the perfect palette.

 Above; featured colors of Ralph Lauren Paint include; Pasha Pink, Istanbul, Sea Orange, Black Watch Navy, Hotel Du Cap, and Chamois. Choose your own palette from over 1000 different colors and many different finishes.



Yesterday I took part in a really interesting discussion about photography, design, color and visual story telling, it took place at the Bon Appetit kitchen in One World Trade, here in New York City. The event was a partnership with Local Creative Brooklyn, Bon Appétit and Ralph Lauren Paints.

The idea, was to bring together a group of creatives from across many disciplines, to spark a conversation on a bright day in a beautifully curated space, where every detail was considered. A perfect palette of color was chosen by the Bon Appétit  team from the deck of Ralph Lauren Paints. Color swatches in hand, they set to making beautiful food and cocktails inspired by these colors. A beautiful table was set with plates and napkins and glasses that played off the chosen palette. Taylor Patterson, the brilliant and artful mind behind Fox Fodder Farm chose flowers and botanicals to create stunning arrangements inspired by the same dictated palette. Her gorgeous flowers were both muted and bright all at once. 

After a brief frenzy of instagram and iPhone snapping we sat down to lunch and broke off into groups to chat about aesthetics, color and trends. At our end of the table we spoke about what is visually over used in this maker driven culture. What are things we are seeing too often via social platforms? What are the new trends? Where will be five years from now and does the new generation of 18 year olds care about finding the perfect spoon or bowl? Someone at our end of table referenced a philosopher, and she sort of summed up our thoughts on the day. In her book,  On Beauty And Being Just,  philosopher Elaine Scary discusses the nature of beauty. She argues that beauty begets beauty and it constantly provokes copies of itself. We came to the conclusion together that beauty does beget beauty and it definitely churns the wheel of repetition. In this overly saturated image driven age every photo that is taken and put out there for our viewing has an agenda in the visual realm. Nothing is without purpose or motive.

We talked briefly about styling tips yesterday and how to see light and color. What makes a good photograph?

A good photographis all about light and color. 

For me color is mutable, What looks grey one day can be white the next or even green or blue depending on the kind of light that fall across it and the time of day. Inspiration for me has always comes from traveling, a big part of that inspiration is color. I find that I like to bring brighter colors into my work after traveling. New York is a muted city, and while I find beauty here I don’t find intensity of color.  Mexico City, India and Bhutan were all places of great color and light inspiration. The light in these countries is sharp and direct and the colors are almost oversaturated, pairings of neon pink and yellow are not unheard of, orange and blue mixed with patterns and black, always black.

The colors used in yesterdays collaboration were soft and bit desaturated,  a little dusty like an old plaster wall with stories to tell. As New Yorkers we probably play it pretty safe with color, black is our uniform after all.  We have to remind ourselves of the world of color and shade and tone that is out there.


 On the color front, the Bon Appétit team brilliantly paired the Ralph Lauren Paints colors with food and styling. Pasha Pink became  Crisp and Co. Pinot Noir Pickled beets, Sea Orange became Empire Mayonnaise Sriracha, Istanbul was Bees Knees Spicy Honey, Chamois, The Chili Lab “The Grove Blend” Chili Butter, Black Watch Navy, APPRVL Napkin Set, Hotel Du Cap, Suite One Studio salt dish.

After lunch we were encouraged to “paint” a donut or a petit fours with the same colors that played throughout the day, and then we ate them and they were delicious.

I was asked to create a photograph that was my take on the day. I started to document the scene and the people at the event but then I kept coming back to Taylor’s florals. They encompassed everything that we talked about throughout the day. She works with color much like a painter, the hues of Pasha Pink and Istanbul washed across the marigolds in varying intensities. I decided to deconstruct one of her arrangements in an effort to peel it back to color, form. In doing so I created my own unique take on the day, my visual storytelling became about deconstruction and emotion.


The perfect palette is vibe, it can be anything you want it to be. you only need to “see” it.


Ralph Lauren Paints are available at Home Depot.

where the wild things are. rosa rugosa ice cream.

For a while now, I have been thinking about making  wild rose ice cream. We have a tiny house upstate circled by dense woods. Lately with this temperate summer things have gone a bit rogue up there but I love it. The house is surrounded by an ever thickening bramble of blackberries and wild roses. We planted some Rosa Rugosa when we bought the house a number of years ago. I wasn't sure how it would fare in the elevated colder climate but it has thrived and has  taken over some of the other roses. I have always loved the Ragosa which grows wild along the New England coast. They remind me of the rugged coast of Maine where they dot the shore to form a dense wind break between the long the sea grasses and the ocean. The Rosa Ragosa is a single petal rose. For such a wispypy rose it gives off some serious floral perfume that is both a little spicy and salty. Maybe I imagine the salty part because I associated it so much with misty foggy days and salty sea spray. I could never resist these not even as a kid even though they are terribly riddled with tiny sharp spiky thorns. This past weekend Chef Camille Becerra came up to hang out in the woods and we decided to make some rose ice cream (amongst other things..but more on that in another post!) 

I would only do this with roses that are one hundred percent organic. NO PESTICIDES! 

I believe there are places where you can order organic rose petals for cooking but I will have to look into it and post  some info on that later.


The ice cream was so lovely and really well balanced. We decided to use a local maple syrup from our friend Dan Finn who sells his Moonshine Maple at his farm in Delhi and at Table On Ten in Bloomville., instead of sugar and the combination was really complimentary.

This is a subtle ice cream it is not for those of you who need abig flavor punch, it is mellowice cream, kind of like a foggy day at the beach. xx


Rosa Ragosa Ice Cream


4 cups heavy cream

4 cups offresh organic rose petals washed but not wet.

2 cups whole milk

1.5 cups maple syrup

2 good pinches of grey celtic sea salt

8 large egg yolks ( preferably from super happy chickens!)


I collected some Rose petals first thing in the morning when they seemed to be most fragrant.

In a large bowl gently bruise the rose petals by crushing them just a bit with a wooden spoon

Combine the rose petals and the heavy cream in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat to a simmer. remove from the heat and let the roses steep in the cream for thirty minutes or so.


In another pot, combine the milk and 1 cup of the maple syrup and bring to a gentle simmer.

Remove from the heat and set aside while you whisk the eggs.

In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and the remaining half cup of maple syrup.

Whisk until the yolks start to ribbon.

Add the hot milk to the yolks gradually whisking throughout to temper the yolks.


Return the mixture to the saucepan and gently heat until the mixture evenly coats the back of a  wooden spoon. Do not let the custard boil!

Set aside.


Strain the rose petals from the cream now that it has infused for a good while.

Press the petals against the mesh/strainer to release any remaining oil in the roses.

Discard the petals at this time.

Stir the infused cream gently into the custard and place in the fridge until it is good and cold all the way through.

At this point you can run your mixture through an ice cream machine. 


My opinion on ice cream makers is the better the machine the better the ice cream. I have made some good ice creams with my freezer bowl/ Cuisinart maker but now I really see the difference that a better machine makes.

I will include a link to a couple below.

So that is it! just garnish with a few rose petals and you are set to go.










goodbye spring. hello summer.

Life is flying by at light speed these days. I am already feeling spring rolling into summer. What is with this crazy weather? My head is chaotic swirl of work and kid schedules. I am trying to eek out some time to just chill. The heady smell of these Lily Of The Valley, one of my favorite flowers, remind me now and then to just breathe and to take a moment to pause and appreciate.


a tree peony

Right about this time every year, our tree peonies bloom Upstate for one glorious week. Ours bloom a little later than most because of the cold weather and the high altitude of the Catskill Mountains. Because of these factors, we have a very short growing season in general. It takes all of our efforts to get up the gumption to plant a garden year after year knowing many things will never come to fruition before the first frost. Yet, we all do it. We do it because there is something sublimely magical and satisfying in tending a garden. There is definitely magic and beauty in plants. Luckily, my peonies tend to look after themselves, more or less. They don't mind the fickle weather Upstate nor the partial shade of our wooded home. I never had tree peonies growing up. It wasn't until I photographed some for a story, that I became completely and utterly in love with them. Historically, tree Peonies were first present in China and later brought to Japan during the eigth century. Both China and Japan have a long standing love for both herbaceous and tree peonies. Along with being prized for their beauty, the roots and seeds were and are sometimes used for their medicinal properties. It was not until the 1700's that the first  Chinese tree peonies showed up in Europe. In the 1800's Japanese tree peonies made thier way to Europe, where the lighter single blooms gained popularity over the Chinese full double blooms. I have always loved herbaceous peonies having grown up with them as they tend to flourish on the East Coast. These are the more common bush peonies, pale pink, whites and deep reds, that you are most likely familiar with. For me, they always marked the end of school and the beginning of the  long hot Western Mass. Summer.   Tree peonies are different they grow on a hard woody stem as opposed to soft green ones and can with time become as much as five feet high. I feel very lucky to see them bloom knowing they have made it through another long cold Catskill Winter. Summer has truly arrived.

A trusted source for ordering tree peonies is Khlems Song Sparrow. Tree Peonies are planted in the Fall.

to see afull gallery of peonies and similiar images go to ;