Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mainly mustard ...

As autumn rolls in, my color choices make way for deeper, richer tones, and mustard is the first shade that comes to mind.

Blame it on Fashion Week, but I'm reminded of a mustard yellow wool coat that I had years ago, so beloved that I finally tossed it after it was almost threadbare and moths got the better of it. I'm so happy to see this color reintroduced.


Images above via The Dress Spot (left) and Chicismo (right).
Photos below from Lulu's Couture (left) and Love Waffaa (right).


I even have a family heirloom chair upholstered in velvet that was once every bit a vibrant as a classic Dijon. It pairs well with the taupe and gray (griege) tones I so love.

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When I think of jewel tones, I always include deep yellow hues as a counterbalance. Think of how amethyst, sapphire and emerald pair so well with their contrasting golden counterparts.

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The falling leaves and harvest crops of autumn are my signals to focus on my favorite seasonal colors indoors, too.  I have some pillow projects in the works and tablecloths to add that will bring a pop of mustard to our living spaces.


Images above via Country Living (left) and Poppyseed (right).

Mustard is a predominate color in the linens of Provence and are everywhere in the collected artifacts and antiques in village flea markets and brocantes.

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Crazy beautiful and definitely warm and inviting!

Futon flair ...

You're probably thinking futons have made little progress since your dorm days.  But, au contraire. There's a whole new world of convertible seating designed to impress.

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I'm hoping the day will arrive when I have to furnish a small Paris apartment, and when that opportunity comes, I've got my eye on some gorgeous futons to give limited space more function.

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Futons have come a long way in terms of comfort and style. Photos above and below show two handsome futons manufactured by Bento, both reasonably priced and available through

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Even when space is not an issue, futons have become attractive in their own right as seating choices. The fact that they can accommodate overnight guests is a plus. And, now there are more options in length to give those sleepers extended room to really stretch out.

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Gorgeous fabrics and sleek lines have moved futons from dorm dwelling to dynamic design that transcends style labels. From New York penthouse to Paris pied-à-terre, futons feel right at home.

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By the time we get around to buying that little lodging in France, I'll have completely furnished the place in my mind. Futon. Check.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Salt savvy ...

Wow!  I've been away from blogging for a month and have so much to share, including a new-found love of salt.  I spent some time during my 'vacances d'été' reading a back issue of Kinfolk Magazine, and was delighted to learn how this simple little mineral can elevate food in ways that are new to my culinary experience.

I love it when reading exposes me to something entirely new and unfamiliar. In this case, it's all about salt block cooking, specifically using Himalayan salt blocks for bringing out the best in foods.

The Kinfolk article features an interview with Mark Bitterman, the sultan of salt who owns The Meadow, a specialty boutique that sells salts, chocolates and bitters from around the world with locations in Portland, Oregon, and New York City’s West Village. He has authored several books on salt block cooking that I'm dying to get my hands on very soon, including: Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes and the follow-up James Beard Award-winning Salt Block Cooking.

Bitterman sums up salt block cooking this way, "Sautéeing on Himalayan salt blocks creates exponentially more flavor than sautéeing in a conventional skillet. This is because a salt block cooks your food in two ways. At a blazing 500 degrees or higher, the heavy block of salt has enormous thermal mass, sizzling away moisture to produce a thick crust of rich, concentrated flavor. At the same time, the Himalayan salt itself sets to work, bursting cell membranes, intermingling juices, and breaking loose new flavors that in turn sizzle away to make for even more concentrated flavors."

How could I not be hooked? Once I read Bitterman's recipe for Salt Block Scallops with Szechuan Peppercorns and Citrus, I knew I had to get my hands on a salt block of my own. (I'm thinking Happy Birthday to me ...)

Anyone who knows me knows my love of sweets, so the thought of using a Himalayan salt block to freeze ice cream made this idea a done deal.

I'm ready to succumb to the allure of salt.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Natural soap vs. chemical detergents ...

I don't speak of my bodycare company on this blog, but I do feel compelled to share some important information about what many people slather on their skin.

Sure, everyone wants a pure, natural soap. But, I've seen far too many people unknowingly purchase laboratory chemicals to clean their skin. Take the challenge with our artisan made, ACEQUIA® natural soaps versus Softsoap® from Colgate-Palmolive.

Let's start with body wash ... Read the labels and look for the red flags.

What you put on your body does matter! Now, let's compare hand soap ...

The differences are rather startling, aren't they? Really, what do you want to put on your body? I'm not suggesting you buy ours, but I am here to share the importance of READING THE LABELS!

When you're ready to give your body a break from laboratory chemicals, there's a simplified list provided by Whole Foods Market that shows unacceptable ingredients for premium body care products. Their 'standards' are a good way to cull out the laboratory produced body products by the listed ingredients. Consumers should be as vigilant!

We also suggest a visit to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Skin Deep database created by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group. There you will find links to information about natural products and their chemical counterparts.

About the Author
Deborah Sibley is 'la savonnier' and president of Capistrano Soap Company, maker of the all-natural ACEQUIA® Bath and Body Collection. The company’s eco-luxe, chemical-free product line is handcrafted from nature’s most emollient-rich, skin-quenching ingredients by a third generation of soapmaking artisans. The luxury line includes: Natural Castile Soap, Luxe Body Wash and Skin Nourishment Lotion – products that nourish skin and come delicately scented in six signature fragrances. Find out more online at or on Facebook at

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