Bedroom Design: The Perfect Bench

Post by Erin Sears.

I love a good bench! Apparently, it’s not just me- designers are fond of them too. Benches crop up in all sorts of home design publications because they lend practicality and style to nearly every area of the home. Benches make for versatile seating at a dining table, they are essential in mudrooms and they even show up in bathrooms. Benches are the best!

I own a rather nice bench myself. It’s a whitewashed modern wooden bench that currently lives in my entryway. Not only does it look good, but it’s also functional. I use my bench to display found objects, hold stacks of magazines and even as a place to sit while putting my shoes on before heading out into the city. I recently embarked on a semi-nightmarish quest to find a new apartment and found that very few of the shoebox-sized places I toured could accommodate a bench near the front door. What to do, what to do? I’m not giving up my bench.

It occurred to me that one of the most attractive places in the home for a bench is at the foot of the bed! DUH! My bench could find a new and awesome home in my bedroom.

Here are some great examples of bedroom benches done right:

Source: http://www.thehousemag.com/blog

The simplicity of this whitewashed room is uber appealing. The wooden bench at the end of the basic bed grounds the space and gives it more functionality. Win-win.

Source: http://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=6807

This polka dot bench is THE star in a room full of stars! It works well with the whimsy of the bed and the acrylic legs keep the bench light and fun. It’s daring and makes you feel like you’ve walked in to a personalized, glamorous retreat.

Source: http://taylordeventssv.com/blog/2011-03-house-beautiful-goes-pink/

For something a little more sophisticated, here’s a bench covered in the same fabric as the headboard on the bed. This bench ties the room together and makes it look custom, which also makes it look expensive and well planned. How smart! No wonder it was featured in House Beautiful. Bravo!

Source: House Beautiful

Two can be better than one! The double bench trend is here to stay. The exposed nailheads outline the shape of the base of each bench and the overstuffed seats invite use. From a design perspective, I think that it’s very smart that the color of the benches correspond with the bedding. Connectivity is important in any room. It creates flow that brings good energy to your space.

If you don’t own one already, I hope that you’re considering the beauty of the bench. As always, buy what you love and you won’t regret it. ENJOY!

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Breakfast in Bed: Pastelillos para Desayuno

Post by Alison Hein.

Last night we had friends over for a Puerto Rican feast – salty fried codfish fritters (bacalaiítos), spicy pastelillos de carne (meat turnovers), smoky black beans with chorizo (habichuelas negras con chorizo) and slow-cooked garlicky pork shoulder (pernil). Island flavors are a shockingly addictive blend of Spanish, African, Taino and Arawak products and seasonings. If you’re not familiar with this cuisine, I strongly recommend you get out there for a little taste of “Cocina Criolla”.

This morning, I found just the right ingredients for some Latin-flavored breakfast pastelillos, or spicy Puerto Rican half-moon shaped turnovers. I fried up some chorizo, then stirred in a bit of frothy green recaito, a mix of fresh pungent herbs, garlic, peppers and onions. Some eggs and a few more seasonings, and I was ready to fill and bake my pastelillos.

Thirty minutes later, we were savoring the steamy flavors of Cocina Criolla and a little taste of la Isla del Encanto.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 fresh chorizo sausage
2 tablespoons diced tomatoes, with juice (canned tomatoes work well)
2 tablespoons recaíto* (http://mixerupper.com/2012/08/17/recaito/)
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs
1 teaspoon milk or cream
8 pastelillo or empanada wrappers (or use puff pastry, rolled out ¼ inch thick, cut into 8 5-inch diameter circles)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in heavy pan over medium heat. Remove sausage casing from chorizo, and break into small pieces. Add chorizo to heated pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in diced tomatoes and recaíto. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, allowing flavors to meld. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat remaining olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break 3 eggs into small bowl and whisk well with milk or cream. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Remove eggs from heat when still a little soft. Stir into chorizo mixture.

Lay pastelillo wrappers out on flat surface, and place about 1½ tablespoons of chorizo-egg mixture in the center of each circle. Beat remaining egg, and brush around eggs of each wrapper. Fold each circle in half to form a half-moon shape, gently pressing edges together. Seal edges of each pastelillo by gently folding dough over in ¼-inch increments, or sealing with the tines of a fork. Place filled pastelillos on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, until dough is golden and crispy. Serve fresh from the oven with a little hot sauce on the side, if you like.

Makes 8 pastelillos.

* If you can’t find the ingredients to make recaíto, substitute with: 1 minced garlic clove; 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro; 2 teaspoons finely diced yellow onion; and 2 teaspoons finely diced Cubanelle, Bell or Chili pepper.

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Charles P. Rogers Big Yellow Truck Campaign!

Things We Like: The Big Yellow Truck Campaign


Post by Kyle St. Romain.

In support of Red Cross Awareness Month, Charles P Rogers has started its own Hurricane Sandy Help Campaign. To get our Sandy Help Campaign started, today we’re going public with our Big Yellow Truck contest. We couldn’t be more excited. Doesn’t our vintage yellow bus look awesome

Here’s how the Big Yellow Truck contest works:

  • We’re going to park our vintage yellow bus at various locations throughout New York. When you spot the big yellow truck stop and take a picture with it.

  • For every picture tweeted or RT @charlesprogers with the hashtag #bigyellowtruck, we’ll donate $1 to the Red Cross – Jersey Coast Chapter. This money will go to benefit people who are affected by Hurricane Sandy.

  • With each tweet or Facebook post, you’ll also be entered to win a $500 Charles P. Rogers gift certificate. Perfect for a set (or two) of organic cotton sheets or a down payment on an awesome new bed!

The campaign officially begins March 21st at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show right here in New York City. The big yellow truck will be parked here through March 24th, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the show and get a photo-op with the yellow truck. After March 24th, the truck will be parked throughout the City. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates about where the truck will be. I’ll also give CPR’s blog readers updates on the event every Thursday.

Follow Charles P Rogers on Twitter and Facebook for more updates about our Sandy Help Campaign, information on how you can help, and updates on where to find the big yellow truck! You can also visit the Big Yellow Truck Campaign’s homepage for more details.

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Bedtime Stories: Unlikely Friendships

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer S. Holland.

What do a Rhodesian ridgeback and a pot-bellied pig have in common? More than just alliterative names, apparently. It seems they can become best buddies. Perhaps you have heard of Owen and Mzee, the grumpy tortoise and his little hippo buddy. And of course there is Coco the gorilla and his cat friend. But there are apparently all kinds of unusual animal friend match-ups out there! A lion, tiger and bear? Oh my! A baby oryx and a lion? Who would have thought?

This book tells the brief stories of 47 different unusual animal pairings. They are all sweet, some downright bizarre. Each story is short enough that you can read one or two, alone or out loud, as a lovely little icing on storytime.

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Movies in Bed: Friendzone

Post by Josh Zinn.

Lately, when I’m not flying to exotic ports of call in an attempt to heal the world in the memory of Michael Jackson, I’ve taken to relaxing by watching simple shows of fun and frivolity. One of my favorite programs of recent has been a little show on MTV called “Friendzone”. Let’s take a look at it, shall we?

Now, dear readers, I can already hear your cries of protests and, yes, I understand the ennui you must be feeling. Believe me, until I too fell into the “Friendzone” I figured MTV was nothing more than a haven for hooligans, hipsters, and hussies. And you know what? It is. But, as a famous writer whose name may or may not slightly rhyme with the phrase “flannél feel” once said, “In the depths of despair, two hearts shine among the garbage heap.” Beautiful, and in the case of “Friendzone,” oh so true.

What “Friendzone” is is a show about bravery. It’s about shedding a cloak of despair, a corset of depression, and a vice of restrained emotion. Inside all of us, according to “Friendzone,” is a hopeless romantic longing to make a soul’s connection with those we hold closest to us. Yes, that’s right my love-struck lads and lasses, “Friendzone” is a show about hitting on your best friend.

Imagine, if you will, it’s another warm summer night in your small Nebraska town. As you try on the sheer top you recently purchased at Torrid and imbibe in a second cocktail of Mt. Dew and vodka, your gorgeous hunk of a friend Cody knocks on your door. Now, because you guys have been friends since middle school and because he is always there when you have to pick up a Saturday night shift at Sonic and need a last-minute babysitter, you’ve asked him over under the ruse that you’re going on a date tonight and need some friendly advice – Only, the trick here is that the date’s with him!

“Friendzone,” you see, is about taking that next step with the friend that’s been with you through everything. When you think about it, it’s really quite obvious. After all, why wouldn’t you want to lock lips with the person who held your hand when you got Tweetie Bird tattooed on your hip; was there to hold your hair back when you did one too many Jell-O shots in the parking lot of the dollar store; and who defended your honor by throwing his chili cheese fries on your ex-husband’s new girlfriend when she threatened to gouge your left eye out with her heels? “Friendzone’s” mission is to let us know that love is oftentimes staring us right in the face, but sometimes we need a nudge, a camera crew, and a signed release waiver in order for Cupid’s arrow to be let loose from its quiver of anticipation.

Of course, there are times when the “Friendzone” fails to unite two lovers. Sometimes, it seems, a friend is just a friend, even if they do like to rub your feet, always bring you Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, and spend more time at your place than the apartment they rent out in their Grandma’s basement. In cases like these, however, “Friendzone” makes it clear that we should applaud the bravery and tenacity of those for whom not even the risk of losing their Wednesday night nacho nibbling buddy can keep them away from the siren’s call of amour.

Straight, gay, white, black – to “Friendzone” it matters not. All that matters is that you take a chance on romance and risk having your colossal failure and uncomfortable heartbreak filmed for the whole world to see. If that isn’t a compelling reason to follow through with one’s desires, then maybe this world is a colder place than I thought.

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