Thursday, February 28, 2013


My dear friend sent me an image of her kitchen which she and her husband have worked hard to update and freshen up with white.  The new floors are next.  I love knowing that I may have provided some sort of incentive to a friend to find focus and clarity in a fresh coat of white.  This friend is a wonderful photographer and I keep telling everyone about her photos.  Take a look at her site over here, Elizabeth Belliveau.  She photographed me at the easel a few years ago.

I would love to give a little spark to my friend and keep her dream alive of photography.  She is incredibly gifted and has a great eye for making everything look elegant and beautiful.  Perhaps a little incentive is all it takes to do something.  Incentive creates action.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

blustery day

Whenever there is a blustery sort of day like today, I immediately think of Winnie-the-Pooh.  Yes, today is one of those days where even an umbrella would be turned inside out.  Hope where every you roam today that there is some sort of cover to come out of the wind and I hope you have a friend to share it with.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

live like a local

 I must admit that one of the perks of being a blogger is that I love the connections I make and then the things that are sent to me for my review.  I love this GUESTBOOK from one fine stay.
 Firstly, the illustrations, the paper and the layout are wonderful and I do love the notion of living vicariously like a local by staying in properties with the convenience of a hotel but without all the bad things that one might dislike about staying in a hotel.
 The places have style, character and charm.  We love staying at homes when we travel because you really do feel much more like a local.
So be my guest and hop on over to one fine stay and order a copy or download one of your own guestbook here;
Thank-you Fiona for my copy.

Thanks to each of you for all your concern and kind wishes regarding my daughter.  We are home from the hospital and I cannot tell you how wonderful I slept in my own bed last night.  For the next two weeks, I shall be nursing my girl back to good health.
She will not be in school but she has already been working on home work and loving all the attention.

Monday, February 25, 2013

monday motivation - mouthful

You may or may not find this post motivational however, it has everything to do with mouthing off. 
This image is one of my favorites, I feel that this woman is ready to give someone a mouthful.

When was the last time you gave someone a mouthful?  Did you find it liberating?  Did it have to do with standing up for yourself?  

Spending lots of time in the hospital has left me with a mouthful. 
 I feel our health care system is in pretty rough shape. 
The first meal they gave my daughter was "chicken nuggets and french fries."
I of course had a mouthful to say about that.  Do you stand up and give mouthfuls when you see things that are clearly wrong and need change.  Therein lies my motivation.  Stand up when you see something wrong, even if it involves giving a mouthful in order to make it better.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

showing scars

 One of my favorite illustrators, stories and books has to be Madeline and when she proudly shows her scars to her friends.
 I am big on visual connections, and all I could think of was that my daughter's malaise was more than a belly ache.  My Mother's intuition told me, it's time for a trip to the ER.  Never mind that it's winter break and we are supposed to be having fun and skiing.  How can I think of anything else with a sick girl not improving.
So, for the next few days, I shall be nursing my dear daughter back to health and looking forward to her having visitors to show her scars.  I mean if Madeline can do it, she surely must have inspired countless other girls to flaunt wounds and victories.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

brave choices

 Indeed, life does take bravery.  When one thinks of all the choices one has to make with each step, it does require lots of give and take.  If you can narrow down your choices in life, then it seems a bit less scary.
At this time, I think of all the seniors who are waiting to hear on college acceptances, on Mother's waiting on births and on others who might be waiting on the job offer.  I think of my Father waiting for my Mother to come home.  Often there are choices that we cannot control and then we have to rely on bravery.

How do you stand tall as choices in life come your way.  Do you give up, give in, or give it all you've got.  I have a few choices coming my way and I intend to give it all I have got.  I hope that all the choices in your life give you strength, focus, clarity and a place to start with a renewed sense of bravery.

Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day

Spotted this on etsy and love this work of art of all of The Presidents of the United States of America.
How many of them can you name?  When one of my sons was little he could recite them all and tell you who and when they were in office.

My daughter has been down with an awful flu but that has not stopped our family from celebrating the twins birthday, skiing and sharing good times with one another and good friends.
Carry on everyone, and that includes taking a moment to honor all the past and present Mr.Presidents.
I do hope one day we have a woman in office.

Friday, February 15, 2013

twins are twenty

circa 1993
Our twin sons shall be celebrating a special birthday.  Twenty years old on the eighteenth.  I wanted to share this photo of my husband and I strolling along when we lived in Manhattan.  We had a double stroller but loved the how portable these striped strollers were.  I loved living in the city when they were little and then we moved to the suburbs when they were 3 to have a house, a garden and well more space for them to grow.  When they turned five, I left the fashion world and my full time career to devote my time to them and worked freelance as an artist.  I would not change a thing. It's true you cannot buy back the time.
 My sisters warned me that it would go fast.  I love this image of my boys.  I love them so very much.
I will be seeing my boys this weekend and spending time laughing together.  The smiles they have light me up and make me laugh.  I can hardly wait to see them.  Now they are men, compared to this photo.
Both boys are in college and they attend schools not even an hour away from each other.  How lucky are we!
We spent many fun times on Block Island flying kites and have some fantastic memories.  Look at that smile.  I still remember the way my red head would pat down his thick hair.  Both boys shave their heads now.
We have many photos of the boys with their little sister at Settlers Rock.

One son is an ROTC sophomore and here he is working in the classroom last summer while he was in Africa for CULP.  
He will be looking to intern this summer and I am in hopes he will find something interesting and challenging.  He is studying business and would be happy to land a job so keep me posted if you are looking for a summer intern.  I know he is open to learning and gain experience.
His fraternity has taught him all about brotherhood.  He calls them his brothers too.
He has a girlfriend and I love how happy they both look together at a fraternity/sorority dinner.
As a parent, we are fortified when our children are happy and thriving.
 Letting go as a Mom is not easy so sunglasses at goodbyes are highly recommended.  Here I am ready to cry as we said Goodbye as we left him at his College as a freshman studying Engineering and is a sophomore.
Over the December holiday, he went to Monaco to see his Grandparents and had a great time with his Auntie there.   I love this image taken in the Hotel de Paris Wine Cellar.   He had a special tour.
I love when I find funny photos of the two of them together.
New Helmets and goggles make everyone act silly.
The next week, I am taking a break as we have our schools shall be on Winter Break.
I know the week will go by fast and I intend to enjoy every minute.
Happy Birthday to my twenty year old twin sons.
That went fast.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

love coupons

Today, everyone is all about giving from the heart.  
I always create redeemable coupons for things that I know will be loved and that are priceless.  What sort of redeemable love coupons would you like to receive today?   I am thinking of creating a seasonal book of love coupons and adding them to my shop.  Give me some love, what sort of coupons would you buy to give a little love.  The book is tied with a ribbon, simply clip and redeem the love anytime.

pve design love coupons

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

snow day scene

As promised, here is my work of art of a snow scene in Central Park.  I absolutely love the way this turned out as it shows a certain energy with everyone vying for a little parcel of hill to sled down. I added this original to my etsy shop.  How charming would it be framed and hung as a souvenir to remind one of the joys of a snow day.

I plan to try to add an original to etsy more often.  I must admit that I was smiling all the while I worked on this little gem.  As always, I am most appreciative of your comments.  Thank-you dear fans.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

snow sledding

This is an image my friend Caroline took in the city.  Yes, a New York city snowscape in Central Park.  The snow provides so much fun for for all ages to get outside and sled down a hill, build a snow man, throw a snow ball and smile.  I am working on painting this one and will be back to post it soon....

Monday, February 11, 2013

monday motivation - consistency

It takes practice and consistency to get up and repeat something we have done again and again.
It's far easier to just give up but we are what we repeatedly do.
So much of what I do requires that my efforts are consistent when I draw or paint.  Some people might refer to it as a certain style but it really does come from doing the same thing over and over.  Finally it clicks and I begin to see the subtle benefits.
I had not even noticed that the first image and this image is in fact the same quote but it looks so different, right?  We need to pay attention to the details for consistency to be beneficial.
Nothing is achieved without consistency and when we understand that we can start to realize that our actions begin to pay off over time.
I plan to work on being better at applying continuous effort rather than thinking I needed to be stronger or smarter.  Truly, just daily actions, good habits and repetition all help with unlocking our potential.  The effort we put forth pays off.  It's easier for me to tell that to my children than it is to follow this my self but I am going to practice what I preach.

I'd love to know if you would like for me to continue to post more of monday motivations?

What is one thing that you are consistent with doing?  
Has it paid off for you?  Does consistency motivate you?
I would really love to know.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Beauty and the Blizzard

 Thought I would share some of the images of the morning after the blizzard.  My guess is we have around 16" to 18" and this is the view of my street after the snow plow did his wonderful job of clearing away the snow.  Truly, we have the best crew around, they were out in full force snow plowing the streets.  Great job village of Ardsley.
 Can you see my dog.  We shoveled a luge for him or a path down our drive to the cars early this morning.  He loves the snow.

Here is our village early this morning.  Nothing like a snow storm to bring everything to a halt.  Luckily our trusty Riviera Bakery was open for some fresh croissants.  After all that shoveling, I think I earned a treat.

Friday, February 08, 2013

the dish

 Can we dish?  
Latest news, school is closed for an anticipated onslaught of snow.
No precipitation yet but the forecast predicts a good blast.  Funny how this week, my foodie self has been a bit preoccupied with menus, fresh ingredients and a well stocked pantry. 
Much like a dog who knows when a storm is coming, I guess I have felt the need to be prepared and hide. (under the table)
  Rumor has it that the groceries and gas stations were pretty insane.  Lines and mass panic.   After the last Storm Sandy and being rendered powerless, I guess everyone is amping up and bracing for a blizzard.  Several texts came in yesterday from jealous southerners in want of snow.

Now just take a look at all these cupboards fully stocked with dishes and vessels ready to serve up a storm of guests.
 Ever think of using reclaimed wooden door fronts?  Really adds warmth and soul to this wall pantry.
 Barn door chic to slide open for easy access to shelves of mugs and a many everyday dishes.
 Maybe a transformed pantry stocked with dishes and staples is just the thing one needs to be ready for any storm.
Batteries, Water, canned goods, teas, coffee, matches, and Champagne.  
Yes, even a "splash" of Champagne served certainly adds to the celebration of a snow day.
Are you ready for what is going to be dished out?
Are you ready for the storm?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

salad ingredients

I love this photograph from Irving Penn, 1947 - "Salad Ingredients" - As long as I have been with my husband, he has carefully prepared some of the most delightful salad vinaigrettes.  Just last night as he prepared a fresh dressing, he asked me to buy more Trader Joe's balsamic vinegar.

All you need-
good olive oil
 mustard and herbs to your liking.  Fresh parsley, chopped chives, and grated pepper are also lovely finishing touches.
Mix in a glass bowl, whisk with a fork and dress and toss your salad and serve.

Just the other day, a dear friend dropped in for lunch and she said, you need to post more about your "french" background and I laughed as you see I am not french but am married to a man who grew up in France, so I guess all his French has influenced me and my life.  So our subject immediately went to France and food.  It's true, the French know how to live life by simply using the freshest ingredients.
Simple salad ingredients shared are the best.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

winter charcuterie

When I met my husband, he introduced me to what we call a "winter charcuterie."
This is something one can order in many spots in Europe.
Lunch can be easily composed of an assortment of cheeses, salami, prosciutto, parma ham, pate, cheeses, olives and some good breads.
Add a dollop of grainy mustard....and some pickles.
All of the sudden, something so simple can be gathered, arranged and assembled for a lovely presentation.  This is something we take when we ski which provides great energy.  We usually have some salads too and my husbands famous vinaigrette.  

Do you ever enjoy a lunch like this?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

breakfast club

 Before you think I have turned my blog into a food blog (which I have not) - I just love this new Phoenicia Diner.  One can find all the classic diner food.  Spotted it on daily candy.
Breakfast happens to be one of my favorite meals of the day any time of day actually.  Do you enjoy having breakfast at a diner?  What is your favorite spot?

Monday, February 04, 2013

monday motivation - le menu

 There is something so inspiring and motivating to me about dining out and perusing the menu.  My taste buds immediately start to salivate of the combinations of flavors and textures.  I love a simple menu and decided to do a weekly menu for my family.
I began by collecting a list of favorite dishes that my family loves.
Then I gathered some menus from local spots we love and began creating my menu and shopping list.
Bingo.  My intent to design, create and inspire and artful life suddenly elevated our meal time to an art form.

 I tend to think of food seasonally so I have created a winter menu for our family.  
Comfort foods, chicken pot pie, mac n cheese, braised beef shanks, ragu's, pastas and plenty of fresh salads adorned with fruit, nuts and home made vinaigrette.
 Here's one that I found on line, you can certainly create your own list that works for you.
 Simplified Bee had posted these which can be ordered here at Whitney English.

 Start by gathering the freshest ingredients.  Clean your kitchen before you begin and enjoy yourself as you cook.  It is remarkable how much more inspiring meal time can be and how much one can save if you have everything to start with.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

super bowl sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday today. You might not have a clue as to who is playing or are really just tuning in to see the half-time show extravaganza.   Heading off to an annual local party to socialize and watch the game.  Will you be watching?
artwork for sheridan road magazine - super bowl party sunday