You will have to forgive me for skipping right over Halloween and getting to the good stuff, which is Thanksgiving and Christmas!! Thanksgiving is less than a month away and I can't wait!! I'm looking forward to spending time with my family. And just thinking of the food is making my mouth water at this very minute. We typically don't have a very formal table setting for our holiday feasts, but the thought of having one crossed my mind as I styled this particular table setting for this fun interview I recently did for Occasions! The interview was all about my entertaining style and it was SO FUN to do! I recently purchased this gold flatware, which inspired me to create a table setting for the photos for the interview. So I shopped in my kitchen cabinets for inspiration and this is what I came up with... 

The thought of styling a holiday table often brings about the urge to shop for table decor. But I learned that starting with what you already have is the way to go! You might be surprised at what you come up with! The only thing new here is the flatware. I started with that woven charger. It adds texture and makes everything on top of it pop. The plate is this everyday white plate (on sale!) that I LOVE! They are quality, affordable, and go with everything. The pear is actually a real pear that I had leftover from this sangria. I spray painted it gold with a quality spray paint and I love how it turned out! The silk magnolia flowers are currently on my coffee table. I grabbed them and draped them across the middle of the table. I personally like to use stemless wine glasses when I entertain instead of glasses with a stem. They keep things simple and casual - two things that make guests feel more comfortable. I added a little candle to the side for some ambiance and voila!! It's simple with a little elegance. Love it. 

Images by me
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I hope you had a great weekend!! The weather here was AMAZING - and it was the weather that pretty much inspired this post. The lighting in my new, but very unfinished bedroom, was really beautiful this weekend. So I took some photos of it that I told myself I would share with you later - later like after I shared a "before" post (you can see the before here in this post from 2010!) and maybe another post that showed you a layout of the pieces I was considering for the space. But in the interest of time (and the pretty light this weekend), I thought I would just cut to the chase and share a few sneak peeks with you now so you wouldn't have to possibly wait ten years for an update...

As you can see, I'm going for a really serene look. I work hard, so I want to relax in a really calm and soft environment. Neutrals are my favorite, so I'm using whites, creams, and hints of gold. The process has been slow due to my work schedule, my insane indecisiveness, waiting for sales to hit (everything here has been purchased ON SALE!), waiting for orders to come in, and coordination with my contractor (because hanging curtain rods the right way is just not my thing). I've worked hard and saved for a long time for this space, so I'm learning that taking my time to get everything right is best. I still have a few things left to do. The drapes need to be trimmed (maybe?) and steamed. I'm still looking for nightstands and accessories - the things that will add subtle hints of color to the space. I also need new bedside lighting. And I still have yet to hang one single picture on the walls. But I'll get there one day - and when I do, I'll certainly share everything with you! In the meantime, here are a few details... :)


Wall paint: Benjamin Moore White Dove | Bed & Bedding: Restoration Hardware | Drapes: Restoration Hardware | Window Stool: Restoration Hardware | Tufted Bench: Restoration Hardware | Mirror: Kirklands (old) | Lamp: West Elm
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How stylish is that dining room?? It is the dining room of actress Katie Lowe, who plays Quinn Perkins on Scandal - a show that I will be watching immediately after I finish this post. Her home is really quaint, collected, and beautiful. Working on a "collected" look in my home is actually on my to-do list this weekend. I'm looking for some vintage accessories and a vintage chest for my entry. Looking through antique stores on the crisp weekend mornings after a stop at Starbucks is one of my favorite things to do, so I am looking forward to it! I hope you have a great weekend!

If you are looking for a quality pair of leggings for fall/winter, then these are IT! I have them in black. They are stylish, warm, and on sale - with an extra 25% off...

And an essential $10 top that I bought two weeks ago that I've already worn four times (including today). It feels so soft and is great for layering...

Apparently I'm border line "healthy obsessed." I found this to be both hilarious and true...

The perfect collection of resources on everything you need to know about blogging...

West Village townhome at its very finest...

I wouldn't mind working here every day...

And I wouldn't mind getting dressed here every day...

A real truth that I recently shared...

Image by Jessica Sample for Lonny
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I LOVE cookbooks. I think I've mentioned that a few many times here before. I'm always on the hunt for cookbooks that teach me something new about food, save time in the kitchen, and most importantly - provide recipes that will satisfy my taste buds! Here are some new cookbooks that were recently released or will be released soon that caught my interest and just might catch yours. I think they would also make great gifts for this upcoming holiday season... 

1. One Pot by Martha Stewart Living: I have a busy schedule. I love warm, cozy, food. And most importantly, I hate doing the dishes. Therefore, this new cookbook had me at its title. This book is full of recipes that can be made in just one pot. That pot could be a dutch oven, skillet, pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stockpot. There are soups, stews, gratins, and even desserts that can all be made in just one pot. I gotta have this book...

2. Make It Ahead by Ina Garten: Ina is my hero. She has taught me so much about cooking and I've loved every single recipe of hers that I've made. I can't say that for many other chefs/cooks. Ina's latest cookbook (due out on October 28th) features recipes that can be made ahead of time along with great tips on how to master the make-ahead process. "Make ahead of time" is one of my favorite phrases, especially when it comes to cooking. The recipes in the book include a Make-Ahead Roast Turkey (just in time for Thanksgiving) and a Decadent Chocolate Cake that just happens to be gluten-free. Naturally, I've pre-ordered this book... :)

3. At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin: I love sweet treats, but my normal routine consists of healthy and whole foods - so I'm always on the lookout for good whole foods cookbooks. In this vegetarian cookbook, which was released yesterday, Amy features great tips on how to properly stock a whole foods pantry. You can see Amy's pantry in this video (LOVE). She also tells you how to turn those ingredients into healthy and simple dishes that are satisfying and nourishing to the body. Apricot chutney, roasted fig and raspberry tart with a toasted almond crust, and black rice breakfast pudding are just three of the recipes in this book that have peaked my interest...

4. Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai: Every time I see a new Sunday Suppers dinner on Karen's beautiful Instagram account, my dream of attending a dinner gets even bigger. She has a true talent for cooking, styling, and photography- three things that I enjoy as well. Entertaining more is on my to-do list, so referring to some of the 100 simple and seasonal recipes in this book that are designed for gatherings would be a great resource to start with...

5. The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum: Award-winning Rose Beranbaum, who is also known as "Diva of Desserts" is set to release her fourth "bible" on October 28th and I am so looking forward to it! She has previously written "The Bread Bible" and "The Cake Bible" - both of which were hugely successful. This is a cookbook where one can truly learn to master the intricate details of baking. It's one of those "teaching" type books that I could see myself referencing on holidays to make sure I get the perfect result for that special dessert.  

6. Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson: Joy Wilson's blog, "Joy The Baker" has been on my blogroll for a few years now because I just love her. Her food always looks amazing, she is a great writer, and she is hilarious!! I adore her personality. She recently released this cookbook that features 125 delectable sweet treats that look beautiful and are easy to make. She starts the book off with a chapter on brunch, which features Roasted-Potato Breakfast Nachos and proceeds with several chapters on desserts. Those chapters include a Mint Chocolate Chip Cake, Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Cake W/ a Lemon Glaze, and Champagne-Sorbet Floats. Yes. Yes. And yes. 

Are there any cookbooks out there (new or old) that you are loving at the moment?? Do share!
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Happy Monday!! How was your weekend? I must say that my weekend was darn good. Just darn good! Outside of a workout, running a ton of errands, and practicing a little photography, I engaged in some much needed "Secret Single Behavior." My SSB consists of watching hours of cooking shows and really, really bad reality TV shows while eating chips, salsa, and cubed sharp cheddar cheese. I do that as I am posted on the couch wearing mismatched pajamas that are entirely too big and my hair up in a scrunchie. I love it. Needless to say, I am well rested today and feeling fine!! 

Occasionally I took breaks from my SSB to shower and make real food. I made this salad and this burrito bowl - both were delish! I also made that cake you see there... I couldn't let the fall go by without posting a pumpkin recipe. It just wouldn't be right. Last year, I made these pumpkin cupcakes, and this year I decided to make a pumpkin bundt cake. Bundt cakes are super easy to make and I wanted to make something easy that wouldn't keep me away from my SSB too long! Ha. This is a cake I would definitely take to a holiday party and maybe even eat for breakfast. It's really moist and incredibly flavorful. The pumpkin flavor has a little hint of spice from the ginger, but a lot of warmth from the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I almost made an icing for it, but once I tasted it, I realized the only thing it needed was just a dusting of powdered sugar. That.Is.It. So good...

Here is what you need and what to do:

4 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bundt pan
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
Confectioners sugar, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the two sticks of butter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Butter a 14-cup bundt pan (I used this one. It is larger than the standard bundt pan!) using one of the wrappers from the butter. Rub the wrapper all around the pan and into the crevices of the pan. Flour the pan with a little cake flour (all-purpose flour is fine here, too). Shake out any excess flour. Set the pan aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside. 

3. Add the brown sugar to the butter in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure to mix well after each addition. After adding the last egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again to ensure that all of the ingredients are incorporated. 

4. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture in 3 additions. Alternate with the buttermilk. Be sure to start an end with the flour. Beat until the ingredients are just combined. Add in the pumpkin puree and beat until combined. 

5. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester (i.e. wooden skewer) comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully turn the cake out onto the rack and let it cook completely. Right before serving, dust with confectioners sugar for garnish. Serve with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 


Images by me

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