Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hostess Gifts

Fresh Jersey peaches, a peach sangria mix and the bottle of wine required to assemble it

Homemade bruschetta made with tomatoes from our garden will be perfect when paired with a delicious baguette


image via
Staying at someone's home for a long weekend? These wooden boards from Pottery Barn are perfect for a host who loves cheese and crackers

I love to give gifts so naturally I enjoy bringing little something for the host/hostess when we are invited over. And while I am sure the proverbial bottle of wine is always welcome, I try to think outside the box, shake it up a little bit and bring something I know my friend/relative will love.
For a weekend away at my brother's in Upstate NY this summer I brought fresh Jersey peaches, a peach sangria mix and the bottle of wine required to assemble it. Displayed in a simple thrift store basket added charm and kept it affordable. I know my aunt and uncle love cheese and crackers as much as we do so when I stayed with them for a long weekend back in the spring I brought them one of Pottery Barn's small wooden boards. I tied a pretty ribbon around the handle and let it speak for itself.
Going to dinner should be small, simple but thoughtful. In fact, I'm planning on bringing homemade jars of bruschetta and a delicious baguette to any dinner parties we attend this fall. Here's hoping our calendar fills up quickly!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August















Oh, August.

 It seemed like we were constantly on the go. Every weekend we had something planned. At one point Charlie looked at me and said, "I'm tired." and by the holiday weekend I was too. We didn't even leave the house or get dressed for three whole days. It was lovely.
But tired or not, August was so chock full of time with loved ones and the making of some pretty great summer memories. From our weekend getaway with my siblings to the bucolic Hudson River Valley in NY, to having every member of my immediate family here in NJ to celebrate my niece Vera's fifth birthday, there is nothing like family. The house was buzzing for three straight days as we entertained non stop. There were dinners and brunches and I was wholly in my element. 
We had our amazing dinner on the beach and in the days that followed we started getting ready for Ryan to head to middle school. Junior high. How could this be? There were new haircuts, school shopping, doctor appointments and sleepovers with the bestie. I still can't fathom how she has grown up so quickly, into such a little lady who needs me less and less. Yet, in a rare moment now and again, she will curl up with me and remind me that she still is and will always be my baby.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Sweets Party










Parties today are mostly paper and plastic, disposable everything. "Keep the clean up minimal" seems to be  the modern mantra. We keep our china locked away in a cabinet somewhere gathering dust, remaining safe from potential chips or cracks only to be brought out (maybe) on the most special of occasions.
But what if we threw caution to the wind and broke out some of those lovely old pieces we've inherited and gathered? What if we were daring enough to incorporate them into the simplest of moments? They could make any ordinary day feel a little bit more special. How about mixing and matching them with casual pieces so no one feels bound to formality?
The moment I saw these pink china pieces I knew they would be perfect for a Summer Sweets Party. Little muffins bursting with the brightest summer berries, scoops of  ice cream complete with the yummiest of toppings and darling mini milk bottles filled to the brim with a tart, pink lemonade. So pretty, super simple and tons of fun.
Isn't that the sweetest treat of all?

Shop the setting:
vintage pink covered plate here
assorted vintage pink china here
mini milk bottles here 
similar straws here
pinwheel toppers here
ice cream cups here and here

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dinner on the Beach











I had been talking about it for over a year. It started as a grand plan to lug our portable charcoal grill and all the fixings to create an amazing barbecue on the beach. Yet, as time wore on and the weather and calendar never seemed to cooperate my grandiose ideas became more simplified and streamlined. No need to drag all of these things a quarter mile walk through the sand. All we truly needed was a small picnic, some blankets and really good company.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we made it happen. A year spent dreaming of an evening under the stars, waves crashing in the background and toes buried in the cool sand finally materialized.
And it exceeded my every expectation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Art Of The Matter


As I wound my way throughout the local ReStore I caught a glimpse of this painting in passing. I turned the corner from the room it was in not having fully taken note of what I had seen. Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. All that ran through my mind was Black. Gold. White. Bold. I turned back.
I stood in front of it mesmerized. Hanging high up on the wall amidst decaying china cabinets and no longer loved 80's formica it looked strangely out of place. It looked fine. Grand almost. Perhaps because an oversize Mona Lisa hung a few feet down framed by a selection of poorly done florals. More likely because the frame alone was worth 10x the price tag hanging from it. The gold and black combination was indeed beautiful but those quirky little flowers are what truly stole my heart. Like a strange little bouquet of sea anemones, their stark whiteness bursting from the dark background like fireworks on the Fourth of July. I was smitten. I was in love.
I have never felt emotion from a piece of artwork. I have admired paintings, found them to be lovely at times, but never felt captivated or so moved by a piece of art. I am the woman with a home full of framed black and white photography. To me, they tell a story. Candid photos capture emotion and make my heart swell with their beauty. But brush to canvas? Never.
I paid no mind to the idea of where I would put it. Where I would hang it. When something moves me this powerfully, all those minute details have a way of working themselves out. I just knew I could never forgive myself if I walked away without it. It was meant to be mine.

P.S. When they took it down from the wall I was thrilled to discover it is an original oil painting! Now, to make out the artists name....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Obsessed With: Iced Tea Spoons





All summer long we've been brewing our own unsweetened iced tea. There is really nothing quite so refreshing on these hot summer days. But each time I squeeze a lemon slice over the top then dip a teaspoon in to give it a quick stir I think about how I could really use a set of iced tea spoons. My fingertips always get wet trying to give my drink a thorough stirring and then a short while later I find myself on Etsy looking for the perfect set.
From simple to superb, these four are currently my favorites. I just have to decide which one to pull the trigger on ~ and I feel like it might have to be gold set with the twisted handle. They are c'est magnifique!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Suppers








Summer suppers have no boundaries or rules. Early morning trips to the garden let us quickly decide what will appear on our plates that very evening. The farmer's market is bursting with everything we do not have in our modest suburban garden and as we peruse the bins our baskets and bags fill up quickly with all the possibilities. Meals aren't planned but rather dictated by what is ripe and ready to be devoured. Side dishes become the star of the plate, no longer the costar of an A-list entree.
There is solace in things as minute as trimming beans and slicing fruit for a last minute pie. Sitting outside in a shady spot to shuck ear after ear of corn is rhythmic, soothing and good for the soul. The smell of the charcoal filling the air might very well be one of the best scents ever. We spend all week dreaming of the things that will grace our table over the weekend and the memories of those moments are just enough to get us through the five days in between.