at Blackstones. The quality of the meat shows in the exceptional flavor and tenderness of the steaks while the extensive wine list ensures the perfect compliment to every memorable meal. I loved that my dinner was served on a piping hot plate, something you don’t often experience anymore.