My Interior Design Soulmate (Or I LOVE Liz Caan)

Guys, I’m in love. I found my interior design soulmate. Her name is Liz Caan, and she’s UH-MAZING. Her style is preppy with pops of feisty color and wacky flair. She relies heavily on my favorite things: monograms and animals.

She even used my infamous deer head in one of her rooms.


Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

We are so in sync, Liz.

When I found her on Pinterest, it was love at first sight and I absolutely had to see more of her work. My research led me straight to her website where I fell deeper in love. Clicking through her portfolio was making my day, and I just had to know: From whence does this divine creature come?

Massachusetts, folks. Liz hails from Newton, Mass.

My reaction?

Of course she’s from New England… so are like half of my friends.

When the Tigers blew a 5-1 run lead and lost game two at Fenway last night, it was a stark reminder that there are a lot of Red Sox fans in my life. Reading my Facebook newsfeed after the game basically gave me emotional whiplash. My Michigan contingency was cursing the Tigers’ relief pitching, while my New England crew could hardly contain their excitement over the Red Sox comeback.

That got me thinking: maybe I gravitate toward east coasters because I belong in New England myself. Let’s think about it for a minute: I love lobster, sports… and Top Siders. I’m super good at suppressing my feelings, I adore pearls, and I think Tom Brady walks on water.

Hmm… something to think about while I bask in the California sunshine….

ANYWAY, back to Liz.

I’m just going to bathe myself in her talent and forget everything that makes me sad about Michigan sports… like the good old fashioned New Englander WASP I am….

Liz Caan bedroom on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Monograms, nautical knots, AND animal legs on an end table? Liz, you get me.

Liz Caan wet bar on Dogs Dishes and Decor

The world is YOUR oyster, Liz. Let’s have clam chowder together.

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

How can you go wrong with chevron and the Union Jack? I mean…

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This more subdued room soothes me. Plus it’s maize and blue.

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Again with the animal table legs. LOVE them. They remind me of Fawn Tumnus from Narnia… if Narnia were in a slightly psychedelic corner of New England.

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’d almost be too mesmerized by that wall to play pool here, but I could probably power through long enough to put the eight ball in the corner pocket.

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Look at that happy giraffe peering over the perfectly monogramed pillows! Just LOOK at him! He probably loves monograms as much as Liz and I do.

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I could host a lively cocktail party in this colorful corner of heaven, complete with daring drinks and brave appetizer pairings.

Liz Caan on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is the sort of chic, sophisticated place I’d like to retreat to while serving tea sandwiches and supressing my feelings about blown leads in baseball. It’s heavenly.

So that’s Liz. All of the images are from her website.

Do you have a design crush?

Do tell.


The Issues That Truly Divide: Manhattan versus New England Clam Chowder (Or I Like My Clams with Cream)

OK, now that some of the presidential election insanity has blown over let’s move on to other divisive issues like: Manhattan versus New England clam chowder.

Given my love of dairy and my somewhat complicated relationship with tomatoes, my choice is clear: New England in a landslide.

Last weekend, I defied mother nature and her unreasonable, unseasonable heat, and I made a pot of creamy New England clam chowder while watching football. I’ve tried countless recipes over the years and so far this is my favorite.

The recipe is below.

I have a weakness for New England clam chowder… and boys from Boston. The latter is  probably a problem.

New England Clam Chowder
Adapted from Bon Appetit

3 8-ounce bottles clam juice
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 T unsalted butter
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 C chopped onions
1 1/4 C chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 C all purpose flour
6 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
3/4 C half and half
1/2 C whipping cream
1 tsp hot pepper sauce

Bring the bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are slightly tender, about 7 minutes, before removing the pot from the heat.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until the bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf, sautéing until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. (Do not allow the flour to burn.)

Gradually whisk in the reserved juices from the canned clams. Add the potato and clam juice mixture, clams, whipping cream, half and half, and hot pepper sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently.

Season the chowder to taste with salt and pepper. This chowder can be made one day ahead and also freezes well. If you like your chowder to be thicker, try substituting heavy cream for the half and half or the whipping cream.