A Flower Exchange Party with Girlfriends and Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

A Flower Exchange Party with Girlfriends and Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

A flower exchange party and recipe for deconstructed Nicosia salad with salmon

Several weeks ago  I had a group of girlfriends over for lunch. The common thread that binds us is that we met through our kids and all live in the same neighborhood. There were 10 of us which is a great size for full table conversations as well as multiple smaller ones. I had the same group of lovelies over for a cookie exchange at Christmas, which was a big hit – the amount of wine consumed had absolutely nothing to do with it.  because who doesn't like cookies?  So, I wanted to do a summer version and came up with a flower exchange theme. Everyone brought about a dozen stems of their choosing and at the end of the party everyone took home a gorgeous mixed bouquet.  


The plan was to eat outside, but it was cold and started sprinkling that morning, so I brought everything inside at the last minute, thus no table pics.




For lunch, I made a deconstructed nicoise salad meaning all of the ingredients were singled out and people could take what they wanted. 


I used salmon instead of tuna and had the most serendipitous discovery that morning. I was planning on baking the salmon, but I happened to notice a never opened box of parchment baking bags in a drawer with a picture of salmon filets on it. I decided to try it out and followed the recipe in the box: Preheat oven to 400 degrees, put the salmon in the bag (I put 3 pieces in each bag) with some lemon, dill and a tsp of water. Bake for 10 minutes and open the bag gently to release steam. Omg – foolproof! You can get the bags here.


I also made this ricotta and roasted tomato galette from the Macrina Bakery cookbook. You can get the cookbook here.


There were a few extra flowers left over after everyone left. Lucky Lily and me!


Happy Wednesday!




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The past couple of weeks in review

The past couple of weeks in review

Highlights from the ICFF 2016 trade show

 Hi you. I'll let the photos do the talking. I've missed you.



The Rihanna Concert was amazing.


My sweet Lily and her prom date Will. It was drama free I'm happy to report.

Prom 2016

My Mother's Day gifts. 

They know me so well.


 Bonus gift – Luke was home for a week over Mother's Day!

I was in New York recently for a work meeting and attended the ICFF trade show which coincided with Design Week. It was fantastic. Here are some of my favorite new discoveries. Please leave a comment below if you would like the vendor information on a particular piece and I'll reply in the comments. Thank you 🙂


It's hard to see, but this lighting company offers several unusual finishes (like rust – real rust) and the option to use multiple in one fixture which I thought was really cool.


 These outdoor, fully weatherproof chairs are the bomb! Beach house owners – these are for you!


 From the same company – these beanbag benches for around a fire pit are also great. Iron_sconce_ICFF

I really, really like that sconce on the left… Great design. All the pieces from this French lighting company are terrific.



This floating bathroom vanity is sleek and modern with no pulls, open cabinetry and a sink + countertop made of one piece. At the same time, the wood frame keeps it from being austere and cold. Stunning.


If you can take your eyes away from the faucet, notice the drain. It's on the outer edge of the sink bottom.


This is colored moss. Hear me out. This is not like the fake flowers of yesteryear. It's not meant to look real and living. The first thing I thought of when I saw it, is how cool a giant logo on an office wall would look. The moss can be made into any shape, pattern, and color way you can think of. Like a big crayon box for adults.


This well know tabletop company, introduced a new collection of pieces made of cork. 



I loved these vintage concert posters made into art pieces. 


Lions and tigers and chairs.




Happy Wednesday! 


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A beach cottage vacation

Hi you. As I type, I'm looking out at such a beautiful view! The window I am facing looks out at Marin County's majestic mountain – Mt. Tamalpais. If I squint and tilt my head I can block out the houses and pretend I'm away from civilization. I like the sound of that and am always inspired by women who venture off to find solitude or even travel to far away places all alone and call it an adventure. The reality is, I am just not wired up that way. I've tried – sort of – and perhaps shouldn't admit this publicly, but I really do prefer company. Not sure where I was going with this…  đź™‚ I actually thought I would post about creativity and inspiration. Then I got daydreaming…

So, if one day I get bitten by the solo adventure bug, it might look something like this…

A charming little shingled beach cottage in a quaint coastal town.


Covered in flowers.


With comfy furniture to read in and listen to the fire crackle. *Note to self: learn how to make a fire.


And a bright clean kitchen.


A small bathroom perhaps with shiplap.


Hearing the ocean from bed.


Morning tea here would be nice.


I'd do a lot of this.


And this.


Might even finally learn to surf!


Then I'd wash off here.


Dinner on the beach.


Or here.


Here's to daydreaming…




 ps – more beach house photos here 



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FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Updated Spinach Salad

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Updated Spinach Salad

A new take on Spinach Salad

Not exactly the sexiest of titles, but bear with me. I know you're probably all 'kale this, kale that' and I was too until I recently made this salad because we were out of kale. Yes, spinach is to kale what Tab is to Diet Coke, but I anticipate a comeback. It's time to revisit the 80's my friends.

During my recent cabin in the woods vacay (read about it here), it was lunchtime and the thought of driving into town was not happening. We had a few things in the fridge, but what to make was the question? Well! Let me just say that whoever came up with the expression "necessity is the mother of invention" sure got that right!

This salad was so good, there was much 'mmm-ing' and 'are you going to finish yours?' that I decided I needed to recreate it outside of the cabin environment to see if it really is that good. It is. Salty, slightly sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy – all around outstanding.


Baby Spinach 

Feta Cheese ( I cut a few thick slices from the block then crumbled it)

Shredded Chicken (we had some left over rotisserie chicken, so I used less salt in the dressing since they are high in sodium)


Pita Chips

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Salt & Pepper

The dressing is 4 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and S & P to taste. Toss the whole jam together based on how much of each thing you like and voila!




So, I started this post thinking I had taken more photos… Very lame food post in that there is no after photo, but hopefully I've enticed you to give it a whirl. In your salad spinner.


Happy Monday lovelies!


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Summer lovin’ and postcards from Cape Cod…

Summer lovin’ and postcards from Cape Cod…

Postcards from a few days on Cape Cod.

Hi sweet readers. I hope this first week of August finds you soaking up the sunshine, going barefoot whenever possible and enjoying the last of our beautiful late sunsets… We have one month to go, and I, for one plan to make it the most of it!

I was in Cape Cod for a few days…  Is there nothing more quintessentially summer than East Coast beach towns?

Here are just a few snaps.

Spotting this color burst was like that feeling you got when you were a kid and you opened a box of crayons for the first time. 

I was intrigued by the simple design of the front of this building and the modern take on a traditional Cape Cod structure. The barn door covering the glass doors in particular. Since it's the office of an architect, I naturally had to check out her work…omg…







I heart nooks! What a yummy spot to curl up in for a nap or with a good book.

The above 6 photos are from the portfolio of architect Jill Neibauer. For more info and images click here.

This house is in Provincetown and while I was taking these two photos, a local explained to me that there were five fire stations built like this around town. They have all been sold and converted to homes. I saw a few more as we were leaving, but this one with the fire truck space converted to a porch was my fav. 

 This post could also be called 'Hydrangeas and Blue Doors' but that's kind of boring.

 I wish I had taken pictures of the lobster rolls we shared at The Canteen. There are two varieties – cold with mayo and celery and hot with warm butter on toasted bread an inch thick. Best. Sandwich. Ever. Or as they say there 'Evah'. Here are some from their website.


The clam chowder was delicious too.


On an unrelated note, a thank you to Barn Light Electric for their blog post about a recent project I did in Glen Ellen, CA (see photos below). You can read about it here.


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When The Lights Go Down In The City …

When The Lights Go Down In The City …

A typical day in San Francisco.


Even though it was a gray day and a typical Tues, everything looked extra beautiful, poetic and new. Perhaps because it was gray and a typical Tues… Anyway, I took pictures of whatever caught my eye. Here's a sliver of San Francisco…

Dinner at State Bird Provisions. I had been dying to go to this place for a year and never could get in. It was one of those rare dining experiences where the bar is so high you almost set yourself up for disappointment then you take the first bite and you realize that there's good food and then there is strataspheric. That is State Bird Provisions.




A morning run along Crissy Field. This is a great place to walk. run, hang out on a blanket, people watch etc. On this day the air was perfectly still as it rarely is. Zero wind and with the fog and all the gray…. Pure.Bliss.









Indeed it does…

Enjoy your week!




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