Gently Green Great Design What I love Nantucket Life Please Join Me Healthy Stuff

Gently green conversations with Trudy Dujardin, FASID, LEED AP

My Ode to New England

After touring Florida and the Carolinas a lot in the last few years, and trying to decide where to live ~ and our tax advisor letting the tax tail wag the dog, so to speak (as many of you know I was born in South Carolina and have family there) ~ we finally realized how much we love New England! It’s home.

Snow and ice welcome us home!

We love the change of seasons, and snow is a celebration of nature for us. So no one is complaining here! We’ve made our choice. We love all the changes and the beauty. One day when it was sunny with brilliantly clear, blue skies, and 63 degrees, I picked a snowdrop flower and brought it inside for my 93 year old dad. What a smile!

First snowdrops of the season!

For us, there is nothing like curling up next to the fireplace with a great book and watching the snow outside with our three little pooches. All cozy and protected.

Here I am with Frank, G.G., Tuffy, and Ellie

Our “green” home in East Norwalk was renovated by us with all non-toxic building materials and finishes ~ it took two years. The property hasn’t had a chemical or pesticide on it for over 22 years. That’s hard to replicate.

My Connecticut Home in Winter

Talk about stimulation! We’re only a one hour drive to Manhattan with all the culture, plays, some of the finest medical care in the country (we also like Cleveland Clinic), and incredible museums, not to mention the cuisine. Frank loves Arthur Avenue!

A New York City bakery!

This all feeds my soul, but we can retreat to Connecticut for peace and quiet and cleaner air.

My Connecticut Home in Summer

A winter vacation to a warm climate is always a treat, but we usually end up staying close to home with so much design work to do before getting our clients ready for their summer homes on Nantucket.

A window seat I created for a client to frame her view

Spring will be our next magical treat. The daffodils and croci are already pushing their way through the earth. God’s work. Renewal. I know it’s not for everyone, but New England is home for us. We’re grateful for all the beauty and excitement of nature–all 12 months of it.

A single crocus

Soon we’ll be back on Nantucket for the summer. Cooler temperatures and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We are only a block away from Madaket Harbor where Frank keeps his boat for fishing, clamming, and just plain being lazy.

Island evening

Plus, we have the Nantucket Whaling Museum (rated one of the top ten museums in the country), and all of the history of the island. I work on a committee for the Nantucket Historical Association and help with their fundraisers and often do design displays for them.

 

It’s a full life for a transplant from South Carolina. Did I ever tell you how one Fourth of July, I had to be medi-vacced off the island in a helicopter to Mass General for a gastric hemorrhage? Now that was a trip! All was fine in the end but I was there for two weeks. That’s part of the reason I don’t want to live on Nantucket full time, although we have so many wonderful friends there. Plus, I would miss Connecticut and New York City. Right now it seems as though we have the best of both worlds ~ for us, anyway.

Nantucket Harbor

Stay cool or warm, whichever you need right now. God bless you all!

My porch in Madaket on Nantucket

Drink Your Vegetables

 

Part of living a Holistic lifestyle is taking the best care you can of your mind, body and spirit.  Today our world is host to innumerable chemicals and potential toxins that we breathe into our lungs, absorb into our skin, and digest with our food.  Some of the environmental assault is unavoidable, but we all can make healthier choices to feel good so we have the energy to do good.

I feel my best when I eat foods that are gluten-free, sugar-free and organic.  Everyone’s body and nutritional needs are slightly different, so it may take some trial and error before you find the foods that make you feel terrific and energized, instead of drowsy and fuzzy-headed.

For those of us in Connecticut, there are organic cafes nearby that offer healthy, green drinks and organic, raw foods to add energy and zest to your life.  Here are two of my favorites:

 

The Stand Juice Company

The Stand Juice Company,  located in both Norwalk and Fairfield, Connecticut, serves vegan muffins, cupcakes and cookies, as well as salads, vegetarian sandwiches and of course, a large array of juices.  The “Greenie” has kale, collards, cucumber and celery; the “Freshie” is a blend of cucumber, apple and lemon.  You can find a smoothie with raw cacao, dried cherries, banana, flax seeds and almond milk (the “Choco-Cherry) or apple, banana, cinnamon, hemp protein and almond milk (the “Hempster.)

The guiding principle behind their foods and juices is that our bodies need fresh, organic, alkaline foods for optimal health.  You can find them in Norwalk at 31 Wall Street, and in Fairfield at 87 Mill Plain Road.  Or check out their website here.

Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe

Healthy Habit founders Glen Colello and Lisa Storch created the raw food and juice cafe to offer their customers a wide array of foods that cover the healthy-eating spectrum.  They offer raw juices, smoothies, and meals that sound familiar (burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, pad thai) but that are made from healthy ingredients.  The pad thai has zucchini and kelp noodles, for instance.  And the “meatballs” are meatless.

Mr. Colello trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in Manhattan and is certified as a health counselor.  Although he changed his eating habits in one day ten years ago, giving up meat, dairy and sugar, he understands that most people transition to healthy eating more slowly.  The shop is designed to help customers on their healthy eating journey, and appeals to all different palates.  Visit them online here.

Connecticut Green Drinks

Every month, people who are focused on green, sustainable living and who are working toward a healthier planet can meet to discuss their plans and goals at events across the state called “Green Drinks.”  Green Drinks offers a social networking venue for the eco-conscious, and most groups meet monthly.  Groups meet in Stamford (Wednesdays), Norwalk (Saturdays), Fairfield (Tuesdays), Bridgeport (Wednesdays)  and New Haven (Wednesdays).  For more information, go to ctgreendrinks.com.

I hope 2013 is the year you take better care of yourself.  Start small if you need to, by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.  And try out some of the delicious juices offered at The Stand and Catch a Healthy Habit!  You’ll love how you feel.

 

 

 

 

 

Wendell Castle Exhibition at the Aldrich Museum

In mid-October I had the opportunity to attend Makers Market, an open-air display of artisans’ work held at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.  DJ Carey, a longtime friend of Dujardin Design, is the talented editorial director of Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Magazine and served on the host committee, which made this event a must-see for me.  The artisans presented in this three-day celebration of the arts offered an inspiring look at what’s being created in modern design, covering everything from furniture to candles, jewelry to ceramics, and more.

Wendell Castle, father of the Art Furniture Movement

The highlight of the day for me was the chance to meet  “the father of the art furniture movement,” Wendell Castle.  The Aldrich Museum has curated an exhibit of the modern furniture designer’s stunning work, and as the first major exhibition by Mr. Castle in more than 20 years, you shouldn’t miss it!  The exhibit coincides with Mr. Castle’s 80th birthday; he’s been creating unique pieces of handmade sculpture and furniture for over five decades.

(He reminded me of my father’s brother, Uncle Willie, a furniture designer in the East Village for many years who gave me my first wooden paint box that I carried all through high school, college and graduate school, and taught me so much about design.)

His pieces are bold and graceful, often organic, and are crafted from beautiful hardwoods, plastics, veneers and metals in a timeless contemporary style.  The pieces selected for the Aldrich exhibition were chosen for the narrative they tell about his work.  Almost all of them were hailed as revolutionary in changing the way we look at furniture.  He was one of a group of designers who were recognized in the mid-twentieth century as important to the growing studio craft movement.  Today, his masterpieces are fast becoming some of the most coveted examples of twentieth century design.

Wandering Forms–Works from 1959-1979 is at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum until February 24, 2013.  If you haven’t been to the Aldrich yet, or if it’s been a while since you visited, don’t miss this chance to see a museum nationally known for curating outstanding new art and cultivating emerging artists.

Larry Aldrich (1906-2001) opened the museum in 1964 as one of the country’s first museums devoted exclusively to the exhibition of contemporary art.  Today, the mission of the museum is to advance creative thinking by connecting today’s artists with individuals and communities in unexpected and stimulating ways.   The building itself, located in a historic district with colonial roots, was built in 2003 and based on an abstraction of traditional New England architecture.  The white clapboard and granite museum is a beautiful addition to the original “Old Hundred” building, built in 1783, where Mr. Aldrich first housed his extensive art collection.

A visit to the property and the exhibition would make a wonderful day out in Connecticut–I hope you’ll go!

Autumn in Connecticut

photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

 Dear Readers,

This post was written before the devastation of Hurricane Sandy across the northeast.  The beauty of fall is one side of the story; storms and dangerous weather are also part of life in Connecticut, and throughout the world.  I invite you to join me in a look at the gentler side of Autumn, even as we keep those still without power or homes in our thoughts.  I’m making a donation to the Red Cross today.  I encourage you to do whatever you can to help restore our communities.

Autumn is such a beautiful season.  My friend Michael Passarello sent me some wonderful pictures he’s taken, and it inspired me to share the beauty of Connecticut with all of you. Come join me on a virtual walk through the countryside I love, and let’s enjoy the beauty of a Fall day together!

 

japanese maple leaves; photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn is a second spring, where every leaf is a flower.”  –Albert Camus

autumn hydrangea; photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”–William Cullen Bryant

stewarthia; photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”  –Faith Baldwin

photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers, we more than gain in fruits.”–Samuel Butler

photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“The morns are meeker than they were, the nuts are getting brown; the berry’s cheek is plumper, the rose is out of town.  The maple wears a gayer scarf, the field a scarlet gown.  Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.” –Emily Dickinsen

“Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”–George Eliot

You can’t celebrate autumn without enjoying its wonderful foods.  My husband, Frank, makes a delicious pumpkin tart:  it’s gluten free, sugar free and lactose-free!

  Here’s the recipe.  We call it:

Frank’s Amazing Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Sugar-free Pumpkin Tart

(that makes its own crust!)

Do it all right in the blender!

First of all, all ingredients must be organic.  No pie crust needed – it makes its own thin crust – more like a souffle.

Place in blender:

  • 1 can 16 oz. organic pumpkin
  • 1 can or 13oz. either organic unsweetened evaporated milk or organic Rice Milk or Almond Milk (Amasake) – each one gives a different consistency
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons organic pumpkin pie s pice mix (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup sugar OR 2 teaspoons local organic honey –which we prefer (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of organic rice flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly butter a pie plate. (We use Earth Balance–an organic buttery spread that’s gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, expeller-pressed oil)

Put all the above ingredients –except rice flour– in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of organic rice flour to the blender mix until absorbed – can add more if consistency is too thin.  Pour into pie plate.  Bake until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 – 55 minutes.  Refrigerate any remaining pie.

Enjoy!

 

Photo credit:  Michael Passarello is a writer, photographer, greenhouse consultant and all around nice guy, living in the woods in North Stamford in Hedy Lamar’s old house.  You can reach Michael to inquire about his photographs at zylvert@gmail.com.

Thank you, Michael!

Hurricane Sandy, Connecticut Coast, October 29, 2012