Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Real Food Rehab Holiday Gift Guide: Ryan Robinson + Brian Sidney Bembridge

Talk about your power couples. Talk about dynamic, creative phenoms. Talk about love. Real love. Talk about unparalleled generosity. Talk about two gorgeous hunks of man flesh. Well, then you must be talking about Ryan Robinson and Brian Sidney Bembridge. These gentlemen are my personal heroes and dear friends. And I just want to call this one for posterity: I predict one day in the not too distant future, Ryan will be as well known as Annie Leibovitz and Brian will be on stage and in all of our living rooms, accepting his Tony. You heard it here first...

WHO Ryan Robinson is a photographer based out of Chicago. Born and raised in a small farm town in Illinois, Ryan is best known for his brightly colored portraits peppered with humor, wit and a little irreverence. Ryan’s growing list of advertising clients include AT&T, Discover Card, Statefarm Insurance, National City, SC Johnson, Hampton Inn, Bosch Tools, Crains Chicago Business, Arts & Business Council and his images have appeared in TIME, Maxim, GQ, Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, ESPN, Runner’s World, UFC and numerous others.

Brian Sidney Bembridge is an award winning scenic and lighting designer for theater and film. He has designed over 200 shows; everything from a Muppet Movie to Chekov and Shakespeare. His work has been seen in almost every main stage in Chicago as well as many regional theaters across the country. Brian just received a Joseph Jefferson Award for his Scenic Design of History Boys, making him a five time JEFF Award recipient.

I’m a bit OCD when it comes to doing the dishes: organization is key. We don’t own a dishwasher, but that isn’t such a big deal when you’re placing your squeaky clean dishes and stemware on a sexy dishrack from Black + Blum of London. I recently gifted this to myself in hopes of enlightening our dish-doing experience. A dishrack as a gift? Yes. It’s a perfect place for delicate crystal stemware or heirloom dinnerware that cannot be thrown in the dishwasher.

This is such a simple gift, but it keeps on giving all year long . I am a magazine whore. I buy them for research, for shows I'm currently designing and for future projects. I get ideas for our home, our kitchen, the theater, decorating for the holidays, green ideas, shopping...the list is endless. I love to pair up a subscription with a friend that might be something they wouldn't buy for themselves, but I know will enrich their lives. Past favorites are Dwell, Wallpaper, Surface, and Martha Stewart Living. But there are so many ideas out there: art, cooking, travel, decorating and children's magazines. I remember getting Sesame Street Magazine when I was a young tyke. I was so excited every month to get something addressed to me and then open it up and read the articles and figure out the puzzles. It is still great fun!

WHERE DO YOU (BOTH) LIVE? Fulton Market, Chicago, Illinois

RYAN, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? my husband, quirky news reports, the weather, architecture and salvage yards.

GO-TO DISH WHEN COOKING FOR YOURSELF? Homemade pizza. I’ve perfected my crust this year from a recipe I found over at Smitten Kitchen. The trick? Patience and olive oil. Also, baking the pizza only on parchment paper and in a 500˚ F oven. For toppings, nothing beats freshly snipped basil (mine is still kickin’, even in December), farmers' market tomatoes, mozzarella and freshly shaved parmesan. Simple, fresh quick.

BRIAN, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? curiosity, water, people that give, how small we really are (I just realized this on our trip to Kaua'i).

Liquid concoctions. I love to make the martini, sweet or savory, strong, and bold.

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