Monthly Archives: January 2014

Designer Karen Walker’s “Visible” Campaign


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”


…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


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

Baked_chocolate_Orange_Puding 2

Serves 6

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

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


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!


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.


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



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


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

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)

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


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!


Chile Chocolate Lime Martini Pudding



Hey #chocolatefriendsofTenaciousM!! It’s 5:00 PM somewhere in the world and chocolate time all day everyday! You will enjoy this Dream Treat. The zesty pudding is topped with tequila lime mascarpone cream to tantalize your taste buds. It’s easy, fun, and flavorful!

Serves: 6 Edit

Total Time: 35 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min

1 cup(s) sugar
1/3 cup(s) cornstarch
2/3 cup(s) cocoa powder
2 teaspoon(s) ground Ancho Chile Pepper, also know as Dark Red Chile Powder (see Tips & Techniques)
3 cup(s) 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
3 tablespoon(s) Cointreau or Citrus Vodka (see Tips & Techniques for Variation)
8 ounce(s) Lime or Key Lime low-fat (not light) yogurt
8 ounce(s) Mascarpone Italian cheese
1 tablespoon(s) tequila, optional
1 tablespoon(s) lime zest
8 slice(s) lime wedges, for garnish

Place 6 to 8 martini glasses or 8 small glass dessert dishes on serving tray.
In large sauce pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, chile, and salt; slowly stir milk to combine. Over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, cook until just beginning to thicken, 7 to 12 minutes. Add alcohol, continue to stir, and cook 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour immediately into martini glasses; cover with plastic, refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before spooning with topping.
In medium bowl, with large spoon, beat until smooth yogurt, mascarpone, tequila, and 1/2 zest. Spoon equally on top of chocolate pudding, cover, refrigerate for at least one hour (can be made up to this point one day ahead).
At serving time, top with whip cream, remaining lime zest, slice of lime, and a pinch of chile powder; serve and enjoy!
Tips & Techniques

Note: When it’s time to add the Ancho (Chile Pepper, add 1 teaspoon, then taste for desired intensity before adding more. The chile heat varies by freshness and location of purchase.

Variation: If you don’t have Cointreau or Citrus Vodka, replace with any orange liqueur or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Make-Ahead Tip: Complete steps 1 through 3 up to one day in advance.

Calling All Dreamers


Happy Monday to all my #DREAMERS (and you know who you are). Here’s a Monday pick-me-up just in case you have forgotten how fabulous you are. Remember, we aren’t selling our joy and we sure as hell aren’t giving it away for free. I recommend eating chocolate while listening!

Shout out to the original DREAMERS: Char, Diana, Pamela, Freida and Janice as well as my BFF and Honorary Dreamer Barbara Kapp. Mad Love Mondays and Always!

Salsa Chaos


I was at a salsa dance class when after only ten seconds into the song my instructor stopped the music. The guys just weren’t getting it, and of course us girls REALLY need them to lead… The instructor yelled: “You have to stay on beat or there will be COWS” (Chaos in his lovely Puerto Rican dialect). Which of course was crazy funny to me because I grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas. I started laughing as I recalled the CHAOS of those COWS in my life growing up having to feed them, corral them and go get them when they decided to run free. The resulting poem is my refection on how similar the two situations actually are.


When I am fearless
COWS [chaos] become a salsa dance
And I am sure that the next steps I take
Will be in time.
Fortunate, promising, uncompromising
When I am fearless
Impatience is my fuel
and I am at home over my head.

You must prepare for the next step
or there will be COWS
and feet will be headed for pasture
that is out of bounds
from any fields I have known.
When I am fearless
COWS take their place
to lead me through the next steps
that will be in time
whatever is fortunate, promising, uncompromising.