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Watermelon, Feta & Aged Balsamic

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This photo of the watermelon was taken when we were out at the Wells’ beach house on the North Fork of Long Island a few weeks ago. Irene was not so kind to many parts of the East Coast, but luckily, our beloved cabin weathered the storm. This post is an ode to the magical times we have spent there, and the many bowls of watermelon we have savored out of that festive & jaunty red dotted bowl.

To make watermelon part of your main meal, give this a try. Cube watermelon, break apart pieces of Greek feta, and sprinkle both with an aged balsamic. Heaven. The combo of sweet, tart and salty is divine.



 

 

Lots of Letters

20110830-091408.jpg When I was at the New York show, I was asked by a trade publication, “What do you do to make Watson Kennedy stand out in the retail field?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Try and not be like all the others. Tell my own unique story thru product and displays, and to have goods that are not over-saturated in the market.” I like mixing it up. If we carry something, believe in it. Go deep in products that make you stand out. One small example for me is letter ephemera. I have always loved words. I decided to take that passion and bring it into the shops by way of product. Bowl after bowl, platter after platter of letters.

20110830-093428.jpg Customers buy them for art projects, to embellish gifts–you name it. It has become a Watson Kennedy staple and trademark.

20110830-093856.jpg That then inspires me to add to the collection when I am on buying excursions. On our trip to Charleston/Savannah/Asheville in January, we stumbled upon vintage wood blocks. Then we found more. And more. The blocks fit the letter theme I like for the shops, and have been a fun addition.



 

 

Vintage Seltzer Bottles

I am always looking for decorative objects to give a space interest, and a sense of history. Vintage seltzer bottles speak to me of a slower time. They have a decorative quality that stands the test of time. The bottles work great mixed into a bookcase filled with art, books and objects. I love them on a bar, giving it a retro feel. Many times the bottles are not functioning, but what I am going for here is form, not function. You can have them reconditioned, which is fantastic, but not necessary. For many years I have been finding and selling these cool metal encased seltzer bottles from Argentina that were made in the 1930’s. There is just something about the look and feel that I really dig. They look great singly or grouped.

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Shallot Vinaigrette

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Many Sunday mornings, I like to make some sort of egg breakfast, and often times will make a simple green salad to have with it. One of my favorite dressings I make to dress the greens is a simple shallot vinaigrette made with rice wine vinegar. By soaking the finely chopped shallot in the rice wine vinegar for a bit, it really mellows the bite that can come from the shallots. I usually start this process first, before I start anything else for the breakfast, so this combo can sit for awhile.
In a bowl add 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar to 1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot. Then add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, with 2 good pinches of salt and 1 pinch of pepper. Slowly mix in 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, whisking along the way. It is that easy. Let sit while you make the rest of breakfast. Dress greens right before you are ready to eat.

I have been up for several hours this morning, glued to watching CNN. My thoughts and prayers to all of you on the East Coast, riding out the hurricane. They are reporting from the Meat Packing district in New York, where last week we spent the day strolling around. My heart just aches.

Sending much, much love.



 

 

French Salted Caramel Lollipop

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Just typing that title made my mouth water. We just got these in yesterday. Made in France, these lollipops are that perfect combo of salty & sweet. We sell a salted caramel that Real Simple magazine featured a few months back–that have been a major hit in the shops and on the web site. I think these lollipops will be just as popular. At a buck each, I see them brought out after dessert in a silver bowl and served with coffee, or a dozen wrapped up in a cello bag for a perfect little hostess gift.



 

 

Inspiration Everywhere

I was interviewed yesterday for an upcoming article about the Watson Kennedy shops for Where magazine. The editor could not have been cooler, and she asked a slew of questions that were right on the mark. “Where do I get my inspiration” was at the top of the list. My answer was that I really get my inspiration daily and everywhere. I try and stay open to all situations, be in the moment, and keep my eyes open to all things around me. Later in the day I was out & about and snapped a few shots that inspired me.

20110826-055348.jpg I love the color of the antlers against the earthiness and creaminess of the vintage fabric.

20110826-055452.jpg I thought the patina on this old sign was fantastic, and I always love the use of old pages from books used in place of wallpaper.

A word about the post I wrote yesterday. I got to the shop and Pam asked me what I had written about. I told her I wrote about the house of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith that was featured in Architectural Digest. She then mentioned that word of them splitting up was all over the news. I feel terribly. My comments were directed at the AD article, not them personally. I had no idea of them potentially splitting up. What weird timing that I would choose to write about that yesterday. I wish them the best, and hope the news is untrue.



 

 

You Can’t Like Everything

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I was very excited when Margaret Russell became the Editor in Chief at Architectural Digest. I always liked what she presented at Elle Decor, from the funky to the grand. Style to me is about so much more than throwing a wad of money at something. Some of my favorite places & spaces have been done uber creatively without unlimited budgets. I was hoping this new version of AD with her at the helm might be a tad different. Not yet. “Though the structure is 25,000 square feet and the centerpiece of a 150-acre ranch in the mountains above Malibu, it seems positively intimate” is how she describes the home of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Seriously? It should be noted, I adore Will Smith. I think he is an amazing talent, so this has no reflection on his acting abilities. But to describe a structure that is 25,000 feet as intimate, seems like quite a stretch to me. Then I saw the photos. Just because something is massively large does not make it good. I am still baffled by the intimate part. Did anyone else have a similar reaction?

A happy, happy Thursday to all.



 

 

Scented Geraniums in Single Stem Vases

20110824-080119.jpg Herbs are fab in single stem vases, as well as stems from scented geraniums. In late Spring, I like to buy multiple pots of geraniums and set them around the shops. They are a lovely addition to the displays. There is just something about having live things set amongst the goods that I think adds a good energy & feel to the space. Plus, they are just nice to look at, and since they are scented, nice to smell too. If cared for properly, they will also grow like crazy, so you can cut them back and use the clippings in single stem containers.

When I was away on this last trip, the geraniums grew like weeds because it was so sunny. They love indirect light, so we have them about the shops in places that they will thrive. When I got home, I cut them all way back, and took the cuttings home.

20110824-081304.jpg On our last few trips to London, I have found vintage bottles that actually have the word ‘London’ embossed into the glass. This grouping behind the sofa made a fun trio with the stems in them. I love how they intertwine.

20110824-081647.jpg A single large stem coming out of a vintage glass apothecary jar, on a side table.

20110824-081807.jpg In the bathroom, the steam from the shower releases some of scent of the geranium leaves.

The thing I most like about using these cuttings, is they can last quite awhile, and they add just the right amount of perky green to your home.



 

 

Herbs in Single Stem Vases

20110823-060415.jpg My friend Catherine taught me to use fresh herbs in flowering arranging many years ago. She would mix in mint with heirloom roses to create a sumptuous bouquet. Since then, I have taken to using single stems of herbs in a variety of containers–drinking glasses, vases, tea cups, you name it. We found a really cool zinc planter a few years ago that we loaded up with herbs so we could use them while cooking. Our property on the island is quite wooded, and there are only a select few spots that get full sun throughout the day. A very large tree fell last year, opening up an area where we have placed the zinc planter, and it is bathed in sunlight throughout the day. The herbs are going crazy! While we were away in New York, the herbs went wild and seemed to double in size. Many also started to flower.

20110823-061500.jpg We cut things way back, and brought a load of herbs back with us into town. I placed stem after stem of the fresh herbs in single stem containers and set them about.

20110823-061729.jpg They not only are lovely to look at, but are also quite interactive. I love to rub my fingers on a leaf and pull out some of the divine oil of the fresh herb. The scent of the oregano is particularly spectacular, and the flower is quite pretty.



 

 

A Guy Gift

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I was recently asked by a customer what my favorite guy gift is that we sell at Watson Kennedy? I think jewelry is such a personal and timeless gift. Hands down, the answer would have to be the vintage watch movement cuff links. They are taken from watches of the early to mid 20th century, revealing all the gears, levers and innards. The casing is sterling silver, and each is like a tiny work of art. I personally have a pair, and they are the cufflinks I most often grab among my collection when I want to spiff up a French cuff shirt. They really are the perfect gift for a man. We always have a varied selection, and are happy to e-mail photos of our stock.

A happy Monday to all!