Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ugallery

If you feel like most art out there is too expensive, then check out this website called Ugallery. It is practically an online gallery with literally thousands of artwork. Many mediums, from photography to printmaking to sculpture. Many different sizes from a small print to a giant painting that is over 5 feet. And they are all affordable, because they are mostly by up-coming artists. And they have "daily deals" where they either sell gift cards at a discount price or sell one artwork on that day only at a discount price. Worth checking out for sure. Here are a few of my favourites from that site:


Recipe for Magnolia Bakery's famous banana pudding.

Although they are more famous for their cupcakes, I heard from many people that they actually prefer Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding to their cupcakes. And when I found their recipe online, which was taken from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, I tried it and it tasted and looked exactly like the one you would get at one of their stores, so I don't see the point of buying it in a store, when you can make the exact one at home.

I bake a lot, but if you are one of those people who doesn't use the kitchen much (like my former self), even you can whip this up in no time, because it does not even require baking. It is so easy; just follow the recipe below. And it has only a few ingredients. Here is a photo I took of the banana pudding I made today :



Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding recipe, as taken from their cookbook:
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ cups ice cold water
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)  (PS: I think this recipe needs more wafers than the 12 oz box.  Next time I make this, I will use half of a box more than what the recipe calls)
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas
In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. (PS: I did not want to wait for 3 hrs, so I put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, and then the freezer for 10-15 minutes, and it was as set as it could be; just make sure that it is an "instant" vanilla pudding mix that you used. If it isn't instant, it will take longer to set. But also be careful with the time in the freezer if you are going to do it my way, because you don't want a frozen pudding).  It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours - before serving.
By the way, I am editing this post with good news.

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Also, don't forget that we offer free shipping on orders over $100. If you have any questions, you can either post here or contact us at info@envilu.com. Thanks!















Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My best list for desserts in NYC and LA

Having lived in LA for about 4 years and having been living in NYC for over 10 years now, I have gathered a list of my favourite places to eat certain desserts I like at in the US. I am Turkish and have not found a single Turkish restaurant in those two cities that is as good as the ones in Turkey, so there won't be any on my list. Turkish cuisine is rich, exquisite and very delicious, but I suggest you visit Turkey to get the best of the best. I also lived in Seattle for a very short time, but that was many many moons ago and the places I liked may be closed now for all I know, so I will also skip Seattle in the list. So, here it is, my best list for those who have a sweet tooth or two:

  • House of Pies,  Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA: This place has the most delicious blueberry cheesecake pie I have ever eaten. And it is 24 hrs open (or was when I lived there), AND it was only 6 blocks from where I lived, which meant many 2 am runs to get a cheesecake pie because of sudden cravings. Well worth it. 
  • Canter's Delicatessen, , Los Angeles, CA: there are so many yummy pastries there, but my favourite has been the Hungarian cheesecake. You will want more.
  • Chelsea Market, New York, NY: If you are a foodie like me, you MUST go to this place if you live in or visit NYC. It has many stores in it that have all kinds of delicious food. But my favourites are lobster roll at the Lobster Place and carrot cake with cream cheese icing at Amy's Bread.
  • Caffe Dante, Greenwich Village, New York, NY: On a Food Network show I heard a famous chef say it had the best cannoli in town. And when I tried it, it really was delicious, but I have not eaten cannoli in enough places in NYC to classify it as the "best" yet, but so far it has been the best of the cannolis that I have eaten for sure.
  • Eataly, New York, NY: This is a bit of a high end Italian shops/mall place where you can shop Italian goods or sit down to eat. One of its co-owners is the famous chef Mario Batali. It is very pricey, so it can not be a frequent stop for me by any means, but for once in a blue moon it is worth a visit. One of the things I got there was baba al rum dessert, and it was very delicious.
  • Fran├žois Payard Bakery, New York, NY: This bakery is very close to Caffe Dante, so you can visit both places on the same day. I love their coffee macarons (pictured below). They are the yummiest macarons I have ever tasted.
  • Balthazar Bakery, Soho, New York, NY: Great French pastries. It has the best croissants. Try them with their great lemonade in the summer. 

Now, I can't finish this post without any pictures, right? In no particular order, here are some pictures:






Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cloud Chair

I usually don't care for light-colored chairs. Unless it is accessories like vases, I don't really like any white decor elements. But this cloud chair by Lisa Widen by Design House Stockholm  appeals to me for some reason. I think the ad cleverly used the angelic looking toddler, because , like the chair's name clearly suggests, it looks very cloudlike.


On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have a colorful chair here by the Phillips Collection , which was on sale today on Gilt.com. It is made of industrial seat belt material.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daily finds

I have a crush on this sofa by Moroso. It would not work for my living room, but still, it is a joy to look at.

I love this bookshelf by  Munkii which you can find at BobbyBerkhome. Although, I would paint or wallpaper the insides, as I am not crazy about that brown.

I also like these chairs by Jon Goulder.

Sculptures from recycled plastics

Check out this British artist, Robert Bradford, who creates his life-size and larger-than-life sculptures of humans and animals from discarded plastic items, mainly toys but also other colorful plastic bits and pieces, such as combs and buttons, brushes and parts of clothes pegs.So cool and creepy.




Ligne Roset furniture

Some of my favourite Ligne Roset furniture:




Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tables and a fun radio from ABC Home.

I love these tables by John Reeves.  You can find them at ABC Home.


And this radio at ABC Home is just adorable.

Gilt, ideeli, hautelook, Onekingslane, Ruelala

I may have mentioned before that I am a huge bargain hunter.  And it always gives me delight to share bargain finds with others. For years now I have been a member of many discount sites such as Gilt, ideeli, Ruelala, Hautelook, Onekingslane. Maybe most of you already have heard of them. I bought so many things from those sites over the years, from shoes to home decor items to kitchen tools  at %70-%90 discounts.

Each site has daily sales dedicated to all kinds of designers, from unknown, small-scale designers who may not even have a shop in your town to high-end ones that you normally can not afford. And whatever your taste or style is, it is practically guaranteed that if you check these sites every single day, you will eventually come across things that you like and they will certainly be cheaper than what you can find elsewhere.  I mean  paying $25 for an item that retails at $350 is just thrilling. For example, today on ideeli's red sale (which gives even more discounts on already discounted items) there were coats at $15 which retailed for $260.

I know I may sound like an advertisement, but, truly, I am just only happy to be sharing any money saving way I know of  with people.

Most of these sites need invites to join, so the links I will give you below will provide those invites. All you need to do is sign up for free.

ideeli invite
ruelala invite
gilt invite
hautelook invite
OneKingsLane invite


 Some of the things I have bought from those sites in the past 2 months are:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Metallic touch

If you are looking for something a bit masculine for your space, this chair by Restoration Hardware is interesting.



 And I like this side table by West Elm:

Beef and broccoli recipe

Above is a picture I took of the beef and broccoli (recipe by Emeril Lagasse) I made. I have used this recipe many times, and each time it came out perfectly. And I just wanted to share it.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 pounds beef flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain*
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 large onion, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons grated ginger
2 large heads broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
Steamed brown rice, for serving
Method:

Combine the oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat a wok or a large skillet. Once it has reached a medium heat, add the peanut oil.

Dredge the beef in the cornstarch, lightly shake off any excess cornstarch and add the
beef to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli and cilantro to the pan and shake frequently.
Add the sauce and stir to evenly coat the beef and broccoli. Cook until the sauce thickens
and broccoli is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed brown
rice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Architect Terunobu Fujimori

I really enjoy architect Terunobu Fujimori's design projects. There is usually an act of balance going on, like that tree house is so cute, but I would be quite scared to climb on it.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Irregular Choice shoes and Etsy jewelry

I like this steampunk ring and necklace on etsy.com.

I love Irregular Choice (they also have a more subdued sister company called Poetic Licence); their creativity rocks. Some of my favourite shoes are from them, but I don't love everything they do; in fact there are quite a number of shoes from them that I do not like and would not wear, and by that I mean "over my dead body" kind of would-not-wear,  but even those that I do not like, I tip my hat to because every single pair of shoes from this brand , even those that are not to my liking, are undoubtedly creative and nothing like you see from any other shoe brand out there, which is why I salute this British brand for being outside of the box. The exception is their men's shoes, which are lacking in creativity compared to some of their women's styles.

Anyway, I have been wearing stuff from Irregular Choice for many many years. My latest buy was these boots last year. I am a sucker for black/white or black/red polka dots AND those cute heels and the quilting-type stitching details and everything else are terribly adorable, but wearable at the same time.

And below I am also posting some of my favourites from their new designs.





New buys, new finds

I bought two decor items this past month. One is a black crocheted bowl, which is shipped but I have not received yet. The yarn that forms it is neoprine rubber, a material which is used frequently in plumbling and the motorcycle industry. The bowls, which are hand-made in Italy, are strong and durable despite their delicate appearance.


  I also bought this  vase by Chapeaux. I got them at Gretelhome.


I was looking at Horchow. And I have to say that 90% the stuff that they sell I am not that interested in, as they are mostly classic or traditional, neither of which I am much into. But they also sell antiques or vintage inspired items, or in rare cases, industrial looking pieces, which is why it is worth a look every now and then. I liked these two items, a kilim ottoman and a rustic/industrial dining table, which I would put together with modern chairs to give a nice contrast, like the chairs I had photoshopped into one of my collage-like decor pictures, which I am posting below. I also photoshopped  Jonathan Adler's Dora Maar vase in that picture, which I have been wanting for YEARS.