Great Ideas

updated 06/15/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FOOD

Patti LaBelle's ...
BRUNCH FOR FOUR UNDER $10
The singer creates a savory—and soulful!—breakfast

Patti's Playlist

A Song for You
Donny Hathaway

Kiss from a Rose
Seal

Ain't No Way
Aretha Franklin

I Can't Make You Love Me
Bonnie Raitt

CHOCOLATE WAFFLES WITH BERRIES AND YOGURT
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
• 1 tbsp. baking powder
• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
• pinch of salt
• 2 large eggs, separated
• 2 cups 2% milk
• ¼ cup melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
• 3 cups sliced strawberries or whole raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
• 2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt

1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl.

2. Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl and, using a handheld mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Add egg yolks, milk, butter (or oil) to flour mixture, beating to blend. When batter has formed, fold in egg whites.

3. Bake in a waffle iron. Top with berries and yogurt.

LaBelle's Recipes for the Good Life! is in bookstores now

TRAVEL

Nia Vardalos'
GUIDE TO GREECE
The actress—who returns to her roots in My Life in Ruins (out June 5)—shares her top spots to visit

THE ACROPOLIS
This hill in Athens (home to the Parthenon temple) forms a "mystical triangle" with the ancient archaeological site of Delphi and the original Olympic grounds. "Isn't that cool? It's said that if you travel the triangle, it will heal your soul."

ISLAND OF SANTORINI
"Go to Athens and take the ferry over; it's very affordable. On the island, at the top, is an area called Oia, known for its beautiful sunsets. Get a bottle of wine, sit on the northernmost tip and just watch the sun dip into the ocean. It's so perfect, and the colors are so beautiful. I always say Santorini is so quiet, you could swear the gods are there."

PAROS BEACH
"I love the beach on the island of Paros. It's beautiful, crystal clear, and bikini tops are optional. It's easy—again, just a ferry from Athens. But remember: It's Greek time! So always add 25 minutes. Ice cream is everywhere too. I have a theory that any ice cream eaten in a bikini is not fattening."

STARTALK
We Asked ...
What do you love to do at the beach?

RASHIDA JONES
"It's nice to have a little bonfire at night; I like that. And I really love to swim."

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY
"I love running out there in the sun. I also think saltwater every day—if you can get it—is good for you."

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY
"Lots of surfing and kayaking and sailing. And we're doing a lot of fishing right now."

HOME

"Doing only a few flowers makes the design look more elegant," Mendes says.

The black line keeps the sheets from being "too feminine," says Mendes, adding that her boyfriend "is the first to say when a man won't want to sleep in a bed!"

Eva Mendes' ...

BOUDOIR BASICS
The actress turned home designer reveals how to bring out the best in any bedroom

Ditch the clutter
"The bedroom is where you recharge yourself, so I don't want to be too scattered in there. On purpose, I bought a table for next to my bed that's made of Lucite, just so I wouldn't stack anything on it!"

Look at what you already have
"You can make anything into anything. I found this old velvety fabric that is to die for, and I made it into wallpaper. Or if you have a scarf you like but it's too special to wear most of the time, frame it instead."

Allow for guilty pleasures
"There's nothing more fun than on a Sunday to have coffee and croissants in bed and read the paper and have the TV on."

Feel free to change your mind
"I went through a stage where I didn't want any pillows; now I want massive pillows. There are no rules!"

VIDA by Eva Mendes "Penelope" four-piece sheet set, $385; 800-343-0121 for Macy's stores

CAMILA'S OBSESSION

She's a handbag designer (check out mymuxo.com) and mom to Levi McConaughey, 11 months, but CAMILA ALVES is a florist at heart. "When arranging flowers, the most important thing to remember is to mix classic with tropical," she says. "I'll mix clean lilies with bright red orchids or jasmine, which reminds me of my childhood in Brazil. Yes, it's romantic when a man buys a woman flowers, but I get more enjoyment picking them out myself!"

CHEAP & FANCY

NICE ICE
Add class to your glass with whimsically shaped ice molds. "'Designer' ice cubes are a great way to impress guests and liven up any cocktail," says Oprah's entertaining guru Colin Cowie. $4.95 per tray; wrapables.com

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