My Simple, Neutral Centerpiece

Like many rooms in my house, my dining room is currently a work in progress. I need window treatments, art for the walls and fabric counter height stools for the table. One day it will be finished! One day...  But I was recently able to check a chandelier (see here) and the table centerpiece off my list. 

The colors in my home are very neutral, so for my everyday table, I wanted to create a simple neutral centerpiece that would look great on it's own or on a fully decorated table. To get that look, I kept the elements below in mind. All of those elements add life to the piece as a whole and the splash of color acts as a place for the eye to stop, which is an important factor to consider in neutral environments. 

Oh and whenever I place a candle in a hurricane, I LOVE to use coffee beans. They add texture and hold the candle in place. I also love the way they smell!


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Viennese Iced Coffee

I know that it's cold in most of the U.S., so some of you might think I'm crazy for posting an "iced" anything. But this is SO good, that I couldn't wait for warm weather to tell you about it. On Sunday, I had a craving for something sweet and satisfying and most importantly quick. When I flipped to the very last recipe of Ina Garten's new cookbook, "Foolproof," I knew this was it... 

Let me tell you, this drink is DIVINE! Yes, it's cold, but its frothy, it's creamy, it's slightly sweet, and it's SO easy to make. I made this one with decaf espresso, but I'm sure this can be made with regular coffee if that is what you have on hand. I think it would be the perfect quick dessert for a summer dinner party - or the perfect quick dessert to curl up with by a fire in the winter time. 

Here is what you need and what to do:

6 (1 oz) shots of espresso, regular or decaf
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot water
2 cups ice
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream 
Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish

Add the espresso, sugar, vanilla and hot water to a blender and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ice and blend on high until the mixture is almost smooth. Divide the mixture among 4 glasses or 3 glasses or 2 glasses - whatever makes you happy. 

Add a scoop of slightly thawed ice cream to each glass. Using a small sifter, sift cocoa powder on the top of each glass as a garnish. 


Images by me
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Weekend On The Square...

Hello! Happy Monday my friends. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I honestly didn't take many pictures this weekend, so these pictures (with the exception of the one of Max) are actually from a little stroll I took in an old town square last weekend. They may look a little different from my usual pics, so let me explain. I have tons of empty picture frames on wall around my house with no pictures in them. You have those too right?? Anyway, I want to fill most of them with my own photos, so I went out to some take "artsy-like" pictures of things around the square - all the while getting in a little practice with my camera. I took these photos right before dusk and my focus was on they way the the last bit of light from the sun hit the subjects. If you are practicing photography, that is a great time to get some good photos. 

At the end of my stroll, I treated myself to that cappuccino gelato cone from a quaint little gelato shop to accompany me during some good people watching. I'm still dreaming about that gelato. So very good.

And as you can see, Max is feeling much better. :)

Oh and P.S. I made this super easy-to-make chili last night and it just warmed my heart. SO good! I made it with ground turkey instead of beef, added two pinches of salt instead of one and let it simmer for an hour instead of 15 minutes. Delish I tell ya!

My dessert was even better, though. I'll tell you about it tomorrow...

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Just A Dreamy Bedroom...

Hi there... I hope you had a good week. This has been one heck of a week for me. My fur baby Max was diagnosed with a urinary tract disorder this week, so I've had my fair share of sleepless nights, vet visits and credit card transactions. But anything to make my kid feel comfortable. My car decided it wanted to start acting up, too. When it rains, it pours I tell ya...

But I have to be thankful. I'm healthy when so many people seem like they are getting sick these days. I somehow managed to make it through this crazy week without getting a migraine. That would be a miracle. So excited about that! Your comments and e-mails this week, as they are every week, were a joy to read. They made me smile when I really needed a smile, so thank you...

All of that is the reason why I only have a picture of a dreamy bedroom for you minus links from the week. I apologize. Hopefully Next week WILL be better! 

Have a great weekend.


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Well, this is my first lust list of the year and as always, I want it all. Even though I'm a lover of all things neutral, I surprisingly do love the colorful items here. I've never owned a red tote before, but I could see that particular classic tote being the star of a sleek neutral outfit. So pretty...

See anything you love?

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So, you know I have a love affair with chocolate. I adore it. I eat it daily. Every. Single. Day. So when I saw Giada de Laurentiis (I adore her, too) making this delicious looking chocolate mousse on her show, I knew I had to make it. It's different, it's easy to make and most importantly, it's really, really good. I imagine it would make the perfect V-day dessert, too. :)

Don't let the word 'avocado' sway you! I'll tell you why along with the recipe after the jump...

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Using A Still Life To Learn Photography

Hi! I hope you had a lovely weekend. My weekend was just that. I relaxed, worked out, made a dessert that I CAN'T WAIT to share with you tomorrow, had a wonderful lunch with Amy of Your Southern Peach (the sweetest person!) and had a few dates with my camera. Speaking of my camera, I thought I would change things up today to tell you about something that has taught me a lot about photography...

 More after the jump...

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Cozy Whites + Links

Hi my friends... I hope you had a great week! It rained here for almost 120 hours straight which = 5 days in a row which = slightly depressing!! The sun will make a rare appearance here this weekend and I will welcome it with open arms. Other than enjoying the sun, I'll be making something extra special in the kitchen, making this small change in my living room, enjoying a good dinner with some friends, relaxing and yep you guessed it... taking a good nap. See you next week... :)

Her new business venture helped me to finally come up with a good word for the year. I'll be wearing the word as soon as it comes in the mail!

Love everything about this blog and her story...

How to create a gallery wall using Photoshop. 

She was told she was having a baby girl and she planned a beautiful nursery for her. But a 3D ultrasound revealed something different. I adore her revised plans...


Lemony fresh and amazingly good.

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Eat, Sleep, Look...

Just a few things that might make you eat well, sleep better and look good. Or things that just might lengthen your wish list... :)

I love it all, but can't wait to get Gwyneth's new cookbook!

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'One Lemon' Lemon Bars

Why yes... It's two weeks into the new year and I am posting a recipe that has two sticks of butter. So if you are doing the new diet thing, the juicing thing or the zero sweets thing, then put this recipe in your back pocket for when you feel like you need a little break from your new normal. Or for when you want to make something sweet for a sweet friend, whichever comes first... :)

My brother's girlfriend gave me one of the BEST Christmas presents, which was Deb Perelman's new cookbook, "The Smitten Kitchen." I am obsessed with her blog and have become equally fascinated with her cookbook. I read it from cover to cover over the holidays and have already made two of the recipes. I made her lemon bars first (the spaghetti squash tacos were second- so different and SO good). I have always loved lemon bars, but was quite intrigued by the fact that the lemon flavor comes from just one whole lemon. No juicing or zesting is required. I liked that. So I had to make them...

They were sinful. Just sinful. They have the perfect amount of lemon flavor and are fresh and comforting all at the same time. And the crust... If you are a "crust" person, then you will LOVE the crust of these bars. It's sweet and slightly crispy and slightly soft all in one.

Images by me
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Inspired By...

Happy Monday my friends. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Well, I admit. Other than shooting my lunch yesterday, my camera stayed in its bag. It was so gloomy and strangely warm this weekend that I spent every free minute I had in comfortable pj's watching reruns of Nigella Lawson's cooking shows (I adore Nigella), net surfing and simply being lazy. It felt wonderful, so I can't apologize for it.  Oh and of course I watched the Golden Globes! I loved Adele's speech and Kerry Washington's dress. Risky and edgy. I vote for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts of next years Golden Globes or any other award show for that matter. Hilarious... 

So anyway, since I was lazy this weekend, today I'm sharing a few things I was inspired by during my wonderful, lazy moments. 

I was inspired by...

That kitchen. It just looks... comfortable.

That Celine bag. I need it in my life as soon as possible. And probably an increase in salary.

This space in a Southampton bathroom designed by S.R. Gambrel. A design genius I tell ya...

That rocker. I've never seen anything quite like it. Have you??

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Glam + Rustic + Links

Yayyyyy! It's Friday! I hope your first full week of the year was wonderful. If my year is anything like my week, then this year will be great! What's up for your weekend? For me it will be resting, Pilates, a fun lunch with a good friend and watching the Golden Globes - well watching the fashion at the Golden Globes to be exact. I'll also be drumming up ideas for a new blog design! I am super excited about changing things up around here. I'm hoping you will like it, too.

Here are some links for your weekend!

This is definitely on my wish list...

This home is on my wish list, too.

She went from walking dogs everyday to having her own show on HGTV. Love it.

This might be perfect if you're in for a chilly or rainy weekend...

Great food, great pictures and great relationship advice all in one.

Weekend reading...

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HomeGoods Happy!!

I heart HomeGoods. A lot. I always have and always will. But lately, I have REALLY loved HomeGoods- so much so that I must share some of my recent finds...

That would be a photo of my bed I took before my Sunday nap last week. You know how I love my naps! The duvet and the pillow shams came from HomeGoods a while back, but I found these sheets only a few weeks ago...

I about fainted when I saw these -  in the CLEARANCE section! Kate Spade in HomeGoods?? No way! I inspected them like crazy and found nothing wrong with them. They feel amazing, too... 

That would be my guest bedroom that I have been trying to decorate for oh.... only about 2 or 3 years. Yeah just 2 or 3 years. But I'm happy to report that I'm almost done- well sort of almost done. The duvet, pillow shams and quilt are from HomeGoods. I purchased the gold pharmacy lamp a few months ago (which I saw in the store last week). I thought it was perfect until I found these...

I quietly screamed, if that makes sense, when I saw those helmet lamps. Don't they look extremely similar to this $870 Ralph Lauren helmet lamp??

Crazy similar right?? Well each of those lamps at HomeGoods were $49.99! So I scooped both of them up. One of them kicked that pharmacy lamp to the curb, well to the dresser in the room to be exact. I have yet to find a home for the other helmet lamp, but I'll find one! 

Do you shop at HomeGoods (HomeSense in Canada)?? If so, have you found any good deals lately? Do share!

**This is not a sponsored post. I'm simply sharing a few things I found at a store that I love!**

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Perfect Roasted Tomato Soup

It was New Years Day. It was raining, windy and cold. It was the kind of day when you just want to curl up in bed or on the sofa, be warm and disconnect from the outside world. So when I woke up that morning and looked outside, I decided to do that just. Sara Forte's lovely cookbook, "The Sprouted Kitchen" had a piece of real estate on my bed for the last few weeks. I grabbed it and flipped right to her roasted tomato soup. "Perfect," I thought. But I didn't have any tomatoes or parsley or crusty bakery bread. But I really wanted that soup. So I put jeans and a sweatshirt on over my pajamas, put my a hair in a scrunchie and said a quiet prayer that no one would see me at the grocery store. You've done that before right?? 

I came home, whipped up the soup, photographed it for you, then watched "The Words" starring Bradley Cooper. Hot, really good tomato soup, cheesy bread and a hawtttt guy on my TV screen. I must say it was a great first day of the year...

Images by me

Linked to Tasty Tuesdays

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The Weekend + The Word

Well hi there... How was your weekend?? I have to say that minus a slight migraine, my weekend was spectacular. It was spectacular because I spent every minute of it doing something I love. I went to this local chocolatier where I watched them make chocolate and had a mocha that puts Starbucks to shame. Their lemon and rosemary-thyme macarons were wonderful, too. I walked around and visited some little shops in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, I drank lots of tea, lots of water, ate healthy, slept 10 hours each night, took lots of pictures, bought white tulips and smiled a lot. I designed a new centerpiece for my dining table (details on that later). I also cleaned out a cabinet in my kitchen so that I could store my food props. I never imagined I would have a food prop cabinet. But I do now and I love it. I also love my new honey dipper. It's the little things...

I never came up with my "word of the year" this weekend. But by spending an entire weekend doing things I loved, I certainly came up with the feeling I would like to maintain this year. Of course I won't be able to emulate the events of my weekend each day during the year, but I can certainly strive to do those types of things + whatever else brings a smile to my face as often as possible. I even want to get better at smiling through the tough and mundane times. Gosh I need to get better at that...

I could list 100 other things I would love to do this year, but I think if I try my hardest to keep those simple thoughts in mind, this year will be a good one no matter what happens. I love that...

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