Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


Summer 2020 Living Well

June 28, 2020

The Summer Solstice this year marked the 19th anniversary of my first full spectrum “Nature’s Palette” paint colors. So many of you have been loyal paint customers for most of these years and thanks to you, I’m able to continue working remotely from home as always. I’m so fortunate that business has been steady even during this pandemic. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  

Adapting my business to these stay at home restrictions has been easy since paint is ordered either online or by phone, and now when you go to your nearest PPG Paints store to pick up your order, you just call from your car when you arrive and they’ll bring your paint directly to your vehicle. 

I’ve really enjoyed Zoom happy hours with friends, so I thought it might be fun to do some Zoom question and answer sessions on color and design. If you’re interested in joining in, send me an email so I can send you an invitation. Sidney Coffee of The Guru in Baton Rouge is planning a series of Zoom events and I’ll be featured as one of her guest presenters, along with others on a variety of subjects including astrology, interior design, and help with relationships during these challenging times. 

Speaking of challenging times, I confess to having more than a few anxious and sleepless nights and have found great comfort in listening to creative visualization tapes by Jeanne-Marie Taylor/Muse via YouTube. I’ve always been a big fan of creative visualization, especially since that’s how I created my little sanctuary in the woods here in Saint Francisville (read that story here). I found instant relief from her “Channeled Message from Gaia” and there are many others, so I highly recommend subscribing to her YouTube channel

Besides escaping with visualization tapes, virtual happy hours and lots of TV series and movies, I really enjoyed reading Beth Arnold‘s  Jours of Our Lives: On the Road in France and BeyondIt’s no wonder I felt like I was along on the journey with Beth – she captures the colors, cuisine and countryside so beautifully, you will be transported! 

I give thanks every single day that I’m able to live on this magical little piece of earth surrounded by 100′ tall trees in a home I designed. My daughter Alex and her partner Dominic Rivera who normally live in New Orleans have been here since early March, so I’ve had the pleasure of their company and fabulous cuisine most evenings. Alex has become quite the gourmet cook since writing her book Classic Restaurants of New OrleansDom, who was working on movies before the pandemic, was kind enough to make a video of me giving a tour of my home that I named “Mon Soleil”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve been enjoying virtual glimpses into other’s homes. Click on the photo of my home to take the tour!

(In the video, I neglected to introduce my little YorkiePoo Winson who you’ll see following me everywhere I go!)

I hope to see you sometime soon for a Zoom Q&A event. Be sure to email me for an invitation. Please take care and stay safe!


In a word, “Magical”!

October 27, 2014

My NYC trip couldn’t have been more “Perfect”! Not only was it so much fun that it has taken me this long to catch my breath, but I made so many new friends and reconnected with so many wonderful old friends (some I hadn’t seen in 25 years!), that I would have to say it was a huge success!

We started out with drinks on the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel, followed by a fabulous cocktail party given by Architectural Digest Editor Margaret Russell who is incredibly gracious (Marc Charbonnet made a big point of introducing me to both Margaret and Jacqueline Terrebonne, Design Projects Editor, who is originally from New Orleans). I had to laugh when I saw the online article about the party because the first photo in the slideshow has my friends in it!

AD Party Pic

In foreground L to R: Owen Kemp (woman with short hair), top of my head, David Parker, Keith Koppens and architect Jim Dart. With us but not pictured were Marc Charbonnet and NYC photographer Alec Harrison.

Afterwards, we all met Hunt Slonem for dinner at Bryant Park Grill and spent most of the next day at his amazing 30,000 square foot studio and Mario Batali’s Eataly where we dined on the roof. My talk at the Anichini showroom was the next morning where I was so excited to not only see old friends who worked with me at Peter Marino Architect (Annie Baumgartner, Scott Weaver & Russell Bush) back when Peter wore bow ties and pleated pants, but beyond thrilled that Newell Turner not only took the time out to come see me, but along with Marc Charbonnet, gave glowing testimonials on my paints! I mean really, how could you not be sold after listening to those two!

NYC photographer Alec Harrison & Interior Designer Marc Charbonnet at Anichini NYC.

The very talented NYC photographer Alec Harrison & Interior Designer Marc Charbonnet at Anichini NYC.

Most of us went to lunch at Victor’s Cafe’ afterwards where the party started and lasted until the wee hours (Flute Champagne Bar)! I’m embarrassed to say, we were hobbling to the plane the next day (I usually pace myself)!

Our “hostess with the mostess”, Anichini founder Susan Dollenmaier summed it up beautifully in her email to us afterwards:



New Orleans’ New Restaurant “Annunciation” – Heavenly!

August 8, 2012

I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Annunciation, a fabulous new restaurant in New Orleans. I mentioned it in my May 19, 2012 blog post “JV Cloud White Gets Around” and was finally able to dine there last week when I was in town. Located at 1016 Annunciation in the Warehouse District, it’s owned by the former chef of Clancy’s and the former general manager of  Tommy’s Cuisine, so not only is the food and service amazing; the decor by Karina Gentinetta is heavenly!

Karina recently used our “JV Cloud White” in her 1st Dibs NYC showroom and liked it so much, she specified it for every painted surface in the restaurant. The building has loads of charm with old brick and plaster walls, exposed wood ceilings and beautiful arched doors and windows that she wanted to highlight, yet make the overall feeling elegant and classic. Known for being a magician when it comes to working within a tight budget, Karina kept things simple with bentwood chairs and schoolhouse pendent lighting from Home Depot. My dinner companion, Isabel Winsberg, raved the entire time about how wonderful the space felt. But that certainly wasn’t the best part! The food was incredible! As we often do, we shared everything so we could taste a number of things on the menu: Fried Oysters with melted Brie and sautéed Spinach, Eggplant Ste. Marguerite, Crabmeat salad with Creme Fraiche and Choupique Caviar, Crabmeat, Lobster and Shrimp Risotto, Cauliflower au Gratin and for dessert, Butterscotch Budino (an Italian pudding topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream sprinkled with sea salt). Every single item was amazing–a word I couldn’t quit using to describe each course. Oh, and you’d think this might have set us back a bit, but our bill (sans wine) was $83! I can hardly wait to go back and am still dreaming about that dessert!

Annunciation Restaurant on Urbanspoon (click image to the left for contact info, more reviews and menu)


Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

September 2, 2011

I lived in New Orleans from the late seventies through the mid-eighties and although country living is more my style these days; I love having New Orleans so nearby that I can easily drive down to attend a party or visit my daughter who just started her first year at Loyola.

Last Friday, I accompanied artist Hunt Slonem to a fabulous dinner party given by the author of my new favorite book, Stealing Magnolias (Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard). Debra Shriver’s book showcases this magical city like no other–and there have been plenty of books written about New Orleans!

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

Besides being a gorgeous coffee table book filled with beautiful photos of her French Quarter home; it also includes original works by more than twenty photographers and artists from her private art collection.

The preface of the book was written by blue dog artist George Rodrigue who was also at the party with his wife Wendy, who was telling us all about the George Rodrigue Foundation they formed in 2009 as a non-profit organization to provide financial assistance and expose children to education in the visual arts, hoping to inspire in others an early and on-going creative passion similar to his own. (George mentioned that he knew he wanted to be an artist at age 4.)

But back to the book! If you were ever curious about New Orleans and have never been to visit, this is the perfect book to get you into the mood. It also includes several of her favorite recipes, my favorite being the “Cheddar Biscuits with Gulf Shrimp and Creole Meuniere Sauce” from her favorite caterer Joel Dondis, who not only catered the dinner party, but was also a guest. (Joel’s mother lives right down the street from my mother in Lake Charles, Louisiana and he also owns Sucre, where we go for an afternoon treat every time we visit the city.)

I am dying to meet Debra’s decorator Hal Williamson, who created some of the most exquisite colors for her home–very organic-looking shades of pinks and purples. I heard from another guest that he was out-of-town, but has an antiques shop on Magazine. I will definitely pay a visit on my next trip!

The front parlor's tone-on-tone Creole pink and purple looks more organic and subtle in person.

Mimi Read wrote a great article about the Shriver home for House Beautiful which is now online: A Fabulous Feminine New Orleans Home

I can hardly wait for another excuse to go visit!


Oh, what a cake!

August 22, 2011

My dear friend Duane Ulkins has done it again! A couple of years ago, I posted his recipe for strawberry cake which had everyone raving at a birthday dinner. Well, last week we entertained a young producer from L.A. at a small dinner at my house and once again, Duane showed up with another incredible dessert (he’s known for his amazing baking skills). This time, it was a “Peaches & Cream Cake” that is divine. The next day, I emailed him requesting the recipe and yesterday he showed up with not only the recipe, but another cake for my birthday (it’s today!), so I just had to share because I think it tops the strawberry one.  What makes it so yummy is the icing is whipping cream!

Here’s the recipe:

Peaches and Cream Cake
August 22, 2011

1    Can (29 ounce) peach halves in heavy syrup

1    Package plain yellow cake mix (Do not use cake mix w/pudding.)

8     Tablespoons of butter, melted (one stick)

4    Large eggs

1    Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ice with sweetened cream (two cups heavy cream, ½ cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Whip and frost.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two nine inch cake pans.

Puree approximately eight peach halves in a blender or food processor. This should equal 1-1/2 cups. Place cake mix, peach puree, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low for about a minute, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl.  Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Place the pans in the oven side by side, on the center shelf of the oven.

Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and spring back with lightly pressed with your finger.  I bake the cakes for 30 minutes in my convection oven.  Remove the pans from the oven and invert the cakes on wire racks to cool. While the cakes are still slightly warm, poke holes in the cakes with a toothpick. Carefully pour ¼ cup of reserved peach syrup over each of the cake layers. Let the layers cool completely before icing.

As the cake cools, prepare the sweetened cream frosting.

Place one cake layer, right side up, on a cake plate. Spread the top with the cream frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first and frost the top and the sides. Arrange remaining peach slices on top of cake.
Secure layers with 4 or 5 toothpicks to prevent sliding.  Store this cake, loosely covered, in the refrigerator.

Peaches & Cream Cake