Roasted Tomato, Ginger & Basil Soup

Nothing screams fall or winter like a hearty tomato soup, especially on a chilly day. Lucky for me, New England brings lots of days that call for this recipe. And if you love carbohydrates and starches as much as I do, to make it even heartier, add rice or orzo pasta. Serve with a classic grilled cheese sandwich and you have a perfect meal.

Tomato Soup

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At first I thought the details on Lanvin’s shirt were suspenders. It would look pretty rad if they were.

At first I thought the details on Lanvin’s shirt were suspenders. It would look pretty rad if they were.

Boho is making a comeback for Resort ’15 – though I can’t say it ever left my closet and I don’t think it will. My wardrobe consists mostly of long, free flowing shirts and dresses, fringe and some more fringe. Perhaps I keep Boho around to hide my food baby – and I secretly wish I lived inside a Free People magazine. Don’t get me wrong; I love the minimal, streamlined look Boho encompasses, there’s this understated vibe it exudes, a kind of bold and carefree look if you will. It won’t go away anytime soon because contemporary classics are a staple. It is just a matter of keeping them fresh.

The floral print will always pair nicely with bohemian style threads; it’s just a matter of how the print is presented. We see designers reinvent floral each season, the question is, are they executed correctly? Another boho staple is the tie-dye print, which again can be hit or miss depending on the representation of the print. Here are some of my favorite boho-chic inspired designs from the likes of Lanvin, Giles and Michael Kors featured on style.com and Elle’s Nov. ’14 issue. Head over to style.com to check out more of the Resort trends.

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The Lunch Break Dresser

Since it’s been a little over two years after I found this piece, I think its okay that I tell the truth about this dresser. After a nice lunch at the now closed Channel Café in Fort Point (still not happy about that) with my friend and co-worker Allie Hyde, we drove back to the styleboston office in Southie and parked on M Street behind the building.

It was trash day in late August so I had been keeping my eyes peeled for furniture, as this is the time of year when lots of people toss their belongings they can’t move and find a new rental. It was pouring outside but that didn’t stop me from trying to shove this dresser in my little Toyota which of course, did not fit. I had been gone for over an hour now and the boss lady was not happy, but I decided this dresser was worth getting ripped a new one. I called my sister and told her how much I wanted it and since she is so great, came and picked it up for me in her SUV.

The Lunch Break Dresser 2

Allie and I walked in soaking wet looking not so stylish….Terri just looked at us like WTF and said “really guys, an hour and a half lunch break?” We also had coffee in our hands so that didn’t help, but that’s not the point – the point is I got my new dresser! So yes sitting in a cold office with a pissed off boss and wet pants was totally worth it, sorry Terri.

 

Mid-restoration, after I sanded the drawer faces. We do not endorse Dunkin Donuts - that coffee is not staged, I was just lazy.

Mid-restoration, after I sanded the drawer faces. We do not endorse Dunkin Donuts – that coffee is not staged, I was just lazy.

The dresser was simple and country, with brown shellac and white porcelain knobs. I decided to add a little flair and make it standout with a bold color scheme and oversized knobs. The four small drawers across the top we’re really what caught my eye. A great piece for a guy – the perfect amount of space for socks, underwear and toiletries. I kept the faces of the drawers clear to expose the Pine wood grain while using a slightly tinted polyurethane to enhance the pattern of the grain. To make the drawer faces standout I chose a deep gray-blue for the frame that I felt complimented the small brushed nickel knobs. Ceramic knobs with a cracked emerald glass overlay from Anthropologie were added to the top drawers. Again adding contrast in size, shape and color. The bold colors and fixtures make this formerly quaint, country and feminine dresser a unique statement piece.

Items from trash: brushed nickel knobs, mirror (refinished), plant tray (made from scrap wood), terracotta pot.

 

Items purchased: ceramic knobs, paint.

View more of my creations HERE

Digitalism-Wolves

No intro or build, just immediate bass. The bass is strong but not obnoxious or overpowering, it’s smooth and infectious – creating an intriguing backdrop for the rest of the song. I start by mentioning the bass line because it’s what made my ears perk up and take notice of the song in the first place. The vocals, provided by Young Blood Hawke are smooth and subtle, while choppy synthesizers hit hard mimicking the tempo of the bass. Combine the elements of Wolves and your product is that of a funky, indie-dance banger. Young Blood Hawke’s pitchy vocals make this track fun and bring the energy needed to match the heavily produced track. I’ve had my eye on Digitalism for a few years now as they’ve attracted some well known DJ’s to remix their tracks (Dillon Francis, Eric Prydz) and this tune, in my opinion surpasses any previous production I’ve heard by the German electro duo. Listen below and see for yourself.

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Now for part 2 of our series on Top Chef alums: Boston’s dining scene has always been a vibrant one. With such easy access to an abundance of farm-raised, season-changing ingredients, our region has always been much more than the “land of bean and cod.” Our corner of the country has always been quietly pushing culinary boundaries. (Thanksgiving? Totally America’s first dinner party.)

Tiffani Faison

Tiffani FaisonFaison placed runner-up on the very first season of “Top Chef,” and earlier this month she scored the number two spot again on the inaugural season of “Top Chef Duels,” a spin-off that pits popular alums in culinary face-offs. (She also competed in a special “Top Chef All Stars” season.) When she’s not in front of the camera, you’ll find her in the kitchen at Sweet Cheeks Q, her popular barbecue restaurant steps from Fenway Park. With its smartly sourced meats, house made sauces and creative, bourbon-drenched cocktails served in mason jars, there’s a slightly elevated touch to her down-home fare.

Pro Tip: Chilly out? Fear not. Sweet Cheeks’ popular beer garden has a retractable roof, so you can still drink outside (sort of) when the cool weather comes.

 

Mark Gaier & Clark Frasier

Mark Gaier & Clark FrasierThis culinary power couple competed together on “Top Chef Masters.” But they first made their mark at Arrows, an Ogunquit icon that introduced locals to “farm to table” dining long before the phrase became ubiquitous. They still operate a slightly more casual restaurant, M.C. Perkins Cove, up in that resort town. But earlier this year they opened their first Boston spot: M.C. Spiedo, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, a glitzy option for historic Italian cooking based on the traditions of – what else? – Renaissance-era cuisine.

Pro Tip: How down to detail are the recipes? Check out “Leonardo’s Salad,” is comprised of a list of ingredients found in Da Vinci’s notebooks.

 

Kristen Kish

Kristen KishKish was chef de cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s fine dining destination Menton when she won the 10th season of “Top Chef.” Since then, she’s moved on and parlayed her fame into a number of opportunities: from roving the country for special cooking engagement to scoring an endorsement deal with Rembrandt toothpaste. She hasn’t yet settled into a new permanent home, so keep an eye on her Twitter account (@KristenLKish) to see where she’s cooking next.

Pro Tip: In this case, tip your hat. Kish made “Top Chef” history by being the first contestant to win after being (temporarily eliminated). She made a comeback in the show’s “Last Chance Kitchen” and wound up only the second female winner to date.

 

Michael Schlow

He may not have won the inaugural season of “Top Chef Masters,” but the star chef behind Via Matta, Tico, and Alta Strada says he would “absolutely” return to reality TV again. “Although it’s really stressful and demanding, I’m competitive and seek vindication,” says Schlow. “I understand the challenges a little better and hope that given the opportunity I would fair a little better on the show.”

Pro Tip: Traveling? Good news. Schlow recently opened some new restuarants outside the Hub: Cavatina at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, and a Washington, DC brand of Tico.

 

Ana Sortun

ana-sortunAnother “Top Chef Masters” alum, Sortun is the major talent behind Oleana, a Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean restaurant that earns its recurring recognition as one of the area’s best restaurants. But late last year she also opened Sarma in Somerville, a hip destination for cocktails and small plates. And her Sofra Bakery continues to satisfy sweet teeth, specifically.

Pro Tip: Want to try your hand at the plates that this James Beard-winning chef puts together? Sortun is also the author of a cookbook, “Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

FROM WARRIORS TO WAR  It seems that each project I become involved with takes on a life of its own. I’ve been told that is a good thing when projects do that; they start to tell you what they want to be. This is certainly true for CharityWarriors.

The first evidence of this is in the name of the project. Our project, initially called “Charity Wars,” was going to be about women in Boston, all associated with different charities and all vying for the same dollar in the relatively small town. I still don’t think that this is a bad idea for a show – in other words, showing a bit of how tough it is to raise money  – maybe some cat fights, table flipping, this apparently makes for “good TV.” After all, charity is a business and I was interested at the time of getting into that story. But, it didn’t take long to realize that, at least for this show, we were going down the wrong path.

The women we met simply didn’t have that mentality. They are at war, yes, but not with other women. They are at war with the FDA to release the drug that is a known cure for their child. They are at war with the politicians and leaders of the state to impress upon them the importance for healthcare and housing for our elderly and homeless individuals. They are fighting for awareness for the education of children who would never be able to experience it in a safe, nurturing environment. They are at war with navigating the social media maze to get their message out there in a place where the average person has more than 1,000 unanswered emails in their inbox (I’m guessing based on my experience). They wake up every day to press on and perhaps not find a cure for their own child but to be able to be “this close” and say it’s all been worth it just so more children in the future won’t suffer from a debilitating disease. These women are tireless sorts. They really are Warriors.

Let me introduce you to the women and their charities. They are Erica Corsano, the MSPCA-Angell; Barbara Quiroga, Rogerson Communities; Christine McSherry, the JETT Foundation; Reia Briggs-Connor, Hip Hop for Hope; Michelle Sanchez, the Epiphany School. All the money they raised through www.charitywarriors.org will go directly benefit their cause and one will be awarded a $10,000 bonus at the end of six weeks.

 

From the time that Mary Chiochios and I started to document the women in their every day life, we saw the challenges. Christine McSherry has five kids! Jett, her middle son who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy has been wheelchair-bound since he was 11 years old. Reia Briggs-Connor is a former Patriots cheerleader. Her passion is dance. She decided to keep dancing and to use dance as a way to get the message out there about her son Jared’s disease, even when her first instinct was to curl up in a corner.  He was diagnosed with San Filippo syndrome when he was 24 months old. There is not just one story. There are five truly touching stories of truly amazing women who live with such purpose and drive and ambition every day.

 

I think that this is the strongest point to me. I look at the women I have met as Mary and I have worked on this project. I see they have the same 24 hours in a day as all people do, they have jobs, families, food to put on the table and soccer games to get to. But, they manage so much more. They seem to don capes and take up swords and shields and drink elixirs that allow them to transcend their circumstances and accomplish so much more in a day.  In my mind they are Warriors.

 

Unlike any other project I have worked on, CharityWarriors has been set up to perpetuate itself. There are so many causes to support and there are so many amazing women who buoy these causes up with their personalities, their attitude and their perseverance and resilience. I’ve become drawn to their stories. Of course we all want to support their causes but, for me, it’s these amazing women at the helm who inspire me to want to give more, be better and live passionately. On the night of Nov. 13 we will reveal who raised the most money in six weeks.  If you join us at the event I believe you will walk away feeling good you attended and inspired. Will you be the next Charity Warrior?  Or do you know someone who is?

For more information on the event go to www.charitywarriors.org

Top chef Boston

 

Hey, food TV fans! Here’s where to find “Top Chef” alums around Boston.

Boston’s dining scene has always been a vibrant one. With such easy access to an abundance of farm-raised, season-changing ingredients, our region has always been much more than the “land of bean and cod.” Our corner of the country has always been quietly pushing culinary boundaries. (Thanksgiving? Totally America’s first dinner party.)

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Dress for Success

Styleboston was at Royale nightclub to show our support for the Dress for Success Boston event featuring designer Denise Hajjar. Headlining for the 6th year in a row, Denise had some of Boston’s most fashionable women participating in the evening, raising money and awareness for disadvantaged women looking for a fresh start in the workplace. We chat with Linda Holliday, Janet Wu and Yolanda Cellucci, who all walked the runway wearing the designer’s latest collection, as well as Denise Hajjar and the co-founder of Dress for Success, Nancy Schneider.

Carla Fernandez

The Carla Fernandez fashion show during BFW was more than just a runway, it was an art exhibit. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum created an enchanting backdrop with its multicultural architectural design and indoor garden perfect for Fernandez’s ethnic collection.

The audience was situated around a square shaped room with massive overhead space that faded to black by the top floor. Positioned in the middle of the space was a small ceramic pedestal that was crafted by her husband which the models slowly walked out to one at a time. With their motions reminiscent of a robotic marching army, each model circled the outside perimeter making their way to the pedestal. There they stood and did another rotation, moving as if they were being digitally controlled. This pace actually gave you the chance to fully appreciate the garments. So many fashion shows are over in a blink of an eye, not having enough time to fully absorb each look. Fernandez gave the audience the time to observe all of her fine detailing and intricacies.

If I had to hone in on a style, I would knight the collection streamlined tribal. Simple shapes created amazing drapery around the models with ornate patterns and colorful materials. The barefoot models with their white painted feet were an interesting touch, blending nicely with the aesthetic of the collection. It also made for a silent runway which was nice for a change – there wasn’t that distracting sound of clunking heels. The style was on trend, but so classic at the same time. Creating a balance of timeless and contemporary is difficult to achieve, and I think Carla’s inspirations helped her accomplish that harmony.

After the show Carla spoke about how she works with artisans from different regions in Mexico every season. The indigenous craftsmanship was apparent in her designs. Her geometric silhouettes and patterns, made up of squares, rings true to traditional Mexican style.  After learning this, the showcase formation of a square made even more sense. Everything from the motions of the models, to the music, to the atmosphere tied in together with the clothing. This designer represents how fashion is more than just a functional part of our lives, it is an art form. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Carla Fernandez

photography by Harry Koffman

 

Red Lantern

Red Lantern – Owned and operated by Empire’s Big Night Entertainment group, the ambiance at Red Lantern is spectacular; Asian décor of course. It’s not too loud to have a conversation with your date or even neighbor. In fact, I had one of the worst dates of my life here, but always seem to make friends with those eating at the table next to me. Had a little too much to drink? You won’t even get in trouble for pushing your friend under the table when she leans over to pick up her chopsticks. Trust me. I’ve tried it.

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Kennedy's selfie:dating postSo what do you do when someone you dated a couple of times decides to ask out your co-worker?  I’m serious.  This just happened.  Here is the story of Easy Rider.

Easy Rider ,found me on POF.  He was a nice fellow, good smile, single dad, had a job and a motorcycle – all good things.  We chatted a few times and decided to meet in real life.  We went bowling.  It was fun, he was charming, he gave me flowers and a bone for my dog.  He gave me a short kiss and we went our separate ways.  I knew we didn’t’ have a love connection, but he didn’t.  Like a dog with a bone he came after me.  And let me tell you, he was one determined man.  After a few months of dodging his advances, he finally realized we were just going to be friends – or as he tells people he was “friend-zoned” and all was right with the world.

Fast forward to last week.  I was out of work for over a month as I was on strict vocal rest.  We had an amazing woman named Angie C fill in for me and upon my return we decided to keep her around for a while. I love her, she’s hilarious.  Last Tuesday she asked if I knew this guy.  I said “yes that’s Easy Rider”, we have dated.  I guess he had found her on Facebook and liked what he saw.  She asked me if I would mind if they went out.  I honestly didn’t know what to say.  There were very specific reasons he was friend-zoned and I felt like I needed to tell her these reasons.  But I didn’t.  Why didn’t I?  Seems like a shitty thing to do, but at the same time she seemed determined to go out with him no matter what so I gave the pair my blessing and sent them off into the world.  He promised not to take her where he took me on our date.  What a gentleman.

The date happens tomorrow.  I’m going to guess the friend-zoning will start the day after.

 

The Tree of It

“The Tree Of It” by local Boston artist, Zach Nolin

While tripping through my garden…

More from Zach Nolin

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“Cacio e Pepe”

My husband’s very favorite pasta sauce is also one of the world’s simplest. We both fell in love with this Roman specialty, a creamy twirl of fresh pasta, hot with crushed black pepper, during our time in residence at the American Academy in Rome, after a friend introduced us to the charms of the old Jewish Ghetto. There, on the Piazza delle Cinque Scuole, behind an unmarked door at number 30, is one of the smallest trattorias in the city, Sora Margherita.

You need to become a “member” of Sora Margherita because of local licensing, but this essentially means filling in a form. We were introduced in this loud and crowded little watering hole to the simple marvel that is pasta cacio e pepe. The cooks at Sora Margherita serve it over a delectable egg tonnarelli (a variation on long, flat fettucine), but any long pasta will do. The quality of the pasta is as important as the freshness of the few ingredients.

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Kreyol, Fashionably Late at the Liberty Hotel

Kreyol, Fashionably Late at the Liberty Hotel

The goal of the evening was a fashion magic carpet ride, an inclusionary “big tent” event that a diverse gathering of fashionistas, both men and women, could enjoy regardless of their personal approach to style.  I wanted a designer dream team, each possessing an original vision for strong females with the type of talent that transcends and inspires. I chose the fresh, confident chic of Kreyol, the futuristic military vision of Julie Kontos paired with Race & Grant, and the red carpet drama of David Josef’s dresses.

kreyol

Kreyol, created by the glamorous Haitian born designer Joelle Jean Fontaine, opened the show with her Capsule Collection. The collection included 50’s inspired garments with circa 1800 details and modern touches. The structured bouffant sleeves and full, oversized a – line skirts were reminiscent of a by gone era, but the form fitting pencil skirts and cropped tops in colorfully rich patterns gave the collection a distinctly modern sex appeal. Looks were completed with strong jewelry, flirty sunglasses, and leather driving gloves.  Fontaine designs Kreyol for “the woman who creates her own reality, she is born to stand out and rule her destiny looking fabulously chic.”

The second presentation featured Boston-based designer Julie Kontos paired with Tracy Belben & Helena Grant, the accessory designers behind Race & Grant. This fusion created an evening wear collection that blends the team’s talents and commands attention. Kontos “classic with an edge” aesthetic evokes the structure of military styling with clean lines and symmetry, yet balances femininity by implementing thoughtful cut outs and flattering silhouettes. Touches of lace and shimmery fabrics enhance the crisp navy, gray, and white color palette. The fashion designer worked directly with Race & Grant to create customized accessories to compliment features within each garment.

juliekontos

Meticulously handcrafted by the designers, Race & Grant (aka ‘R&G’) is a fusion between chain jewelry artist (Belben) and handbag/ accessories creator (Grant). “In military styling, function is important. We created durable bags that incorporate both vegan and real leathers in rich color tones to accompany Julie’s collection,” states Grant, who crafts and engineers the structure of R&G’s bags.  Each R&G bag is intricately wrapped and finished in hand-linked chainmaille, which further expresses the military concept within Kontos’ collection. “If you look closely, you will find hidden symbols such as crosses and American flags linked within the chainmaille”, says Belben, who finishes each R&G piece with chain adornments.  This fashion stylist says “Sign me up!”

raceandgrant

Closing the show and bringing down the house was designer David Josef, a force in the fashion world for nearly 40 years. He attributes his long success to recognizing the needs of each individual client and focuses on silhouettes that enhance a woman’s beauty, no matter her age or dress size. Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Ave have all carried his collections. David Josef has been featured in ads in Vogue, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar. The client list for his beautiful cocktail dresses and gowns is extensive and includes both national and local celebrities in film and news media. David has worked with Judith Light, Dionne Warwick, Debbie Reynolds and WCVB’s Susan Wornick. More recently, David worked on the wedding gown for Ariana Brown, daughter of former Senator Scott Brown and Gail Huff, for her July 2014 wedding.

CREDITS:

Models provided by Dynasty

Photography – Dilven PhotographyExfailures

 

DESIGNERS:

KREYOL –  website | facebook | twitter

DAVID JOSEF – facebook

RACE & GRANT – website | facebook | twitter

JULIE KONTOS – facebook | twitter

Michelle Lewis

Her hit single “Run Run Run” off her new album “The Parts of Us That Still Remain” has inspired many, especially after the tragic events that took place during the 2013 Boston Marathon. Michelle Lewis is a Berklee College of Music graduate who is a veteran to the Boston Music scene.  She is taking her music on the road kicking off a nation wide tour. I sat down with Michelle recently between sets at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge.

video directed by Nathan Laver

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