Chic choices – July 2014

Lalique_NemoursBowl Lalique_Isaphan Lalique_Avallon


Photographs courtesy Lalique.

There’s an added excitement to any gathering when you realize your hosts have taken those extra steps to make you feel special. They took out the good china, are using cloth napkins and the flowers on the table are clearly not from a last-minute supermarket grab. And if you were to walk into such a setting and also see Lalique crystal on the table – wow. You know your host not only has impeccable taste but that your presence is highly valued. Create that welcoming atmosphere in your own home with selections from Lalique’s spring-summer collection. A number of the creations are available in an amber hue that adds another level of rich detail to your own entertaining. We suggest, clockwise from top left, the Avallon ($2,200) or the Ispahan ($5,000) vases or the Nemours bowl ($2,350). Your guests will thank you.

For more, visit

OptiGrill New Image


Photograph courtesy T-fal OptiGrill.

Don’t let a rainy summer day interrupt your barbecue plans. The new T-fal OptiGrill ($179.99) allows you simply to move the party inside. Ease is on the menu with this product, which features a cooking sensor that automatically adjusts to the thickness of your food to get the perfect result. With a sleek, stainless-steel exterior, the compact unit is also easy to clean and store. Get those steaks ready.

For more, visit


Mason_Jar_Salads-cov.inddNO MORE SAD LITTLE LUNCHES

Photograph courtesy Ulysses Press.

All those tired of taking the same old, same old when it comes to bringing lunch from home, raise your hands. OK, you can all put them down now. We have a solution, in the form of a creative new book that has come to our attention. “Mason Jar Salads and More” by Julia Mirabella (Ulysses Press, $16.95) is a colorful celebration of “50 Layered Lunches to Grab & Go.” It seems like a simple premise —taking a basic Mason jar, using some smart layering techniques and creating time-saving, portion-controlled meals — but we admit it’s one we never thought of. Mirabella spotlights seasonal fare with selections including corn and blueberry salad; arugula, pine nut and Parmesan salad; and Greek salad with chickpeas. The book also offers recipes for heartier lunchtime fare, such as curry chicken salad and orecchiette and broccoli rabe, plus ideas for breakfasts, snacks and salad dressings. Bye bye, cafeteria.

For more, visit



Photograph courtesy Broomstick Sweetie’s.

Broomstick Sweetie’s specializes in seasonally inspired cakes, pies and confections — everything from wedding cakes to custom dessert tables complete with its signature layer cakes, trifles, cookies, cupcakes and bars. Nicole Brake, a Chappaqua resident brought Broomstick Sweetie’s to Westchester when she relocated from Los Angeles two years ago, and her 6-year-old business has grown exponentially by word of mouth — pun intended. The retired ballet dancer began to use baking as her artistic expression. “Baking has been my creative outlet since I was a little girl. I love being part of someone’s special day because dessert is the grand finale to any event, and that is what people remember.”

Loyal customers on both coasts eagerly await the month of October when Brake makes pumpkin fudge. Flavors rotate to eggnog, chocolate and white winter mint. Each ceramic pan is shrink wrapped and decorated, making it a great corporate gift, party favor or hostess present. Prices start at $18 for a ¾-pound tray and $50 for a party-size wedge. Nothing Brake makes is low calorie, but everything is made from scratch using the freshest ingredients, including seasonal fruits. Cakes are one-of-a-kind, with prices starting at $45 for an 8-inch, two-layer cake. Custom designs are also available.

For more, call 914-419-6487 or visit

—  Ronni Diamondstein

 Jewelry_TheHollye Jewelry_TheBeatrice


Photographs courtesy Teece Torre.

Summertime dressing is usually more casual, more relaxed. And you want your jewelry to reflect that approach. You don’t want to go overboard. That’s what New Year’s Eve is for, right? We were recently introduced to Teece Torre jewelry, and it seems like the perfect accessory for summer’s sometimes balmy, sometimes breezy moments. We can picture Teece Torre bracelets, necklaces and earrings adding just the right touch to your outfit whether your destination is a relaxing Sunday brunch or a lively concert in the park. Owned by Patricia Caruso and operated out of her studio in Elizaville, N.Y., the line — which just marked its second anniversary — is named after a combination of Caruso’s nickname (“Teece”) and her grandmother’s maiden name. Working with high-quality precious and semi-precious gemstones, all work is handmade and strikes a lovely balance between the classic and modern. The Beatrice ($635) necklace, features three 35-inch strands of braided black “diamond” spinel, finished with 3.5-inch black spinel tassels. The Turkish sterling tassel cap is embedded with white zircon that sparkles like diamonds. The braided black spinel strands are accented with sterling sparkle-cut beads and completed at the tassel end with exotic black opal. The necklace can be worn several ways, including as a lariat choker or long with the ends looping around each other. The Hollye bracelet ($1,600), named after the woman who commissioned it, is 18 strands of Ethiopian black opal united with a stripe of Ethiopian white opal on a bed of tsavorite garnet. The opal flashes with green, red and blue, constantly changing with the light. The white opal “berries” are secured to the bracelet with gold-filled headpins and create a three dimensional effect of a flower garden. Karen Hill Tribe vermeil beads are sparsely arranged on the body of the piece and vermeil beads edge the white opal stripe.

For more, visit



Photographs courtesy SHAUNS California. 

For ladies, putting on a pair of stylish sunglasses can be a real confidence-booster. Come to think of it, that goes for the guys, as well. In the summer, when sunglasses are prevalent, we look for those brands with a little something extra. And we love the look of some of the latest styles from SHAUNS California, especially the glamorous cat-eye Ailsa ($305). Many of the styles are unisex, so possibilities are limitless, ranging from the geometric butterfly of the Esk ($250) to the more classic Lewis, pictured, ($260). What we like just as much as the look is the company’s commitment to good vision. Through its Give Sight program, for each pair sold, the company donates a pair of vision glasses and sponsors an eye exam for someone in need in a developing country. Find SHAUNS California locally at boutiques including Eye Designs of Westchester in Scarsdale.

For more, visit

Catlina Robe 1 


Photograph courtesy Luxor Linens.

There’s nothing like a long hot shower after a day at the beach or by the pool. Follow that freshening up by slipping into a luxurious robe. We suggest the Catalina Egyptian cotton terry luxury bathrobe (beginning at $179.98) from Luxor Linens. This plush choice is made in Turkey and offers spa-like luxury in a machine wash-and-dry style that becomes softer after each washing. It’s available in white, ivory and espresso in a unisex design. And for that special touch, remember all the robes can be monogrammed.

For more, visit



Photograph courtesy DreamWorks.

Movies that have a culinary thread running through them tend to be favorites. Think “Chocolat,” “Julie & Julia,” or “Big Night,” which starred WAG July 2013 cover guy Stanley Tucci. Well, we’re really looking forward to another, “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” Helen Mirren, a WAG favorite, stars as Mme. Mallory, the chilly chef-proprietress of a noted and so-very-classic French restaurant in a small village in the south of France. Her world is turned upside down by the arrival of an Indian family, led by Papa (Om Puri) and his culinary-genius son, Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal). They are intent on opening the Maison Mumbai, yes, just feet away. We can only imagine the savory twists and turns. Directed by longtime Bedford resident Lasse Hallström and due in theaters Aug. 8, we think it’s something to add to our cinematic-culinary agenda — don’t you?

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Photograph courtesy Savino. 

When the meal is over but there’s still some wine left, a new glassware product is ready to come to the rescue. The Savino Connoisseur is designed to keep your wine fresh for up to a week. It’s an easy-to-use preservation system that basically helps you create a barrier between the wine and the oxygen, thwarting the oxidation process and extending the life of the wine. Each Savino Connoisseur ($59.95) holds up to a full 750ml bottle at a height that fits most refrigerators. As the company tagline says, it’s all about having “Today’s Wine Tomorrow.”

For more, visit

Wine copy copy

Photographs courtesy Guarachi Family Wines.

Summer and grilled foods go hand in hand. But what to serve alongside your steak, swordfish or veggie kebabs? Guarachi Family Wines, started in 2007 by TGIC Global Fine Wine Company founder Alex Guarachi, has several selections (and descriptions) to share. These include the Guarachi Family Wines Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($65), said to be an elegant choice “with raspberry, currant, and cedary oak supported by firm yet silky tannins on the palate. The finish lingers showing more layers of balanced, perfumed fruit.” The Guarachi Family Gap’s Crown Wines Pinot Noir ($75) is a top-scoring Pinot Noir that “exhibits bountiful fruit paired with oak-inspired spice that melts in your mouth and makes for an exceptional food wine with soft yet lively acidity.” And when summer eventually winds down — don’t worry, it’s not anytime soon — the company looks ahead to recommend an autumn wine, the Guarachi Family Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($80 and pictured). This is a “top-rated, complex and layered expression of deliciously dark fruit intermingled with currant and raw cacao. Blackberry and cherry collide with hints of cola and espresso.” Cheers!

For more, visit

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