Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Weekend from Sunny California

I'm feeling blue this beautiful Friday morning here in sunny California and thought I would share a few of the images that remind me of the relaxed, comfy interiors that I so crave. 

Almost all of the original California cottages I have looked at here have the exposed, whitewashed ceilings like the picture above. You would love it - every weekend, agents host open houses for the charming cottages for sale in Corona del Mar. Many have been professionally staged and have me wanting to move right in! I am loving all the bright white interiors, natural textures, modern photography, block printed fabrics and indigo textiles. Those are just some of the things I would use to describe the California-cool, laid-back  aesthetic. Oddly enough, the picture above is from Sullivan's Island from the talented hand of Jenny Keenan Design.

Everyone knows blue is my favorite color! 

My husband once asked me if I was going to paint the entire house blue and 
I calmly said "No. Some rooms will be white or gray."

I love waking up every morning to the big and beautiful blue skies and now keenly understand why they call this sunny California! Think of the prettiest Spring day you can imagine and that's what it looks like everyday - seriously, everyday! I am so addicted!

{via Mark. D. Sikes Interiors}

{TI love it when sisters get creative - Twine & Twig: A Family Affair}

i'll be on my own this weekend as Richard is back in North Carolina playing golf. I have plans to do a little exploring. There's a private garden tour  this weekend. I look forward to peeking behind the private gates into the lush gardens of Corona del Mar, a charming neighbor snuggled up next to the Pacific Coast Highway with breathtaking ocean views. The streets are named for flowers ... think Orchid, Narcisus, Poppy. My favorite thing to do since arriving in California is to watch the sunset (and sunrise) at the end of Poppy Street at Inspiration point. 

I've been loving the modern bohemian, layered hippie necklaces i've been seeing around town so since I have lots of free time, I've decided to start making jewelry. My daughter and i plan to work together over the summer and have a show in the fall. I had the most fun ever today in bead heaven listening to french music and learning new techniques. I plan to complete a few projects over the weekend. I love the designs by this talented duo, and Molly Jane and the more delicate designs from an old fav, Chan Luu.

The alarm is set for 5:00 am on Sunday as I plan to be the early-bird at the Long Beach Flea Market. Rumor has it that it's the favorite weekend hangout for some of my favorite movie stars.

If you have a little down time this weekend, I thought you might enjoy...

You'll love this sneak peek inside Reese Witherspoon's LA home and her clever responses to 73 questions. She definitely won my vote for best actress recently in her latest movie Wild. 

My daughter loves to send me funny dog photos and videos, if you love dogs, you'll laugh when you see these adorable shelter dogs strike a pose inside a photo booth.

Fun foodie note... I might be late to the party, but I had my first bite of Jidori chicken on Saturday night and let me tell you, it's love at first bite! Have you tried it?

Southern California has so much to offer those of us that love to eat. Yes, that's a confession, I love to eat and have enjoyed sampling all the diverse culinary venues here. The farmer's markets are unbelievable and the produce is simply insane! One of my favorite's is Zinc Cafe and Market. I love to walk down to the beach and grab coffee and a cinnamon popover or pick-up their delicious vegetarian salads for lunch and dinner. I also love the decor. I was exploring their website and heard this band for the first time - live. One of my new year's resolutions is to seek out more venues for live music. It is something I really enjoyed a lot when I was younger and I don't do it anymore.

Last week, i tagged along with Richard to LA and explored the city via Uber. First stop - Hollyhock - the ivy-clad shop of Suzanne Rheinstein. I actually had the good fortune to meet her and oh my gosh, she is so nice! They are working on her next book! I can't wait. Have you seen her daughter, Kate Rheinstein Brodsky's apartment in the May issue of Elle Decor? Kate recently opened up her own store in NYC called KRB where she sells one of a kind antique and vintage pieces as well as custom pillows, blankets and ceramics.

Wishing you a fun, relaxing and yes, blessed weekend!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Round Top Antiques

Life has been a little bit crazy at my house these days!

About this time last year my husband retired after 31 years in banking and about two weeks later we were entertaining an offer to move to Southern California. It was all in the hypothetical for the first six months until last week when I left my house key and garage door opener on the kitchen island of our beloved family home. My husband has been here in California since November and I have been bouncing back and forth.

To ease my transition, I decided to take a little detour on my way back to California and put a large check beside a highly numbered goal on my bucket list - a trip to Round Top Texas during antique week. My husband's response was - "Why would anyone want to drive down a country road lined with junk?" 

I will say this was a looking tour for me after spending the last few weeks cramming everything we own into three small storage units. Let's just say they are going to take me of my next house feet first. The only silver lining is that our daughter will not have to tackle this enormous task by herself - It's done!

2015 Motto = Simplify

On to my little diversion...

Round Top, Texas is a small town in a beautiful stretch of Texas countryside. We flew into Houston, rented a car, stopped by the Tory Burch outlet on the way (confession) and in an hour and half were in Round Top. We were blown away by the Bluebonnets that were blooming on the side of the road and couldn't believe the sheer number of people pulling off the highway and laying in the fields of Bluebonnets taking pictures. Seriously... like whole families getting out of the car to take pictures!

I can't say that Texas was like anywhere I have visited before. The people are extremely friendly and genuinely happy. The countryside breathtakingly beautiful and undisturbed. The people full of big Texas personality, great for those of us who enjoy watching people. For the foodie, we ate a GREAT steak dinner... the best I have ever eaten; authentic Mexican food -three times, same place! and sliced beef brisket barbecue that was cooked overnight, every night...we ate there three times for lunch!  

I love taking pictures of all the beautiful things that we saw. 

Hope you enjoy!

The photo above is one of my favorite from the trip because it gives you a true sense of what it felt like to shop in this beautiful pastoral environment. There were so many beautiful things that I wanted to bring home with me. That's one of the things that spurred me on during this little chapter two adventure, that in a few years we are going to move back east, find a new house, hopefully a fixer-upper, and fill it with things that we love, both things from our past and new treasures.

There were a pair of these framed botanicals. I can imagine about a million places that these would have looked exquisite!

A tent at Marburger Farm brimming with interesting stuff.

If you go to Round Top one of the things you must to is buy an authentic Mexican blouse from this vendor. In addition to being artsy, comfortable and cool, your dollars help support the women who hand make them. I bought a dress - in the middle below with the white shoulder and multi-colored embroidery. 

An old sign at the Marburger Farm antiques market.

Lining both sides of the highway are large ranches with grazing long horn steer and beautifully tooled entrances. We had beautiful weather while we were there and couldn't get enough of the wide open spaces, blue skies, sprawling live oaks  and the blooming fields of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush. 

I definitely want to try this paint I discovered from one of my favorite booths at the market. It is European limestone paint for the walls. The picture below is just a sample of some of the colors.

I fell in love with this pair of salmon hued demilunes with their original paint.

The often-photographed entrance to the Marburger Farm antique market, the sign that marked the driveway of the original farm.

A fragment mounted on lucite and wired into a lamp, something I was coveting.  

There is something about this majestic pair of birds that I really like. 

and this beautiful vignette from a favorite Houston dealer's booth!

I am rather glad these doors were already sold when I came across them. They might have made it to my storage unit. I am at the point now that if anything else goes into the storage unit, something would have to come out.

These Italian document boxes were also on my buy list. I LOVE them!

The only thing I did buy was this 18th century cross fragment. I collect cross fragments and this one had a piece broken off so it needed a good home - mine!

I also really loved this old Parisian sign from the Place du Pont Neuf. It was an original architectural piece made of limestone, think HEAVY, and the sign was made of enamel. I always fall for interesting artifacts like this that I am not so sure what with once you get it home.

One of the charming out buildings from the original Marburger Farm.

Is this display just the prettiest thing you've ever seen?!

A chest I would have REALLY like to own at Marburger Farm!

Bundles of French silverware...yummy!

Probably the most photographed mailbox in America, the iconic Marburger Farm original...

The displays in all the booths were incredible.... like something out of a magazine at every turn!

French pottery...

My second favorite picture from my week at Round Top antique fair is the photo above ...

Architectural salvage was hot... don't you just love this row of barn cupolas!

A longhorn steer decorates a building at Marburger.

I have always had an affinity for shells.

Loved the displays in this Marburger Farm vendor's booth.

Architectural elements, especially shutters and doors, as well as garden urns and garden furniture were very popular at this market. Within an hour of the show opening almost all had sold.

Marburger Farm police officers mounted on horseback just before the show opens.

Fell in love with this succulent wreath and also loved the way the rich colors popped off the old gray wood of the barn door that it was hanging on. if I didn't have to fly home, I would have bought this.

The above photo shows the native Indian Paintbrush blooming!

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a convenience store to grab a bottle of water and this is the scene behind the store...

I'm not kidding, everywhere you looked it was just so charming and beautiful!

Random acts of kindness, well kinda of! Some strangers walking their dogs behind the convenience store stopped and took our picture in the Bluebonnets. Disclaimer: we got up at 6 am, walked around in the heat and dust for 14 hours and landed in this field on our way back to the hotel.

If you love antiques, you'll love Round Top! There is truly something for everyone and if you don't find anything to bring home, I guarantee you'll have lots of fun anyway!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Recipes

Have you made your plans for Christmas dinner?

Some of my most favorite memories revolve around cooking and the conversations and laughter shared with family and friends around the dinner table.

 I start looking for new recipes a few weeks before Thanksgiving and enjoy looking over some of my favorite cookbooks in the evenings leading up to Christmas. Its always a challenge to prepare all of my family's favorites and still allow for a little something new.

This Thanksgiving I tried lots of new recipes with the biggest hit being the
Roasted Pumpkin with Gruyere Fondue. It was absolutely amazing! 

I love to set a pretty table, pull out old silver and my wedding china, light candles and go out into the garden and pick greenery and herbs. Here are some of my favorite Pinterest place settings followed by some of the recipes I am thinking of trying and as you can see sometimes I have found two variations and am deciding between the two. Please let me know if you have tried something similar that you like. I made the Roasted Potato Stacks with Thyme as my contribution to an annual Christmas dinner I attended last week and couldn't believe how easy, beautiful and delicious these were. I love simple recipes like that.

Bûche de Noël

{My roasted pumpkin with gruyere cheese fondue from Thanksgiving}

Roasted Pumpkin With Gruyere Cheese Fondue
From Gourmet magazine, November 2008
1 (15-inch) french baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 (7-lb) pumpkin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (6 oz)
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 oz)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with rack in lower third of oven. Toast baguette slices in 1 layer on a baking sheet in oven until tops are crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
2. Remove top of pumpkin by cutting a circle (3 inches in diameter) around stem with small sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside the pumpkin with a spoon (including top of pumpkin, reserve seeds for another use if desired.) Season inside of pumpkin with 1/2 tsp. salt.
3. Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in bowl.  Mix together cheese in another bowl.
4. Put a layer of toasted bread in bottom of pumpkin, then cover with about 1 cup cheese and about 1/2 of the  cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese, and cream mixture until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top, using all the cream mixture. (You may have some bread and cheese left over.)
5. Cover pumpkin with top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush outside of pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy….