Sunday, October 18, 2009

Date Night

My apologies for my unannounced Sabbatical of the past few months. I have no real excuse to offer except that life can be hectic. That said and me being forgiven, let's move on to the latest "fabulousness" I'd like to share with you!

Recently, me and one of my besties headed out for our "date night," which was to consist of dinner and a movie. She opted for a neighborhood restaurant, Acacia Bistro. My bid was for the newly opened, Masa 14. Me being me (because who else would I be) and being "tardy for the party" (as usual) ended up with the short stick and found myself at Acacia Bistro. Now I must say that while I was disappointed that the locale was a bit off the beaten trendy path, I was soon over that and impressed by the service and the food of this cute, little jewel in the Van Ness area.

We began our fete with the house marinated olives, a flight of white wine and a French Rose, Domaine de Triennes Vin de Pays du Var Rose 2008. I'm not a huge olive fan, but I must say these olives were quite delish. While catching up over the olives and admiring each others fashion picks for the evening, the chef sent over another tasty treat, eggs in tomato sauce with fontina and basil. This pairing may sound a little odd, but I must assure you it was not. The tomato sauce was seasoned perfectly and the eggs...the eggs, oh my! The eggs left us pining for more. Sadly, we did not indulge as we both have figures that we must mind. Alas, don't fret as we did proceed with our main course.

Feeling a bit risque and wanting, different, I decided on the garbanzo bean and lamb sausage salad with shaved fennel. And was I rewarded! The lamb sausage provided my palette with an awakening and stirring that I don't believe she will soon forget. As I enjoyed a palatial stirring, across the table, my companion delighted in the Catalonian flatbread with chorizo, manchego, fresh tomato and cilantro. Both meals could have been set before royalty, they were so very well prepared. Each bite was a delectable treat, making an evening of catching up with a great friend even more special and grand. Over the course of the night, our servers sent over wine tastings that were similar to the wines which we paired with our meals and although we declined dessert, the chef could not resist and sent out a tasty pistachio treat with which our host complemented with a house champagne. And while we did not end the night there, I must say Acacia Bistro was just the right start and hit just the right spot for a couple of ladies looking to reconnect and unwind and maybe even cause a little mischief on a cold rainy night in the District.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Robot Chic

When making purchases, I tend to live by the motto, "If you don't love it, don't buy it." I developed this motto from my early years as an adolescent when each season upon going through my closet I would have a closet full of clothes with the tags still on or if I did manage to realize after getting the newly acquired piece home, that it wasn't so fabulous after all, having to return it because it just didn't suit me. These experiences taught me not to make impulsive buys. Often times, if I'm not quite sure about a purchase, I'll walk away and if I'm still thinking about it the next day, then go back and make the purchase. The end result being that I end up with a home full of things that I just adore and would not want to live without. Now with all of the above having been said, Tuesday night, I was sifting through some random blogs and came across the Christian Louboutin Robot 120 Ankle Boots. Insert gag here and see photos below.
I think I died and went straight to heaven when I clicked on the link and these lovely little ladies appeared on my screen. My first thought was how absolutely FABULOUS they were and then my second thought what would I wear with them??? Thinking I had nothing in my closet and that this purchase would require an entirely new outfit, I dismissed the golden girls and went about my blog hopping. As the night wore on and the sandman began his dark magic, the edgy but gilded beauties again popped into my head. Dismissing the vision and being too tired to do anything about it at that time anyway, I drifted off to a deep and peaceful sleep.

The next morning as I was preparing my morning fix in the form of dark, black coffee diminished only by a drop of creamer, again I thought of the shoes. As my fashion sense tends to be a bit more conservative and classic than the genre of Louboutin's Robot 120s, I just could not come up with a scenario befitting the adorning of such a fab pair. However, I am a shoe fanatic and do treat my shoes as my very own babies or if you will, trophies. I dream of one day having a closet where all my shoes will be encased in a glass display with spot lights gleaming down on each shoe, highlighting all the best angles and unique details. In fact, up until recently I did not own very many basic shoes. You do understand what I mean by basic, right? The classic black pump, strappy black sandal, or low heeled black boot. Instead of a black pump, it was a sling back with a black and white striped heel, a black patent leather toe, with a white matte leather stripe, and a pink grosgrain ribbon courtesy of Beverly Johnson. Rather than opt for the strappy black sandal, I selected a black suede stilleto (the stilleto being red) with a peep toe and a red leather flower via Charles David. You get the picture...I like my shoes, like my cars and my travel locales...exotic. And I realized that somehow these little metallic booties fit the mold. I began to think, well, if I don't have anything to wear with them, I could always just walk around in my apartment in them, sans clothes. And please, don't tell me I'm the only one who does that. Well, by the horrified gasp I think I'm hearing, maybe I am. Hey, don't judge, it makes me feel sexy and we all need to feel good about ourselves, don't we!?! That thought gets the blood flowing, literally (insert devious chuckle) and I start to rethink my earlier dismissal. I make a break for the computer as if I'm at the 10 yard line and the goal is in clear view...don't really know why I did that, as I live alone and it's not as if I had to beat someone to the mom would probably say it's what she's been saying for most of my life, that I'm a few dots shy of a die.

BTW, I figured it would be a disservice to all fashionistas worldwide to only wear the Louboutins Robot 120s while at home and while probably a ton of fun, a disservice nevertheless, so peep the pic below to see what I came up with. Toodles!

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Easter of Royal Delusions

Since I was sitting here reflecting on my Easter holiday, I thought it somewhat appropriate to share those reflections with my gracious public...(insert long pause here for effect)...uh, okay, okay, already. Seriously, as I'm new to blogging and trying to get into the rhythm of making this a daily habit, just thought I'd put my thoughts out into the cyberspace world for any caring or non-caring soul to judge.

As today was a warm and sunny Easter Sunday, it did happen to be a bit more eventful than most of the days this past week. Mom spent the day bustling about the kitchen barking orders and stressing over whether there would be enough food for all 18 guests. The kids took the opportunity to enjoy the weather and busied themselves roughhousing in the yard. My stepfather, unnerved by it all, engaged in his usual Sunday activities of reading the paper, walking the dogs, and allowing the telly to watch him as he napped on the couch. And last, but certainly not least, I, Minky Betancourt, was given the best task of all. A task I have been given year after year since my wrists were strong enough to support the weight of a plate. May I have a drum roll please...I was assigned the the task of...setting the table! Ahem, people your applause until the end.

When called to complete this task, one can usually expect to hear from me a pause and then a grumble, followed by an aggravated sigh, although secretly I enjoy it. If I could describe it with a metaphor, I would say it's like putting together a puzzle without having the picture on the front of the box to clue you in on how the final product should appear. There is not one household chore that thrills me more than deciding which charger to use with which china pattern or how you can add the slightest bit of whimsy to a formal table setting by simply selecting the perfect napkin ring. And maybe it's the snob in me, okay, okay, who am I fooling, it IS the snob in me, but nothing makes me feel more grand than having dinner at home with cloth napkins!!! YES, YES, YES!!! There I said it! Call it superficial, call it crazy, call it whatever you want, but cloth napkins, having Pellegrino with breakfast, and drinking champagne, all in the confines of my own home, for no good reason at all, makes me feel like royalty. Yes, that's me, Princess Minky of the Betancourt Estate. Sigh. If only such visions of grandeur were a reality and not the equivalent to the tea parties of my childhood, festive parties with delicious treats featuring me at the center of attention surrounded by imagined friends and conversations that should have been prefaced with one way only signs. Ahhhh, I deviate from the subject. (no pun intended)

So grudgingly but secretly happily, I went about my task of selecting the runner for the table, the china, flatware, and glassware. I arranged each setting just so, layering each piece, adding and removing accompaniments, so that the finished table top was not busy but had an aesthetic composition that was engaging and visually pleasing. To say that I was happy with the final outcome would be an understatement! So proud I was of this particular table setting, I decided to conduct a photo shoot. Yes, a photo shoot! Maybe it was a bit extreme but hey, my home is my castle and in my castle, I'm Queen. Well...let me rephrase that, because in this castle, I'm actually a Princess, but still royalty nonetheless! See photos below.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bugey Cerdon

I've spent the second leg of my two week vacation in Durham, NC and while I wish I could tell you of all the fabulous shopping finds and glamorous events I've attended, I am reluctant to admit that I have spent much of my time hidden away in the fine comforts of my family home. However, yesterday I got that familiar shopping itch, you know the one...that oh so pesky shopping itch that can only be scratched by doing some serious luxury shopping. That said, the only real luxury shopping in this area is the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Raleigh about 35 minutes away without traffic...insert sigh here...

Never one to allow a small obstacle such as distance stand in the way, we gassed up the Mini, popped Coldplay in the changer, and hit the highway. Filled with eager anticipation of all the soon-to-be newly acquired items, we were severely disappointed to discover within 2 minutes of entering the much revered Saks that due to the economic downturn (blah, blah, blah) that this particular Saks has limited hours and would be closing at 7:00pm, giving us a 5 whole minutes to scour the entire store...insert second sigh here...

With the shopping itch left unsatisfied, we decided to indulge in my second most favorite past-time, going out for drinks! Yay! We headed to downtown Durham to a fairly new (even better! yay!) hot spot known as Revolution.

Revolution turned out to be a very cool addition to the downtown scene with a very chic, contemporary feel and a whole lotta ambiance. The staff was incredibly friendly, with Lyle, the general manager, even coming over and introducing himself and giving us a tour of the space. I've posted the photos below.
Pleased with the ambiance and ready to unwind with a nice glass of wine, my beverage of choice was a Sauvignon Blanc. Taking in the atmosphere, I noticed several of the patrons sipping a very deep pink slightly bubbly beverage from champagne flutes . Thinking it some sort of rose, but somewhat unsure due to the depth of the hue, I inquired of one of the bartenders about the beverage and was informed that it was a Gamay, or sparkling red wine, known as Bugey-Cerdon**. I decided to try it and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a sweet, fruity, petillant wine, full of strawberry and raspberry flavors. In other words, fun, fun, fun in a bottle! Yay!
While I didn't leave Saks with packages galore, I went home with something just as good--a new sparkling wine to enjoy with friends! I can't wait to pick up a few bottles of Bugey-Cerdon and have my best girlfriends over and celebrate being young and fabulous! And what's better than that?

**Subsequent research revealed that Bugey-Cerdon is from the area of Bugey in Savoie and the village (Cerdon), where the wine makers to this day continue the practice of allowing the pink wines to ferment a second time in the bottle (methode ancestrale), giving the wine its bubbles.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Beginnings

Now I could and would willingly go on about how Minky Betancourt and this subsequent blog came to be, but I feel that would be the non-original approach. Instead, I will tell you that Minky Betancourt is fabulous and has always been fabulous and will always be fabulous. Minky is very good at being fabulous and helping others to be so as well. This being said, Minky will use this blog to detail her adventures in fabulosity and how she helps others achieve said fabulous-ness in various aspects of life, with Interior Design being the "piece de resistance." After all, Minky believes that you're attitude and outlook on life has a lot to do with how you feel about the spaces surrounding you. If you're not happy where you lay your head, then how can you be happy any place else?