Passion Projects

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Monitoring the canine activity below. Photo: JH.

Friday, November 19, 2021. 70 degrees and partly sunny yesterday in New York, dropping to the mid-40s with some rain by the end of the day. I was surprised yesterday morning when I opened the door to the terrace just to check the temp (without a Thermometer) and it wasn’t cold. At first I thought there must be something wrong with my own body temp. Who needs Palm Beach (where a lot of New Yorkers have already fled to)? Never mind; by the end of the day it had dropped 25 degrees into the mid-40s with the rain.

The holidays are about to begin. Already some New Yorkers have left town for Turkey Day, or by next Wednesday. If you are going to be a guest at someone’s Thanksgiving table, a perfect (and sweet) little gift might be Carolyne Roehm’s newest publishing project.


Click to order Passions.

This is not a big read. But basically Carolyne is an artist and lives an artist’s life. She’s famous to many for being a fashion designer. Her field of endeavor is her living environment. She’s a worker. Her work is beauty. She’s given herself over to it; it’s her pleasure and it’s her job. She’s a doer, and get out there and does it herself. But always with the eye for beauty. Beauty to please, to pleasure and to assure. This book is about that for me, and that is what this artist does.

This is from one of the trio of short books within “passion” and she explains her natural intent:

“When I moved to New York City to begin my career, I would buy a solitary flower and move it from room to room, wherever I was sitting. It was my small affordable luxury. Now as a designer, painter, and photographer, gardening provides me with a sublime sense of delight and well-being as I am surrounded by blooms most days …”



This trio of short books is a good path to something more than our day-to-day, no matter how brief. Good for your head (and your heart). Carolyne took a lot of the photos and not a few with her cellphone camera. This is a perfect gift during these upcoming holidays as gifts to a hostess or host at dinner or just for a friend, at weekends, at lunches or just because you’d like to share it. The perfect thank you. Carolyne gave this to me. The solitary flower continues to blossom.

Which, speaking of solitary flower purveying and furry friends,
this past Wednesday night here in New York, our friend Vanessa Noel hosted a dinner party for her two prize-winning, male toy poodle litter-mates Rasta & Reggae, to celebrate their 5th “Barkday.” They are their mistress’ “cutest and most treasured little fellows, adored by all” and always right there next to their mistress.


The invite starring Rasta & Reggae.
The Barkday menu.
Birthday cards for the boys on their 5th “Barkday.”

The dinner event was celebrated with 15 close animal-loving friends. Vanessa is also an artist in her life and such an occasion is an Event, an artist’s “event,” which is not be confused with a dinner party. For example, she painted and glazed a set of large dishes. She created Astro-turf placemats; and amazingly found antique green French poodle ceramic knife holders; and Koons-inspired balloon dogs. A pair of 12-inch-tall crystal poodles were the centerpieces! She even created place cards with a gold poodle stamped sealing wax.





Vanessa Noel with the birthday boys, Rasta & Reggae.
Clockwise from bottom left: Christopher Walling, Nina Junot, Susan Gutfreund, Roggero Columbo, Shayne Doty, Jennifer Story, Peter Bacanovic, Jennifer Chaitman, and Prince Dimitri.
Prince Dimitri, James de Givenchy, and Christopher Walling holding a pillow of his late beloved dog Jack.
L. to r.: Nina Junot; Jennifer story with Lola.

The menu was inspired by the pups’ favorite — beef and cheese. Once guests were seated, a waiter entered with a large tray carrying 16 individual cans of beef bourguignon. (there was applause from the guests at table with this one!)



Rasta & Reggae waiting for their portion.

Then there was the dessert. Only the best for those two dogs and the guests applauded again! as hosts were observing. Chocolate is a very serious no-no for all our canine friends.

Of course the dessert stole the show —  home-made sugar cookies painted with 24 carat gold dust, and cut like dog bones; brownies in the shape of paw-prints; little chocolate mints with white sugar dog bones on top.



And then (the eleven o’clock number!): A large confetti cake topped with vintage brown ceramic poodles all sitting on a buffet table with a 24″ x 36″ portrait of the dogs in a gold glittered frame!




Even the napkins were covered with multi-colored paw prints. Vanessa closed with a Barkday celebration toast — “to all beloved dogs and and everyone’s pets and best four legged friends,” and what they give to us in unconditional love; always a good lesson.



It was a night to remember (or never forget)!


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