Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Most of today’s luxury hotels have mastered the art of uncluttered design. If you’re partial to that clean, modern look so prevalent in upscale hotel rooms, you might like to replicate the look in your own quarters. High-quality linens, straight lines, and a neutral color palette are a few starting points, but clipping a few photos of your favorite bedrooms can also inspire.
After viewing the images below and noting a few helpful hints, introducing that hotel look –– think W, Ritz, or Four Seasons –– into your bedroom is probably easier than you had once thought.
With its tall, upholstered headboard, room-darkening drapery, and neutral palette, this big city bedroom exudes modern luxury. Notice the perfectly made bed with crisp linens. Don’t you want to crawl in?
This stylish bedroom comes complete with integrated headboard, plush bed covering, and black and white photography. The space boasts a design similar to a boutique hotel, but still offers plenty of personality.
More spacious than the average hotel room, this bedroom is more like a corner suite with its comfy sitting area and natural light. Still, the design is simple and elegant and could easily pass for a luxury hotel.
Minimalist design is evident in this cream and white bedroom. The dark wood floors and paneled bed wall add some depth to the otherwise light, bright room. The perfectly dressed bed resembles billows of clouds and completes this simple yet sumptuous space.
The fireplace isn’t a typical hotel amenity, but you might occasionally find one in a high-end boutique hotel. Regardless, if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your bedroom, treat it as you would the rest of the room –– keep it modest and understated.
Post by Alison Hein.
I got carried away as I was grinding pistachios yesterday. The rich, salty crunch of these exotic little nuts is so divine, I can easily gobble up a whole package of them in one sitting. Instead, I try to pace myself, by distributing them more rationally, and combining them with complementary flavors.
Step one – grind. Step two – coat the delectable morsel of your choice with a delectable pistachio covering. In this case, I was using the ground nuts to dress up some goat cheese medallions, which I then placed on top of a salad of baby lettuces bathed in a tangy lemon citrus vinaigrette.
Pistachios are an ancient food. Originating in the eastern Mediterranean and central Asia, they are one of the three seeds (along with walnuts and almonds) mentioned in the Bible. Pliny the elder wrote that pistachios were a common food as early as 6750 BC. These days, the US is one of the top global producers of pistachio nuts.
Search the internet and you’ll find a cornucopia of “pistachio-crusted” recipes. From lamb to salmon, asparagus to tofu, cheesecake to, you guessed it…French toast! So, I drowned some soft brioche in a vanilla egg bath, then used my excess ground nuts to create a divine Pistachio-Crusted French Toast, and a salty, crunchy, exotic breakfast in bed.
1 cup pistachio nuts
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 slices rich, soft bread, such as brioche or challah
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Grind pistachio nuts in a nut grinder, coffee mill, or blender until chopped finely, but not powdery. Retain some larger nut pieces for extra crunch, if you like. Place ground pistachios in a small shallow dish.
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Stir in vanilla. Dip bread slices into the milk mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Don’t over soak or the soft bread will fall apart. Dip bread slices in chopped pistachio pieces, using a spoon to help cover.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add nut-covered bread slices and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add more butter as needed. Remove from pan and serve warm with real maple syrup.
Makes 4 servings.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
9 Magic Wishes by Shirley Jackson. Illustrated by Miles Hyman.
Shirley Jackson is best known for her short story works for adults, most notably, “The Lottery” which is a dark, intense, and wonderful dystopian tale with a remarkable twist. What not many people know (I certainly didn’t) is that she wrote a few books for children as well. The only one I have read is 9 Magic Wishes which is not dark at all but magical and weird and wonderful. The opening sentence sets the scene perfectly: ”Today was a very funny day. The sky was green and the sun was blue and all the trees were flying balloons.” A young girl is visited by a magician in a tall hat with stars. He offers her nine wishes. Each of her wishes is a beautiful thing to behold, like a little box, and inside that is another box, and inside that is another box, and inside that is an elephant. And a tiny little zoo of live tiny animals. The rich and color-saturated illustrations are done by Miles Hyman, who is Shirley Jackson’s grandson. He seems to have a bit of his grandma’s talent for capturing the magical and remarkable.
There isn’t any real point to the story other than being lovely and fun. The magician comes, the girl makes wishes. She only uses eight, because what else could she possibly want? and the magician leaves the last one under a stone. If you are looking for a story to make your little one’s dreams as rich and fantastic as can be, look no further.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
There are a lot of things to be amazed by in this movie. Or rather, in the fact that this movie even exists. This is the fourth movie in the Spy Kids franchise. FOURTH! Amazingly, Robert Rodriguez is still at the helm of this sinking ship. Okay, let’s be fair: kids will probably like this if they like Spy Kids. It’s full of kids single-handedly battling malevolent forces. It’s got potty humor. It’s got gadgets. My son thought it was a perfectly acceptable movie. The premise is that Jessica Alba is a retired spy, trying to raise a baby and be a good step-mom. Unfortunately, the bad guys have their own plans and what was supposed to be quick drop-off turns into a disaster when the children come under attack. So clock-faced criminal who is striving to control the flow of time is after them and needs the pendant Jessica Alba gave her step-daughter in an attempt to connect with the surly adolescent. It’s more than just a pendant. It’s something very powerful and the baddies are determined to get it. Action ensues. The faithful dog begins talking because he wasn’t actually a dog at all! He is voiced, inexplicably, by Ricky Gervais. I wonder what crime he committed to be committed to this movie. Also surprising is the other actors who agreed to be in this. Joel McHale, Jeremy Piven. Even Carmen from the original movies returns, this time as an adult.
It’s available on Netflix and if you have a restless kid trying to while away the hours during a spring rain shower or two, you may as well put this one on.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Paisley might not be the most obvious choice when selecting pattern for a bedroom. Believe it or not, however, depending on the material, style and color, this popular design can fit into almost any interior. These are four wonderful bedrooms with paisley elements sure to make you swoon for more.
This room proves how lovely paisley can be in a bedroom. Jennifer Robins Interiors mixed color and texture beautifully in this Santa Rosa residence. The oversized paisley print on the headboard creates a backdrop for the room. Notice how this headboard extends beyond the bed. A matelassé coverlet and cable-knit throw keep the room on the casual side while the zigzag novelty pillow is a statement piece.
Colorful and chic, this kids’ room boasts an Osborne & Little wallpapered accent wall, which is just the right amount of paisley. Contrasting buttons on the bed pick up the turquoise color, and hot pink introduces yet another splash into the already bright room. The space could easily be an adult’s quarters too. I’d sleep here, wouldn’t you?
Marrying stripes with paisley is a great idea as you can readily see in this bedroom. Shades of pink and orange combined with contemporary furniture such as a pair of tulip tables, represent the endless decorating possibilities when you think outside the box.
Silver and white paisley on the duvet and shams brings enough pattern into this delightful, upscale bedroom. Some may say the space has a traditional vibe while others might feel it’s more modern. Regardless, no one can deny that this is a great looking room.