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VOl. 14 No. 1 Editor-in-Chief Chris Christen 402-444-1094 Creative Director/Designer Heidi Thorson 402-444-1351 Assistant Editor Kim Carpenter 402-444-1416 Photo Imaging Specialist Patricia “Murphy� Benoit Content Contributors Erin Fairchild, Anna Harms, Kurt A. Keeler, David Kerr, Chad Lebo, Jessica Luna, Rose McCormick, Meghann Schense, Jordan Stancombe, Howard T. Swain, Jr.




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Photography Contributors Jeffrey Bebee, Paul Crosby, Heather & Jameson, Jordan Green Productions On the Cover Photo: Jeffrey Bebee Before + After feature, page 28 Custom Publishing Ad Manager Dan Matuella 402-444-1485 Advertising Sales Manager Carrie Kentch 402-444-1448 Account Representatives Gay Liddell | 402-444-1489 | Sofia Maravi | 402-444-1442 | Emily Martin | 402-444-1411 | Cathleen Vanhauer | 402-444-1209 |

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Presto, Change-o! Color happy designer Jonathan Adler says that ignorance and fear are no reason to live in a bland box. “Beige is a bummer! Colorless is

Chris christen editor-in-chief

FUN FACT Most colorful shoes Chris has ever worn: Jean Stothert's strappy hot pink sandals (size 9) for a spoof of the Omaha mayor in the 2015 Omaha Press Club Show.

characterless!” Inspired by Adler’s call to “vanquish the vanilla’,’ we present: The Color Issue.  This year, take a cue from SherwinWilliams and pick up a brush and be floored – by your walls. Local interior designers spill their go-to paint colors and best advice starting on page 18.  We pump up the volume on page 20.

Stay connected between issues. Get sneak peeks of styled shoots, bonus photos from current issues, recipe links and more.

Assistant editor Kim Carpenter explores color theory with architect Jeff Day – who

Bluffs couple unveils a whole-house redo that left us green with envy. You'll see a bit of Jonathan Adler in their décor, page 28. Chef Chad Lebo shares surprising improvisations in a new culinary column, The Hidden Pantry. He starts with celery, page 52. Naturally colorful food may be the best food for you – but don't let that stop you from making macaroons, page 50. Here’s hoping the tips and tricks within inspire you to give the color wheel an adventurous spin in 2016.   Until next time, 

uses cutting-edge doses of color in his projects. “He’s my imaginary architect,” Kim told me after the interview. “I’m too old for

Be inspired by people, places and things that we  . Food, fashion & décor top the list.

In our Before & After feature, a Council

Chris Christen editor-in-chief

imaginary friends, but one day I just might be able to hire an architect.”

Anything handmade from the heart makes a perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Find hundreds of D.I.Y. projects on our Pinterest boards.

Have a story idea, question or comment? Send us an email.


We take issue with any fashionista who thinks black tights should be banned. You won't catch us bare-legged in winter. Our "True Blue" Threads shoot was a "black tight affair" celebrating a favorite wardrobe staple. Girls in Black Tights (Forever). Who’s with us?

Have you discovered Do Space, the new technology library? We recently dropped in – with our coloring books and markers. We got puzzled looks but it was fun unplugging for an hour while we soaked up the color – and energy – in the creative lab.

Creative director Heidi Thorson had a personal color analysis, walked away inspired by her "wow" colors, and dyed her hair violet. Her new tresses are her current favorite accessory. No surprise – the shade is turning heads and raking in raves.

Guiding you to a rewarding home buying and selling experience.

Beautify your HOME & LIFE

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Carrie Kentch

FUN FACT Heidi doesn't shy away from testing trends – especially hairstyles. As a teen, she shaved her head. Because, why not?

FUN FACT Kim is a great repository for fun facts, like this one: January was named after Janus, god of beginnings & transitions.

FUN FACT Carrie is always drawn to anything in the purple color family – violet, pansy, lavender, mulberry, mauve...


Jeffrey Bebee


FUN FACTS Cathy's favorite color is green because she is Irish and enjoys new spring grass and the fragrance of evergreen trees.

FUN FACTS Jeffrey recently realized all his shirts were either white, blue or green. Mostly green. Why? That's just the way it is.

FUN FACTS Kurt, a photographer, has recently discovered that his small camera drone is not that easy to control.

Heather + Jameson

Jessica Luna

Kali Rahder

FUN FACTS Heather and Jameson are celebrating one year at their Bench studio this February.

FUN FACTS Jessica's favorite colors are black, dark black, pitch black, pastel black, light black and faded black.

FUN FACT Kali spent 8 years as a chemical specialist for the National Guard before becoming a color specialist for Kevin Murphy.

advertising account executive



assistant editor


fashion stylist

advertising account manager

copy editor

hair & makeup stylist

Photos: Heidi THorson, Kurt A. Keeler, Heather & Jameson, Jeffrey Bebee, Jordan Green Productions, Ashley Nicole Photography, Ashley Otte Photography

creative director + designer


David Kerr

Rose M c cormick

FUN FACT Howard took seven vacations in 2015. He vows to limit himself to four this year.

FUN FACT David grew up in Scotland and studied design for four years before going into hospitality. He owns The Tavern.

FUN FACT Rose bought her first flower shop out of college at age 23. She's been in business for 30 years.

CHad LEbo

Meghann Schense

Vivian + JOrdan

travel writer

food columnist

FUN FACT Chad is a proud owner of a frying pan that has made grilled cheese sandwiches on three continents.


merchandise stylist

FUN FACT Meghann approaches life with a sunny West coast ease, Midwest work ethic and East coast drive.

floral designer


FUN FACTS Vivian secretly wishes she had a pet penguin. Jordan crochets his own lens covers.

Jordan Stancombe

ERin Fairchild

Murphy Benoit

FUN FACT Jordan works in medicine by day and loves to bake in her free time. The kitchen is her favorite place in her apartment.

FUN FACT Erin grew up thinking cats were mean and made people sneeze and cry. Now her cat, Punkin, brings her much joy.

FUN FACT Murphy's favorite color is yellow because it makes her feel warm and bright. She also eats popcorn daily.

local foodie


imaging specialist  7

C ontents PHOTO: HEATHER & JAMESON Merchandise Credits, page 40


on the cover BEFORE + AFTER 28 | Happy Chic

HOmespiration 10 | Bright Moves 18 | Designer Picks 26 | Right Hue Sells Design Done Right 12 | Bold Strokes 20 | Pump Up the Volume Threads 40 | True Blue Denim Au COurant 48 | Clutch It!

402-502-1962 | Legacy West | 17650 Wright Street Stay updated with our newest items by visiting:

Wishing you and your family Wi


New Year!

The dish 50 | Dainty Macaroons THE Hidden Pantry 52 | Celery: Root to Shoot Host 56 | Vibrant Cocktails Destination 60 | Tahiti

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5 tips for making color work for you. STORY Chris Christen

The fastest facelift for any room is color. Yet the fear of getting it wrong makes most people stick with the safe and expected, especially when it comes to paint. Here, design pros Beth Settles, Ellen Turnage and Kris Patton of Interiors Joan and Associates share five tips for selecting color schemes with confidence.






ZERO in on what you love

Consider wood and brick tones

Limit your palette

keep the eye moving

Know where you’re going

Start by taking inventory of colors you like - and dislike. “The ones you don’t like oftentimes are more important (to know) than the ones you do like,” Settles says.

Warm woods with yellow undertones, for example, look best with warm paint colors. If you favor cool hues with blue undertones, that honey woodwork or red brick will have to go, Turnage notes. The good news: Painting those surfaces is easier and more economical than you might think.

“You can go overboard with color,” says Settles. “When you do, rooms can feel disconnected.” Sticking with two or three hues in the same color wave or temperature range will help you achieve a cohesive color scheme throughout your home.

“That’s how you know a color or a design is balanced,’’ Patton says. “If your eye stops (because of disjointed color), the design has failed. Just because it’s on Houzz or Pinterest doesn’t mean it’s right for you, your lifestyle, your budget or your space.”

Head-Turning Color Waves, page 12


“Starting a decorating project without a plan that’s specific to your space usually is detrimental to the overall look,” notes Turnage. If you’re unsure of your interior decorating ability, consulting an expert at the onset can help avoid an expensive error.



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Five mood-changing interiors. STORY Chris Christen Photography Jeffrey Bebee

LUXURY CONDOMINIUM Beth Settles, Allied Member ASID interior designer

The objective: Turn a bachelor’s one-bedroom midtown penthouse condominium into a stylish space for entertaining friends and business associates. For Settles, the owner’s art glass collection – playfully punctuated with frog figurines – provides a springboard for a palette of blue-grays with pops of citron. The sleek furnishings and finishes are “interesting but not over-the-top,” Settles observes. “The client can easily change out the throw pillows or switch up the color scheme with other accessories.” An upholstered bed in platinum fabric with decorative pewter nail heads commands the bedroom. “The lighter fabric complements the deeper toned fabrics in the bolster, ottoman and window treatment,” Settles notes. A neutral tonal carpet in a zebra pattern unifies this space for a “meticulous, style-savvy” client who pays attention to detail. THE COLOr PALETTE


MASTER BEDROOM Ellen Turnage, Allied Member ASID interior designer

The objective: Refresh the room without buying new furniture or departing from the existing palette of red, green, gold and black. Turnage complemented her client’s pairing of scarlet walls with new, graphite gray textured bedding and scarlet draperies in a Damask pattern and a freshly upholstered rosy velour chair and ottoman. A faux fur pillow and throw mimic the graphite gray, while fringed accent pillows repeat the drapery fabric. A neutral tonal patterned carpet and white trim keep the room from feeling dark.  THE COLOr PALETTE  13



LIVING-FAMILY ROOM Beth Settles, Allied Member ASID interior designer

The objective: Update the living room area in a 20-year-old suburban home with a redesigned hearth, a dramatic mirror display and new accessories, including an end table with tortoise shell inlay. “The original fireplace was dark and heavy. It bowled you over when you walked through the front door,” Settles recalls. She softened its presence with a limestone surround and stone hearth with a painted and glazed mantel. Settles left the ruby-toned walls but replaced the draperies and shades to complement the existing painting over the hearth.  15

POWDER ROOM Kris Patton, ASID interior designer

The objective: Energize a main floor powder room in a 1973 Regency home purchased last January by a couple with two young children. “Here’s your budget,” the homeowner told Patton. “Do whatever you want, and don’t show me anything until you’re done.’’ Patton started with wallpaper featuring oversized blooms on a chocolate background as a complement to a minimalist single sink vanity in a dark espresso finish and organic hardwood flooring. A vertical section of spice colored grass cloth added surprise. A framed mirror with a branchinspired design and a trio of caged orbs with bare bulbs above the sink play off a trio of swirled reclaimed wood accents on the opposite wall of this sophisticated farmhouse-style home. “I love it,” the homeowner says of the eye-popping space. Guests do too.



KITCHEN Kris Patton, ASID interior designer

The objective: A lighter, brighter kitchen for a busy family of six. The plan called for cabinets, walls and trim in clear grays and whites, a custom glaze on the island, cool quartz countertops and a glass subway tile backsplash. Patton also added a mirror to the back of a built-in hutch in the dining area to reflect light into the room. A built-in desk was raised to counter height, allowing a pair of stools to be tucked underneath for extra seating in a home with four children and two Labrador retrievers. When the family entertains, the raised section of the counter becomes a handy serving station. “Some people get nervous about painting their cabinets. They’re afraid they won’t have the luster,” Patton says. “This project debunks the myth.”



JEssica McKay

Libby Pantzlaff

“I approach color like most other aspects of design. If I love something, I try to make it work. I like to keep the most-used rooms neutral and then go for bold colors in rooms where you don’t spend large chunks of time."

“Kitchens are my favorite rooms for bold color. Think of the heart of the home with white kitchen cabinets, white counters and a lipstick red door leading into the pantry. It’s fresh, exciting and unexpected.”

Go-to neutral Sherwin-Williams "Repose Gray" SW 7015 “It’s a soft gray that feels velvety light and works with any color scheme.”

Go-to neutral Sherwin-Williams "Alabaster" SW 7008 “This neutral white pairs nicely with stains or bold paint colors.”

Signature color Benjamin Moore "Hale Navy" HC-154 “Navy is a workhorse. It can lead the way or take a back seat in an accent like trim work."

Signature color Sherwin-Williams "Dovetail" SW 7018 “I call this gray a ‘two-for-one.’ It looks amazing on both the exterior and the interior of a home."

Excited about Sherwin-Williams "Retreat" SW 6207 “It’s a lovely, deep green that has a timeless English vibe.”

Excited about Sherwin-Williams "Copper Mountain" SW 6356 “Try this next to a wall with recycled barn wood, slate floors or black distressed cabinets.”


Interior Design Consultant + Owner CREATIVE INTERIORS BY LIBBY

Design pros share their top brush strokes. Compiled by Kim Carpenter

Whether bright and vibrant or cool and calming, nothing defines a space more than color. Here, local design experts share their go-to hues. Set aside your paint swatches for now and see how they stack up against these sure-fire hits for your next room makeover.


Courtney Otte

Julia Russell

“I’m an advocate for youthful modern design and appreciate white and how versatile it can be with various pops of color. It also easily switches over to a more neutral color scheme with the use of duller hues.”

“The entry can be an unexpected place for an unusual pop of color. Going with an intense green, for example, lets you use more neutral colors in the adjoining rooms without feeling uninspired with the lack of color.”

Go-to neutral Pittsburgh Paints "Fog" 517-3 “It has a slightly blue undertone but it feels like it’s right in between the blue grays and brown grays – a true neutral.”

Go-to neutral Sherwin-Williams "Mega Greige" SW 7031 “It draws out deep, rich stone colors from natural finishes in traditional settings and works as a contemporary background.”

Signature coloR Benjamin Moore "Decorator’s White" CC-20 “I use this on a majority of projects, and it’s the color I keep going back to when painting a room white.”

Signature color Sherwin-Williams "Plum Brown" SW 6272 “In the daylight, this dark plum has a very rich undertone of purple with a dramatic feel, and at night it’s a mysterious brown.”

Interior Designer + Entrepreneur THE MODERN HIVE DESIGN STUDIO

Interior Designer + Owner JULIA RUSSELL DESIGNS

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Excited about Sherwin-Williams "Iron Ore" SW 7069 “It’s perfect for creating a moody yet energetic space when accented with bold shots of lime green, magenta and teal."

Excited about Benjamin Moore "Fading Twilight" 1258 “This color reflects the original 1955 paint color palette of Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark architectural design achievements."  19

DESIGN DONE RIGHT A view from Min | Day's blue room in the L Residence.

For Min | Day, color moves through cutting-edge architecture. story kim carpenter Photography paul crosby

When you walk into any room designed by Min | Day, you don’t just see color; you experience it. Ranging from soothing neutrals to riotous primaries, color surrounds you, defining and refining how you experience a given space. Based in both Omaha and San Francisco, the architectural firm’s approach is about more than using color as a decorative element. It’s about making color an integral component of its award-winning contemporary design work. We caught up with design principle Jeff Day in his

Benson office to get to the heart of the firm’s color philosophy. “We’re very careful about controlling the way one experiences color,” he says. “We use it in a very intentional way and often talk about volumetric color as something that envelopes an entire space as opposed to individual surfaces.” Here, the firm’s space-engaging strategies are illustrated in a lakeside estate, a downtown Omaha condo and the Blue Barn Theatre’s new 10th Street location.

(continued on page 22)


Color envelopes guests in this Lake Okoboji retreat.  21

Lake Okoboji home

Min | Day’s design for this northeast Iowa lake home features a minimal wood and metal exterior in a neutral color palette that emphasizes the beauty of the natural surroundings. When you enter private living areas, though, color plays a more extreme role. “The main living spaces are more neutral because we were really focusing on the exterior,” reflects Day. “As you move into more intimate spaces, the colors become more intense. This is an example of volume. It’s really about wrapping that space in a color so that as you experience the house, you experience that intense color.”

“In the more intimate spaces, it becomes more about the interior and less about the exterior,” explains Day of the bright bathrooms and small bedrooms. “It’s about creating a sense of mood from the exterior to the interior.”


“This house had a very particular strategy with color,” says Day. “We were thinking about the blues coming from the lake, the greens coming from the trees, the oranges referencing fall. It’s really about that landscape.”

“It’s a strategy just understanding how color works,” the architect notes. “To get the exact shade in this room, I think we painted about 20 different blues in little patches on the wall.”


For the firm’s design of the “L Residence,” a condo home in a downtown Omaha hotel, it employed volumetric color in a dramatic, all-blue room. “In the blue room, the idea was about being in a world of color,” Day notes. “You enter into this abstract world where there’s no materiality. You’re just looking at color.”

“There’s blue rubber on the floor and a light source above that makes it glow,” says Day of the all-blue room. Perforated paneling on the wall allows light in. To avoid any distraction from the thickness of the material, “the painter painted each of the holes right to the edge so there would be no sense you were looking at three-quarter-inch plywood.”  23


From the beginning, blue played a dominating role in the design for the theater group’s new performance space on the southern fringe of Omaha’s Old Market. “With the Blue Barn, obviously the color is the brand, so it wasn’t like we were going to come in and make them paint it red,” laughs Day. Instead, “we pushed them to use it (blue) in a bold way. There was an awful lot of study into the exact shade of blue.”

Min | Day used warmtone LED lighting,

“In the Blue Barn, there isn’t a lot of other color – except for the red chairs, which came from the original space,” says Day. “All the public spaces are this blue wrapping around the theater.”


which beautifully enhanced the earth tones of the venue’s wooden interior, but had one negative side effect – it created a green cast against the blue paint. “Here it was really a challenge … We used blue gels on the lights to wash the walls blue and cool down the light. It shows you how tricky color can get.”

Connecting your extraordinary y life... to an incredible home.

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Realtor: Right hue sells. TEXT kim carpenter Photography courtesy of the key group

Hardwood floors from France. A custom-made spiral staircase. Show-stopping chandeliers. Killer window views. A 6,000-square-foot Bennington Lake home had it all. Yet it sat on the market for more than a year. Potential buyers couldn’t get past one thing. The yellow. “All you could see when you walked in was the yellow,” Realtor Kelly Kontz recalls. “The color was very personalized to the décor. If you weren’t a ‘yellow person,’ the color was a disconnect.” Kontz suggested a change of hue

when the sellers re-listed the property with The Key Group. “Color can make or break a home sale,” Kontz explains. While many sellers may not think twice about remodeling a kitchen or a bathroom to enhance a sale, they often will overlook the basic step of repainting. “In staging a home, I look at color first. It’s extremely important,” says Kontz. “You can set the stage for an entire space with the right wall color.” Architectural features drive Kontz’s recommendations. A room with a high vaulted ceiling, for example, will benefit


“It was yellow,” recalls Realtor Kelly Kontz of the Bennington Lake home that wasn’t selling. “Everything kind of blended together.”


from a wall shade that’s deeper than the ceiling to make the angles stand out. The seller of the lake home, Kontz says, was initially reluctant to repaint. “Changing color is the one thing I get the most opposition to. However, once sellers see how far a fresh coat of paint goes, they understand the return on the dollar. They realize it’s a wonderful investment. Changing color helps their homes sell quicker.” In the case of the Bennington Lake home, it sold within three days for the asking price of $1.1 million, proving color was, indeed, key.


A gray-beige custom mix accentuates the architectural elements and pulls the eye toward the magnificent lake view.




Kelly Kontz's SELLER TIPS:

WALLS Gray all the way. “For some people, it’s too much, so we combine it with tan tones for a custom color called ‘greige.’’’ Gray is quickly surpassing yellow, teal and chocolate, which are waning in popularity.

FIXTURES Brushed brass. “The new brass is a combination of silver and gold in a soft finish.”

CABINETRY White is right. “Cabinets used to be espresso – dark, dark, dark. Now the trend is toward sleek and clean marbled whites.”

CARPETING “People don’t want colorful carpet. They just don’t. If it’s burgundy, it has to go.” Ditto for hunter green – anywhere in your home.

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THE KITCHEN While the footprint of the cabinets stayed the same, the upper section was reconfigured to accommodate a hooded range. Drafty double-hung windows were replaced with energy-efficient picture windows for more natural light and better views into the wooded back yard. Faded fruit-and-vegetable wallpaper from the 1990s came down, and rift-cut white oak flooring went in.


Linda Meredith loves a “Nervy Hue,” which is a

STORY Chris Christen Photography Jeffrey Bebee

Palm Springs – Shag and all!

good thing given it’s the name of the cheery apple green SherwinWilliams paint that runs through her two-story home in Council Bluffs’ Timbercrest subdivision. “I want my home to make me smile, and it certainly does,” Linda says. Twelve months ago, the brilliant green – or any other bold stroke of paint color, for that matter – would have stuck out like a sore thumb in her guacamole and burnt orange country décor. And Linda definitely wasn’t smiling. Vacationing in Palm Springs over the years, though, had gotten Linda and her husband, Dick, thinking about ways to enjoy a similar vibe here. Their home, Linda began lamenting, was boring. “It’s not fun. It’s not happy,” she told Dick last January. Today, color is the spice of life in a contemporary design scheme that captures the mod, retro vibe of 1970s Palm Springs. An Indianapolis 500 party over Memorial Day Weekend put the whole-house redo on a fast track to completion. Linda would need help and found it in Jerome Bergmeier of Interiors Joan and Associates, whose portfolio included design work in Southern California. Jerome's inspiration boards for the Merediths popped with color, pattern and texture inspired, in part, by an iconic Shag art print his clients had purchased a few years earlier but never hung. “We loved it but didn’t have a place for it because the décor was all wrong,” Linda explains. Today, that print figures prominently in the living room. The couple talks about their home in two distinct periods. “Before Jerome” and “After Jerome.” “Like Pre-Columbian and PostColumbian,” Dick explains with a smile. The Palm Springs vibe, Linda says, wakes up her senses and makes her feel happy. “Jerome nailed it.”  29

The homeowners, Linda and Dick Meredith.

THE QUIET ROOM A picture window offers a great view of the woods and wildlife. This is a favorite space for reading and contemplation.


THE DINING ROOM The fluted table, from Design Within Reach, is repurposed from another area of the home. The Saarinen side chairs by Knoll nearly missed their grand reveal at that Indy 500 party. “It was a photo finish” with the designer tracking down the delivery truck in Omaha and pulling off the chairs the same day guests arrived.  31

THE LIVING ROOM A print of artist Josh Agle’s (a.k.a. Shag) serigraph, “The Nosy Neighbors,” inspired the living room palette. An antique German rosewood liquor cabinet purchased at a Modernism show in Palm Springs anchors the wall opposite the picture window.


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THE CONVERSATION AREA A midcentury Italian tulip table provides balance in a nook near the kitchenette. A cornice board softens the space.


THE KITCHENETTE Padded, powder-coated blue bar stools tuck under an aqua quartz countertop that the Merediths got at a bargain price. The dealer told Linda, “Nobody around here wants this … but it’s perfect for you.”  35

GARDEN SUITE, LOWER LEVEL When this family needed more sleeping space for overnight guests, they transformed a game room into a guest suite. Vibrant floral-print and striped fabrics for draperies and upholstery drove the room's décor. “I never would have picked this out,” Linda says of the textile and paint combination that her interior designer proposed.


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THE WORKROOM A second-level workroom featuring a washer and dryer, computer station and large island allows for multitasking. Relocated from the basement, the island got a new top and a fresh coat of paint. Today, it’s heavily used for cutting fabric and wrapping packages.


THE GUEST BEDROOM & BATH Color accents repeat for impact. Turquoise furnishings keep the eye moving. A few well-placed touches of orange add extra zest. The color scheme takes flight in the guest bath with whimsical bird-patterned wallpaper and a crazy-fun speckled Vetrazzo Millefiori vanity countertop.  39


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GoSilk tie-dye slip dress, $458 CHRISTEL’S

Lamie leather belt, $5 NEW LIFE THRIFT





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Warm a heart "just because" with these easy macaroons. TEXT ERIN FAIRCHILD RECIPE preparation Jordan stancombe Photography HEIDI THORSON


The dainty macaroon’s romantic and indulgent nature makes it the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or any day “just because.” This popular French pastry might look complicated but the recipe is surprisingly simple, and the color and flavor variations are endless. Go the traditional route and bake as gifts or declare a date night and whip up a batch to enjoy with your sweetie over a bottle of wine. Either way, these airy meringue shells and sweet fillings will infuse any occasion with a little extra love.

Cherry Macaroons

Makes 30

SHELL INGREDIENTS 1¼ cups almond flour 1¾ cups confectioner’s sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 4 large egg whites ½ cup granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon almond extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If using a convection oven, bake at 315 degrees to prevent shells from cracking.) 2. Whisk together almond flour and confectioner’s sugar; sift over a large bowl.    3. Beat egg whites until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add granulated sugar and almond extract. Beat until medium shiny peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes. If tinting macaroon shells, add desired food coloring. 4. Fold egg whites into almond mixture until combined. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or zip-top bag and cut ½-inch off a corner tip. Pipe 1-inch rounds about 1 inch apart on parchment-lined sheets. Tip: Use a macaroon baking sheet for uniform macaroon shells. 5. Let dry 30 minutes to 1½ hours until tops are firm and dry. Bake one sheet at a time for about 14 minutes, rotating sheet once after 7 minutes. Let cool completely.

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FILLING INGREDIENTS ½ stick unsalted butter 4 ounces cream cheese 1 tablespoon vanilla 3 cups confectioner’s sugar ½ cup fresh cherries, pitted


1. In a blender, combine cream cheese and butter. 2. Add cherries and vanilla and blend until smooth. 3. Add confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup at a time, while blending constantly. 4. Spoon into piping bag and fill cookies. 5. Serve and enjoy! Recipe courtesy of Chelsey Mass

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Lean, toothsome friend gets some respect. TEXT, RECIPES and Photography CHAD LEBO

There are certainly more enthralling ingredients than celery to explore in a culinary column, but humble and overlooked is rather the point. In this six-part series, cooking specialist Chad Lebo looks in the garden, grocery aisle and even the wild for ingredients that are forgotten, ignored or unexpected and brings them into the kitchen. His recipes and techniques are meant to be as much inspirational as informational. So explore, expand, invent. It’s your kitchen.


Quick! Name the last time you heard someone say, “Wow, that is really good celery!” This meek vegetable is more often treated as fodder than food, something to be endured rather than enjoyed. A food we should eat instead of one we want to eat, celery fills party platters and assuages the guilt of a basket of Buffalo wings. In the garden, one can only imagine the holier-than-thou looks it gets from the heirloom tomatoes. Time to redeem this lean, toothsome friend. Its leaves are a fine place to start. The darker leaves, in particular, are the most flavorful part of celery. Think of them as the "Uncle Herb" you didn’t know you had. Use them like flat parsley or even basil. Chop and add to just about any soup, salad or pasta. If you enjoy salad and like the combination of celery and nuts, swap the basil with celery leaves in your next pesto. Or add a pop of celery leaf flavor to bean soup at the end of a long day of simmering. Add that same herbal punch to salad greens or let celery take center stage in our featured Celery and Feta Salad (page 55). The leaves and stalk tips, along with toasted walnuts and salty feta, make for a refreshing but still hearty winter salad. If your definition of hearty includes meat, add roasted chicken or medium-rare beef. The middle of the celery is no less versatile. I won’t deny the perfect blend of whimsy and child-friendly snack that is "ants on a log," but there are more lofty dishes to pursue. Think of the “meaty” part of celery just as you would any vegetable. It can be grilled, steamed, roasted, puréed, baked, fried and more. Keep in mind: Celery has more water than most vegetables, and cooked celery can quickly become stringier than a theoretical physicist

at a shoestring convention. Scalloped potatoes are a wonderful example of how to solve both problems, and replacing the tubers with celery in this classic and creamy dish is a delicious option. How to avoid a watery casserole of broken butter and cream? Rather than adding flour to bind up the water and ending up with glue, simply bake or fry the celery a bit to remove some of the extra liquid. To keep from serving a selfflossing side dish, cut the celery thinly and at an angle (on the bias). I love celery in stir-fry dishes. In a scorching hot frying pan or wok, celery cooks in seconds but still has a satisfying crunch. And to prove that celery is so much more than diet food, try it in a stir-fry entrée that features pork belly and ginger (recipe follows). Serve over rice and wash down with an India pale ale (IPA). Now we’re down to the tough white stalks of our root-to-shoot adventure. Typically, these disrespected bottoms end up as compost at best. In winter, whet your gardening chops by planting the bottom of a celery stalk in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill. In a few days, bright green leaves will unfurl from the middle, and in a few weeks you'll have a small crop of fresh shoots. Mix those tender herby tips with the tougher stalk for a wonderful “locally-grown” soup (recipe follows). If ridiculously easy gardening isn’t your thing, you can make a vegetable broth by slowly simmering celery bottoms, onion skins and carrot trimmings. Or just freeze the trimmings until you have chicken or ham bones on hand for a rich stock. After making stock or broth, your celery may have truly met its end. But that is the perfect excuse to buy or grow another bunch and start cooking, creating and eating all over again.

(continued on page 54)  53

Roasted Celery & Potato Cream Soup

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a starter Any celery will work, but this soup is particularly good with celery’s tough white stalk ends. Use the tougher celery for pureeing and the new tender celery leaves for flavor and garnish.


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 2. Add 2 cups chopped celery and 2 cups chopped potatoes (skin on) to baking sheet and lightly dress with olive oil. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. 3. In medium saucepan, combine roasted celery and potatoes, 2 large garlic cloves, 2 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth, 1 cup half and half, ½ teaspoon celery seeds, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. 4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until celery and potatoes are fully tender. 5. Remove from heat. Add another ¼ cup half and half and ½ cup celery leaves. Puree in pot with immersion blender or conventional blender. 6. Garnish with celery leaves, celery seeds and black pepper. 7. Serve with toast points or garlic bread or top with croutons.

Spicy Celery & Pork Belly Stir Fry

Serves 4 as a meal Here’s spicy proof that celery is not just a diet food. Use the middle of the stalks for this dish, slicing thinly and at an angle. Serve over rice or Asian noodles. For a vegetarian version, replace pork belly or bacon with extra-firm or fried tofu and an additional tablespoon of peanut oil.


1. Prep vegetables. Finely slice 2 cups celery, 1 cup ginger, 1 cup red bell pepper (if you want extra spicy, try an ancho). 2. Prep ½ pound pork belly. Fresh pork belly (a.k.a. side pork) is great for this, but extra-thick cut bacon works just fine. Regardless of choice, cut into thick slices about 1½ inches long. 3. Heat large frying pan or wok on high until very hot. 4. Add 1 teaspoon peanut or canola oil and immediately swirl pan or wok to coat with oil. 5. Add pork belly/bacon and constantly stir for 1-2 minutes. 6. Add celery, ginger and red pepper and 1 teaspoon fish sauce and continue to stir for 1-2 minutes. Vegetables should be slightly wilted but still crisp. Pork belly/bacon should be cooked but not crispy. 7. Add 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and sriracha or sambal–style hot sauce to desired spiciness and stir for 1 minute. (If using bacon and not fresh pork belly, use low-sodium soy sauce). 8. Serve immediately and garnish with celery leaves.



1. Load food processor with large-grain sea salt and celery leaves. 2. Pulse on and off for a few seconds until the grains are about the size of table salt. 3. Place salt in a jar and let stand for a week or so. 4. Use to flavor everything from omelets to soup.

Celery & Feta Salad

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a starter Celery leaves and tips star in this simple but satisfying salad. Add roasted chicken or thinlysliced medium rare beef for a hearty version or to make it a meal.


1. In large bowl, combine 2 cups chopped celery tips and leaves, 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 cup toasted walnuts or almonds and 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger. 2. Make 1 cup simple croutons. Chop good bread, coat very lightly with olive oil, dust with salt and then toast or fry until gently toasted. Add to large bowl with other ingredients. 3. Make dressing by whisking together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt to taste. 4. Pour dressing over salad and toss in bowl. 5. Serve and garnish with celery leaves and sprinkle with celery seeds.

A Cure for Common Cooking

Meet Chad Lebo, a chef intent on keeping food traditions alive.

Chad Lebo is passionate about food and the way it’s made. The best recipe, he maintains, is one you assemble in your own kitchen, with your own hands. He spends a lot of his time enhancing his Fort Calhoun-based business, Cure Cooking, where he specializes in curing meats for heritage breed bacon, pancetta, ham steaks and sausage. He’ll readily share his talents with you in classes that run the gastronomical gamut from cheese-making to sourdough bread baking. Chad’s culinary compass has been influenced by regional favorites in central Pennsylvania’s Mennonite communities where he grew up, six years spent in Madagascar (on assignment with his botanist wife) and culinary pursuits in Paris, where he and his wife lived for a time. He believes anyone can cook – and cook exquisitely – using traditional methods as a foundation. He demonstrates that here in a recipe series developed exclusively for Inspired Living Omaha. What can readers expect? “Good ingredients and good techniques. I want people to understand how to cook and expand on what they know. It’s not about fancy equipment. You can use what you have in your kitchen.”

The author and photographer of this column, Chad Lebo, with Puce, who has worked as the chef’s assistant on three continents. Lebo rescued Puce (French for “flea market”) from the streets of Madagascar, and she’s been by his side ever since. Learn more at  55


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ART DIRECTION + PHOTOGRAPHY Heidi THorson Set Styling | Chris Christen, Heidi THorson, Anna Harms

Dreary days of winter got you down? Enliven your spirits with these splashy cocktails created for Inspired Living Omaha by mixologist David Kerr of The Tavern. He takes his inspiration from a vibrant ribbon of blooms courtesy of Rose McCormick at Beyond the Vine.  57

BoTTOMS UP! Serve your drinks with an extra swirl of color. Find instructions for making your own easy alcohol ink coasters at

Blush Crush: Combine 1.5 ounces Deep Eddy's cranberry vodka with equal parts cranberry juice and tonic water to fill tall glass. Garnish with lime slice. Orange You Single: Combine 1 ounce each Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky, Bärenjäger honey liqueur and orange juice; ¼ ounce simple syrup; 2 dashes Angostura bitters. Garnish with orange twist. Yellow, There: Fill champagne flute or Collins glass with 3 ounces well-chilled Prosecco; add 2 dashes orange bitters; top off with pineapple juice, shaken until frothy. Garnish with pineapple. Green to Go: Combine 1.5 ounces Hendrick's gin, ½ ounce each simple syrup and Midori melon liqueur. Top with sour mix; garnish with olive and cucumber slice in an accordion fold. Blue for You: For a twist on Long Island Ice Tea, combine ½ ounce each vodka, tequila, rum and blue curaçao. Add sour mix; shake over ice; top with Sprite; garnish with lemon slice. Purple Pleaser: Mix 1.5 ounces Tito's vodka, 1 ounce Malibu rum, ½ ounce blue curaçao, 1 ounce pomegranate juice; top with equal parts sour mix and Sprite. Garnish with fresh berries.


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Built in 1884 The 131 year old Specht Building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the only known building in Nebraska to have an iron facade. IT HAS BEEN PROPOSED THAT THE CHRISTIAN SPECHT BUILDING BE TORN DOWN AND REPL ACED WITH A PARKING GARAGE. Join us in the fight to preserve this piece of Omaha's history, Google the key words below to learn more:





Island hopping in Tahiti is a feast for the senses. STORY + PHOTOGRAPHY HOWARD T. SWAIN, JR.

When you think of Tahiti, you probably envision an exotic tropical island with palm trees swaying in balmy breezes as crystal clear waves gently lap onto pristine sand beaches. That’s just what I found during a recent excursion to this island paradise. After nearly three weeks of touring, though, I discovered that Tahiti offers so much more. Tahiti is not a single island but rather a chain of 118 islands and atolls known as French Polynesia. The island grouping covers an area in the South Pacific the size of Western Europe but has a landmass only slightly larger than Rhode Island. High, rugged mountain peaks, coral reefs, turquoise-blue lagoons, white sand, palm-fringed beaches, forests lush with flowers and luxuriously intimate resorts are a tourist's dream. I toured the islands aboard the cruise ship the Marina, with ports of call including Fakarava (Fac-ARava), Rangiroa (Rang-Or-Ria), Huahine (Hoo-NaHiney), Moorea, Raiatea (Ri-A-Tea) and Bora Bora. Fakarava has few inhabitants but is a visual feast for the eye. Awash with tropical flowers and plant life, its sweet fragrances are still with me. Rangiroa


features the Vallee De La Vanille or “Valley of Vanilla.” We visited a vanilla plantation where the spice is harvested, dried and processed using centuries-old methods. On Raiatea we visited Motu Pearl Village, where we learned that black pearls – rare and beautiful – are found only in Tahiti. Their cultivation is big business for the island’s economy, and oyster bed protection and preservation is especially important. Time in Tahiti would be incomplete without an ocean frolic, in which I indulged off the white sand beaches of Bora Bora. I splashed chest deep in crystal clear warm waters and marveled at the majestic volcanic peaks that surrounded the lagoon. Just when I began to think this must be the most beautiful place on earth, a small gray shark brushed up against my knee. Friends teased that I was the closest thing they had ever seen to a man walking on water. Only the ship’s pool water for me for the remainder of the trip! Once you experience the serenity of Tahiti and the calm waters of the Pacific, you understand why celebrities flock here to escape Hollywood’s hectic pace and why newlyweds select it as a honeymoon destination.

Make it fun.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, TAHITI! The Tahitian islands have a rich motion picture heritage – plus a strong Omaha connection. They entered American consciousness in 1932 with Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall’s novel "Mutiny of the Bounty," which chronicled the historic mutiny against British Royal Navy Lt. William Bligh. Movie adaptations of the infamous event came to theaters in 1933, 1935 (Best Picture), 1962 (Best Picture nominee) and 1984. Omaha native and Academy Award winner Marlon Brando played Bligh in the 1962 version and was so taken with Tahiti that he retired there, living first on Hauhine and then leasing the private island of Tetiaroa from the Tahitian government. Since his death in 2004, the island has been developed into a luxury resort fittingly called The Brando. The fictional Bali Hai represents another of Tahiti’s famous Hollywood ties. It was the paradise mountain retreat that called out to American sailors in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "South Pacific," and although the movie was filmed in Hawaii, the mountain that depicted Bali Hai is on the Tahitian island of Moorea.

This isn’t just another day – it’s an adventure. So make it your own.

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(continued on page 62)

for the way you LOVE to live L et us be y our inspiration online

inspiredlivingomaha . com Photo: Jeffrey Bebee  61

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(continued from page 61)

LIVING IN PARADISE Tahiti’s signature overwater bungalows (including one that Marlon Brando called home) were a popular point of interest throughout our tour. Three American hotel owners known as “The Bali Hai Boys” first built the structures by taking traditional local Polynesian grass huts and setting them on concrete stilts over mesmerizing lagoons. Today, most resorts feature these as luxurious bungalows, suites and villas.


Security • Privacy • Elegance

February, March and April are great months to visit. Summer is just beginning at this time of year in the South Pacific.

CRUISE TIPS When planning any cruise vacation know that your chosen cruise line will bombard you with land tour offers for each of your stops. These offerings include shopping tours, historical tours, nature tours, etc. Typically, tour descriptions include levels of physical exertion so you know what to expect. Tips from my travels for getting the most value for your money: 1. Review the cruise line’s promoted land tours and draw up a list of the top things you want to do and see. 2. Talk with local tour operators who approach you on the pier as you leave your ship and compare their offerings to your list and the ship’s excursion pricing. 3. Be comfortable with the tour operator’s command of English. (A great tour with a low price is of no value if you can’t understand your guide’s commentary.) 4. Share a van with fellow travelers from your ship. If the port-of-call is small, invest in a $2 city map, find your points of interest and walk. You will get a great flavor of your destination and some needed exercise in light of the bountiful food provided on all cruise ships.

402.333.5722 • WWW.SW-FENCE.COM 62  JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016

The writer is twice retired from careers in telecommunications and online retail sales. He currently works part time as a travel professional and senior sales associate for Landmark Luggage at One Pacific Place. His passion for cruising has taken him around the world.

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Profile for Omaha World-Herald

Inspired Living Omaha  

January/February 2016 issue of Omaha's leading home and lifestyle publication.

Inspired Living Omaha  

January/February 2016 issue of Omaha's leading home and lifestyle publication.