Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bookshelf Styling & Shopping the House.

As you may (or may not) already know, I have absolutely no design experience. I have however, been a complete design blog junkie, Domino magazine collector and HGTV fanatic for something like a zillion years now. (So please don't laugh too hard at some of my feeble attempts to decorate... I'm a total rookie!) Ok, that being said, here's where I'm starting. This is a rather poor quality photo (sorry... cell phone camera is the only functioning camera in the house right now) of my Home Decorators Outlet bookshelves that are in my guest bedroom/office. I've been so overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done here in my new place that I've been nervous about starting something! But today is the day! I'm going to take the wonderful advice from Fran (over at Green Street) to "shop my house" and use the stuff that I love in my design. So, here goes nothing! I'll post the after shot later on.

I've spent many hours perusing the 'bookshelf of the day' archives over at I Suwannee. I think this feature is so much fun and totally inspiring. These are three of my faves...

Images via I Suwannee.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sputnik Chandeliers

To start with, I have to admit that I'm not really all that into the whole retro thing, but I am over the moon for these mid-century Sputnik light fixtures. They are popping up all over the place and I have found them anywhere from $150 to $35,000 (Yes, three zeros!) What do you think... lasting style or here today, gone tomorrow?

Image via Kelly Geisen.

Image via Paloma 81. (oops, La Dolce Vita)

Image via Kate Spade NY.

Image via James Rixner.

Images via Style Carrot.

Image via 1st Dibs.

Image via Brown Design Inc.

Image via 1st Dibs.
(This is the beauty with the $35,000 price tag... swoon!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Picnic Weather

Thoughts of picnics past bring to mind soooo many happy memories. In my family, dining outdoors is a tradition that has withstood the test of time. A meal eaten under open sky in the company of loved ones is an occasion in its own right. The very character of picnics makes them a wonderful way to unwind from stress, reconnect with people and nature, prolong playtime and create new memories. There is something magical about picnicking. A blanket, a basket, and a landscape pleasing to the eye seems to make food more delicious and helps us see the beauty of a lazy afternoon spent out of doors.

Image via Visit CT.

I love these black and white photographs. They totally transport me to a kinder and simpler time. They are so great... don't you think?

Image via Lisa Larson.

Image via Allen Grant.

Remember, if it should happen that your picnic is disrupted by inclement weather, the pleasures of good company and good food are just as enjoyable when savored on a blanket spread indoors!

Images via Filth Wizardry.

Not long ago I stumbled on this lovely little picnic guide. It is full of wonderful picnic ideas and sweet watercolor illustrations. You can pick up your own copy here.

Here's a collection of my favorite picnic baskets. Some rather old fashioned and others more cool and modern.

Image via Dotty Spot.

Bike basket via Kate Spade.

Image via Optima.

Image via Nigel's Eco-Superstore.

Images via Guzzini Picnic Balls.

These are a few of my tried and true picnic recipes. I love Whole Food stores!

Heirloom Tomato and Melon Salad


2 large red tomatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges (about 2 cups)
2 pounds melon, cut into 1/2- by 2 1/2-inch wedges
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced


Make the salad: Gently toss tomatoes, melon, cucumber, and onion together in a large bowl and set aside. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the melon mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

Asian Noodle Salad


1 (8-ounce) package brown rice spaghetti or other thin pasta
1/4 cup wheat-free, reduced sodium tamari
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
2 tablespoons roasted smooth almond butter
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


1. Cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta thoroughly.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together tamari, tahini, almond butter, vinegar, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil and hot sauce. Add pasta, cabbage, carrots and green onions. Toss to coat noodles thoroughly with sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Ham and Avacodo Sandwiches


2 ficelle loaves, about 18 inches each
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper
3/4 pound sliced Virginia ham
3 large avocados, peeled and sliced


1. Cut each ficelle loaf into 3 equal pieces, and split each horizontally along one side, leaving the other side intact. Open the pieces so they lie flat.

2. Stir the butter, mustard, and pepper together until smooth, and spread on both sides of the bread. Layer with the ham and avocado, and sprinkle with the sea salt.

3. Wrap the sandwiches with parchment, and tie with a string to secure. Keep chilled and serve within 3 hours.

Tip: Ficelle is a thin, chewy baguette loaf. Substitute one standard baguette for 2 ficelles: Just cut the heels off the ends and make each sandwich a little bit shorter.

Pistachio and Carrot Cupcakes


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups chopped pistachios
4 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup organic milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract


Make the batter: Heat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line an 8-cup muffin pan and set aside. Combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a large bowl. Toss the carrots, apricots, and nuts in the flour mixture and set aside. Whisk together the eggs, olive oil, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Transfer 3 cups of batter to each cake pan and 1/4 cup batter to each cupcake liner. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean - about 40 minutes for cakes and 20 minutes for cupcakes. Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Release cakes from pans and cool completely on the rack. Frost with your favorite icing.

Recipes and images via Whole Foods.

Picnicking is an activity best shared with the people you care for. Spending time outdoors with others to eat and to play and to be merry will revitalize you, reminding you that life's most sacred pleasures are often the simplest.

When was the last time you enjoyed a picnic?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Must See T.V.

Normally, Tuesday nights are reserved for my favorite TV show... Glee. That is until my Sister-in-Law turned me on to this fantastic new show on Bravo called "9 by Design". This docu-series chronicles the lives of a New York based, husband and wife design team, Bob and Cortney Novogratz. They're the owners of Sixx Design, and the parents of seven adorable and impossibly active kids.

For over a decade now, this young, artsy and hip couple have designed and developed unique properties in Manhattan. They have rebuilt entire city blocks, and turned funky into fabulous with style and taste. On any given day, this super duo face overwhelming construction challenges, create luxurious spaces from trashed and empty lots, and then decorate the spaces with great imagination and inspiring flea market finds.

If you haven't checked it out yet, you can catch the premiere episode here on Hulu, and watch new episodes on Bravo, Tuesday evenings at 10 pm.

Images via Bravo.

Images via Sixx Design.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Twinkle, twinkle

I suppose it's obvious that I think stars are awesome and if you look, you'll see them everywhere! Sometimes, right where you would expect them to be and other times where you wouldn't. Here are a few of my favorite images.....

Images via Getty, Natural Living Cuisine, Natures Shapes.
"We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us: and it is the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence."
Charlotte Brontë