All Bottled Up


You are throwing a dinner party. You just uncorked a wonderful Bordeaux to complement the Chateaubriand you plan on serving, when in walk your guests and hand you a gift-wrapped bottle of wine. What’s a hostess to do? To serve or not to serve? Turn the page and find out what our etiquette expert says.

Top 5 Chris Madden

Interior-design maven Chris Madden on her must-have home décor books

The driving force behind her eponymous multi-million-dollar home-furnishings empire, Chris Madden of Purchase has been a design correspondent for Oprah, hosted her own HGTV show, and published 16 books, including the bestselling A Room of Her Own, now in its 11th printing. Here, Madden shares the titles of her five favorite “bibles” of home décor by other designers.

Billy Baldwin decorates1) Billy Baldwin Decorates, by Billy Baldwin (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1972) Though first published 36 years ago, this primer is, Madden says, “timeless in its decorating wisdom.” Madden, who calls the late Billy Baldwin one of the true giants of American design, particularly loves the author’s handwritten notes (“the things I love”; “clear, clean colors”) that are replicated in its margins. “Every page contains decorating gems that are useful and inspiring,” she says.
An Affair with a House2) An Affair with a House, by Bunny Williams (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2005) This title, about the restoration of the interiors and garden of the author’s 18th-century classic Federal-style house in Connecticut, features “lush photography showcasing the author’s classic decorating sensibility—with a nice touch of how-to,” says Madden.
 Jeffrey Bilhuber's Design Basics3) Jeffrey Bilhuber’s Design Basics: Expert Solutions for Designing the House of Your Dreams, by Jeffrey Bilhuber and Annette Tapert (Rizzoli, 2003) This book offers “luxurious photography and easy-to-follow lessons on space, scale, color, and materials,” says Madden. “It’s a great guide for contemporary yet timeless design in the twenty-first century.”
The Way We Live
4) The Way We Live: An Ultimate Treasury for Global Design Inspiration, by Stafford Cliff (Random House, Inc.; 2003) Madden says this guided world tour of architectural styles and design “inspires me with authenticity, detail, and elements that I might not have imagined.” She particularly likes its clearly organized layout, which makes it easy to compare the design of similar spaces (e.g., entryways, staircases, courtyards, etc.) between countries. “We all love to be domestic voyeurs,” she says, “and here you can look into the rear windows, across the courtyards, and into the living rooms of hundreds of homes around the world.”
Pierre Doux's French Country 5) Pierre Deux’s French Country: A Style & Source Book, by Pierre Moulin, Pierre Le Vec, and Linda Dannenberg (Clarkson Potter, 1989) A guide to and history of the French country look, this book is praised by Madden for the way it “explains, in easy terms, how to achieve the Provençal look gracefully in a contemporary home, without having it look like a museum.”


following up // About Face

The hunt for Westchester’s most popular Facebooker continues.

Last month, I wrote about my search for the Westchester resident with the most Facebook friends (see “Face to Facebook”). I abandoned my hunt after hours of scanning profiles, but the first spot on the leader board was then taken by Giovanna Alba, a 19-year-old nursing student from Harrison.

No sooner had the article hit newsstands than I received an e-mail from Lindsay Rego, a 21-year-old Hastings-on-Hudson resident studying at the University of Albany. Rego has 3,189 friends on Facebook—about three times as many as Alba. “I think it’s time to let everyone in on my secrets to networking,” she wrote.

Indeed, Rego seems to have an innate knack for networking. “I was thirteen when I started doing promotions for teen clubs in the Westchester area,” she says. “By the time I was fifteen, I had groups of twenty-to-thirty people under me, and I was meeting top-level promoters.” She spun those connections into an internship at NYC ad agency Berlin Cameron while she was still in high school. “I was the youngest intern they ever had,” she says. “They thought I was a junior in college, not a junior in high school.”

Of course, working her contacts took some practice. “There have been times when I’ve sent out too many events at a time, and it was annoying and people de-friended me,” she says. “Since then, I’ve learned how to get the timing right.”

The business management and marketing major says that putting herself out there on the Internet certainly has opened doors for her—and recommends that everyone do it. “Make the effort to know people,” Rego says. “The best way to get out there is just by getting in touch with people through Facebook. It’s a perfect way to start.” She’s tried other networking sites, e.g., MySpace, LinkedIn, and MeetSpot, but says Facebook is the best.

“It’s the most professional. It has everybody’s first and last name on it.” Rego should know—she estimates she logs in about 10 times a day, and gets new friend requests and messages every hour. She’s amassed so many contacts that someone even started a group named “I Have More Friends Than Guidette L.” (Guidette L. is her online handle.)

Rego has one last piece of advice: “Definitely have a strong picture. Everyone judges you by your photos.” Her photo as of press time? It’s Rego in a tummy- and cleavage-baring top standing in front of a shelf full of Bicardi Limón and other liquor. It’s certainly attention-grabbing.

Anyone else? Do you have more than 3,189 Facebook friends? Let us know at edit@westchester

// Marisa LaScala

GM hybrid carH-to-Go!

Will Westchester trade hybrids for hydrogen?

With gas prices on an endless climb, it’s no wonder county residents are looking for greener ways to commute to work. At least that’s one of the reasons lawyer Eric Rotbard, who practices in White Plains and lives in West Nyack, signed up to test out the new Chevy Equinox hydrogen fuel-cell car. “It looked like every time someone sneezed in the Middle East, gas prices went up,” he says. Hydrogen appealed to Rotbard because of the fuel’s availability. “It’s everywhere,” he says. “You don’t have to dig for it or find it in remote location. It can be generated in a clean manner.”

Rotbard was one of the first six people selected for GM’s “Project Driveway” program, which GM calls “the first large-scale market test of fuel-cell vehicles with real drivers in the real world.” The car uses the energy created when hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water to generate electricity and to power the motor. The only emission is water vapor. “I could take a cup, put it on the tailpipe, and drink the water that comes out,” Rotbard says. “There’s no poison in it.” Rotbard reports that he gets 40 to 42 miles for every kilogram of hydrogen (roughly equivalent to a gallon of gasoline). Hybrids are all well and good, he says, but they still use gasoline engines, so buying a hybrid “doesn’t eliminate any environmental problems.”

Okay, we know it’s a clean machine—but how does it drive? Rotbard has only positive things to say about the handling of his new SUV. “It still feels like a very strong V-6 engine,” he says. “There’s no transmission, so it doesn’t shift. It’s just solid acceleration. It’s also extremely quiet because there’s no internal combustion.”

His only complaint is the public’s resistance to creating new hydrogen fueling stations. Right now, there are two in the area: one at the White Plains Department of Transportation and another at the GM building in Ardsley. “Hydrogen is no less safe than gasoline,” he says. “If there’s a breach, all of the hydrogen will just evaporate. There will be no spills, no flammable leaks to clean up.” GM believes it can make an affordable hydrogen car, he says, “but there’s just no place to fill it. If the public were more aware, then there’d be more stations, and more people would be buying these cars.” // ML

Ask The Expert

Q: When guests bring wine to dinner, should that wine be served or set aside for another time?

A: According to Harrison Etiquette/Protocol Consultant Melissa Leonard (establishyour, it all depends on whether the host asked his or her guest to arrive with vino in hand. If so, “the wine definitely should be opened and served during the dinner party,” Leonard says, “as it shows gratitude for the invitee’s contribution to the evening.” Leonard adds that the guest should make sure the wine is properly chilled (if it is white) prior to arrival. “However, if you bring wine without being asked, don’t expect, or worse, push and prod your host to serve it. Should your host ask if you’d like to have your wine with dinner, politely let her know that you are perfectly content with whatever wine she serves.”

What the Heck Is Flag Day?

We all know we’re supposed to fly the stars and stripes on June 14th, but why? We certainly had no idea, so we did our homework and learned that Flag Day, while not a federal holiday, is intended to commemorate our flag’s birthday. The Second Continental Congress approved the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777. You can thank Bernard J. Cigrand), a 19-year-old schoolteacher from Waubeka, Wisconsin, for the idea of Flag Day (or more formally, National Flag Day). On June 14, 1885, Cigrand propped up a small flag on his desk and instructed his students to write essays expressing what the flag meant to them. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 Flag Day, and in 1949, Congress established National Flag Day. The rest is history.


Sure, we’ve all been apple or pumpkin picking in the fall, but what about the summer when all those lush, beautiful berries and fresh veggies are at their very peak? Here are our favorite farms for picking summer fruits and vegetables. (Call first to find out what’s in season.)

Westchester County
Amawalk Farm—42 Wood St, Katonah
(914) 245-2319;
Certified organic raspberries available from mid-July through mid-October.

Dutchess County
Dykeman’s Farm—231 W Dover Rd, Pawling, NY
(845) 832-6068
Raspberries, strawberries, and a few vegetables in season.

Greig Farm—223 Pitcher Ln, Red Hook, NY
(845) 758-1234;
Apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries; available April through December. Also a market, bakery, nursery, garden shop, and educational program including farm tours.

Orange County
Hodgson Farms—2290 Albany Post Rd (at Route 52), Walden, NY
(845) 778-1432;
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries; available June through August.



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