Sunday Blues

Playing Dorothy Moore’s Misty Blue on Sunday night

It’s Negroni Week + Some Bar Ideas + a Cocktail Recipe or two!

I bet you didn't know it's Negroni week? I didn't either! But once I found out AND since it's one of my favorite cocktails (tied with a Gimlet) I thought I would pass on the info as well as some bar inspiration to you! Negroni Week launched as a...

Fall Entertaining and Amber Glass

My birthday is in a couple of weeks. I decided to have friends over but not tell them it’s my birthday. I just wanted to bask in the glow of being around those who I hold nearest and dearest. Plus, I needed an excuse to have a party! The Food There is a local caterer...

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...

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...

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....

An evening (or three) in wine country

Despite the fact that the Napa Valley is only about an hour away, I rarely attend evening events there.  It's just a little too far to make the wine + dark roads doable. That said, this past week there happened to be three occasions that I simply...

The week in review

  Wow, sorry for the radio silence.  It's been far too long since the last post and I feel way out of touch. Needless to say, things are hoppin' around here.  We (as in me and my new Assistant; Margaret who is AWESOME!!!) are busy...

Taking the Mystique Out of Selecting Wine

Selecting wine is not easy. I find that I usually rely on the staff recommendations at the grocery store or else I go with one of my standby favorites. When I want to try something different however, or I'm looking for a pairing with a particular dish or perhaps...

cool things

I'm on the train from DC to NYC, finishing this post. It's the first time I've had internet access since Thurs! I've just spent a few days with my darling grandparents at their home in McLean, VA where there is no wifi, salt or oil of any kind. If you...

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen Classic – Black Bean & Chicken Chili

During college, I waited tables at a great little restaurant - sort of a 'gourmet pub' -  that served the most delicious chili. Before I left, I got the recipe from the chef, but the quantities could have fed a fraternity.  Over the years, I've...

New York City Visit: no sleep till

BROOKLYN! In the past few years, I've noticed many shops, restaurants and businesses popping up in Brooklyn.  I had to see for myself what all the buzz is about, so my friend and I spent a day exploring. We got a recommendation from our cool waiter the night...

New York City Visit: Food

I have just two posts left on the nyc trip I took last month and can't end the year without getting them both in...so while they're not holiday, I hope you enjoy them just the same! Why does everything taste so good in New York? Almost everywhere we ate...

It’s cookie time!

The first cookie exchange party I attended was when my son (now 16) was in Kindergarten. This group of ladies took their cookies seriously! If delicious cookies presented Martha-style was not enough, the hostess decked out her castle-like house in over the top holiday...

French Soiree

Last Thursday we celebrated the opening of the store as well as the arrival of the most exquisite collection of antique french pieces. They include mirrors, trumeaux, engravings, botanicals and art.  The pieces were made by a French couple I met last spring - he...

New York City Visit: nightlife

On our second night in nyc, we decided to go to a play. 'Asuncion' - written and starring Jesse Eisenberg sounded interesting. It's playing at a 179-seat, historic theater (87 years old) in the Village  - The Cherry Lane. I thoroughly enjoyed...

vitamin i

For those of us whose job requires creativity as well as those who appreciate being surrounded by beauty, we all need regular doses of inspiration to keep the juices flowing.  A shot in the arm of something beautiful whether it be a swatch of fabric, a...

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen Classic – Fish in Parchment

While today is officially the first day of autumn, here in California mother nature seems to still be on summer vacation.  It's been too hot to cook the last few nights, so last night I made one of my favorite easy (really, it's insanely easy) dinners....

Eating our way through New Orleans and a swamp tour

We arrived in New Orleans in the evening after a 10+ hour drive from Austin. We were famished. A quick shower and change at the hotel and we were off to whatever restaurant the concierge had reserved for us when we called from the road.  I must admit...

Postcards from Cabo

If you are contemplating vacation destinations, I highly recommend Mexico. The food, people, music and climate can't be beat. To entice you, here are a few photos from our trip last week. In chronological order... grapefruit margarita on the rocks, no salt,...

A Wine Country Birthday Lunch

A couple of days ago it was my sweet friend's birthday.  She invited a small group of girlfriends to celebrate with a spectacular lunch and wine tasting at the award-winning Halleck Vineyard in Sebastapol, CA owned by her beau Ross Halleck. We convoyed from...

House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year – Tyler Florence

House Beautiful just announced their celebrity designer for the 2011 Kitchen of the Year and it's Tyler Florence! This is really exciting since I adore everything about him his cookbooks and store so much! The 2,500 square foot mock kitchen and outdoor space...

Barndiva

On a whim, the four of us decided to spend some family time in Healdsburg yesterday.  The town has many quaint shops - something for everybody - and in particular, many antique shops.  After a couple of hours antiquing and one vintage harmonica (son), a...

Cabin Food

Last Saturday it snowed on Mt. Tamalpais.  Not to be confused with a real mountain like Everest, Rainier or Kilimanjaro all of which are at elevations above 2,500 feet and none of which are located in CALIFORNIA - this was major news. Our town - from which this...

new york state of mind

I just got back from the most magical week back East.  First I visited my grandparents in Northern Virginia for a couple of days (it snowed :-), then I took the train to nyc - my birthplace and the best city in the entire universe - to meet one of my bff's...

Urban Farmhouse Kitchen Classic: Lemony Grilled Chicken

This is a weekly (or darn close) staple at our house, and as I was making it yesterday it occurred to me - anything this SUPER EASY and SO GOOD should be shared. It can hardly be called a recipe, because it only has 3 ingredients. Instead, think of it as your...

Thanksgiving Table – Ina style

Just as I was starting to cave to the temptation to watch tevo'd Martha holiday episodes, Ina Garten came to the rescue in the form of her new cookbook 'barefoot contessa: how easy is that?" (I love Martha, but I simply do NOT have time this year to...

Weekend Recap: fireside dinner

Friday night it was pouring rain and cold.  We all got home at staggered times and I didn't really feel like cooking dinner more than once.  On these occasions, we like to have what our family calls a 'pick-up' dinner.  It basically...

Rustic Bakery

In our neighborhood, the meeting spot of choice for a post school drop-off coffee is Rustic Bakery. Having a sinfully delicious bakery within walking distance from home can be a double edged sword...The smell of muffins baking as go about your daily routine is...

Fall-ing

I have dried my last tear over the end of such a short and chilly summer and have fully embraced Fall and all it's earthy, brooding goodness.  Are you feeling Fall love?  How so? Here are some things I came across this week that got me in the...

Ralph Lauren in Paris: Americana on the Left Bank

I can't think of an American designer who better captures the American spirit than Ralph Lauren. His talent as a clothing designer has stood the test of time, as his collections are always classic with a nod towards Bohemian Luxe and Sporty Chic....

Paris Part II: Lessons in life’s simple pleasures

For our week in Paris, we booked an apartment from a website (link) that had been highly recommended. Other than the recommendation we had little else to go on, so we pretty much selected it by the 'close your eyes, spin the globe and point' technique....

Postcards from Bella Tuscany

Buonasera!  Actually, Bonsoir is more accurate considering I'm in Paris. I just didn't feel like I could skip over Tuscany without sharing some photos since I never had the opportunity to blog (go figure!?) while I was there.I thought that living so...

Weekend Recap: Father’s Day

It all started with a kite... A spontaneous Father's Day gift idea thought of by my daughter.  That lead to a spur-of-the-moment decision to head to the beach- Point Reyes Station - and our favorite breakfast spot; The Pine Cone Diner.  There are...

Ahead Of It’s Time

When you picture the government buildings that house your local courthouse, construction permit and DMV offices I bet you get an unpleasant visual of dark hallways, yellowed linoleum floors, florescent light fixtures and gray metal furniture - right?  Well here...