Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Huffington Holiday Decor

Festive Gallery 1

Thanksgiving is over and so now it’s official: Happy holidays! We Huffingtons like to wait to until at least after Thanksgiving to bring on the Christmas cheer with the holiday music, the tree, the garlands and wreaths. And if truth be told, we sometimes do it a little warily.

But this year, our wonderful Sam Jones has put a whole new spin on Christmas that has surprised and delighted us, once again. Some of us drove by the gallery on Sunday only to see Sam’s car in the driveway. “What is she up to?” we wondered, knowing that we’d be in for a pleasant surprise. The wreaths on the windows with their chartreuse bows blowing in the wind were just one indication that Sammy and her elves were up to something special.

Inside the gallery, there was Sam, with one single elf (a fluffy white one named Scurry, who prefered to spend Thanksgiving with Auntie Sam than brave the Huff’s family reunion in Maine this year), busily gluing gorgeous holiday balls and jeweled Christmas decorations to create the most spectacular wreaths we’ve ever seen. All we had to do was watch her for a few minutes to admire the intricacy and labor of love that went in to creating each wreath. And pray that we didn’t accidentally drop one!

We all need to have a little touch of glam in our lives, and these wreaths do just that. We can just picture them in our clients’ beautiful homes, dressing up a holiday party or sparkling quietly over an elegant mirror. These gorgeous wreaths are keepsakes, that can be brought out year after year. Sophisticated and tasteful, each one is a jewel of its own, created with originality and love by our sweet Sam, who wants us to sell them for the benefit of Genesis House.

And so the season of giving has really kicked in.

Happy holidays!

Tiffany Wreath

This one is called Tiffany Blue (and some of us who have been to Tiffany’s recently think that they might just benefit from having one made for them, hint hint). $180

Good as Gold Wreath Good as Gold ($180)

Bronze & Gold WreathAmber Light ($140)



Festive Gallery 3

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Huffington Thanksgiving

We’re always thankful this time of year for so many things: our healthy families, our dear friends and our blessed day-to-day lives. We two Madames are especially grateful for the wonderful people in our gallery life who make every day interesting, lively, inspired and downright fun: Thank you, Linda, Sarah and Sam. You make us smile each and every day.

And, we’re always giving thanks for our artists. What on earth would we do without them? They thrill us, challenge us in the most creative ways and make our hearts sing on a daily basis.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the feast. Here are some tried and true Huffington Turkey Day specials:


Ann and Flowers compressed

A couple of years ago, my good friend Cynthia gave me what has become my bible of all cookbooks: Ruth Reichl’s Gourmet cookbook. For me, this volume has replaced the Joy of Cooking, as my go-to book for my entire life and has even eclipsed Craig Claiborne, who had kind of reinvented the Joy of Cooking many years ago. So when I’m doing the turkey for Thanksgiving, I always take the Gourmet Cookbook to bed with me the night before, and study it carefully so that I know what to do, when, in the morning. After all, on Thanksgiving day, it’s all about timing …


And this is what I’ve learned:

Cook the darn turkey upside down! You don’t have to baste it, because gravity works its magic and all the fat goes in to the white meat making it ever so juicy. All you do is turn it over ½ hour before it’s finished to get the desired crispiness on top. Is it as beautiful as the traditional breast up turkey? Maybe not. But does it taste better? You betcha! If you’re married to a guy who thinks that turkey is the next best thing to dark chocolate ganache, you’ll score big points for Thanksgiving day feast and leftovers. Unfortunately, the chocolate will have to wait …

For more about Ruth Reichl’s way of cooking turkey, check out The Gourmet Cookbook, page 377.


meg blog photo

Yankees Meet the Mason Dixon Line

This is what happens when a (former) Yankee girl falls in love with and marries a Texan: it’s the war of the North/South Thanksgiving table. Happily, we all adore one another and I was never happier than the day I surrendered the business of thanksgiving dressing to my adorable mother-in-law, Thelma. She whips up a serious concoction of cornbread, spices, broth and cooks it until it’s perfectly crispy on the top and luscious inside. Yum. Her recipe isn’t even written down – it has been perfected in her mind over the years.


This year, we’ve got a change of plans and I’m responsible for the dressing to accompany Ann’s Upside Down Turkey (which I’m absolutely going to try) I’m a huge fan of Epicurious and found this recipe for Farmhouse Herbed Stuffing that sounds pretty good (I’m dressing, not stuffing.) I’d also like to whip up our other Huffington recipes, which follow. I’ll have the Macy Day Parade on the kitchen tv, a glass of Veuve Cliquot in hand and I’ll be happily cooking away….


Linda cropped compressed

A Family Favorite

Sweet Potato Soufflé with Grand Marnier

Sweet potato souffle

Feel free to substitute your own homemade mashed sweet potatoes for the canned ones. I use 2-3 large sweet potatoes baked in the oven at about 400 to get that roasted flavor!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided use
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, divided use
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (may substitute ground cloves)
  • 1 (14-1/2 ounces) can mashed sweet potatoes- I recommend you use 2-3 large FRESH mashed sweet potatoes!
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (rind)
  • 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier or fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a standard size soufflé dish with vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the flour, pecans, and brown sugar. Stir in 1/4 cup of the butter with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/3 cup of the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add remaining 1/4 cup of the butter, sweet potatoes, milk, orange zest, Grand Marnier or orange juice, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until combined.

Pour sweet potato mixture into the prepared soufflé dish and sprinkle evenly with the pecan mixture. Bake about 40 minutes.

Add a touch of Crème Fraiche to the final product, and a shaving of dark chocolate and a splash of Grand Marnier for an exquisite finish to your Thanksgiving meal!

Yield: 10 to 12 servings


Sam Jones

Spinach Casserole



    • 2 - 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach
    • 8 oz. sour cream
    • 1 - 1 1/2 oz. envelope dehydrated onion soup
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Cook spinach according to package directions and drain well. Mix spinach, sour cream, onion soup mix, salt and pepper.

Place uncovered in a 350 degree oven and bake for twenty minutes.

Sprinkle chopped nuts on top and bake 15 more minutes.

This is great for stuffing in mushroom caps also.



Sarah Cropped

A Taste of the Homeland

While I love turkey, stuffing, gravy, and sweet potato casserole as much as the next Southern girl worth her salt, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is somewhat unconventional ‘round these parts. Agurk slat, or Danish cucumber salad, is what I look forward to the most! My mom’s family is Danish, and it just wouldn’t be a holiday in my book without this little side dish.

Danish Agurk slat

I’m a huge fan of anything sweet’n’salty (think Honey Chex Mix, Kettle Corn, chocolate covered pretzels…now I’m hungry), and this recipe combines apple cider vinegar with sugar to make a sweet, pickled cucumber dish of sorts. Click here for an easy Agurk slat recipe. I promise you’ll love it!


We’d love to hear about some of your family’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes! There’s nothing better than a tried-and-true recipe that you know will be delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heaven in the 7th, Part III

Veni. Vidi. Bought-i. And we are now excitedly under contract to purchase a Parisian apartment. Can we please just call it a flat? I know it’s pretentious, but it’s so much nicer!

Now there is a very nice little French law that allows you to get out of your contract for up to eight days after you have signed your “Promesse” to purchase in the notary’s office. Although I’ve been feeling pretty good about this apartment, there is one person I’d like to have look at it before I let the eight days elapse.

Ever since we’ve thought about buying an apartment in Paris, I’ve kept close tabs on the apartment rental market in Paris. We’ve stayed in a lot of hotels and rented apartments from a lot of agencies, and although there are many good ones I can recommend, my personal favorite Paris apartment rental agency is Paris Perfect. Every time we’ve stayed in a Paris Perfect apartment, everything from the quality of the apartments to the locations, the views, the amenities and the service have been, well … perfect. I’ve always thought that Madelyn, the co-owner of this agency, has a great eye and great judgment about investing in Paris apartments, and so my next step is to get her opinion.

I know Madelyn from way back, when we first started looking for an apartment almost three years ago. We had found a jewel of an apartment in the 7th, which we were planning to buy. Unfortunately, the stars did not line up in our favor this time around, when everything from the economy to the exchange rate turned against us, and we had to, regretfully, step out of it. When the apartment showed up on the Paris Perfect website, I knew that it had gone to the right person. They did a fabulous transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, and I knew that if anyone could help me determine if my little duckling in the 7th was the right purchase, Madelyn could.

Before and After:

Here are the pictures of the one that got away, as we saw it when it was for sale, followed by Paris Perfect’s beautiful transformation.

A killer view

Before we get started, let’s just show you why we were even considering this apartment: A killer view in a killer location, in the heart of the 7th. With this picture, the before and after didn’t change, which is why it’s always about location, location, location!

Now, for the magical transformation:

June 2008 069


Clairette Living room

After – love how they kept the idea of the closets, but made them more open, keeping them functional but with a greater feeling of space.


And of course, a big Louis Philippe mirror does wonders for any room, especially with a chandelier reflected in it.

Clairette fireplace

LR 2

A little corner of the living room gets a precious little desk and chair.

lClairette corner of LR

Better view of LR and DR

The windows were already a great feature of the apartment, but what a beautiful place to put the dining room table!

Clairette Dining

Dining room

One of my favorite features: The afternoon light pouring in to the living room.

Clairette sun pouring through

Bedroom closets

Clairette bedroom closets

In the bedroom, they cleverly transformed one of the walls in to a wall of closets, creating storage (a most precious Parisian commodity) while keeping it good looking.

Bedroom good

They had to shift some walls around to have put the bed against this wall – and it sure was worth it.

clairette bedroom

Bathroom best one

Bathroom transformations are always some of the most dramatic, and this one is no exception.

Clairette bathroom

The kitchen had good little bones to begin with, but badly needed the facelift it received. Vive la difference!

Kitchen best

clairette Kitchen

So, what do you think? Can my little duckling be transformed in to a swan? I’m pretty sure it can, but just to be sure, I’ll see what Madelyn has to say. Stay tuned!

Ta ta,


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Hoopla

Truth be told, we’re always scrambling when holiday time rolls around. Here at the gallery, we’re thankfully busy with our day-to-day goings-on and, somehow, for all our good planning, it never fails that Thanksgiving (and the crazy holiday season) sneaks up on us. We find ourselves frantically dashing around ordering ribbon, wrapping papers, gift bags and other holiday necessities.

christmas ribbon and wrap

Luckily, one of our favorite shows to curate and hang is our annual Little Jewels exhibit. It’s the perfect kick start for the holidays and motivates us to go across the street to the tree lot, pick out an elegant little tree, lug it back to the gallery and festoon it with dozens of little sparkling lights. We don’t ever do decorations on our gallery tree and the simplicity of the white lights and the aromatic green boughs is magical.

Michelle Stewart Designs Southern Accents

We love the look of the elegant and delightfully simple tree (and room, too!) This would fit right in at the gallery. From Michelle Stewart Designs, Southern Accents.

urban christmas tree lot Our Christmas tree lot across the street doesn’t quite look like this.

We switch from our fun little Frenchy playlist to Christmas music -- and that encompasses classical, Christmas standards and pop renditions of everyone’s favorite tunes.

Sam comes to the rescue and usually makes some spectacular bows for our wreaths (we admit, they are fake but they look cute once Sam has her way with them.)

1012-burlap-wreath-southern living This burlap-bowed wreath would fit right in at the gallery and Scurry could stand in for that yellow lab. Sam would approve. From Southern Living.

vintage-window-frame-southern living Hmmmm, this has the gallery written all over it. From Southern Living.

We also put in an order for our wonderful scented candles that are made just for us by French style and design icon, Edith Mezard. Their delicate tea scent is positively addictive and we sell them like crazy. They usually arrive via FedEx, who comes screeching in on two wheels. This year, we’re donating $5.00 for every candle sold to the Atlanta-based Genesis Shelter.


Edith Mezard’s deliciously scented candles

Back to our Little Jewels show. After we hang the show, our walls take on a festive flair with the dozens of diminutive gems that hang for the holidays. Our artists get in the spirit and send us boxes full of tiny landscapes, still lifes, abstracts and florals. Framed and lit, they pack a huge visual punch and we especially love mixing them up with larger pieces.

Franke, Ya Gotta Have Heart, 6 x 12, $450 This gorgeous still life from Nancy Franke is heavenly. You Gotta Have Heart, 6 x 12 oil on board. (Nancy will be here on Saturday, December 4th, from 1-3 p.m. with her paints and easel. If you love Nancy’s work and you’re local, we hope you’ll stop by. We’ve even persuaded a dear friend and client to entertain us with seasonal tunes on the piano while Nancy’s painting…)

low res My Pleasure

Joyous, full of life and energy and bursting with color. My Pleasure, 12 x 12, acrylic on board by Amy Dixon.

We love it when clients come in, searching for that perfect something for that someone in their life…and the solution is art. We can’t think of a better gift to slide under the tree for the young collector just starting out (think a young college graduate in that first apartment) or maybe a newly married couple celebrating their first Christmas in a new home. Or, the individual or couple who have been collecting for years.

Barber Rise to the Surface #1 LO RES Liz Barber’s soft abstracts have a loyal following. Rise to the Surface 1, 11 x 14, mixed media

Even the younger set seem to love to receive art on December 25th – there is never a shortage of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas buying one or two of Melissa Payne Baker’s beautifully painted abstracted angels and crosses for the pre-teens or teens on their lists (or for themselves!)

8x8 Petite Angel IIMelissa Payne Baker’s Petite Angel II, 8 x 8, mixed media


Noah Desmond’s Sheep is a perfect little jewel for a small space. Oil on board, 6 x 8

Green Glow, oil on board, 12 x 6

Green Glow from Brigitte Curt. So elegant and painterly. Oil on board, 12 x 6.

A new painting for a collection can be like a straight shot of energy, passion, color and form. (A couple years ago, we had a delightful gentleman who came in to specifically buy a wonderfully romantic Lorraine Christie painting for his wife. We heard later that she was thrilled and the painting remains the cornerstone of their collection.)

low res In the Paris Night

Lorraine Christie’s gloriously romantic Into the Paris Night II. Who wouldn’t want this under their tree? Oil on canvas, 24 x 18.

We guess that even in its most elemental form, art has a miraculous power to connect us in the most wonderful way – especially right now when giving, not receiving, means the most.

low res gothicamaria

Aaron Whitehouse’s Gothica Maria, mixed media and resin on panel, 34 x 24.

Ta Ta!