Tuesday, April 30

TRAVEL TUESDAY: Parisian Apartments On Rue Galande

It seems that Paris attracts creative people more so than other cities in the world, or perhaps it's simply that Paris inspires people to be creative… whether they want to be or not. To live for a time in this magnificent City of Lights, is truly the dream of many. 

So with that in mind, as we began preparing for our summer vacation I launched an extensive search for the quintessential, Left Bank-Latin Quarter Parisian apartment. Situated in the heart of Paris, the Latin Quarter, one of the city's oldest and liveliest neighborhoods, is home to a large number of apartment rentals. The small streets leading to the Rene Viviani Square are typical of the old Latin Quarter with its narrow houses, exotic caf├ęs, quirky shops, the Maubert market and a fair amount of short-term rental properties. Focusing in on Rue Galande, I do believe we have found our home away from home and we couldn't be more thrilled.

The Rue Galande was home to the rich and elegant in the 17th Century. The street then became known for its infamous cabarets and some say home to an unsavory crowd, but today, it is a lively area home to many shops and restaurants. Rue Galande is one of Paris' most desirable addresses and is conveniently located to the Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame and the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. 

This cozy one bedroom apartment is a true jewel of personal expression. The owner and his wife lovingly transformed an average space into a hand crafted haven of Parisian eclecticism. Of course, the partial view from the living room window of the Notre Dame cathedral simply accentuates the feeling you have of being in a privileged space, in a unique city. Staying in this Rue Galande flat would be the ultimate reminder to 'joie de vivre', otherwise, why not simply stay in a bland hotel room with a mini-bar and TV to keep you company? No, you come to Paris to feel the thrill of the world’s most sought-after destination, and many of the reasons for this feeling can be found right here within this quaint neighborhood. 

This elegant and beautiful 1 bedroom apartment with a view of Notre Dame, is located in the heart of Paris. Situated on the 3rd floor of a lovely old building, it is ideally located on the rue Galande. Easily accessed by metro, bus and the St Michel RER train station, which has a direct line to the Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. This flat is actually very spacious, best suited for a couple but with room for four. The living room {includes a convertible sofa bed} is comfortably furnished with original beams, hardwood floors and fireplace. Fully equipped open kitchen, Washer/Dryer, Free Internet, WiFi, HDTV with English cable, AC/Central Heat and Full bath with Crabtree & Evelyn Toiletries. Anyone who is susceptible to the finer things in life would not be disappointed staying in this Parisian apartment. You can find more info here...Rue Galande.

On your travels this summer, break OUT of your box. Look around for a more unconventional accomodation before you settle for that nice cookie cutter 4 star hotel.....
.....you AND your family will be glad ya did!


Monday, April 29

HEALTHY EATING: Grilled Lemon Chicken Paillard with Arugula & Tomato Salad

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that tend to be the best. That is definitely true of this little grilled chicken recipe. Whether you are cooking for two or two hundred, this recipe loses nothing in translation. You can keep doubling it to serve a small community or grill just enough for you and your love....it turns out great EVERY time. And isn't that what a truly good recipe should be? Delicious, easy, inexpensive and steadfast - you know it's going to taste just incredible whenever you grill.  *FYI: Paillard is a French culinary term referring to the quick-cooking of a thinly sliced and pounded meat.

Drenched in a light lemony marinade, this grilled chicken is a crowd-pleaser. The flavors are light and bright and the peppery arugula and sweet red onions really bring out the citrus in this easy healthy meal.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Paillard with Arugula & Tomato Salad
Serves: 4

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pure olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, pounded thinly
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound arugula
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • Lemon halves, for garnish

  • Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, olive oil and black pepper in a large baking dish. Add the chicken, turn to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt on both sides and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through.
  • Combine arugula, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl, toss with the vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place each grilled chicken breast on separate  large plates, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil if desired and top with a portion of the arugula-tomato salad. Garnish with lemon halves.

  • Toss a few quartered baby red potatoes and corn cobs in olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and roast them on the grill in a disposable aluminum pan. It makes a tempting side dish to serve along with your grilled chicken and salad. 
  • I find that by marinating the chicken for 45 minutes prior to grilling keeps this healthy chicken extra tender and juicy. Mr.P 
  • After grilling, cut up chicken breast and mix it into the salad. A little goes a long way. 
  • Quickly prep the chicken and salad (minus the dressing) the night before, refrigerate. Throw chicken on the grill and toss salad when you come in from work. Making this a stellar recipe for entertaining.
  • Not a fan of peppery-flavored Arugula? Try using Romaine for a hearty mild crunch.


Sunday, April 28

Hotel Furnishings On The Rebound

You can decorate your home or apartment with original artwork, listen to flashy stereos, watch movies on a HDTV and sleep on luxurious Frette linens every night. No, you don't have to live beyond your means or rob a bank. You can simply score some cheap decor and goods when the local hotels begin redecorating their rooms. No need to go begging at the back doors of hotels to get great furniture and accessories at rock-bottom prices. Before the business of renovations begin, hotels must first deal with the removal of  their out-of-date and worn furnishings to large liquidators across the country.

I know, I know. I can see you turning up your nose. After all, this is used furniture. Plus, most hotel furniture is pretty plain or pretty ugly, right? Not so fast. These days, hotels redecorate often — sometimes as often as every three years. They have to keep up with the latest trends in order to compete with the competition. For example, many hotels are now switching over to flat-screen TVs, so they're getting rid of a lot of old, bulky TVs — along with the massive armoires that held them. Most liquidators sell these armoires for under $100.00, sofas at $75.00-$125.00, chairs for under $40.00 and headboards are selling for $50.00. Yep, you read that correctly. In fact as I was researching for this article I found a liquidation center selling entertainment armoires from the Ritz-Carlton hotels for $99, that included the TV and a built in mini-fridge that was housed behind a door. Seriously.

This constant turnover means that the furniture is actually still relatively new when it gets retired, and it's not necessarily worn threadbare. Remember, these furnishings were cleaned almost every day, and repaired immediately if it got broken. It's in better shape than a lot of the furniture in my home. Plus, these liquidators clear out items from all types of properties, including five-star hotels. 

Interested? Here are some tips for smart surplus shopping:
  • This stuff is used, sometimes really used, so check carefully for dents, scratches and stains. Surplus furnishings are always sold "as is" and NOT returnable.
  • Check items carefully to make sure they are pest-free. 'Nuff-said.
  • Look for the unexpected. It's not all furniture and mirrors. Many hotel suites or extended-stay rooms feature appliances like microwaves, refrigerators and even stove tops, items that are perfect for dorm rooms or small apartments. And you can often completely furnish a small office with desks, office chairs and conference tables sold off from hotel rooms and business centers.
  • Look for the little things like irons, luggage racks, alarm clocks, blankets and even fine china. They are often priced so low that your jaw will drop. I'm talking prices lower than found at a yard sale! At those prices, it makes sense to stock up on a few extras that might come in handy as spares or when you have company.
  • Think creatively. Sure, those hotel drapes are ugly. But they often come lined with heavy-duty blackout fabrics that can be quite expensive at retail. Have a good seamstress rip out the blackout material and use it to line your own drapes. Refinish that boring table, reframe the mirrors, your imagination is the limit when it comes to finding new uses for old items.
  • Bulk discounts or special prices on "whole-room" purchases are available from many surplus outlets.  Check it out if you are just starting out and trying to furnish a small apartment.
  • If you want luxury, ask for it. Five-star properties usually remodel more often than more run-of-the-mill hotels, so they often get rid of goods that are in great shape. Most store employees are knowledgeable about which items came from which "projects," so they can lead you straight to the Ritz-Carlton artwork or the signature pieces from a cool boutique hotel. 
  • Don't do much shopping online. The stock at these stores is ever-changing. If you see a picture of a credenza on a store's Web site, it may be just an example of "typical" stock. Plus, most surplus stores will not ship items — you have to come get them.
  • Most stores don't deliver locally, either. Plan on bringing a truck, or ask the store to recommend reputable delivery services.
  • Inventory is not predictable. You may show up at the surplus store at a time when only the local two-star hotel has done any recent work. So if you are making a special trip to one of these stores, call ahead to make sure the available inventory matches your needs.

Here are a few of the major hotel surplus stores in the United States:
If you didn't find a liquidation center in the list above that called your name, Google it. There are quite literally hundreds of locations across the US. Happy Hunting!
Midwest Hotel Furniture Liquidators

    Used furniture, fine bedding and artwork from a luxury property are affordable and available to you, the average shopper. Check it out and give it a chance, hotel surplus shopping can be exciting and lucrative. 

    Give it a try....
    you'll be glad ya did!


    Photo Source: You Are Talking Too Much

    Thursday, April 25

    10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World

    You just never know what you are going to come across on the Internet. I was looking at bed-side tables this morning and stumbled over this juicy morsel of frivolity. I LOVE looking at floor plans and anything directly connected to the design and construction of homes, apartments or buildings and the space that lies not only within but the exterior as well. Architectural design and construction is carried out by true artisans. These artists; whether they be stone masons, painters, carpenters, plumbers or electricians; leave behind a creative 'foot-print' with their own specialized handi-work. When I found this post, I immediately put on my mental brakes and slowed down for a closer look. You will most likely recognize some of these TV apartments without  looking at the credits. We all got used to seeing Jerry Seinfeld's apartment over the span of ten seasons. His small living room with couch in the middle and tiny kitchen become more than familiar. In addition to the homes seen in “Friends” and “Seinfeld”, the photos below include the floor plans of Carrie Bradshaw’s place, the residence of Dexter Morgan or Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment from American sitcom “Big Bang Theory”. So take a break, sit back and enjoy the layouts below of these iconic pop-culture residences!

    jerry seinfeld apartment fl 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the Worldapartment floor plan of wil 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World

    carrie bradshaw apartment f 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World
    floor plan of dexter morgan 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World
    frasier s apartment floor p 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World
    sheldon and leonard s apart 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World
    ted mosby apartment floor p 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World
    lucy and ricky ricardo floo 10 Floor Plans of the Most Famous TV Apartments in the World

    Wednesday, April 24


    Rachel RuyschFloral Still Life, 1700

    More and more floral designers are going Dutch lately. That is to say they're finding inspiration in Flemish floral still life's. Reminiscent of the early-17th-century still life paintings by Jacques de Gheyn, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder and Rachel Ruysch, amoungst others. Tulips and ranunculus anchored many of their paintings, pairing these flowers with other blooms in deep oranges, purples, and reds along with the use of fruit, branches and leaves.  I absolutely adore the romantic mood of these airy floral arrangements that spill out of their containers in a natural almost wild way. I hope the following paintings and photos will inspire you as well.


     BY THE WAY: Rachel Ruysch was the wife of Juriaen Pool and the mother of ten, how she ever found time to paint escapes me!