Bedroom Design: 5 Romantic Red Bedrooms

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Last I heard, most folks think of February as the month of love. With Valentine’s Day falling on the 14th, we can’t help but plan dates, family get-togethers, and other social outings to celebrate with those closest to us.

Since the color red often reminds us of romance, passion, and love, there’s no better time than the present to starting dreaming in red. Though the boldness of red isn’t for everyone, these five sleep spaces show how a bright color can successfully be used in a private space. Get ready to swoon over these five romantic red bedrooms. Eat your heart out, Cupid!

This New York City bedroom boasts the right number of red accents in the most perfect shade of red. The space takes on a hotel-like quality with its crisp bed linens, chic décor, and uncluttered design.

Tiny and unassuming, this alcove in Paris offers little space for anything other than essentials, but the red wall and pillow shams add interest and punch to the barebones bedroom.

A fun wall covering from Anthropologie and a bold matelasse coverlet make this young adult room especially lovable. The pooch at the foot of the bed adds to the sweetness.

This bedroom in Aix en Provence provides the ultimate romantic escape. Silk, velvet, and an Aubusson area rug contribute to the luxurious French feel.

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Bedtime Stories: Bone Gap

bone gapPost by Mark T. Locker.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

Well, the ALA midwinter session came and went, and as we all know (at least those of us involved in libraries know) that means the announcement of several major awards for excellence in American children’s literature. The Newbery, The Coretta Scott King award, the Caldecott and the Printz to name a few.

I am always particularly interested in the Printz award, given for the best in new young adult novels written by Americans. Always thought-provoking and often challenging, this year is no disappointment. Laura Ruby has written a few books before winning the Printz for Bone Gap. But her earlier novels such as The Wall and the Wing are for younger readers and somewhat straighforward magical reading. Bone Gap is gritty, full of aches and love and turmoil and hope, much like real life. It’s also full of magic which, sadly, is less like real life.

Finn and Sean O’Sullivan are left to their own devices when their mother leaves her family in Bone Gap, Illinois for an orthodontist in Oregon who dislikes children. As teens, she expects they can look after themselves. Then one day, Roza shows up, injured, scared, and hiding in their barn. Only a year or two older than Sean, they take her in and give her the apartment in their home. When she suddenly vanishes, everyone in the small town believes she just decided to leave. But Finn knows what happened. He knows she was taken, but nobody believes him.

It’s difficult to summarize this book. It manages to tell the story in several timelines and from two different points of views, all without getting confusing or muddled. We learn how Roza came to America from Poland and we learn what happened when she shows up in the barn, but not necessarily in that order.

Dealing with teenage and adult subject matter, this book is better suited to the high school or adult audience but is not a story to be missed. Both disturbing and magical and lovely, the Printz Award has chosen a great novel to bear its medal.

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Movies in Bed: Into the Woods

into the woodsPost by Mark T. Locker.

I am a big fan of fairy tales. The original 19th-century German tales, as recounted by the brothers Grimm, hold a lot of value to me. To be honest, I never knew that Into the Woods was a musical by Stephen Sondheim until the movie was released. I was intrigued as to what a fairy tale-themed musical might be like.

With an A-list cast including Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, and James Cordon to name a few, it showed a lot of promise. The story contains mix of several fairy tales that will be familiar to viewers: Cinderella; Jack and the Beanstalk; Little Red Riding Hood; and Rapunzel. Their stories merge as a poor childless baker and his wife make a deal with a witch. In exchange for several items, she will give them a child. Those items happen to include a golden slipper and a red robe. Each character finds him/herself headed into the woods for each individual purpose. And one by one they find each other and create a new story altogether.

I enjoyed this movie. It’s a good family-friendly sing-along-able movie with a mix of old stories and new. I only wish the movie had ended at what I assume was the intermission. I felt that everything was resolved nicely and that the second part only served to muddle the story. I found myself asking: why did that character do that? Why did that just happen? When did songs turn into people just singing what seems like regular dialogue?

Aside from that, I would watch it again. I’d probably turn it off at intermission. But that’s just me. If you are looking for a family-friendly musical that’s got a mix of humor, adventure, and tales we all know and love, take a trip Into the Woods.

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Bedroom Design: 5 Ideas for Nightstand Alternatives

Post by Tracy Kaler.

In my opinion, a bedroom isn’t complete without a pair of nightstands or other furniture on which you can place essentials such as an alarm clock, phone, bottle of water, and pair of eyeglasses. That being said, a nightstand in a traditional sense isn’t the only option for this practical bedside piece. These five choices are viable alternatives depending on your lifestyle, taste, and room layout.

Skirted table
If you don’t need the storage in your bedroom, you can get a custom skirt made for a round, square, or rectangular table. Add a piece of glass for easy maintenance and you’re good to go.

Writing desk
A small desk can double as a place to write a note and work on a laptop, as well as hold necessities. And you don’t have to be symmetrical about it. It’s fine to use a bedside table on the other side of the bed.

Side table
This tiny side table does the trick, as it holds a bedside lamp and an alarm clock. It appears as if there’s just enough space for a water bottle.

Shelf
A short bed wall didn’t leave much room for nightstands, so SGW Architects in Chicago decided on a pair of cleverly designed shelves instead.

Built-in unit
This clean, uncluttered built-in offers everything a nightstand does as well as more storage than the usual single-drawer bedside table.

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Breakfast in Bed Does Brunch – White Asparagus Cream Soup

White Asparagus Cream Soup 10

Post by Alison Hein.

Even though we like to stay in our PJs and lounge about in the bedroom all day, we recognize there are times when you need to stretch your legs and visit other parts of the house. That’s why we thought it might be fun to get you up and out once in awhile with a brunch recipe. J

If you are familiar with white asparagus, you will know it is exactly the same as green asparagus with one major exception – it is grown under mounded earth dams which prevents chlorophyll from developing and keeps the stalks white.

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White asparagus also has a deep, mellow flavor and can be served in many forms. It’s delightful simply steamed and drizzled with butter or hollandaise. Delicious served cold in a niçoise-style salad, tucked neatly into a cheesy omelet, or puréed into a fragrant cream soup.

There is, however, one cardinal rule about this mysterious vegetable – you absolutely MUST peel the woody skins from the stalks for every preparation. This sounds tedious, I know, but once you get the hang of it the work goes fast. It takes a little patience, and a firm but delicate touch.

This soup is a favorite of ours and a surprise for guests. I always retain a few asparagus tips for garnish, and mix up a tangy Horseradish Cream Sauce for a little added kick.

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Ingredients

3 pounds white asparagus
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
⅓ cup flour
1 package (32 oz.) vegetable broth
½ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Dash nutmeg (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preparation

Cut off bottom inch of asparagus stems and discard. To peel skins, lay each spear on a flat surface. Peel one at a time using vegetable peeler. Gently hold asparagus tip, start about one inch below tip, peel off skin and discard. Coarsely chop asparagus spears and set aside. If desired, retain about 12 to 18 spear tips to be cooked separately and used as garnish.

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Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour. Gradually add broth, stirring into flour mixture until smooth. Add wine, asparagus, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.

In separate small saucepan, simmer reserved asparagus tips in lightly salted water until tender, or about 10 minutes. Set aside.

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Stir in heavy cream. Lightly puree in blender or food processor.

To make Horseradish Cream, mix sour cream and creamy horseradish together in a small bowl.

Serve soup warm, garnished with Horseradish Cream, reserved asparagus tips and chopped parsley.

Makes approximately 6 1-cup servings.

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