I must start off by saying that this week was a darn good week. I got lots done. I received some surprise phone calls (good surprises). I had the best conversation with my little brother who is so amazingly grown up now. I volunteered. I started working on some long-term planning for this blog. Oh - and I received an e-mail on Wednesday morning notifying me that Giada Weekly is now following me on Twitter. If you heard someone scream that morning, it was probably me. I heart Giada... Anyway, even though the week was good, of course I'm looking forward to the weekend. It's supposed to be beautiful but really cold here, so I look forward to a few cozy mornings in my new bed with a cup of hot lemon and honey water (my new favorite thing) and busting out a chunky sweater for afternoon errands... It's gonna be good. If you are out celebrating Halloween, be safe!!

Loved reading about her journey over the last year. If you blog hard and work hard, then you might be able to identify with her story...

A beauty of an office makeover complete with pretty colors and a few great tips...

My personal entertaining style as told to Occassions. So honored about this...

A whole new (and delicious) way of eating bacon for breakfast...

Solitude can be wonderful... This was funny and true.

Love the color, style, and price of this pink piece...

A living room I could literally live in...

You're worth it, don't you think??

Image by Izy Hossack of Top With Cinnamon (loving her new cookbook!)
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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: Restoration Hardware | Velvet Coverlet: Restoration Hardware | Matelasse Coverlet: Restoration HardwareDrapes: 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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Hi there!!  How was your week?? My week was a short week, which means my week went quite well. Yesterday, I did exactly what I said I was going to do in Wednesday's post + some. I went on a rampage and cleaned out closets and drawers. The only items I kept were either straight needs, basic, or classic - or all of the above. Needless to say, I felt extremely good when I was done. There will be some lucky shoppers at my local Goodwill! Anyway, the next few days will be filled with more relaxation, an overdue mani-pedi, baking, soup-making, Net-flixing, and taking in this lovely cooler weather. Have a great weekend!

As I was cleaning out my closet, I realized I need a new pair of simple, classic, quality, black flats. I've got my eye on these...

Wish I would have found this BEFORE I started cleaning out my closet...

I'm starting one of these with my girlfriends in January... It's gonna be good!!

She's the founder of Net-a-Porter and of course her home is lovely... Of course it is.

Ina Garten's daily routine and daily breakfast. The breakfast might surprise you...

Speaking of Ina, her little NYC apartment is quite lovely...

Really good tips on how to make your fresh fall produce last even longer...

Weekend reading - quite possibly one of the most beautiful online journals I've seen...

Image by Michael Graydon

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I was working late one night last week. That night seemed like the millionth night in a row I had been working late and I felt nothing but mentally and physically exhausted, tired, cranky, upset, drained, and concerned about how everything that needed be done was going to get done on time. So I just stopped, took a breath, and got my personal notebook out of my purse. I then started this post. When I am feeling that mix of emotions, it's so easy for me to be more forgetful of just how thankful I should be in spite of the circumstances. So I took a break and decided to write down some things that I'm thankful for. They are just little things, but it's always the little things that can turn my feelings around in a big way in a short period of time. This list did just that for me. So here are some of the things I wrote down that night + a few I've added since then. I've sprinkled my list with a few never-before-seen photos taken by my inspiring photographer - whom I am also thankful for.

ONE: A friend who recently invited me to an upcoming Cirque du Soleil show. Seeing Cirque shows makes me feel like a kid again.

TWO: And another friend who has graciously decided to plan my upcoming birthday celebration. Without her, I'm almost positive I would be having another "low-key" birthday for about the 4th year in a row.

THREE: Fall. Crisp morning air, sleeping with socks on, sleeping with an extra blanket, turning leaves, fresh apples, planning Thanksgiving dinner (Yep- I'm already on that!) - I could go on and on and on. I love so many things about it...

FOURThis vacuum cleaner. I have a pet, which means I vacuum a lot, which means I've owned my fair share of vacuum cleaners. I've had this new one for about a month and it is BY FAR the best one I've ever owned. Period.

FIVE: Speaking of pets, I'm thankful for Max. He can quickly get me out of my 12 hour workday funk and wakes me up every morning by licking my right earlobe. Not the left earlobe, but the RIGHT earlobe. I haven't quite figured out his thing for my earlobe, but he loves it.

SIX: Service providers who show up on time, call if they are going to be late, and properly provide the service or product they are paid to provide. People like that seem to be far and few between these days...

SEVEN: The Golden Girls. I love the news, but lately I have just refused to start every day off with the latest on Ebola, he said-she said campaign commercials, ISIS, etc., So stressful. I recently found a station that airs The Golden Girls in the mornings. I've been watching it in lieu of the morning news a few times a week. That way, I'm guaranteed a really good laugh before my day starts- and I like that.

EIGHT: Pinterest. It's the highest source of traffic for my little blog and I often wonder if the blog would have survived this long without it...

NINE: Fear. Fear is not fun, but at the moment it is propelling me in a new direction - a good direction. I'd be crazy not to be thankful for that...

TEN: Tomorrow. It might be better to be thankful for today - the now - and I am. But tomorrow I have a day off. Tomorrow I will sleep in, get a good workout, treat my body to a healthy meal, sleep again, wake up, and begin to catch up with friends and family with a fresh state of mind, instead of giving them my leftovers. I'm incredibly thankful for that. :)

Now your turn!!! What are you thankful for??

Photos by Paula Coldiron
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{Mini calla lilies are on the nightstand this week... }

Hi there! I hope you had a splendid weekend. I'm sorry for the silence around here last week. My routine last week was work, work more, eat, sleep a little, then repeat. My friends, family, and this blog got what was leftover and and last week there just wasn't much left to give. I'm hoping this week will be better and that lots more sleep will be involved! Anyway, to avoid a breakdown I out carved some me-time this weekend and attended Erin Gates's book signing here in Atlanta. I've mentioned her book here before and now that I have it, I have to mention it again. Peeps, this is the BEST design book I think I own - and I own a lot of design books. I don't really read all of the copy in design books, but I have been reading hers like a novel. The writing is so good and hilarious!! It gave me some much needed laughs after my very long days last week, so Erin gets extra points for that. The photos of her work are really beautiful and so inspirational. They along with her tips have given me lots of ideas I feel like I can implement in my own home. Meeting her was just as delightful. She was kind and funny as was her husband Andrew - who was there talking to everyone in line and supporting her like a trooper. Meeting her and receiving the most thoughtful care package from my all sorts of amazing mom (see below) were definitely the highlights of my weekend. 

{I ordered these flats a few weeks ago and finally got the chance to wear them this weekend. They are reasonably priced and SO comfortable - probably the most comfortable flats I've owned in a while.}

{A photo of me and Erin taken by her hubby Andrew... }

{When I'm super busy, my mom sends me the BEST care packages! She sent me one last week and it made me love her 100 times more. She sent me simple things I really love and things that I use on a daily basis like my favorite bottled water, coconut oil, my facial and body soap, chia seeds, a pair of my favorite jeans from Old Navy, pita chips, and a few things for my kitchen. She even threw in this pair of simple Kate Spade stud earrings that I featured on my last Lust List. She must read my blog... :) I just love her. }
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I always get excited when I find a beautiful and cozy home to share with you. This home located on Stratford Mountain in Austin, TX was a recent find that I just love. It's full of so many of favorite design favorites - a grand entry, neutral tones, a great mix of textures, and steel-framed windows that display a beautiful view of the mountains. I'm incredibly in love with steel-framed windows at the moment! So very pretty. I could see myself there - beginning the day by feeding my family breakfast that I cooked in that big kitchen and ending the day with a long soak in that tub, and a glass of wine on the terrace. What a dream... 

Architects (photos via): Ryan Street Associates
Photography by Casey Dunn
Interiors by Ginger Barber

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Good things happened over the weekend. And good things are going to happen over the next few months. Therefore, a cocktail is in order...

I saw Gone Girl on Friday night. It was so good! The cast was perfect. The plot was amazing. Amy was CRAZY. I wasn't fond of the end, but the ending doesn't prevent me from saying that the movie was good. It just was. On Saturday morning, I woke up to a cold house, which meant it was cold outside - which made me smile and put furry socks on my feet. I love fall weather more than anything! On Saturday night, I had dinner at True Food Kitchen for the first time. The food was so good and so incredibly fresh. I had dinner with a long-time friend who I can totally relate to. That means the conversation was great, too. There is nothing like never-ending great conversation over great food.... And now it's Sunday afternoon. A wonderful lady in a retention department just gave me a generous amount off of a renewal bill (always ask for the "retention department" if you are thinking of cancelling any type of service plan), then my mom told me she was sending me a care package, and this chicken chili is bubbling away in my Crock Pot. I'll be it having for dinner tonight with a side of that sangria you see there. Like I said, good things happened.  

In terms of what's going to happen over the next few months... Well all I can say for now is that it being fearless pays off (more on what that means to me here). Things that I have wanted to happen for a long time are slowwwwwly happening. But I'll take slow happenings over no happenings at all. I'll share more as soon as I know more...

So in celebration of all of that, I nixed a cake I was going to bake and made this sangria instead. It's apple and pear season, so the way this tastes (SO good) is the best it will taste this year. It's pretty, it's sweet, it's warm (the bourbon is very "warming" as it goes down), and incredibly fresh tasting. This is totally something I would serve along with Thanksgiving dinner or at a holiday party. Love it.

Here is what you need and what to do: (serves about 6)
Adapted from this recipe

1 bottle of fruity white wine (I used a Riesling)
1/2 cup good bourbon
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar (or less depending on the sweetness of the wine)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of two lemons
1 Red Delicious apple, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 Bosc pear, thinly sliced
Club soda

Add the wine, bourbon, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, apple, and pear slices to a large pitcher. Stir and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. The longer it sits, the better it gets!

When you are ready to serve it, pour it in a glass and top it off with ice and a little club soda for effervescence. Garnish with a few apple and pear slices.


Images by me
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I hope you all had a great week!! It was an insanely busy one for me, so bring on the weekend!! This weekend I'm taking a little break from work to spend some MUCH needed time with friends. Of course I'm going to see Gone Girl! It just has to be good... I'm also planning to try out this new restaurant that I've been hearing great things about. Oh and hopefully I will have time to correct a recipe I tried last weekend that didn't quite turn out to my liking. If things go right, I'll share it with you next week! Have a great weekend!

The only items I'm adding to my fall wardrobe this year are those that are simple and classic. That's it. So I added this to it this week. It was on sale and fits like a glove... Next up: These boots.

Homemade oatmeal cream pies that look JUST LIKE the store bought ones that I ate tons of when I was younger...  Love her beautiful blog, too... 

73 questions with Reese Witherspoon. To be honest, I was a tad more interested in her home. It's a beauty... 

I love to see women achieve their dreams and goals, which is why I'm super excited for her...

I'm a french fry lover, so I'm definitely trying these... 

This popular party dish never looked so good!

This home is on the market and I want it. Now. 

Weekend reading... 

Image by me in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month...

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So I am getting closer and closer to age 40. Like it's almost 5 years away. Oh my... So lately I've been feeling like it's time to get a little more informed on this whole facial serum thing. Up until about a year ago, I had no idea what a serum was. Please tell me I'm not the only one... I kept hearing about it and seeing it pop up everywhere. So I Googled it - because that it what you do these days when you have a quick question and need a quick answer right? Here is the definition of a serum that I was able to put together from my "research:"

"A facial serum is a water or oil-based product with a gel-like consistency that contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that quickly and effectively penetrate into each layer of the skin..."

I also found that there are different types serums that combat different issues- dryness, aging, wrinkles, toxins, elasticity, and acne. Sounds good right?!! So then I started looking around for a good serum. All I remember seeing is that they come in super small bottles that cost $150, $200, $250, even $300!! WHAT??? For that little thing? No thank you. My thoughts were that I would just continue on with my regular and affordable skin care routine and revisit the serum thing later. Or not.

But a few weeks ago, I did. I was getting a facial from my AMAZING esthetician and afterwards I asked her about the importance of using a serum. She highly recommended it - especially for women in their 30s. So she recommended the Essential Protective Serum by ESPA. She said it was a good serum to start with because it goes on top of a daily moisturizer (as opposed to the bottom), still penetrates the skin, locks in the moisture, and protects the skin against pollution from the environment - pollution that ultimately causes dullness, dryness, and premature aging of the skin. I live in a big city that's full of pollution, so that all sounded good to me!

AND she said it was only $48!! SOLD! 

I've been using it for almost three weeks now and I already notice a difference in the texture and look of my skin. It's noticeably softer and brighter- especially in the mornings. I only use just a little bit, so this $48 will certainly pay for itself in the long run! I love a good, reasonably priced, effective product and I just had to share my find with you! 

And again, please tell me that I'm not the only one who was totally out in left field with this whole serum thing!! 

Images by me

*This is not a sponsored post! I'm just spreading the word about a product that I love!

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