Monday, January 30, 2012

Trump Tower Chicago Restaurant Sixteen is Delightful

Celebrating the birthdays of my two youngest children, Julia and Tyler, is always spent enjoying a meal at a great restaurant in Chicago. This year we surprised them with a dinner at Sixteen, the wonderful restaurant in the Trump Tower in Chicago. On a clear day the view is probably the best in the city,however it was a foggy and rainy night. But the lighting of the Wrigley building in the view, made the evening feel almost mystical. However, it was the food that was the star of the evening. From a 10 course tasting menu from the chef, to a wide selection from a la carte menu, the dining experience is superior. Beautiful signature cocktails were consumed by all of us and enjoyed immensely. Dinner was served at a leisurely pace, with the final course of desserts being spectacular. An artful presentation of delectable little sweet bites was presented to each of us and we enjoyed every single bite . I highly recommend this spot to anyone celebrating a special occasion- hats off to the chef!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter Whites - Why I love Chicago in the Winter!

Burn scented candles and enjoy the aroma.
Time to enjoy your favorite hot beverage in a beautiful mug!

Snuggle by the fire and ponder through all those decorating books!

Serve a roasted tomato soup in an old Paris porcelain tureen, even if it's Campbells!
Enjoy the patina of old well worn books- maybe even read them!!!!

Re- work your accessory displays. A preserved boxwood ball and a little vintage glass from Lynda are added to my living room mantel.

An antique water cooler is adorned with a shooting star hydrangea.
Grocery store roses are opened gently by hand and enjoyed in a French candelabra that's been fitted with pegged tea light holders from Hobby Lobby.

Winter- It is a dreary time of the year to live in Chicago- no flowers in the garden, no green grass, grey skies- you know what I mean?? But winter is a great time of the year to enjoy your home, nest a little, try new recipes and catch up on all those piled up magazines and books! I love to create new accessory vignettes by just moving around what I already own. Adding fresh flowers and plants brighten up the grey days, and burning scented candles of exotic florals keeps me content with winter in Chicago. I especially enjoy my white accessories in the winter- they seem to brighten up a room. It's time to re-think how your rooms are being used, organize and start those creative endeavors that you have put off since summer. And an occasional old movie while lounging on the sofa in your pajamas is the ultimate indulgence! Winter has it's benefits- if nothing else you can plan your spring garden!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pink and Chartreuse - a Match Made in Heaven.

When I found these pink and cream rose dishes, my heart skipped a beat. What an incredible shade of deep pink, the perfect complement to chartreuse and they were a steal- they are selling for 4 times more on Replacements! And I love the square luncheon plates! Searching through the fabric books, we found a playful pink and green trellis fabric for the tablecloth. It's modern pattern updated the tablescape so that it would not look like your grandmother's floral dinner table. As new hot pink pillows and wine bags were just arriving for spring, we had a perfect new window for the store. I had just found the vintage crystal champagne glasses and they looked great with the dinnerware. Arte Italica gold rimmed salad plates echoed the gold trim on the dishes. Chartreuse voile napkins were layered around starched white napkins and tied with vintage ribbon. This table looks like a breath of spring!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Atlanta Gift Show Highlights

A new vendor for personalized cutting boards- either with your name or family crest! The perfect wedding gift and there are many styles available.
Burlap buckets - cute as market bags, floral containers or as a wine bag.

The awesome centerpiece- a crown filled with mood moss and the lambs- so sweet!

A beautiful silver line from Argentina- with horn handles.

Herve Gambs candles- the scents are amazing. There are room sprays that you mist the small floral arrangements to use instead of diffusers or potpourri!

An assortment of amuse bouche vessels for our Bistro area.

Impressive carved wood lantern for the French Chateau statement.

The highest quality baskets for serving and carrying food.

Two impressive little books- gilded edges and padded velvet covers! and just wait til you see the new entertaining one that's coming out in the fall! Entertaining in true French style!

Verdigris planter boxes- can't you just see them filled with herbs in your window sill?

The Atlanta Gift Show was awesome this year. We found so many fantastic new things for our store. As I promised yesterday, I am showing you some of my favorite things. Things are already starting to arrive! In addition to the home furnishing items, we have brought back over 2000 new pieces of jewelry and scarves! Come on in and check them out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Atlanta Gift Show Highlights

So excited about the gorgeous jeweled and printed velvet pillows- to die for! Arriving in 6 weeks.
More from the velvet pillow collection, arriving in late February for the Italian Villa theme!

Beautiful hammered nickel with gold accents casserole containers for the European bistro.

A selection from the decoupaged glass dishes for the French garden.

A dramatic Venetian chandelier- not sure what category it fits, but we couldn't resist it!

One of my favorite buys- a rounded cloche on marble and the painted grape picking buckets.

Soft pastel Venetian stemware - will go so pretty with our vintage china!

Love this pretty little towel holder that's decorated with black enamel and rhinestones.

Don't you just want everything in the above pictures for your home? I sure do! I am just returning from the Atlanta Home Furnishings and Gift Show and want to share some of the fantastic finds that we purchased for the store. It was a lively show with many more buyers than last January, forecasting a good spring for retailers. So of course, we bought with gusto! Jill, my old friend from Marshall Field's days, went with me as a second set of eyes. Having an extensive retail background, she was a great help in the selection process. We were at the show for a week, so things started to blur a bit - couldn't always remember everything that we bought. But once we sat down and reviewed our orders and pictures of our selections, things started to fall into categories and our spring themes were born! Brainstorming with Lynda and Jill, we focused on how to take our presentations from basic to brilliant, from good to great, from expected to unexpected ! This spring we are excited to provide our customers with a European Bistro experience , a romantic French home and garden collection, and the Italian countryside. So the above pictures reflect the themes for spring at Romancing the Home. Tomorrow I will share many more of our purchases. We are focused on bringing our customers the best and most exciting merchandise that is available. We are really excited about all the new vendors that we will be able to offer our customers this spring.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mariano's Cakes

Yesterday was my son's birthday. So a special dinner was in order of prime rib, roasted asparagus and risotto was to be prepared. But a birthday cake was a necessity, so I bought one at Mariano's, our newest grocery store, for the occasion. Not only was it gorgeous, it tasted delicious. The light and airy cake with a butter cream icing was wonderful. Adding the spray roses to the center of the top made a beautiful presentation. I love the color of the green icing against the chocolate cake! Happy Birthday Tyler!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hot Crab Dip

After publishing "Romancing the Home Entertains", we are continually testing and enhancing the recipes. Katha made the Crab Meat Dip during the holidays and found a little mistake in the preparation instructions. Sherry was listed in the ingredients in the instructions, but not in the ingredient list. After researching the original recipe from my childhood in Virginia, I found that sherry was not in the original recipe. So last night I decided to prepare the Hot Crab Dip for Mr.RTH and myself two ways- one with the sherry and one without! I prepared the dip according to the cookbook instructions and ignored the sherry in the preparation guidelines. Then I divided the recipe into 2 parts and added 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dry sherry to one half of the recipe and baked them both sepaarately! They came out of the oven bubbly and covered with cheddar cheese. I served them on toasted baguette slices and asked my husband for the verdict- with the sherry or not??? Both versions are delicious - it just depends if you like the flavor of sherry. My favorite was the sherry and my husbands was the original recipe. So if you like sherry, I would add 3 Tablespoons to the crab mixture before baking it. In addition to being an appetizer, this Hot Crab Meat Dip would be delicious as a small individual casserole for an entree with a green salad for dinner. I highly recommend the Jumbo Blend crab meat in the can in the deli section at Costco for this recipe- it's delicious and virtually free of shells.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tomato and Bacon Bites

These are one perfect little bite- slow roasted tomatoes wrapped in bacon and sprinkled with a mixture of brown sugar, pepper and sea salt. I made these little goodies several times last week for my grandson Logan. Using the sweet cherry tomatoes ( I like the ones that are called "cherubs") wrap them with 1/4 slice of bacon and put them on a skewer. Place brown sugar in a small bowl and add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Sprinkle it on the bacon and tomato skewers. I placed them under a low setting on my broiler, but roasting them in a 350 degree oven would work too! Slow cook them for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and the tomatoes are soft and plump. They are the perfect accompaniment to scrambled eggs or quiche for an easy winter dinner!