Bedroom Design: 5 Things I Must Have in My Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Everyone has a wish list when designing a bedroom. Some things may be for aesthetic purposes only, while others may be functional. Here is my lineup of must-haves that I can’t live without in my personal sleep space.

1. Nightstand with a drawer
As much as I adore bedside tables, I need a proper nightstand with at least a single drawer, if not double. I like to keep everyday items like eyeglasses, earplugs, tissues, hand lotion, lip balm, and more, tucked neatly away so these necessities are nearby when I need them.

2. Decorative throw
Whether I drape it over a chair or leave it at the foot of the bed, a throw has its place in my bedroom. I prefer a knitted or crocheted style, which adds texture and is ideal for snuggling.

3. Ceiling Fan
The sound of a fan soothes, the light, yet constant breeze cools, and the circular movement relaxes. Any bedroom I own or sleep in on a regular basis must have a ceiling fan.

4. Television
Sleep specialists will profess that TV in a sleep space is a big no-no, but I find a big screen a necessity in my bedroom. I rarely watch while trying to fall asleep, but on occasion, reality television or late-night comedy clears my head and prepares me for the following day.

5. Window treatments
Even though I don’t feel relaxed in complete blackness, I prefer city lights at their dimmest setting when I crawl into bed. I also fancy sun in the morning, however, so blackout shades provide too much darkness. A lined roman shade and lined curtains on my oversized bedroom window control light in both morning and evening hours. This combination filters just the right amount of sunlight, and subdues the 24-hour brightness of Manhattan at night.

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Breakfast in Bed – Caramelized Onion and Bacon Omelet

Post by Alison Hein.

My husband loves to host a big July 3rd party every summer. The tradition started several years back when Kevin came up with this brainstorm on July 1st – “Hey”, he said, “everyone we know is busy on the Fourth, but I’ll bet no one has any plans on the evening of July 3rd. Plus, they don’t have to get up early for work the next day.” Sure enough, he was right, and the 25 guests we invited all said yes, giving us two days to scramble to prepare.

These days, the party has grown to twice the size, but Kevin still insists that we cook everything ourselves for our “gourmet barbecue.” We have some annual standard fare like the McCafferty Family Secret Potato Salad and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Spicy Ribs. But we also like to try new ideas. This year, we decided to have an interactive Slider Bar as a starter. While Kevin was conducting practice rounds, perfecting his timing, shaping and spicing, I was fiddling with different topping alternatives, and how to display them. I finally settled on 6 toppings – caramelized onions, guacamole, bread & butter pickles, dill slices, blue cheese and bacon – which we then spooned into mason jars and labeled with homey tags.

How nice to get up the next morning (uh, afternoon) and have all these fun choices to dress up our omelets. How nice to have a Day of Independence and breakfast in bed.

Ingredients

2 strips bacon
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons caramelized onions (see preparation below)
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons guacamole
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon sliced green onion

Preparation

Cook bacon strips slowly over medium heat until browned and crispy, turning once. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. When cool enough to handle, break into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

Melt butter in small, heavy pan over high heat. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk until mixed. Add caramelized onions to beaten eggs, then pour into heated pan all at once and swirl to evenly cover the pan. Tilt pan slightly, and every few seconds, use a jerking motion to pull the pan towards you so the eggs move away as they begin to cook. When the eggs begin to set but are still very soft in the center, remove the pan from the heat for a few seconds.

Lightly spread the sour cream and avocado over the eggs and sprinkle with bacon. Retain a dollop of sour cream and guacamole for garnish, if you like. Return the pan to the stove, and continue the jerking motion, this time holding the pan at an even higher angle, until the omelet begins to flip over onto itself. Give the eggs a little push with a spoon or spatula if necessary. Turn the omelet out onto a plate, garnish with sour cream, guacamole, and green onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

Caramelized Onions

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Vidalia (or other sweet type) onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon sugar

Preparation

Heat olive oil in large heavy pan over medium heat. Add sliced onion and sprinkle sugar on top. Stir and mix well to separate and coat with oil. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions become a deep golden brown color, about 30 minutes.

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Breakfast in Bed – Patriotic Parfaits


Post by Alison Hein.

Here’s a lovely recipe for those hot July days – no cooking required! Simply layer creamy Greek yogurt and crunchy cereal with fresh red strawberries, then top with tart, juicy blueberries. You’re in for an easy fix, and a red, white and blue breakfast that will delight kids and old folks alike this Independence Day.

Making your dish in lovely goblets is key to obtaining that “wow factor.” Stemmed wine glasses are just right, but you may have some equally elegant tall, thin clear glasses that would look amazing.


If you prefer to create an impressive dessert, simply swap out the Greek yogurt for vanilla ice cream (or salted caramel, yum!), replace the crunchy cereal with toasted walnuts or hazelnuts (or macadamias!), and finish with a dollop of whipped cream and a ruby red cherry.

And when it’s not July 4th, flavor (and color) variations are endless – black raspberry yogurt with blackberries and raspberries, lemon yogurt with pineapple and mango –well, you get the idea.

But for now, let’s stick with the red, white and blue, and help America celebrate her birthday with a patriotic breakfast in bed that’s almost as good as fireworks.

Ingredients

1½ cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and trimmed
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup granola (or other crunchy cereal)
½ cup blueberries

Equipment

2 8-ounce clear glass goblets

Preparation

Chop the cleaned strawberries. Place a layer of strawberries in each goblet. Top with a layer of yogurt, and then a thin layer of granola. Repeat a few times ending with a layer of yogurt on top. Artfully arrange blueberries on top of yogurt. Sprinkle on a bit of granola for garnish, if you like. Serve chilled.

Makes 2 parfaits.

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Bedtime Stories: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Ah, Shel Silvertstein. Few are so multi-talented and appealing to such a wide range of audiences as he is. Was. Known primarily for his children’s poetry and that depressing book, The Giving Tree, Shel also wrote naughty comics for Playboy, did several music albums, and wrote a hilariously wicked book called Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book. Little-known fact: Johnny Cash’s hit song “A Boy Named Sue” was written by Shel Silverstein.

I used to own Where the Sidewalk Ends; in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve owned it more than once. But now all I have is A Light in the Attic. That is also a great book of poems but not the original. So when I saw it on the shelf at the library, I had to get it. My son loves his poems. We read from A Light in the Attic often and listen to his audio versions a lot. Some of them are accompanied by music which is fantastic. “Twistable, Turnable Man” is particularly catchy. The best part about getting our hands on a copy of this is that I could finally read the poem that complements the picture at the back of all his books of a naked man with a long, long beard.

We read a couple poems each night before bed. Two poems always becomes three or four or ten. I never argue because I am really enjoying revisiting these poems again. They’re funny, kind, naughty, sweet, thoughtful, and shocking. I’m pretty sure Shel was exactly the same.

Pick up a copy today! If you have it and haven’t read it for a while, you should revisit it. If you have read it recently, good for you!

Happy reading!

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Movies in Bed: Beauty and the Beast

Post by Mark T Locker.

I realize that I’m coming to the party about twenty years late. I guess as a surly teenage boy Disney cartoons weren’t much on my radar. I think my favorite movie of that year was Howard’s End, one of those old-timey British Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham-Carter period pieces, before Helena got weird. I’m sure I had seen La Belle et la Bête, Jean Cocteau’s post-occupation masterpiece. I’m still a huge fan of that movie.

Well, every Friday is family movie night at our house. After digging through our piles of DVDs looking for Aladdin with no success, we landed on Beauty and the Beast. In classic Disney form, it’s full of fun songs and a startlingly simplified version of the story. Which is not to say it was not enjoyable; it’s just so different from the 1946 French version. There is good reason this movie has become a Disney classic. It’s got all the right ingredients: castles; talking objects; princesses; true love; songs. Friends, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Angela Lansbury, as a teakettle, sing you a ditty.

I’m sure everyone out there has already seen this dozens of times. I’ve only seen it once now. What should we watch tonight?

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