TRAVEL SHOW: Are You Living the Ultimate Beach Fantasy?

Did you or someone you know swap their view of the cubicle for a view of the ocean? Are you living out the ultimate fantasy on a tropical beach or island?

TRAVEL CHANNEL is looking for people who actually made it happen! These are the ultimate stories of escape from the courageous few who checked their suit and tie at the door never to return to the daily grind. We’ll take a peek inside their enviable lives to see how different routines can be when living off the grid in paradise. Where grocery shopping means a visit to the local fisherman, and a commute to work involves stepping barefoot out the door onto the beach.

CASTING NOW! We’re looking for people who said good-bye to the hustle and bustle and hello to “living the dream.”

To submit yourself, email beachlifecasting@gmail.com with:

  • Name, Age, Occupation
  • Current location
  • Brief description about how you ended up living the beach fantasy
  • 2 recent photos of yourself/your family
  • 3-5 recent photos showing us your home and you in your daily life
  • Contact information

 

Rework-d Interior Design

This week’s Thursday 5 interview is with David Henderson-Sposato, founder of Rework-d interior design services in Long Beach, CA. David’s bold color choices and sophisticated mixing of eclectic components have made him stand out in southern California. Here’s what we asked.

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1. How long have you been doing interior design?

I have been designing for the past 7 years. I started in textiles and moved into upholstered goods & furniture design and eventually wound up running my own design firm and showroom.

2. What’s the best thing about being in Long Beach, CA?

The best thing about being in Long Beach would have to be the people. I love this city; it’s such a mellow place and the people are very laid back. There’s a definitive style to the Long Beach resident that combines a beach-y vibe along with a fearlessness to experiment with color and texture.

3. What’s your favorite color? PANTONE® announced their 2014 Color of the Year as Radiant Orchid. What do you think about that color?

I would have to say that my favorite color is navy blue! There’s a calm assertiveness for me in the rich blue hue. I love the subtlety of radiant orchid, I would love to see it paired with a lush black velvet, or bright pop of yellow, a chair frame lacquered in it would be amazing. It’s a great pastel for adding contrast to a room.

4. What would you say is your design philosophy?

My design philosophy is: do what makes sense! There are really no limitations for me when it comes to design. I personally love the juxtaposition of old world romance mixed with industrial modernism. Even more so, I love bringing my client’s personalities to life through their respective environments.

5. What’s up next (or in the works)?

We hope to open our second location in the coming year, a spot that caters specifically to the retail side of the business, something small. A place where we can showcase some of our more rare pieces; we can’t wait to spread the Rework-d aesthetic!

Rework-d founder David Henderson-Sposato

Rework-d founder David Henderson-Sposato

In addition to interior design services, Rework-d specializes in furniture re-upholstery, window treatments and custom products. To check out more of their work and the services they provide, visit their website Rework-d.com.

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Josie Torres Makeup & Hair

This is the inaugural post for a series I’m devoting to sharing the talents of people I know or have discovered that I find of interest. I will ask 5 simple interview style questions and share a little something about their work–a photo, a website or whatever, so if you like what you see, leave a comment, share or follow them online. This week, I’m shining a spotlight on a dear friend and client, Josie Torres, a makeup artist and hair stylist in New York City.

Haunted magazine

Photographer: Alexander Neumann

1. How long have you been doing makeup and hair?

I have been doing hair and makeup for about 25 years. I started out with hair and slowly got into makeup. Having both skills has been a blessing. When I first came to NYC, bookers were looking for more hair people than makeup and my career followed that path.

2. What’s your favorite thing about living in New York City?

I love that you see so much everyday. There is so much inspiration in the city. There is definitely a beat to it. It’s also nice to work with so many creative people.

3. You have new work out in On Makeup Magazine published by The Powder Group, the beauty gurus responsible for top to bottom education for professional makeup artists. What would you say is the greatest thing about what they do? 

Michael DeVellis who created The Powder Group, and On Makeup Magazine, is so smart and innovative. He really has done a lot for our industry. He has created these great platforms for artists to showcase their work, share and teach from their experiences. Together with artist James Vincent and others in their organization, they have created a way to connect people together in the beauty community.

4. For awhile, you’ve been doing makeup for Katie Couric. What has been the most exciting or surprising thing about your experience with her?

One of the exciting things was all the travel, and places I have been with her. I have also met a roster of really cool people!

5. What’s up next (or in the works)?

Right now, I am focusing on my freelance work. I am currently updating my book, and have been working with Chris Sollinger an Art Director for Soda Jones.  We have been doing some really cool projects. I am also concentrating on my bridal work, BRIDALBEAUTY101. It’s something I have done since I started doing my craft and I just love doing it.

Photographer: Ben Dugan

Photographer: Ben Duggan

To see more of Josie’s work, visit her websites JosieTorres.com and BRIDALBEAUTY101.COM.

Bridal makeup & hair

Bridal makeup & hair

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin MuffinsIt’s cold out and I’ve been in the baking mood. It started before Thanksgiving (as usual) and now I’m in the zone. Let’s just hope all this baking doesn’t put me in the gaining weight DANGA ZONE!  The recipe is easy and it’s a great alternative to pumpkin pie while still getting your gourd fix.

Ingredients

1 1/2 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

6 Tbsp. margarine or softened unsalted butter

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 c. pumpkin puree

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin with margarine (or use baking cups). In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, cream the margarine and brown sugar with a hand mixer. Beat in eggs one at a time, then the pumpkin and vanilla. Next, alternate between mixing in a third of the dry ingredients and a third of the milk until fully incorporated.

Pour into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

That’s it! This recipe makes about 15 muffins so you can secretly gorge yourself on 3 muffins and you still have a dozen. I won’t tell if you don’t but you might want to add some extra time at the gym and be on the lookout for the gluttony police. ;)

 

Recipe: Easy Come, Easy Go Brownies

A bowl of cocoa powder.

When I’m not laboring in front of a computer screen in graphic and web design, taking photographs, being social in NYC nightlife, working on side projects with peers, traveling, dancing, drinking…ok, I get BUSY (as do most New Yorkers). One of my hobbies is baking. Don’t judge me! I’m a proficient multi-tasker and baking allows me to be able to get up from the computer from time to time without throwing off the mental focus I’m usually giving to something else. Plus, I’ve been cooking and baking since I was 7 years old. It’s also nice to have something made from the heart that you can share with others…and I’m a sugar fiend. Again…don’t judge! I’m not as bad as I used to be. If you really wanna know how bad, think Lil Chrissy from John Waters’ movie, Pecker. But I digress.

This is a simple brownie recipe that I’ve had memorized for years. It’s a great go-to recipe that works every time and is super easy to assemble.

1/2 c. butter (unsalted) or margarine
1 c. sugar (I usually use 1/2 c. pure cane sugar & 1/2 c. dark brown sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan (sometimes I use pure cocoa powder instead of flour for the dusting).

In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs until well mixed. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until well blended; next, fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t overcook!

In fact, a batch just finished while I quickly finished writing this post. I wonder if I can get ice cream delivered in Brooklyn. Gonna have to go out dancing to work all of this off!

Window Displays, Retailers, the Economy–Oh My!

Last night I walked around Manhattan late at night so I could take pictures of many of the holiday windows in the city. I mostly kept to 5th Avenue, so I can’t include some stores (like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s) but you can really see how the economy has affected retailers. Usually window displays for the holidays are grandiose, lavish affairs that dazzle and enthrall. This year, many stores slapped some red paint on a wall with maybe a snowflake or a bow thrown around here or there, and overall the effect wasn’t just boring, it was underwhelming. For others, it was just more of the same (sorry, Cartier). Of course, it was the giant retailers who could afford to really “do it up” while the smaller shops are obviously scraping the bottom of the recession barrel. For the record, I don’t celebrate Christmas or any holiday really, except for Halloween, but as an artist/designer I’ve always enjoyed taking in the creativity of the artists who conceptualize and breathe life into a store’s display. I’ve secretly always wanted to design and build window displays myself to be honest. While I understand it’s all a part of the marketing of commercialism, you can’t deny the art of it–that’s what I love.

I have to say that the art was severely lacking, but there were a couple of exceptions. Needless to say, the windows at Barney’s were very cool thanks to the efforts of the Lady Gaga Workshop there (even though with her flair I did expect a little more). Bergdorf Goodman had pretty cool windows if you don’t mind the taxidermy look and Sak’s Fifth Avenue had some interesting ideas, even if they weren’t really holiday inspired. Most retailers seemed to “phone it in” as they say, but I get it. These days, who has the budget? However, as any artist can attest, creativity isn’t something that’s defined by the almighty dollar. Paint is fairly inexpensive but instead of WOW-ing us with some cool design, I saw many one colored walls with nary a thought put into the creative process. That really deflated my excitement and surely that doesn’t help the cause of drawing in the holiday shoppers. Like I said, I’m no fan of commercialism, but every retailer represents multiple jobs–people rely on that industry like any other to put a roof over their head, clothes on their backs and food on the table. Window displays are street level advertising at it’s best (or worst as the case might be) and if you want to find success on a tight budget then being creative is key. I wish everyone luck in making a buck this holiday season. I hope you’re happy and healthy and can enjoy the season with family and friends. May you all be blessed with good fortune in this harsh economic climate and may 2012 bring even greater blessings. On that note, I leave you with several of the holiday windows I enjoyed.

Cheers!

Urban Container Garden

Gidget a.k.a. Hellraiser or O.G. (Old Girl)

Gidget a.k.a. Hellraiser or O.G. (Old Girl) watches over the garden

2011 (so far) has turned out to be a very interesting year. Lots of changes, including moving back to Brooklyn, and lots of projects. The summer got especially kooky. We had the mildest summer weather that was quite rainy, we felt the quake that hit DC, and hunkered down for Hurricane Irene. I took on the responsibility of fostering a cat. A 14 year old sassy Manx cat that acts more like a dog, and an irritated, rambunctious 4 year old instead of 14. The Manx breed has a genetic mutation that creates tail-less cats. Actually, all sorts of lengths are possible, but she has what they call a riser (just a bump of cartilage under the fur). She came de-clawed which is probably why she’s a biter. haha Oh, Gidget–I love your bratty butt! Even before summer and the arrival of the Hellraiser cat, I decided to start a new project just for the hell of it.

Maybe I’ll grow some peppers on the fire escape…–that’s how the idea began. I was in Home Depot picking up some paint to re-do the bathroom. Wandering around while our Caribbean Sea semi-gloss mixed, I found myself in the garden center in front of pepper seeds. It was mid to late April, so I was already late in the season for getting started, but I could just get a clay pot & do it in a windowsill. This is where, in typical fashion, I leave reality for the land of imagination and I examine seemingly infinite possibilities all at once. Compare it to watching the growing, blooming and dying of a flower via time-lapse, all in the span of a few minutes. There’s some blurriness of thought but I’m doing something (in reality) like holding a packet of seeds while half reading what it says while half focusing on my dream world. The next thing I know, I’m at the self check-out register with several containers, organic soil (Miracle-Gro’s Organic Choice Potting Mix), multiple organic seed packs and a seed starter kit from Burpee that holds 72 seedlings. That’s not going to fit in a windowsill. o_O

Naturally, I already settled on using the fire escape because I saw the future and it was having my own little urban container garden. I could not be stopped. Not only was I starting late in the season, I was going to be on a northern-facing, 3rd floor fire escape in Brooklyn, NY. Despite the various odds stacked against me, my little garden flourished without any pests, so no pesticides. I just watched everything like a mother hen does her chicks and observed what worked and what didn’t. The only creatures that like the plants were a couple of spiders and what looked to me like at least three types of bees. I never had my camera handy to catch them though. I wasn’t quite sure how various factors like the wind would play, both on evaporation and on the plants themselves, so I had to guess at things, such as how often to water. I knew that for some of the things I wanted to grow that it’s best to grow them in the ground, but again, I wanted to see what was possible so I jumped in knowing that I was going a bit overboard. Nature is surprising though. I picked 6 things to grow: 3 pepper varieties (jalapeno, poblano & habanero), yellow onions, roma tomatoes and tomatillos. Moving them all inside during the hurricane was quite a hilarious task that left me drenched. haha

Months later and I’m harvesting quite the bounty, plus I now know what works for my little slice of outdoor heaven and what needs to kick dust. You might be surprised at yourself if you decide to take up a similar project. If I can accomplish this on a fire escape, imagine what you could do with a roof or yard in the city! I’m not a complete novice, though and various times throughout my life, I’ve had small little gardens and kept house plants. My thumb is fairly green. I do need to give a few props for inspiration to a former employer. My time spent working for gardener/designer Rebecca Cole (colecreates.com) made me realize that container gardens in the city were not only possible, but they can flourish.

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