Monthly Archives: January 2014

Designer Karen Walker’s “Visible” Campaign

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In my quest to discover how the world affects fashion, I am excited to share the artistry of Karen Walker. She has presented some stellar look books in the past, featuring seniors and kids rocking her spectacular sunglasses. This season’s look is no exception. In her latest campaign entitled “Visible,” she recruits the very Kenyan based artisans who’s skill sets are a direct result of the Ethical Fashion Initiative.

Some models were the skilled craftspeople who were directly responsible for manufacturing the cases that her amazing sunglasses come with. We love how she came full circle and celebrated those responsible for producing her great products. What do you think? Enjoy!!

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Alicia Hall, Style Pantry

“Control is for Beginners”

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…Great quote by Deborah Mills-Scofield – Harvard Business Review.

I want to take the thought even further to say controlling managers suck and I’m glad I’m not one. Have you ever noticed how much energy you expend trying to control anything, whether it’s navigating a car on an icy road; crafting with an overzealous glue gun; or even engaging in small talk? The latter usually results in the pain of knowing you overshared with some random person with whom you were just trying to be sociable.

Now imagine controlling managers are spending that same energy ten times over to create a false sense of security for themselves. What could be uglier than that– besides maybe scoring a great sample sale on your favorite designer shoes and discovering one shoe is too tight, or really cheap chocolate that looks delicious until you taste it, or God forbid, dating a stalker who happens to be so adorable that you try to overlook that flaw? There is no beauty in control and there is certainly no art in it.

Control is for Beginners

“When we don’t give people the space to take calculated risks, learn, apply, and iterate, we are really risking our future. While there is a risk to improvising and spontaneity, control brings its own insidious dangers. In our push for perfection, we over-engineer. We add so many bells and whistles that it takes a genius to use the product. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Just because we can practice to perfection doesn’t mean that’s best.” -BRENDA MICHELSON

Australia – Baked Chocolate and Orange Pudding Recipe

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This is really quick to make. #chocolatefriendsofTenaciousM will love this one served warm with ice cream!

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Serves 6

Ingredients:
600 ml (20 fl oz) low-fat milk
zest of 1 orange
1 tspn vanilla extract
90 g (3 oz) agave syrup
2 tbsn cocoa powder, sifted
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter
3 thick slices seeded brown bread
cocoa and icing sugar, for dusting
sugar-free ice cream, to serve

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bring milk to the boil in a saucepan with orange zest, vanilla and agave syrup. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Mix cocoa to a paste in a cup with a spoon of cold milk, then whisk into the hot milk. Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl. Pour the hot milk mixture over the top (ensure the milk is not boiling). Continue to stir.
Spread butter onto the slices of bread and arrange in a small baking dish. Pour the chocolate custard mixture evenly over the top. Allow to stand for 15 minutes to allow bread to absorb custard.
Bake in oven for 35 minutes. Dust with a little cocoa and icing sugar. Serve warm with some light or sugar-free ice cream.

The Isley Brothers – Over The Hump Old School Sound Check

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The Isley Brothers are an American musical group originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, originally a vocal trio consisting of brothers O’Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley.

The group has been cited as having enjoyed one of the “longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music”. Alongside a fourth brother, Vernon, the group originally performed gospel music until Vernon’s death a couple years after its original formation. After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, “Shout”, written by the three brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies.

Afterwards the group recorded modestly successful works for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, “Twist & Shout” and the Motown single, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” on their own label, T-Neck Records. Initially influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry. The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley (lead guitar, drums) and Marvin Isley (bass guitar), and Rudolph’s brother-in-law Chris Jasper (keyboards, synthesizers) in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. Credit: Wikipedia

The Isley Brothers won me over with their albums: “Go For Your Guns” and “The Heat Is On”, featuring “For the Love of You”,”Make Me Say It Again, Girl” and “Voyage to Atlantis.” Here is one of my favorite versions of the song “Caravan of Love.”

Geology Rocks!

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OK, forgive me for the lame heading, but I actually do love geology. In fact, had I been a better math student, I would have become a geologist rather than a writer. Believe me I tried. I eagerly attended geology 101 and 102 in hopes that my love of nature, the earth, maps and the world around me would somehow transform me into a mathematician. Sadly, it was not to be. Probably, and even sadder, my love for partying with friends on 6th Street in Austin, Texas conflicted with my desire to study as hard as math required. Plus, the other geologist would have probably laughed at my rhinestone-trimmed offshore rigger outfits. Anyway, I did become a writer and the following poem is my consolation prize.

TOPOGRAPHY

Walking the dark side of roads
I use no light
Or share what I have lost-
Mind records its landscape
Soul exaggerates relief between
The distances of falls
Mark the path- leaving scars
Which are a map
To route mistaken turns-
And guide my search of private ground
Until the key shines back at me

Double-Crusted Chocolate-Covered Sweet Surprise Cheesecake

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double-crusted-cheesecake

A creamy, chocolatey filling is surrounded by an oatmeal-pretzel crust and topped with a decadent ganache in this mouthwatering cheesecake. Warning: #forchocolateloversonly

Serves: 12

Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hr

Ingredients

Ganache Topping
12 ounce(s) Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate
1 cup(s) heavy cream
2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon(s) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon(s) instant coffee granules

Oatmeal-Pretzel Crust
1/2 cup(s) lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup(s) rolled oats
1 1/2 cup(s) salted pretzels, crushed (coarsely or finely per your preference)
1 1/2 stick(s) unsalted butter, melted
Butter to grease pan

Filling
2 block(s) (8 ounces each) Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup(s) low-fat Greek yogurt
3 eggs
1 cup(s) white sugar
2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
1 bag(s) (10-ounce) miniature Snickers Almond bars (about 15 mini bars)

Directions
Make Ganache: Put chocolate chips in a glass or steel bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream and butter to a boil and pour it over the chocolate chips. Leave chocolate and cream alone for 5 minutes, then stir to combine; mix in vanilla and coffee granules. At room temperature the ganache is the perfect consistency to “frost” the cheesecake.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Use a fork to combine all ingredients for the crust. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan with butter. Pour half crust mixture (2 1/2 cups) into greased cheesecake pan and reserve other half of crust mixture for later. Use a glass to help you firmly press the mixture down evenly. Bake crust for 8 minutes. Once the crust is out of the oven, turn the oven down to 325°F.

Chop candy bars into bite-sized pieces. Use a mixer to blend together Neufchatel cheese and Greek yogurt; once they’re fully incorporated, mix in one egg at a time; add sugar and vanilla and mix until everything is just incorporated. Fold in chopped candy and pour mixture into pre-baked crust. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove cheesecake from the oven and evenly sprinkle remaining crust mixture on the top; bake for another 20 minutes.

Allow cheesecake to cool completely, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Pour the room-temperature ganache over the cheesecake and spread it out in an even layer (some chocolate will drip down the sides of the cheesecake, but don’t worry about spreading it evenly over the sides). Refrigerate for another 2 hours.

Roberto Cavalli Pre-Fall 2014 Collection

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Roberto Cavalli’s Pre-Fall 2014 Collection combined animal prints, jacquards, brocades, and fur in an opulent yet not over-the-top way. For the most part, I had traded in my animal prints for a while because everyone else was all over that look, and TenaciousM is a leader, not a follower. I’m happy to see a more refined approach to the fabrics this year. I’m also feeling the embellished jewelry, shoes, and bags completing the looks. Enjoy!

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