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early summers in millerton
home, travel

When Millerton Calls

My favorite things to do when in the village of Millerton are visiting friends at the farm just minutes from the small downtown and antique shopping destination, going out for the best pizza in town and watching for sunsets and fireflies. Here’s my travel guide of the senses for the next time you’re en route.

 

If I were a store: Anthropologie

The smell of: charcoal, summer dew, your grandfather’s closet

The feel of: your oldest sweater

Bring: rosewater spray, Hunter boots, Laphroaig

Not to miss: Chaseholm Farmstore for fresh cheese, raw milk, salumi

 

in good company in the country
home, hygge, story

In Good Company

I admit. I’m tired.

A few nights ago, a friend asked me what I had done during the days just before seeing her, and I honestly paused in disbelief because I couldn’t quite remember.

With the over-worked and over-connected world in which we live in, it’s no wonder more and more of us are seeking pause and refuge. And refuge as derived from the French word meaning “to flee.”

I was speaking with a HR rep who said she, and her 50 person fund-of-funds firm (with oh, just billions in assets), had been practicing a Japanese act of purging excess (aren’t we all just a little ironic?)

She says the practice asks you to sit with something you own to determine whether or not you absolutely LOVE IT because if you don’t LOVE IT, it challenges you to purge it instead.

I thought how fascinating it is that every culture has a practice to convey the same thing: the desire for less and meaning.

For me, Danish hygge is just that. A practice that is linked to the idea that real wealth is not what we can accumulate over time but what we have to share with others, and only if we LOVE IT.

I had an opportunity a few weeks back to disregard my iCal and jump in a rental to simply be with friends. Some of them I hadn’t seen in years. Others, only via Facetime.

Was it an easy decision? No. I thought, but what will it cost? How will I get back for my appointments on Wednesday? Do I have the right shoes? (Really)

And then I paused and thought of each of those familiar faces I hadn’t seen. And how much I LOVE them.

Life goes by so fast that, if we’re not careful and sensitive to it, we miss it.

I will never forget that one weekend spent learning about farm and field and moving cattle in the afternoons. Feeling the mug in the air from an early summer coming.

Early evenings cooking food together and honoring their sources. Laughing and playing until our eyes were closing and sleeping in until you could smell the coffee brewing.

The taste of fresh cow’s milk. The smell of crimson strawberries. The scare of ticks on our skin.

That weeping willow.

The sweetness of old memories.

The looking forward’s

 

stephanie fantauzzi this is how to make him think you have a lover fred darling lifestyle blog humor writer how to be parisian
home, humor

How to Make Him Think You Have a Lover

Select from the following options:

  • Have flowers delivered to yourself and then thank your boyfriend for the thoughtful gesture.
  • Save your sister’s number under the name Paul H.
  • Appear lost in thought: sit by a window and stare into space.
  • Cry from time to time for no reason.
  • Don’t answer his calls; but send him gushing texts.
  • Shower frequently. Spend extra time in the bathroom.
  • Buy yourself some new lingerie or take up smoking again.

 

Excerpt from How to be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne, Audrey, Caroline and Sophie

magical sage and gin summer cocktail fred darling devon rae
home, hygge, travel

The Dev

New York City is truly the coolest little/big hub. A total cluster fudge of walks of life, story, taste. I love that at any given minute, you can meet the love of your life or, your new favorite cocktail.

Where: Antica Pesa, Williamsburg

What: The Dev, a magical sage and gin drink (and totally off the menu/secret!) by full time songstress, part time magical drink maker, Devon Rae

 

 

turquoise seas of amalfi coast seas for lifestyle blog fred darling
home, story, travel

Turquoise Seas

I remember leaning my head out in the wind, while driving along the high cliffs, day dreaming over turquoise seas of Amalfi.

I wondered about living off a lighthouse nearby and writing about the people from up high.
What I imagined their lives to be like, their hopes, their loves.

It’s probably why I fell for pretending to be a thousand personalities but longed for a place to belong to all at the same time. My parents believe the best gifts you give are trips to see the world and that’s what we did. I say they instilled in us a wonder for people and lust for places near and far.

How fitting that I would end up in a city like New York. Where one can pry, and disappear, all at the same time.

 

 

Image by Mike Perkins 

forest in a bowl recipe by amelia freer for lifestyle wholesome blog fred darling by stephanie fantauzzi
home, hygge

Forest in a Bowl

Lately, I’ve been more mindful of the benefits of eating in. Not only do we reduce our carbon footprint by eating locally, seasonally, but also, we eat better 🙂 Cooking at home is a simple delight to share with the ones you love, and a tradition for better health, longevity and well-being.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. And when I came across what looks like a forest in a bowl (veggies for breakfast? Yes please!) I was intrigued. Simple, delicious and packed with flavor, this recipe is a great green juice substitute that’s good for belly and skin.

Ingredients for 2

sea salt

1/4 pound leeks, white part only, finely chopped

1/4 pound baby spinach

4 spears of green asparagus

3 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 piece of kombu seaweed, approx. 0.7 ounce

1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

1/2/ cup fresh or frozen baby peas

1 granny smith apple, skin on, cored and chopped into small cubes

How to

1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of sea salt. Blanch the chopped leeks for 7 minutes and refresh in ice-cold water. Then blanch the spinach and asparagus for 1 minute each and refresh in ice-cold water.

2. Heat the stock with the kombu seaweed. Once it is simmering, take a few tablespoons of stock out and add it to a bowl with the matcha tea, little by little, while stirring. First you’ll have a thick paste, then add more stock until you have a runny mixture.

3. Add the peas to the pan of stock and heat for another 2 minutes, then add the leeks, spinach, asparagus, chopped apple, and the blended matcha tea. Discard the kombu. Remove the pan from the heat, stir, and serve.

 

Top London nutritionist Amelia Freer stands out for her love of nutrient dense recipes, hate for diet fads, and belief in the true healing powers of food. Get more of her recipes here.

Image and recipe from her cookbook, Cook. Nourish. Glow. 

red hot american days painting nude art pleasantville hollywood american film fred darling
home, story

Red Hot American Days

Holly Golightly: I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.

I was born to bright swirls of yellows and greens in the sky, blue bright waves crashing by, Brasil.

My mother remarried and we moved to the States for a safer place to live. When we did, I wanted to be everything American too, like our new grandmother Patsy. A beloved nurse, a wife to a war hero, she was just like the movies.

My sister and I didn’t speak much English then, and we’d sit quietly on the bed watching Patsy put on her drop earrings last. When they came, we were ready.

I’ll never forget our summers spent with her in Texas at the lake. Red hot American days spent eating ice cream and renting VHS tapes from Patsy’s favorite place, the local library.

I remember rushing home to watch Hepburn, Taylor, Vivien Leigh say things and feel things we couldn’t possibly understand.

The only thing that quenched our thirst more then, were Patsy’s famous ice cold, pink lemonades.

The title of this blog is a tribute to her, to American film and the stories of our lives.

 

 

Image from Pleasantville

Hygge new york city dog rescue healthy lifestyle Fred Darling story
home, hygge, pov

Hyggelig

My favorite date place?

The library.

With myself, with a girlfriend, with anyone who gets as excited about hardcovers as I do. And perhaps she’s to blame.

If I ever have a whole day off, I like to hop on the train and walk to a bookstore or library. Whichever one is still standing unfortunately. There’s nothing sweeter than grabbing a coffee drink and strolling along the many aisles of unread books while caffeinated. Piling the few that look good and then scoring a nook someplace warm to leaf through them. And if I go with someone, I like to leaf and share and then pry through theirs.

I’ve never really considered myself an extrovert and this probably proves it.

On one of my dates alone, I was particularly interested in the Danish way of living. I always wondered why they’re the happiest people. And so I piled on all of the books I could find on the matter and I discovered, while eating croissant, that there is a method to the happiness- hygge!

I won’t bore you over something you can google for more, but, in a nutpost, hygge is undefined but closely defined as “coziness of the soul.” And if that’s too aloof for you, a hug in English is the closest feeling.

Comfort, conviviality, simple indulgence and well being are hygge’s means of pleasure. Cooking with feel good foods from forest, field, farm, partaking in cake and buzzy drinks with friends, indulging in good kinship, maintaining a simply designed but efficient home to leave more time with dog, not cleaning up, spending time with nature and appreciating it even if from afar, these are some of the ways to hygge. And now my favorite means to happy.

 

 

stephanie fantauzzi springtime sunshine finally! seasonal affective disorder
home, hygge

Sunshine Finally!

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is a real thing. I know it because I feel it and so do about 5% of the U.S. population.

For the rest of you lucky ones, you should know that SAD feels like low energy levels, mood swings, cravings for sweets and starches and not really desiring to see the non existing light of day. A total recipe for depression/disaster and/or menopause, but really SAD in this case.

What I didn’t know is that the trigger for all the above is less direct exposure to light and not the winter drop in temperature. In other words, you can experience SAD anytime of the year.

The best way to get a grip on life and reclaim your happy back then? More Vitamin D and psychotherapy. OR, good old simple sunshine finally! Which you can fake with light therapy or soak in as much as you can starting now.

With Spring here, what better way, and least expensive, to rid your blues than by stepping outside as much as you can to enjoy the longer and brighter days the season brings.

But you’re cooped up?

Try wherever you can. Opt out of ordering lunch and walk to get food instead. Or, take a hike on weekends instead of hitting the mill. If you have the luxury of an outdoor mall, ditch the AC and shop outside.

Do what you can but do go forth and relish in the beams with all the rest of the animals. I know I will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Fantauzzi College girlfriends chicago city in the winter fun playing best times of our lives fred darling
home, travel

It Makes no Sense, or the Most Sense, but I Love Chicago in the Winter

My favorite things to do when in town are catching up with college girlfriends and visiting Joan Cusack’s shop of fun curiosities. Here’s my travel guide of the senses for the next time you’re en route.

 

If I were a store: Canada Goose

The smell of: peppered bacon, rye, extra polar ice gum

The feel of: your mom’s cross cable knit throw

Bring: the lip slip, a faux fur vest, No7 mascara

Not to miss: burger and fries at Au Cheval and Judy Maxwell Home