Monthly Archives: March 2013
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
With spring fast upon us, there is lots of work to be done. March is a fun-filled month full of things to do for everyone: organizers who have long anticipated spring cleaning; gardeners anxious to get their summer planting underway; families looking forward to time with loved ones during Easter; and interior designers who are ready to shed the dark, heavy fabrics of winter for something more bright and refreshing.
To help get your home in the spring of things, we’ve put together a list of some of the hot interior design trends for Spring 2013.
Spring 2013 interior design is heavily influenced by nature. Whether it’s in the form of earth-tone colors or the use of organic building materials, more and more designers are drawing inspiration from organic design elements. Materials like rough-cut hardwood floors, slate countertops, and weathered concrete building elements are examples of this natural, contemporary design trend. You can also incorporate natural/living décor, such as wall hanging plants, to bring a more natural feel to your space.
To contrast with your natural design elements, colors from the pastel palette provide the perfect pop. Check out Pantone’s 2013 fashion color trends to get a feel for the types of colors that are in season this spring. If you need help visualizing how to put the perfect color pallet together, Pantone has also compiled several complete color palettes so you can get a sense of how these colors work together.
Here’s a hint for next season: pay attention to the Neiman Marcus Spring Catalog, as many of the colors featured on their clothing are trendy in the interior design world as well.
Light fixtures have been prominent in interior design for the past few years, and that trend is expected to continue. Using contemporary light fixtures, or light fixtures that otherwise contrast with the rest of your room’s design, is a great way to spice up a room without having to redo everything. A lot of popular light fixtures today use the old-timey Edison bulbs, which add a cool retro feel and a warm glow to your space.
Quick Tip To Freshen Up Your Bedroom This Spring
If you don’t have the budget to redo your entire bedroom this spring, don’t worry. There are a number of ways you can dramatically change the look of your room without spending much time or money. An easy way to update your bedroom this spring is to buy a new comforter, or comforter cover.
Since the bed comforter is such a large piece of fabric that is prominently displayed in your bedroom, you’ll really get a lot of bang for your buck visually. Bonus points if you can find a new comforter that’s reversible! Lightweight comforters will also help keep you cooler in bed during the warm summer months, making this a very practical update.
Are you planning any interior design projects this spring? Let us know how your project is going in the comments below.
Post by Alison Hein.
Albert Einstein once said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” Take bacon and eggs, for example. If you’ve ever eaten undercrisped bacon and overcooked eggs you’ll know what I mean.
My husband, Kevin, makes the best bacon and eggs I’ve ever eaten. Turns out he once worked as a short order cook. So I asked him to make breakfast for me and watched carefully as he chopped, fried, and flipped. Here are the culinary secrets I uncovered:
-Timing is everything.
-Cook the bacon low and slow.
-Don’t crowd the eggs.
On the evening prior, Kevin baked a Russet potato tossed with olive oil and sea salt. In the morning, he got his hash browns going, then started slow-cooking the applewood bacon. Kevin made sure to turn the thick slices several times, keeping them nicely coated with bacon fat as they edged toward a crisped brown. Finally, he cracked the eggs right on the rim of the oversized cast iron frying pan, quickly, then dropped them in one at a time leaving plenty of space between them. After frying the eggs for a minute or two, he gave them a final flip, then cooked them a few seconds longer to over-easy perfection.
I helped him out by making some toast, and by savoring the absolute best kind of breakfast in bed imaginable – one made to order with love and care.
1 Russet potato, baked
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
4 to 6 slices bacon
For the hash browns, lightly spray a medium-sized heavy frying pan with cooking spray and place on stove over medium heat. Coarsely chop baked potato, skin on, and place in pan. Add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally and adding additional oil as necessary, until potatoes are golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. When done, turn heat to very low and keep warm.
Start the bacon right after the potatoes are seasoned. Spray a very large heavy frying pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add bacon and cook steadily over medium heat, turning each slice several times, until bacon is browned and crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Monitor heat as necessary to keep bacon cooking evenly. Let bacon drain on paper towels, and keep warm until eggs are cooked.
To make eggs, carefully remove excess bacon fat from frying pan, and place back over medium heat. Crack eggs into pan one at a time, making sure to leave enough space between the eggs so the whites don’t run together. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook each egg until white is solid, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip egg and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer eggs to plates and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Stephanie Noble.
For my English class during my semester abroad in London, we had to memorize two poems to recite to the class. The first I learned was “Home Thoughts from Abroad,” by Robert Browning. The second was “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” by William Wordsworth. Today my son found my pocket version of Wordsworth’s poems in my purse. It is just the right size for his toddler hands, so he has been carrying it around with him all day. Seeing it triggered the verses of the poem to play in my mind:
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Even though six inches of snow fell this weekend, Spring is just around the corner. I know because I saw the daffodils in the grocery store floral department. Even though they won’t push through the ground in our area for another month, knowing that the cheerful yellow trumpets will be arriving soon is enough to get me through the rest of March. Knowing that soon, the windows can be opened to let the winter mustiness out and be replaced with a feeling of rebirth.
Apparently, I am not the only one who appreciates yellow this time of year. Benjamin Moore has chosen Lemon Sorbet as its color of 2013. While the pastel yellow isn’t as strong as the daffodils hue, it is a subtle warming shade.
If pastel yellow doesn’t inspire you, here are a couple bedroom designs that showcase a bolder shade of yellow.
Bold primary yellow from HGTV: http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/must-see-spring-color-trends/pictures/index.html
Blue and Yellow combination from Better Homes and Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/rooms/bedroom/color-scheme/yellow-bedrooms/#page=9
As the snow comes down as I type this while sitting on the couch, Wordsworth’s final stanza is brought to life:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mode,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
One of the benefits of reading a science fiction novel, especially one which twenty-five years old, is that it is bound to come as a smallish paperback which means it is easy to hold in one hand while I read on my side in my bed. I have had several books eagerly awaiting my attention on my bedside table, but the others are all large hardcover books with huge pages; it’s simply too much of a pain to need both hands and to be propped up to read in bed!
This is probably the main reason I picked up Ender’s Game. A friend had once inexplicably given me Ender’s Shadow which is apparently the FIFTH book in the series, despite the fact I had never read the previous four. I brought it with me to Beijing on a trip, again, most probably because it was a smallish paperback and therefore quite portable. To be honest, I don’t remember anything about that book other than its length and its size.
I have heard lots about Ender’s Game; tons of people absolutely adore it. I’m not sure I would go that far. It was a good story and seeing these child soldiers in training, learning how to battle in zero gravity is interesting. And watching the mind of the genius boy Andrew “Ender” Wiggin as he figures out situations is fun to watch unfold. But there’s just so much cruelty, so much that is just cold calculation on Ender’s part…it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. Until finally, towards the end, the kids stop being total jerks. Hooray! All told, it is a good and captivating story and Card is an engaging author. But I’m not rushing out to get the second in the series.
Post by Josh Zinn.
Recently, whilst on assignment in Kuala Lumpur where we were researching the increasing rise of Malaysian youth huffing dried yak blood, my colleague Dena and I, after a long day out in the field, stumbled upon an American television show that was playing in our hotel’s tapas lounge. Tired and slowly coming down from the psychedelic effects of the aforementioned yak fluid (part of being a renowned scientist/movie reviewer is sampling the wares you are assigned to write about), we were in no mood to be subjected to a Southeast Asian version of “The Bachelor” or a program about how the Petronas Towers may be construed as a metaphor for Jessica and Ashlee Simpson. Naturally, our guard was up.
As we relaxed over a beer and a variety of dips and delights, the television screen roared to life with images of people madly running to and fro, clutching werewolf heads and bloody brains in their hands. No, this wasn’t some long lost documentary on the underbelly of Burning Man; this was “Face Off,” the movie makeup competition airing on the SyFy network.
Like most other competition shows on television these days (“Top Chef”, “Project Runway”, etc.) “Face Off” begins with the premise that people like to win things. Not only that, but people like to win things whilst being filmed in confessionals where they are dressed incredibly hip and are armed with a variety of derogatory quips. The show is like high school, but with an advocacy on accentuating, rather than hiding, facial blemishes.
“Face Off” pits these contestants against one another in a series of challenges meant to highlight the positive effects a steady diet of Mt. Dew and Sun Chips can have upon the mind’s creativity. If it weren’t for prepackaged snack food, we soon surmise, who knows whether half these folks would have the ability to shape a zombie groin to the correct level of desiccation needed for its special moment in front of a movie camera. It’s a matter of understanding the natural progression of things and seeing how something flavored “Harvest Cheddar” can enable you to sculpt a really killer witch’s nose.
As Dena and I watched a marathon of episodes (fortunately, tapas is a 24-hour phenomenon in Malaysia), we couldn’t help but wonder if, much like the contestants on “Face Off,” our own talents were being put to a test by a panel of judges whose authority stems from their ability to sit behind a logo-emblazoned desk. After so many reports filed on topics ranging from plants in Kuwait that react negatively to the music of John Mayer to a kind of Norwegian chewing gum that has been linked to demonic possession, we can’t help but feel that there’s got be something more than just receiving a pat on the back from the head of our department. In short, that yak inhalation better win each of us a Prius.
Because of the exposure it gives to the flipside of movie magic as well as the entertainment it provided two Americans coming down from an O+ yak high, I heartily recommend “Face Off.” While it’s true that—unlike, say, “Top Chef”—it doesn’t give suburban viewers the inspiration to host awkward dinner parties where they mistakenly think they can cook, the show nevertheless offers each and every one of us a reason to believe hope can still exist even when the chip bags are empty, the soda cans run dry, and even our sweatpants don’t fit anymore.