Bathroom Styling and My New Favorite Design Book

Bathroom Styling and My New Favorite Design Book

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 images here and here. Just a few…

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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.

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© The Perfect Bath by Barbara Sallick, Rizzoli New York, 2016.

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If you are looking for things to put on your holiday wish list, I highly recommend "The Perfect Bath". To purchase, click here.

As I contemplate my bathroom, I will be spending time considering the beautful bath accessories found at Waterworks.  

More interior inspiration to come…

xo

s

 

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Things I’m Digging – Fall 2014 – Reading Edition

Things I’m Digging – Fall 2014 – Reading Edition

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.

xo

Serena

FictionA Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

AParisApartment

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

 

 Self-Help  Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

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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. 

  

DesignModern Country 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. 

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Blogs/WebsitesThe Scout Guide

Fall arrangement - TSG

MInterirosAre 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.

Have a wonderful Monday!

 

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FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Pumpkin Bread, a Cookbook and My New Favorite Food Blog

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Pumpkin Bread, a Cookbook and My New Favorite Food Blog

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 joy and 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.

Tartine Bakery resides in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. 

 

Tartine Pumpkin Tea Cake

1 2/3 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1 tbsp + 2 tsps (25 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tsps (10 ml) nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsps (255 g) pumpkin purée
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil (like safflower or sunflower)
1 1/3 cups (270 g) sugar
3/4 tsp (4 ml) salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsps sugar for topping
3 tbsps pepitas for topping

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.

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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. 

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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.

Alexandra's kitchen

To go to Alexandra's Kitchen blog, click here.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

 

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Wanderlust and Summer

Wanderlust and Summer

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.


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Shorts


Summer skirt


Maxi dress

White denim skirt

2. Staying up late, getting up early and taking naps.


Moonlight


Bed for nap
Ferragamo bedroom

3. Leisurely meals that don't require standing in front of the stove. Assembling rather than cooking…


Antipasti


Desclans - rose


Peaches
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4. Eating outside whenever possible.


Alfresco


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French table outside

5. Time to read.

I've been on a roll with the last two books I've read. Both outstanding! 


Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles


And the mountains echoed

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

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!

Any book recommendations?

6. Road trips.


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Happy summer to you.

 

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Weekend recap and the unexpected joys of unpacking

Weekend recap and the unexpected joys of unpacking

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).


Cookbooks

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.


Zuni cookbook

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! 


Tartine cookbook

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.


Deen Bros cookbook

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.


Daddy note

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.


Pasta carbonara

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.


Beet salad

I'd love to get some recommendations! What is your favorite cookbook? Do tell!


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Happy Monday!

 

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pick-me-ups

pick-me-ups

With the holidays over and Spring still a few months away, I've been looking for new ways to boost the joy factor while getting through this stretch of long cold days. Thought I would share a few I've found, just in case you were in need of a pick-me-up too.

Home Cooking. I bought the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook "Foolproof" while I was in wine country for my birthday weekend in November and have already made a few things.

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click here for a link to Amazon

As with her other books, the recipes are easy to follow, well tested and delicious.

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This is the Chicken with Wild Mushrooms. I made potatoes for along side and a green salad with roasted beets. For the potatoes, I boiled Yukon Gold's (any new potatoes will do), drained them and then smashed them with the bottom of a small pot, then fried them quickly (hot pan) in a little olive oil to crisp on the outside. Sprinkled with coarse salt at the end. A glass of wine – Viognier in this case – was just perfect. 

Reading. I never seem to have enough time to catch up on current events. When a friend (a super smart, well read friend, I might add) highly recommended "The Week" I immediately subscribed. Each issue contains a summary of everything important that has happened that week. It's well written and concise – concise being the opperative word. I take it in my purse for those times I find myself waiting – grocery line, soccer practice, before an appointment, etc. 

 
The week

To subscribe to The Week click here.

Music. Music is so evocotive. We have access to anything our hearts desire at any given moment, so a mental escape with some good music is always possible. In my car I listen to Sirius XM, at work we listen to Pandora and when I excercise I listen to my ipod. My playlists are getting old, so I've been finding new artists to mix in. Lately I'm gravitating to more mellow, emotionally charged songs for some reason… I discovered Mumford & Sons recently and fell in love with their their music. My favorite song, for your listening pleasure, below.

 

Shoes. I'm a girl, what can I say. My daughter Lily and I went to Santa Monica for the weekend to celebrate her 14th birthday right after Christmas. It was a shopping, star stalking, glitter manicure, power packed weekend. Other than a slight fainting spell at my 4th Abercrombie in 24 hours, a great time was had. One of the highlights (for me!) was going to the Ralph Lauren store. My favorite. We got there just as they were marking these down. I'm 5'10" in them! All I need now is the right occasion and of course, the perfect dress…


RL stilettos

Click here for your own pair. Note: they are an additional 30% off the listed price!

I hope your week has something wonderful in it. 

 

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