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Blog

Filtering by Tag: News

CADP Mentions

A. K. Lister

There seems to be a flurry of Academy news, interviews, and posts all over the World Wide Web!  When the attention comes from such lovely ladies with blogs to match, we simply have to share.


9/8 - Gray is the New Blond

Lisa, from Atlanta, GA, blogs "to encourage women to become their best selves as they age, without worrying about someone else's traditions, labels or stereotypes."  After attending an Academy class, she called on the Dean for an exclusive interview on just that.

"What I Learned from the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits"


9/15 - Because I Say So

Your guide to etiquette, sage advice & wisdom, saucy wit, scrumptious food & serendipitous retail, with Mimi & Mademoiselle.

"Serendipitous Southern Hospitality," "20Q with Dean of Southern Etiquette Suzanne Pollak," "The Academy's Southern Biscuit," "Family Matters," "Roger Vivier"

9/15 - Meristocracy

Noun: A State Governed by Mer, Superior and Elite in Ruling

"The Dean"

Girls Night Out, In

Allison Jacobson

Dean Pollak gives Southern Charm star, Cameran Eubanks, a lesson on how to host a pre-party with your besties before a Charleston Fashion Week event.

Richard Avedon said style is based on repetition, not duplication.  All you need are a few signature recipes and drinks - and own them.  No need to reinvent the wheel every time you entertain.  Guests will look forward to your specialty.

Instructions as per the Deans:

 

The Many Benefits of Hosting a Pre-Party Cocktail Hour:

  1. Party where you get all the credit with very little work.
  2. Party takes less than a half hour to put together.
  3. Party is so easy it can be last minute (some of our favorite parties have been last minute).
  4. Party is over before you know it.  One hour and your hosting is done.
  5. Party expense is minimal, but impact is big, lasting and fun.

A PITCHER OF COCKTAILS

INGREDIENTS

1  1/2 cups tequila

1 cup citrus juice (mixture of freshly squeezed lime, orange, lemon & tangerine juices)

3/4 cup (or more) soda water

Ice cubes

 

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir.

2.  Pour into cocktail glasses and serve over ice.


WARM OLIVES

INGREDIENTS

1 cup olives with pits (use assorted colors)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 strip orange peel

1 chili

1 teaspoon fennel or Herbs de Province

 

1.  Heat small sauté pan over medium heat for a minute; add olive oil, and then remaining ingredients.

2.  Cook over low heat, stirring, for a few minutes until olives are warm.  Turn off heat and pour olives in a small bowl.

3.  Place a smaller bowl, or cup, near the olive bowl for the pits.

American Horror Story

Lee Manigault

The Deans have become unglued. Upon reading Friday's article "Princess Bedrooms That Rule" the Deans were introduced to a horror they could never have dreamt up.  Apparently, people are creating princess bedrooms for their little girls and think nothing of dropping $60,000 for a Murano glass chandelier and $35,000 for beds in the shape of carriages.  Where to even begin to discuss how much we despise this trend?

Courtesy of WSJ   The occupant of this bedroom imagination was stolen by her mother.

Courtesy of WSJ

The occupant of this bedroom imagination was stolen by her mother.

Mothers and interior designers believe they are fulfilling little girls' dreams, but these schemes are the stuff of nightmares, beginning with the fact that the rooms are hideously ugly.  Move on to the sense of entitlement that these rooms create for their occupants, not to not mention the value system such rooms perpetuate.  Children innately believe the world revolves around them and this myth does not need to be reinforced.  A child's sense of wonder is crushed beneath the weight of so much tastelessness.  A bedroom that screams fantasy so loudly stifles the imagination. 

Take a look at Kate Middleton's childhood bedroom and Dolly Parton's below:

Courtesy of Daily Mail.com   This humble bedroom was where the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, lay her uncrowned head as a little girl.

Courtesy of Daily Mail.com

This humble bedroom was where the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, lay her uncrowned head as a little girl.

Courtesy of Hooked on Houses   The Princess of country music Dolly Parton grew up here.

Courtesy of Hooked on Houses

The Princess of country music Dolly Parton grew up here.

And Now, A Word from Maris

Suzanne Pollak

Exactly one year ago today Dean Manigault's mother was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and given a sentence of six months to live. In August, Dean Manigault and her brother buried their mother.

Today, Dean Manigault's mother's highly temperamental amaryllis bloomed for the first time in years. Last spring, Maris, (Dean Manigault's mother) had instructed her son to take the bulb to the compost heap since it hadn't bloomed in many years. He refused and promised that he was going to provide it a good home. He did and today just look at it! If Dean Manigault doesn't hear her mother's voice when looking at this bloom then she is not listening hard enough. We just had to share. 

Merry Christmas

Suzanne Pollak

Christmas Day is the one day that the Deans are convinced houses are being actually lived in and used. People take the time to make a tasty breakfast, talk to each other, lounge around in their pajamas while opening gifts, many of which are for the home, and enjoy a meal seated around the dining room table.

What the Deans want to see, minus the gifts, is you people doing this once a week all year long. Our gift to you is leading the way on how to live a beautiful life and to stay on top of you until you have learned.

 

HOW TO LIVE A BEAUTIFUL LIFE

Deans in the Wall Street Journal

Suzanne Pollak

The Deans are always saying their domiciles are our everything. They are used as our board rooms, play rooms, wine tasting venues, hideaways....so we are particularly honored to be profiled in a publication that we admire as much as The Wall Street Journal. The editors of the Mansion section opted for Dean Pollak's house for their December 19 issue. Dean Pollak felt right from the start that she was in good hands with writer, Katy McLaughlin, but nothing could have prepared her for the final product. 

pollak dining room.jpg

When you are looking at Dean Pollak's lean spare style, remember that her children have grown and gone. Dean Manigault's children are still at home so she has clutter and things everywhere.

Sometimes we are envious of the other, other days we love our own house. Style is ever changing. 

News Flash: The Deans Have Learned Something New

Suzanne Pollak

Guess what the latest tenet learned by Dean Pollak in New York City was just this last week? It has upended everything we thought we knew at the Academy. If we were not rock solid on this science, then every skillet in our cupboard should be shaking about what other enormous unknown lacunae lurk in our supposed breathe of knowledge. It's almost too much for us to take in.

While procuring a bottle of bourbon for a dinner gift (the hosts already own two copies of our book, one from each of us) the omniscient sales clerk decreed that rye is the liquor of choice for Old Fashioneds. Rye has spice top notes, whereas bourbon's are sweet, so rye actually contrasts with the sugar and the orange bitters better. Dean Pollak has ferried this late breaking newsflash back to Charleston and the Deans plan on dedicating December to extensive tastings to verify the veracity of this pronouncement. 

Rye Cocktail

Serves 1

2 ounces of rye whiskey

1/2 teaspoon Demerara sugar

2 dashes of Angostura

2 dashes of Orange Bitters

Pour over large ice cubes. Makes one cocktail.

Blowout for Bethesda Boys

Suzanne Pollak

Wednesday morning both Deans were up bright and early so we could get to our presentation for the Bethesda Arch Series in Savannah, Georgia. We thought the ladies had been ambitious ordering 400 books for us to sign, but it turns out the ladies of the Woman's Board were spot on. Both Deans’ signing hands began to spasm uncontrollably as they neared the 400 mark, but we were thrilled to sacrifice our grip for such a worthy cause.

The audience sat rapt with attention and was one of our favorite audiences of all time. After the speech we retired to the anteroom and were presented with the recipes from our very own book!


From 1740 to present day, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child caring institution in the country.

From 1740 to present day, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child caring institution in the country.

From its earliest days as an orphanage in 1740 for 61 children in Georgia, Bethesda Academy has evolved into a successful middle and high school serving a diverse student population. With an emphasis on integrated learning and spiritual development, Bethesda Academy offers a wide range of educational opportunities for students with various learning styles.

The Deans love that!

Missing Maris

Suzanne Pollak

On September 2, Father Massoud, the interim minister of Grace Episcopal Church in Millbrook, New York, gave the best homily for Dean Manigault’s mother, Maris Van Alen,  that she has ever heard and many people felt the same way. Dean Manigault knows she is unique, of course, in having had a difficult relationship with her mother but perhaps one or two of you can relate.  Father Massoud pointed out that Maris had been no saint, but then asked the congregation what was a saint really? Isn’t a saint someone who lets God into his heart to improve himself? Don’t we all have the opportunity every day to do that? Isn’t a saint someone who uses major life changes to improve herself  and isn’t that just what Lee’s mother had done? She used her husband’s shocking death to turn inwards and grow spiritually. She continued to be challenging, but infinitely less so. She worked through her grief and over time became a woman who was admired by many. Just as she was emerging from her grief and enjoying herself again, she was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and given a life sentence of six months. During the last six months of her life Maris was more generous, thoughtful, interesting, and interested than she had ever been previously. Dean Manigault and her brother created a whole new relationship with her, and find now that she is not here, a real hole is left in their hearts. Father Massoud asked the congregation if Maris’ death wasn’t an opportunity for us to look inward and use her death as a growth opportunity. In the last eight years of her life Maris went from a person her children often avoided to a person they greatly admired. If that isn’t the work of God, then Father Massoud asked us, what is? 

Dean Manigault collecting flowers for her mother's funeral

Dean Manigault collecting flowers for her mother's funeral

Monticello's Heritage Harvest Festival

Suzanne Pollak

The Deans are giddy after our talk at Monticello. We simply had the best time ever. We cannot encourage you more heartily to attend the Heritage Harvest Festival in 2015. We already have next year's event on our calendar.

Monticello invited the Deans to kick off their Art of Living portion of the weekend. We were put up in the most sumptuous guesthouse we have ever seen on a farm in Keswick. On Friday morning we took a walk to get our blood flowing and then on to Monticello for a Behind the Scenes Tour (all four floors) with the most competent tour guide who has ever led us around. The house spoke to us and we listened. Thomas Jefferson is THE founding father of gracious living.

Monticello's Dining Room    Image credit: Thomas Jefferson Foundation/Sequoia Designs   Copyright © Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.

Monticello's Dining Room 

Image credit: Thomas Jefferson Foundation/Sequoia Designs
Copyright © Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.

Friday night's Heritage Harvest dinner was sublime; atop Monalto was a glorious food tent filled with the best wines, ciders and foods that Virginia has to offer. Thomas Jefferson was passionate about vegetable cuisine, plant experimentation and sustainable agriculture...a full two centuries ahead of his time!  Aaron Keefer, the head gardener for the famed French Laundry, was the keynote speaker Friday night and the Deans were enthralled.  He led the audience around his garden and even brought samples including a spinach that tasted EXACTLY like an oyster.  Both Deans wanted to put him in a doggy bag and take him home. 

Saturday saw us on a panel with Charlotte Moss moderating, and Annie Vanderwarker (Fearless Flowers), Holly Shimizu (former director of the US Botanic Gardens) and Gabriele Rausse (Monticello's Director of Gardens and Grounds) and the Deans, all answering questions about The Art of Living. After posing for copious photographs, we were whisked away to deliver our own standing room only talk. We left the Visitor’s Center to sign books on the lawn of Monticello, then were in a short video interview and on to an unbelievable dinner at Red Pump. We are tired just reading about it. How we did it we’ll never know, but boy, it was fabulous. Thank you, thank you Monticello.

 

Fun facts we learned this weekend:

  • Jefferson kept 33 chairs in Monticello's front hall so anyone who wished could wait to see the great man himself.
  • Jefferson was so egalitarian that even in his own house, as well as the White House, seating was first come first serve.
  • There is no central staircase at Monticello because Jefferson thought it was a waste of precious space and heat. The Deans would follow President Jefferson anywhere, but we are not sure he was 100% on this point:-)
  • He made sure his granddaughters were educated because he told them they had a one in fourteen chance of marrying a blockhead.
  • The fact that resonated most with the Deans: Thomas Jefferson used his dining room twice a day! How many times have you used yours in the last year?

 


The Monticello dining room has seen many fabulous meals in its day.  In the book Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste & Abundance, we have found an authentic recipe from Monticello using Mutton Chops which today can be substituted for lamb. 

MUTTON CHOPS

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

8 mutton or lamb rib chops (at least 3/4 to 1 inch thick)

Salt

Whole black pepper in a pepper mill

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup Mushroom Catsup (can be found by some specialty condiment companies)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish

 

1.  Prepare a grill with hardwood coals.  When the coals have burned to a medium-hot fire, rub the grill rack with a cloth dipped in lard or bacon drippings and position it about 4 to 6 inches above the coals.

2.  Season the chops with salt and several grindings of pepper and grill them, turning once, until cooked to the doneness of choice, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.  Remove them to a warm platter and set aside to keep warm.

3.  Bring the water to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Add the Mushroom Catsup, additional salt if needed, and simmer for about 1 minute more.  Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter, and pour it over the chops.  Sprinkle a little horseradish over them, and spoon the remaining horseradish around the edges of the platter.

NOTE: Readers who are not concerned with authenticity or who are unable to grill-broil may use the oven broiler.  Position a rack about 6 inches below the broiler and preheat for 20 minutes.  Rub the broiling pan rack with lard or drippings and lay the chops on it.  Lightly brush them with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.  Broil, turning once, until done to taste, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.

 

Heartbreak at Home

Suzanne Pollak

The Deans biggest heartbreaks this summer have not been affairs of the heart in the traditional sense, but we are heartbroken nonetheless.  How is a solid, sturdy structure sometimes a sucking vortex?  The Deans are not geologists, astrologists or whoever studies the phenomena, so this question stumps the Deans. It doesn’t matter how valuable the object is, from socks to fine jewelry. Ostensibly the front door has not been opened, yet things are not here. Dog’s stomach? Ether? Hidden in a closet? Thrown away by accident?

We don’t know…that’s what being lost means. You can’t find the item. Remember when saying the dog ate your homework? Far worse is when it’s true. Sometimes our co-inhabitants are the culprits.

Dean Pollak came home the other night and her dog had dragged her white crocodile pocketbook onto the living room floor and had eaten her tiny orange Hermes jewelry pouch within. Ominously the entrails - the straps - were beneath the sofa, and after a hard target search of the house, left the only remaining place it could be: Teddie’s stomach. After several long walks around town, the evidence mounted.  

CROCODILE PURSE - notice chewed handle on left side...

CROCODILE PURSE - notice chewed handle on left side...

And the culprit...

 

STRAPS 

STRAPS 

Dean Manigault has scoured her house from top to bottom because she is missing four individual earrings. This wouldn’t be so odd if she had worn any of the pairs in the last year. Maybe she would have taken one off to talk on the phone or traveled somewhere and left one, but no, they should be right where she left them. Surely a thief would have take both. And Dean Pollak hasn’t brought Teddie over, so last week’s perpetrator is off the hook for this caper.  Dean Manigault’s ex-husband would blame every missing item on a poltergeist which goes a long way to explaining why he is her EX-husband.

THE LONE SURVIVORS 

THE LONE SURVIVORS 

Dean Manigault's heart is heavy and sagging in her chest at the sight if the four lone beauties.  The pendant earings were a gift from her late father when she was 15.  Where oh where are they?! So baffling.  And seemingly unfair.  

Some mysteries are never to be solved.  That is why they are mysteries.  The air of suspense does nothing to dampen the pain and in the cases of the lost objects, the pain is deep and wounding.  We may not be able to take it with us, but we had hoped to hang onto it a bit longer! Maybe Dean Manigault should have stayed married, because poltergeists do exist in our houses. 

Newsflash! The Deans are not as smart as they thought they were.

Suzanne Pollak

everyday (26).JPG

Heretofore, we have been so in love with our own food that we have been too afraid to give up any control when entertaining. Well, getting older has its benefits and one of them is getting a little wiser. Giving up control also can means giving up 18 hours of extra work. The Deans have started embracing an idea we used to find anathema: the potluck. It's not for every entertaining occasion, but when it suits, the potluck affair is genius. Just make sure that one person delegates who brings what so that the meal does not consist of four chocolate cakes and no roast beef.  And did we mention savings? If everyone brings one bottle of wine instead of one person buying five, well, even the math challenged Deans can tell you that the host is saving quite a bit. Participants splurge since they are only buying one bottle, so the quality of wine will be better as well.

Manners tip: even if one dish is far superior to the others, make sure everyone gets thanked and praised, at least by you. 

everyday (32).JPG

The Deans look for silver linings wherever we can find them. Embracing this positive attitude, we noted that spring is tardy this year and rejoiced that stew season has been extended seemingly indefinitely. Everyone still has an opportunity to enjoy Beef Bourguignon - A Potluck Star. No one makes this behemoth for one, so start stewing and invite some friends to bring the salad and dessert.  Eating outside will have to wait until a bit later, but we can all still enjoy some indoor fun together.

Dean Manigault enjoys a dinner with her family

Dean Manigault enjoys a dinner with her family

For more tips on making entertaining easier buy our book here

This book is for you!

Suzanne Pollak

The Deans are so excited! Our textbook is being printed and bound as we write this. In seemingly no time you will be able to hold our book in your hands and read it at your leisure. You never have to feel disconnected from the Academy again. Answers to all life's vicissitudes are held between its covers. Restful sleep and a greatly improved quality of life awaits the owner of the Academy's book. 

Of course, the recipes are healthful and delicious, you would expect that, but, it will be the wit and wisdom that keeps you ordering books for all your acquaintances. The Deans anticipate waves of civility and gracious living occurring everywhere the book is read. 

Being the know everything- know everyone Deans that we are, naturally we are intimate with the back end of Amazon's purchase list. We know to a man who has who has bought our book and who hasn't. We are just saying.... buy our book here

CharlestonAcademy90860J10_22.jpg