Well howdy dreamers. What can I tell you? For one thing, I just ate way too much chocolate — even for me. It’s my one actuallyI have a huge problem and probably need an anon but admitting it is the first step, right? guilty pleasure so its all good. Other than that juicy tidbit, life has been in a blissful holding pattern for the past few weeks. Oh – here’s something – I stepped back into doing residential interior design for a project I couldn’t refuse… It’s in Cabo. On the beach. I know – check myself. I got to fly down to Mexico and stay at the property for a night. I dressed the part. I conjured a female Pablo Escobar-ish look which was way out of place among the college Spring Breakers and honeymooner couples on the plane. It also could have been that I was the only one traveling solo to Mexico. Or the tube of floorplans sticking out of my purse.
For most of my life I have had style icons. Women who I think epitomize an effortless, classic and timeless style while staying current and slightly edgy. I have several – see them here, but my numero uno, all-time favorite is Ali MacGraw.
She wore a beanie to the Academy Awards – no words.
Photo by REX USA (94679c) ALI MacGRAW – 1971
My favorite of her former beaus is Steve McQueen, so I started pinning photos of him too. What a couple.
So, I was beyond excited to receive the book “McQueen’s Motorcycles – Racing and Riding with the King of Cool” by Matt Stone from the publisher. Cool personified. If you have a motorcycle lover in your life, this book would make an excellent gift.
Highlights from the new book, “The Perfect Bath” by Waterworks Co-Founder, Barbara Sallick
I've been giving a lot of thought lately to my lackluster bathroom vanity and how to make it pretty while keeping it free of clutter. Do you share this quandary? As I've said many times, when I need inspiration, or just want to free fall into a creative flow Pinterest is where I go. So, for the past couple of weeks I've been saving beautifully styled bathroom imageshere and here. Just a few…
As luck – or serendipity – would have it, as I was pouring over bathroom images, a gorgeous design book on bathrooms arrived in the mail from the publisher! The book isn't just 'A' book about bathrooms. It's written by The Bathroom Goddess herself – Barbara Sallick, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Design for Waterworks. Let me preface my fussing and fawning by saying that I would never promote anything that I haven't personally experienced and/or seen and that I didn't adore. I adore this book. It is chock full of images all of which are absolutely breathtaking. The chapters are organized in such a way that if you are using it to help you design, you can plunge right in to those tips and resources. If eye candy and a little lift with your afternoon tea, is more your speed, you can have that too.
Hi lovelies. As I write this, it's raining buckets. I have the fireplace going and am wearing the requisite rainy day attire of fuzzy socks and a big sweater. Not only is it Halloween, AND the San Francisco Giants Parade, but it's also my birthday weekend. Rain was not supposed to happen. I actually don't have any big plans. Since the b-day party a couple of weeks ago, it's been a festival of coffees, lunches and dinners with girlfriends. I prefer it that way – in ones and twos – and feel incredibly blessed to have the circle of amazing friends that I do. So, this leaves a big fat birthday weekend with lots of time to read! As such, I thought I'd share my latest crop of favorites in case you might be finding yourself doing the same.
I was sent a pre-release copy from the publisher and read it over the summer. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Very descriptive especially for those of us who love art, interiors and France.
Here's what Booklist says about A Paris Apartment:
Shuttered for 70 years, the ninth arrondissement apartment is a treasure trove for furniture appraiser April Vogt. Plus, an extended trip to Paris allows her to avoid her troubled marriage. As April uses the diaries of Marthe de Florian to establish provenance of the pieces, she becomes obsessed with Marthe’s Belle Epoque exploits, her rivalry with Jeanne Hugo (Victor’s granddaughter), and her path from Folies Bergère bartender to renowned (if forgotten) courtesan. All the while, April struggles to forgive her husband’s infidelity, a situation not helped by the presence of Luc Thebault, the estate’s solicitor, who seems determined to make sure April doesn’t work too hard. Gable’s debut is strongest when Paris is the focus, whether it’s suffering a rude waiter at a corner bistro in the present day or dripping in jewels and furs and being bored by Proust in a café at the turn of the century. Some of April’s actions late in the book will render her unforgivable to many readers, so if sick parents and infidelity are red flags, pass on this one. Otherwise, vive la Paris apartment! –Susan Maguire
Almost two years ago, when I was going through an extremely challenging time personally, I stumbled upon a TED talk given by Brene Brown about vulnerabilty (watch it below). At that time, there were 7+ million views. Now there are 17+ million. It was a life changing moment, because up until that point, I lumped vulnerabity under the heading of 'Weak Characteristics'. Wrong! Her work on this subject, which is detailed in her book Daring Greatly has words of wisdom for all of us, no matter what place in life we happen to be. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to be vulnerable, especially if you've been hurt. If you are feeling scared to go forward into the unknown – whether it's starting a new business or opening your heart to love again, and everything in between, read this book. You will feel better, I promise.
Design – ModernCountry by Caroline Clifton-Mogg
I was incredibly honored to recieve a copy of this beautiful book from the Publisher. The images are absolutely GORGEOUS! As you might guess, this book conveys my favorite style – comfortable, cozy spaces that also have a modern twist.
Are you familiar with The Scout Guide? In case you aren't – they are beautifully curated city guides for most major US cities, each filled with the best of what's to offer locally in that city. I just discovered they also have a webiste and blog highlighting small businesses, local artists and hometown favorites in the various cities they represent! A visual treat and great resource when planning a trip.
Hey Pumpkin, Happy Thanksgiving to you! In keeping with the holiday we most associate with feasting, I bring you a recipe, a cookbook and a cooking/food blog I think you will adore.
But first… Thank you my dear readers for sticking around and being so lovely always. When I hear from you it makes my day and fuels me to keep going. I wish each and every one of you a day of comfort, peace and joyand hopefully a delicious meal shared with those you love.
I have told you about the Tartine Cookbook before and the story behind how this recipe came into my life (read it here), but I don't think I have shared the actual recipe with you. So here it is.
It is more of a cake than a bread- small, delicate crumb, sweet and lightly spiced. Perfect for breakfast, with tea, as a midnight snack or as I am going to do tomorrow – to be given as a hostess gift.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (You can do this recipe with a stand mixer or by hand.) Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin purée, oil, sugar, and salt together until well blended. Beat the eggs in one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat the batter as it will result in a tougher crumb. Then beat for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter to help flatten the batter out. Sprinkle the sugar and pepitas on top and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and flip the cake out. Turn the cake back right-side up and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Lasts about 4 days (well-wrapped) on your counter or up to a week in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8.
*Note – I don't use the pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I only usually have Canola Oil and that works fine.
To take a look at or purchase the Tartine Cookbook, click here.
My favorite new cookbook (both new to me and new on the shelves) is from the Seattle institution – Macrina Bakery. I cooked and baked my way through the pages of the first book and was just given the newest treasure trove of delectible recipes by my bff.
Seriously, has there ever been a more beautiful cookbook cover? Trust me, the rest is just as good.
To take a look at or purchase "More from Macrina" click here.
My newest favorite cooking blog is Alexandra's Kitchen. For awhile I was on a roll, making every recipe she posted – each one filled with fabulous photography and sprinkled with anecdotes of her own life and experiences. I need to play catch up…You will love it.
Hi. It just hit me that summer is here. It isn't only that Memorial Day just passed and I started wearing white jeans again, but I also feel a giddy sense of excitement starting to brew. What is it about summer that conjures those feelings? Experiences seem to attach themselves to memories in a special way unlike at any other time. One of my favorite things about summer is not adhering to a schedule. With that freedom comes a sense of wanderlust – where should we go? Anywhere we want…
What are your favorite things about summertime? Here are a few of mine:
1. Simple clothes.
2. Staying up late, getting up early and taking naps.
3. Leisurely meals that don't require standing in front of the stove. Assembling rather than cooking…
4. Eating outside whenever possible.
5. Time to read.
I've been on a roll with the last two books I've read. Both outstanding!
After going to see the Great Gatsby movie last weekend (omg - sooo good!) I want to re-read the book. It was completely lost on my 15 year-old self the first time. All that focus on finding the parallels and metaphors - blah, blah, blah, when the best parts are the descriptive details and the amazing love story!
Hi lovelies. I hope you had a great week! This weekend I was housebound with two sick and super cranky teenagers. I spent most of it unpacking boxes and taking care of them while getting a slight case of cabin fever myself. Sure, it's rewarding to see the empty boxes pile up and the house start to feel like home, but after 48 hours of nothing but, I was getting a little crabby too. That is, until I opened the boxes marked 'cookbooks' that had remained unopened the entire time we were in the rental house.
As I started to go through boxes and put the books on the shelf, I realized I haven't cooked much this year… Not to mention how much I missed it and can't wait to delve back in. So, Saturday night I enjoyed a quiet evening with some Thai take-out, a beer and went through each one (well, a lot of them anyway).
Besides being inspired to cook again, it was a trip down memory lane as, there are a few books that have sentimental value attached to them.
The Zuni Cafe cookbook was a gift when I still lived in Seattle from my friend Julie – an amazing cook. It was fortituous that the next year I would be moving to San Francisco. I still haven't been to Zuni yet! I know!
If it were not for the pumpkin bread in the Tartine Bakery cookbook, I would not have met my friend Teri. We had just moved to California and I was at a neighbor's for coffee. She offered me a slice of this pumpkin bread and I had never tasted any as good. It was so ethereal, I had to get the recipe, but my neighbor received the bread as a gift and had no idea where the recipe came from. One day at pick-up line at school, she pointed across the playground to the person who made it for her. A few days later, I was on a run and this person was running towards me. I stopped her and accosted her like Colombo asked her if she made the pumpkin bread that was given to my neighbor and she confirmed she had. We decided to finish our run that day together. From then on, she and I ran twice a week together for the next five years – mostly discussing food and cooking.
She gave me the Tartine Cookbook for my birthday that year.
The Deen Brothers cookbook was the last gift I received from my father before he died last summer. He lived in Biloxi, Mississippi for the latter half of his life and always tried his best to tempt me to move there (or at least infuse my own life with some Southern goodness). While I was looking through it last night, this note from him slipped out. Don't remember ever seeing it before… I miss you Daddy.
After all that, what to make for dinner tonight was on my mind when I went to sleep. Try something new or an old standby? I ended up going with an oldie but a goodie. Pasta Carbonara from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" by Marcella Hazan. No cream in this version – the only way in my opinion.
My photo doesn't do this dish justice. It's actually got a sauce that is on the bottom of the bowl – I just hadn't mixed it in yet.
I also roasted some beets and made a salad for me.
I'd love to get some recommendations! What is your favorite cookbook? Do tell!
Hi, and welcome! I’m so glad you landed here and I hope you find this to be a place you visit often.
I started this blog in 2008 as a way to chronicle the remodeling of our nondescript Northern California house into our dream home. While that did happen, so did a lot of other things - life and all the messy, glorious, complicated, wonderful things that go with it. As such, in early 2017 I decided to change the focus from the house itself to the life that happens inside.
My wish is that this blog provides beautiful inspiration, creative ideas, connections to other like-minded folks, as well as stylish products for your home, to wear and to give.