Yearly Archives: 2014
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman.
I’ve got a review for the grown-ups in the audience today! And I can state from personal experience that this is a great one to read in bed. I had magical wizard dreams last night! And let’s be honest—the best dreams are magical wizard dreams. Awesome magical portals transferring you from one dimension to another—what’s not to love???
I reviewed the first novel in the trilogy a while back and was anxiously awaiting the release of the third. It did not disappoint. If you a lover of magic and things wizidrical (though they carefully avoid using the word “wizard” except in an occasional mocking tone—that that, Harry Potter!) then I can’t recommend this series enough. More contemporary than Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and more adult than Harry Potter, The Magician’s Land neatly sews up three volumes’ worth of travel into other worlds, dealing with all kinds of gods, some of whom are pure evil, others who are kind of doofuses, and facing demons from the past, both metaphorical and literal.
Lev Grossman is a fantastic writer and his narrative voice is both sardonic and casual and wonderful all at once. He never lets you forget that, although we are discussing kings and queens of the magical land of Fillery, these are still the jaded kids from Brooklyn and other decidedly un-magical places. And if you are more of an audiobook person, the narration by Mark Bramhall is also quite good. Though I must say he seems to have forgotten what Josh’s voice is supposed to sound like. 🙁 Aside from that it’s a wonderful novel that wraps up a wonderful series.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
If a good night’s sleep beckons and insomnia becomes your worst nightmare, it may be time to shake things up with your nighttime routine. Aside from maintaining a comfortable temperature and leaving your troubles at the bedroom door, trying using lavender, the ancient herb known to relax, calm, and promote restful sleep. Here are four ways to utilize lavender before bedtime to keep you snoozing until the sun rises.
Purchase a diffuser and let lavender oil permeate your senses. The sweet fragrance will put you in a euphoric state until you fall fast asleep. You can order a diffuser through Amazon.com or Bed Bath & Beyond, among other retailers.
Spray your linens
Purchase a lavender spray or make your own with a spray bottle, water, and a few drops of lavender oil. Mist your sheets and pillowcases lightly before turning in. You can also spray your bath towels, which would benefit if you bathe in the evening.
Use as home fragrance
Utilize the same lavender spray in your bedroom. Spritz a generous amount around your space each evening before hitting the hay.
Use lavender oil
Apply pure lavender oil behind your ears. Rub a dot at each of your temples, or massage on the soles of your feet before hitting the lights. Personally, I love the Lavender Chamomile Moisturizing Oil from Indie Lee
Post by Alison Hein.
Summer is flying by, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared any blueberry recipes this season. Well, we’re about to rectify that with these berry-rich creamy crêpes. The blueberry crop was lush and bountiful this year, and if you look around, you should still be able to find perfectly ripe, tangy-skinned, sweet-fleshed berries.
Thin, lightly sweetened crêpes are filled with a creamy blueberry spread, then rolled and topped with thick, zesty blueberry sauce. First, make the sauce with fresh fruit, simmering the berries stovetop until they burst and meld. Next, prepare the sweet, blended berry and cream cheese filling (also great for spreading on bagels). Finally, make the thin pancakes and assemble the final dish. Add a sprig of mint, if you like, for garnish. Voila! The berry best kind of breakfast in bed. 🙂
2 cups (1 dry pint) blueberries
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add blueberries, water, sugar and vanilla to small, heavy pot. Place on stove over high heat and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, until blueberries are soft and popped open, and syrup is thickened. Set aside and allow to cool. Syrup will continue to thicken while cooling, so adjust cooking time to your preference.
Makes about 1 ½ cups of syrup.
¼ cup blueberries
6 ounces whipped cream cheese
4 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Puree blueberries in blender. Mix in cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon until smooth. Set aside until ready to assemble crêpes.
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
In large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Whisk egg into milk, then whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest a few minutes before cooking.
Heat about 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy 6-inch pan over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add ¼ cupful of batter to pan, swirling to cover bottom. Cook crêpe 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned, flipping once. Keep warm while cooking remaining crêpes, monitoring heat and adding oil as necessary.
To assemble, place crêpes on serving plates. Spread each crêpe with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream cheese filling. Roll up, and top with Blueberry Sauce. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 7 crêpes.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Emily Haynes. Illustrated by Sanjay Patel.
My boy has a great uncle who loves to shower him with wonderful and educational toys. That can be interpreted as a bad thing but all it means is nothing commercial and lots of beautifully handmade stuff and occasional books. This book came from a museum! It’s super extra fancy already, you can tell. In fact, the Rubin Museum of Art is mere steps from our very own Charles P. Rogers showroom!
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth is an adorable and amusing retelling of an ancient Indian story; the writing of the epic Hindu poem, Mahabharata. According to legend, Ganesha, elephant-headed god of the Hindu pantheon, uses his tusk as a pen to transcribe the story as the poet Vyasa dictates. The version in this book varies the story a bit. In this version, young god Ganesha loves the candy laddoo. He can’t get enough laddoo. When he tries to bite into a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo, one of his tusks breaks off!
Needless to say, Ganesha is quite upset, until Vyasa calls out to him and offers him a great new use for his broken tusk. And that’s how the Mahabharata was written!
The illustrations for this book are wonderfully bright, geometric, and colorful. I have heard them compared to Charlie Harper’s awesome illustrations, which is high praise indeed. This is a great book to introduce kids to Hindu religion and the Mahabharata or, if you already know about it, it’s a fun way to revisit it.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
A daybed is more than a place to sleep. Sure, it’s a “real” bed, and albeit smaller in size, it can be as comfy its sprawling king-size companion. Moreover, a daybed offers options that in this day and age, we can all appreciate.
A daybed is a viable alternative to a sleeper sofa in a guest room or multipurpose room. Usually more comfortable than a pullout couch, a daybed allows more room for your favorite furniture, or play space for the kids.
Place a coffee table or a few compact cocktail tables in front, and you’ll create a lounge-like feeling without much effort.
Add an ottoman; take a load off and prop up your feet during TV-watching time.
Also a fantastic solution for the occasional bedroom (think your college student who returns on weekends and holidays), a daybed makes the room feel like something other than a bedroom when the space needs to function differently. Throw a few pillows and you have a den. Remove the pillows, and your almost grown-up offspring will nestle into his or her room in no time.
Charles P. Rogers takes daybeds seriously, like they do all of their beds. Take the Suitcase Leather Daybed http://www.charlesprogers.com/suitcase-daybed-p-486.html, for instance. Not only is this a versatile design –– depending on how you dress it, you can use it as a twin bed in a child’s room (add primary colors like red and yellow for a youthful feel), or as an extra-deep sofa in a masculine library (go with earth tones for sophistication).
Besides its handsome appearance and practical nature, this style boasts a pop-up trundle for an extra overnight guest.
Recently, interior designer Robin Baron featured the Suitcase Leather Daybed on a WFSB segment. You can see the daybed in action here: