03 June 2015
By Ronda Carman

Pollensa is without any doubt, one of the most beautiful parts of Mallorca. The landscape is so beautiful and diverse. Rugged, steep mountains collide with isolated shores that are surrounded by deep, pale bluewaters and silvery green olive trees. 

The town of Pollensa is a maze of narrow, winding streets and stone houses built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Several summers ago I had the privileged of residing in one of these amazing homes for a week. On a lazy Sunday morning, like many others, I found myself enjoying a leisurely morning in the Placa Major. Placa Major, the central square, is dominated by a large 13th century church Esglesia de Nostra Senyora dels Angels, built by the Templars. Every Sunday a wonderful outdoors market takes over Placa Major with stalls spilling down every available side street. A variety of local crafts, hand-sliced jamon Serrano, olives, and brightly colored vegetables begged to be taken home. And, of course, I was only too happy to indulge. The market is an absolute must, not just for purchases but also as a social activity. Most locals and tourists alike linger for hours in the surrounding cafes before making their way to the sea.

Tags: Places
02 June 2015
By Ronda Carman

I had the privilege of meeting chef Daniel de la Falaise several years ago and recounted the week for New York Social Diary. Daniel approaches cooking as a sensual task and a celebration of quality products involving as little interference as possible. His recent book NATURE’S LARDER (Rizzoli) puts forth a thoughtful, deep-rooted way of cooking that reconnects us with the land.

His compass point: the taste of raw ingredients just plucked from the soil. His way of cooking—which places vegetables at the forefront, but is not vegetarian—centers on coaxing the most flavor from each ingredient as it reaches its peak freshness. This book takes the home cook on "a balloon ride through the seasons," along the way divulging Falaise’s clever techniques, such as using residual heat to cook gently, extracting essences with broths, and adding herbs both in cooking and finishing for a layered effect.

Daniel de la Falaise trained as a chef at Harry’s Bar in London, later opening George Club in London's Mayfair with his great uncle Mark Birley, "The King of Clubs."  Today, he works as a private chef, growing many of his ingredients on his farm in southwest France.  He has been the food columnist for French Vogue and been profiled in T The New York Times Style Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Town & Country.

Author Photo by Max Vadukul

29 May 2015
By Ronda Carman

Iris is a rich and enjoyable portrait of a one-of-a-kind personality. In this case, that personality belongs to the irrepressible Iris Apfel, the 93-year-old New York fashionista. Iris is one of the most enjoyable documentaries I’ve seen in recent years. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon with girlfriends.

Apfel has been a staple in New York fashion circles and ad campaigns for decades. However, for even her most loyal fans, she’s remained a mystery. In Iris, filmmaker Albert Maysles pulls back the curtain to reveal an unpretentious New York native who haggled for her first brooch as a young girl, and who later put her skills to use as an interior designer. She and her adorable husband, Carl, founded Old World Weavers, specializing in high-end reproductions of hard-to-find fabrics. Their fabrics were particularly popular with first ladies, and in the film Carl is just about to dish the dirt on Jackie Kennedy before Iris hushes him...a must see for anyone who loves fashion and design.

29 May 2015
By Ronda Carman

I recently had the privilege of attending the lecture, luncheonn and book signing of Luciano Giubbilei with Sarah Eilers and Sandy Lucas at the Houston Museum of Fine Art. Not only is Luciano charming, (I could listen to him talk all day long), he is extremely talented too. 

Since 1997 Luciano Giubbilei has been creating serenely beautiful and sculptural gardens across three continents. Giubbilei is known for the understated elegance of his designs and his responsive approach to individual clients. His work draws on his Italian heritage, especially the Renaissance gardens of Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany.

His beautiful book examines 12 significant gardens from his portfolio; each project fully documented. From the preparation of mood boards to final planting and finishing, this book covers it all. A section on site development, nursery production, sourcing of plants, and information on artists and craftsmen, completes the in-depth account of his methods and inspiration.