Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Happy ThanksgivingIt’s Thanksgiving week and I have so much to be thankful for, starting off with the love and light from my family and nearest and dearest friends. I’m also very thankful for your support and readership over the last 19 years!

I would like to claim that Thanksgiving is about fashion, the number one worldwide priority in my book. But I guess I’ll admit it’s about a much more common priority – delicious food and eating together.

Food is an occasion for sharing. Think about it. Meals are often the social parts of our days, times for talking and laughing. Sharing a meal with others gives us a sense of security and provides vital connections among family members and friends. It also creates new bonds, among co-workers, members of our congregations, and participants in whatever groups that we join.

Of course all animals eat, but humans are the only animals who cook! Indeed, cooking is a nurturing social activity. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, cooking, and spending time with family and friends, I am sharing a few favorite Thanksgiving recipes.Cook Nan Napier making 160 jars of Tres Mariposas Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce.

If you’ve been by Tres Mariposas during the week before Christmas, maybe you have received a jar of cranberry-raspberry sauce as a gift. I make it to share with customers each year. At Tres Mariposas we serve it over cream cheese with crackers. It’s also great over turkey or any meat.

Tres Mariposas Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

Makes about four and a half 8 oz jars.

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

1 small box (3 oz.) raspberry Jello

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

2/3 cup boiling water (only for stove top method)

Microwave: Omit water from recipe; Combine ingredients in 3-quart microwave-safe dish, loosely covered with waxed paper. Cook on high power 10-12 mins, stirring every 3 mins. Cook till sugar dissolves and most of the cranberries will burst. Pour directly into jars and let cool.

Stove Top method: Place all ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil; simmer 10 mins, stirring constantly. Spoon jam into jars; cool 1 hour. Cover with paraffin or refrigerate.

Be sure and cook until it is well dissolved and most of the cranberries are popped. If it isn’t cooked long enough, when it cools it will be grainy with a lot of sugar settling at the bottom of the jar. 

While there are many good sweet potato recipes out there, this one is from our buyer at Tres Mariposas, Bobbie Baldridge. Bobbie is not allowed to attend any Tres Mariposas holiday gatherings without it. Our staff would lynch her. It is mouth-watering, amazingly good.

 

Bobbie’s Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

Combine all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Pour into greased Pyrex deep baking dish and sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

 Topping:

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup butter

1 cup chopped pecans

For best results: Bake fresh sweet potatoes in foil, in oven, until soft. This can be done ahead of time and then refrigerated until ready to assemble. Use real butter. Cut into small pieces while still cold. This also works for the topping.

A lot of people are like me. Pumpkin pie is just a little too pulpy pumpkin intense. For people who don’t think they like Pumpkin pie, this one is fantastic. The recipe belongs to my Aunt Barbara Harrington of Memphis who, by the way, will be in town with other family to visit and honor my dad Leroy Harrington this week.

Pumpkin Pie for People Who Don’t Like Pumpkin Pie

Heat:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 and 1/3 tablespoon butter

 Separately, mix:

  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • 3 rounded tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of ginger, cloves, and allspice

When the unbaked piecrust is ready for filling, add hot milk to pumpkin mixture. Do not add milk earlier as the heat will cook the egg. Fill 8” piecrust. Sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees, and 40-45 minutes more at 325 degrees.

Bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Science of Color

Untitled-2Last week I wrote about designer Tory Burch’s gorgeous new book, “Tory Burch in Color.” Her collections are known for including colorful fabrics and accessories and the book certainly shows her love of color. Even the book’s chapters are arranged by color!

The book ends with a very brief interview on the “science of color” with Dr. Samantha Boardman, one of Tory Burch’s friends. The interview really intrigued me – enough so that I wanted to learn more about this person.

With a little research I found that Dr. Boardman is much like Tory Burch. She also grew up privileged and well educated, with an intense interest in style and fashion. Both women share an enthusiasm for color and interior decorating. Both are strong career women and both are passionate about what is positive and good in life.

Dr. Boardman is a psychiatrist at Cornell Medical College, and just last year she added another degree to her M.D.: a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. On her website, www.PositivePrescription.com, she writes, “I am a psychiatrist with little interest in what is wrong with people and a lot of interest in what is right with them. I care about the tweaks and changes that make a difference.”

Here are a few things I found interesting from the interview with Dr. Boardman in “Tory Burch in Color:”

  • Dr. Boardman agrees wholeheartedly with psychologist Ulrich Beer who said, “No one can encounter color and stay neutral. We are immediately, instinctively and emotionally moved. We have sympathy or antipathy, pleasure or disapproval within us as soon as we perceive colors.” That is indeed apparent, but I hadn’t thought about it in just that way. For instance, as soon as I see red or yellow, or I even hear someone say a color, my brain has a reaction.c
  • Her research has shown that colors affect how others treat us and how we see ourselves. “One of the first things we notice about someone is the color of what they are wearing,” she writes. “Waitresses wearing red lipstick receive bigger tips and studies show men find women in red clothing to be more attractive, more sexually desirable, and they tend to sit closer to them.  Ladies wearing red tend to feel more attractive – they stand taller, smile more radiantly and are more outgoing.”red
  • It turns out that the color pink can have a significant effect on behavior – a pink environment can make us nicer, gentler. “In the book ‘Drunk Tank Pink,’ Adam Alter describes how a certain shade of pink decreases aggression among prisoners and improves behavior,” says Dr. Boardman. “The University of Iowa’s locker room for visiting football teams is famously painted pink for the exact same reason – to calm opponents and put them in a passive mood.” UTEP Coach Sean Kugler, are you listening?c46ccd8a4edf2cbc44f905f86d3ff1b7

It is true that color is amazingly significant in our culture and in fashion. When women find out I’m supposed to be an expert in fashion, their first question is, “What color is in this year?” Here’s a finding from my own research: the number one reason certain items of clothing do or do not sell at Tres Mariposas is often the color of the item.

I like Samantha Boardman’s emphasis on positivity. According to an interview with her at twenties/collective.com, she lists just three activities as the most significant lifestyle/outlook changes a person can make for a more fulfilling and positive life.

  1. Sleep more.
  2. Build more activity into your daily life.
  3. Spend more time with friends face to face and less time looking down at your mobile device.

P.S. Coming soon: a report on the top colors forecasted for 2015

New Tory Burch book celebrates color and style

Tory Burch

Tory Burch is one of the best-known lifestyle brands in America. My knowledge of the woman Tory Burch was that she was a picture-perfect blonde New York socialite who did not go to fashion school and who capitalized on her contacts to launch a line of clothing and accessories in 2004. There you go — another pretty rich girl who had it easy, or so it seemed.

After her nasty divorce from her wealthy husband, Christopher Burch, it was rumored that her company might not make it subsequently.

Not only did Tory Burch’s company survive, the brand has become a household name. This year Forbes listed her as the 79th most powerful woman in the world.

Now she is out with her first book, “Tory Burch in Color,” a gorgeous coffee table style volume. Since I am in the fashion industry and Tory Burch products are best sellers at Tres Mariposas, I purchased the book as soon as it was available.Tory Burch In Color book photo

I was beyond pleasantly surprised in several ways. First I learned enough about Tory Burch, the person to find out that she’s much more than a pretty face with money. Through the book I discovered that her taste and aesthetic talents are highly developed and honed. She is humble, gutsy, charming and very family-oriented. She has a serious work ethic that, along with a powerful vision for her brand, has contributed to her becoming an amazing businesswoman. Her collections are inspired by art, music, travel, interiors and her own stylish parents.

Second, I can’t say that I’ve run across very many coffee table books that I fervently liked. They are always pretty, but flipping through a few pages is generally enough for me. I found “Tory Burch in Color” to be different.

As you may know, the Tory Burch brand is known for eclectic details, prints, and color – gorgeous color. Her book is actually organized in chapters by color, with each color brought to life through images and information about her travels, her approaches to entertaining, works of art, and even advice of business leaders.

I enjoyed the section on work-life balance (in the purple chapter) with down-to-earth interviews with people such as Hilary Rodham Clinton, Carolina Herrera, and Arianna Huffington. I loved Tory’s drink recipes, such as the Screwdriver in the orange chapter and the Southside in the green chapter. At the end of the book is an interview with Dr. Samantha Boardman on the science of color.

I have always thought that much of Tory Burch’s success comes from the way her products connect with today’s American women: her designs balance tradition and heritage with fresh modernity. Tory is so in sync with the psyche of American women that her products resonate with a broad cross-section of customers.

She began the company seeking to create a culture that reflected her parents, and their values of kindness, integrity, humor and a sense of pride. The company’s signature Reva ballet flat was named after Tory’s mother. Tory writes, “Reva is my mother, the most effortlessly stylish woman I know and my greatest source of inspiration.”

Social responsibility is also important to Tory Burch. In 2009, the Tory Burch Foundation was formed to support the economic empowerment of American women entrepreneurs and their families. Through loans, mentorship, and entrepreneurial education, the foundation invests in the success and sustainability of women-owned small businesses. One hundred percent of the gross proceeds received by Tory Burch LLC from the sale of the book will go toward the foundation.

I encourage you to support the foundation and give yourself a treat by buying the book. Or you can stop by Tres Mariposas and peruse it there. I think you will find it a gorgeous addition to your library – or coffee table!