Our Home was featured on Design*Sponge!

Monday, February 23, 2015

I’m so thrilled to see our Connecticut home featured on Design*Sponge today!  I think I have mentioned this before, but I didn’t actually see the house we purchased until a year after we bought it and relocated from the West Coast to the East Coast.  We knew we wanted the same town we had lived in before and we wanted it to be within walking distance to town/train.  With a lot of trips that led nowhere, this house came on the market right after my daughter and I had returned to California from a college scouting/house hunting trip.  Brent happened to be in New York so he and our son, Patrick, went out to see it.  They emailed photos and we bought it the next day.  Grace Bonney’s book Design*Sponge at Home had come out recently and it was her book and the website that made me realize I could be okay with buying an old house with a little character and figuring it out once we moved.  I poured over her book and rearranged furniture in my head for an entire year before moving.  When Grace emailed me and asked if we would like our home considered for their Sneak Peek section….A resounding YES was my reply.  Thank you Grace for the feature and for the inspiration!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Our Home was Featured on Design*Sponge!

Sunday Edition {Color} Pink

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Does everyone associate each month by a color?  I know I do and this month is definitely pink.  February is always a pink month for me and often times it’s a shot of bright pink, like bougainvillea growing wild.   Sometimes it’s a soft subtle blush pink or something in between like spring cherry blossoms.  Where do you see your favorite shade of pink?

Sunday Edition {Color} Pink

1. Springtime in Paris, 2. watercolor hearts, 3. Spring Blooms at Whole Foods Market, 4. Bougainvillea growing wild in San Juan Capistrano, CA, 5. Prune in NYC, 6. Peonies at a market in Aix-en-Provence ,  7. Sunset in Laguna Beach, CA, 8. Madeline, 9. Pink clouds in Dana Point, CA.




My sister and I had delicious Posole at The Cafe at The Heard Museum where my sister works in fundraising.  I’ve been wanting to make it and she finally asked the chef, Irene Rutigliano for the recipe.  Turns out it was in Bon Appetit in January of 2012.  Then last weekend my husband emailed me a few links of recipes we should try….and this exact recipe was one of them.  It’s a sign….  So with this ridiculously cold weather we’ve been having I knew this was the perfect time to make it.  Recipes that call for roasting the meat 5 to 6 hours generally rules out most nights when I decide on dinner at about 5 pm and still need a trip to the grocery store.  So aside from a wee bit of planning ahead that the recipe requires….this soup is perfect.  Especially on a cold winter night.  I served it with warm tortillas and a green salad.  See all the way at the bottom for the recipe or go here.

Classic Posole + The Cafe at The Heard Museum

Classic Posole + The Cafe at The Heard Museum

Classic Posole + The Cafe at The Heard Museum

Classic Posole + The Cafe at The Heard Museum

Classic Posole + The Cafe at The Heard Museum

Classic Posole + The Cafe at The Heard Museum

Classic Posole Recipe – The Cafe at The Heard Museum

By Irene Rutigliano, Bon Appetit January 2012

For the Meat-

1 T ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 2-pound boneless pork shoulder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 red onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 275º. Line a small roasting pan (I used a Le Creuset dutch oven) with foil.  Mix the cumin, garlic and smoked paprika and rub the spice mixture over the pork.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place pork in pan and cover with sliced red onion.  Add 1/2 cup water in bottom of pan.  Cover with foil and then with lid and roast meat until very tender, about 5 to 6 hours.  Let pork rest and when cool enough to handle, but while satill warm, shred the meat with two forks.  This part can be made up to two days ahead.

For the Soup-

1.4 c vegetable oil

1/2 red onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 plum tomatoes, diced

6 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 28-ounce can pinto beans, undrained

1 28-ounnce can white hominy, drained

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices, pureed in blender until smooth

1 T oregano (preferably Mexican)

2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shredded white cheddar

Chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

Flour tortillas

For the soup:  Heat oil over medium-low heat.  Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for two more minutes, stirring often.  Add the diced fresh tomatoes and stir until softened.  Stir in broth, pinto beans, hominy, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Cover, simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Add the reserved shredded pork to the posole.  Simmer uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.  Serve in bowls garnished with shredded cheddar, fresh cilantro, lime wedges and fresh tortillas.



bathroom {tiny} before and after

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When we bought this house the bathrooms had just been updated with Rohl  fixtures and Toto toilets, but the vanities….were not so great.  This bathroom is just too small for a vanity.  I kind of think under sink storage is much like a basement.  If you have it, you fill it up.  If you don’t have a basement {or a vanity} you somehow manage.  To update the bathroom we changed out the vanity for a pedestal sink in black.  I’ve used the Kohler Memoirs sink in many bathrooms over the years, but never in black.  It makes a big impact in a tiny space.

Bathroom {tiny} Before and After

Bathroom {tiny} Before and After

For a bathroom with no storage I made First-Aid kits using Ikea boxes that come in a set of three.  I use the larger box to store the overflow of items used in each smaller box and restock as needed.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found one of these kits in the garage, on the patio.  No one ever asks, “Where are the band-aids?” anymore.

Bathroom {tiny} Before and After

Other things I use in all bathrooms are hooks instead of towel bars and a trash can that has a lid.  This one has a step opener, so even better.  I used a white shower curtain from Urban Outfitters and amber bottles for soap from Aesop and Murchison-Hume.  For a night light I use a small strand of white twinkle lights. The black and white photograph was taken by my nephew at our old beach in Dana Point, CA.  The black and white rug is from Target.  This space is not perfect, but so much better with a couple of changes.

Below is how I put together the first-aid kits using small boxes from The Container Store to keep everything nice and tidy in each kit.  I used red electrical tape on the top of each Ikea box.

Bathroom {tiny} before


I get a lot of emails asking about my favorite thrift stores.   There are quite a few, but these are the ones I love.  The great thing about thrift stores is that they are always adding new things everyday. I love thrifting with friends or my daughter because it’s just that more knowledge about the stuff we are seeing and potentially buying.  Madeline found a summer shift dress just after the holidays that was priced $60.  It fit perfectly and after a little research, she found it for $495.   I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it, but that’s what’s fun about thrifting with friends (or Madeline)!   When I’m out and about and close to one of these shops, I’ll always stop in to see what they have. The ladies that work at these thrift stores are all volunteers and are absolutely the sweetest and most helpful people you’ll ever meet.  They seem genuinely thrilled when you’ve found a treasure.  So below is my short list starting in Greenwich, then Darien, New Canaan and ending in Southport, Connecticut.  The one thing I would advise is to call first!   They have different hours and often close for extended periods during the holidays and in the summer.  If you know of a thrift shop I should check out, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

Thrif Stores + Fairfield County, CT

I found another copy of Joy of cooking and a copper vessel for $7 yesterday.

ACT II-Greenwich-CT-Thrift-Stores

One of our favorites is Act II Boutique in Greenwich.  It’s on the main floor of this beautiful stone house on Maple Avenue, just a few blocks from Greenwich Avenue.  Also in Greenwich is the Greenwich Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop .  A little further north is the Darien Community Association Thrift Shop. Next Stop is The New Canaan Thrift Shop, which is about 15 minutes away. And here’s an interesting fact, The New Canaan Thrift shop is the oldest volunteer run thrift shop in the country.  From New Canaan head over to the Carousel Thrift Shop in Southport, Connecticut.  If you are in these areas and need a little sustenance, here’s our list of faves for coffee, sweet treats or a little lunch.

Greenwich – Meli-Melo

Darien – Brown and Co.

New Canaan – Gingerbitz

Westport - The Granola Bar

Thrift Stores + Fairfield County, CT + Silver Tray Collection

A few of the silver trays we had, most came from thrift stores I mentioned and a few from Goodwill.  The most I paid was $10 and once I had the idea to put them on a wall, I think we found at least six of them in one day.

Valentine’s Day banner {diy}

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Last year I made tiny watercolor hearts.  This year I made my watercolor hearts in the same way, but instead of tiny ones using a heart punch, I used a cookie cutter to trace the heart shape.  Not as quick and easy as a punch, but it still allowed me to see the pattern that would be on the heart shape.  This project is perfect for children of all ages.  Even preschoolers could paint and then see their work made into heart shaped watercolor masterpieces. 

Valentine's Day Banner {diy}

Watercolor Hearts {diy}

Watercolor hearts {diy} banner

watercolor hearts banner {diy}

My birch branch with white twinkle lights started out as decoration for Thanksgiving, then Christmas–  I’m still loving the extra light, so it will be around at least through Valentine’s day!

watercolor hearts banner {diy}

I used a small heart shaped hole punch, but any hole punch would work.  Twine that’s a little wax coated makes it easy to lace through the holes if this project is for little ones.

Neighbor Holiday Gifts

Monday, December 22, 2014

For my sweet neighbors this year I made Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts.  All they’ll need to do is toast the cashews and then mix the contents of the spice packet with a tablespoon of melted butter.  They are best when served warm right out of the oven.  I used  small Ikea bowls and then wrapped them in black and white fabric (also from Ikea) tied up with red ribbon and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts + Neighbor Gifts


Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts + Neighbor Gifts

Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts

Tags and Baker's TwineUnion Square Cafe's Bar Nuts

Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts

Merry Christmas!  xo annie

The winner of the Tinyprints giveaway is:  ET Pruitt

I was recently sent a copy of The Cave of Santa Clops by Gig Wailgum.  I must admit my first reaction to a one eyed Santa was a little less than enthusiastic, but once I started reading and seeing the beautiful vintage style illustrations, I completely changed my mind.  The story is full of the magic of Christmas and the idea of believing in a Santa Clause or in this case, Santa Clops.  It is traditional in its core, but with a completely new twist that is refreshing.  The story cleverly rhymes its way through adventures that includes caves with holly bats and flying dino-penguins.

Mr. Wailgum created the one-eyed Santa over 20 years ago and it has appeared in comics, newspapers, greeting cards and art galleries.  The Cave of Santa Clops is available on Amazon.

Miniature Boxwood Wreaths {DIY}

Saturday, December 20, 2014

With just a few sprigs of boxwood you can make {DIY} miniature boxwood wreaths to hang all through the house.   It takes just a few minutes using picture hanging wire to make a frame.  Then use floral tape or wire to secure the boxwood.  Add a ribbon and hang on a door, small mirror or from hardware on furniture or cabinets.

Miniature Boxwood Wreaths {DIY}

Miniature Boxwood Wreaths {DIY}

Miniature Boxwood Wreaths {DIY}

Miniature Boxwood Wreaths {DIY}

I even made napkin rings.  My sister Lynn and her family will not actually be joining us for Christmas….she’s miles away in sunny Phoenix, but a girl can dream, right?  (I used tape to cover the ends of the picture wire on the napkin rings to make them a little safer for linens and fingers).

Happy Holidays!  xo annie


This year I used the letterpress cards by tinyprints.  I of course loved the birch tree in black and white design and the matching address labels.  If you haven’t quite gotten to your cards this year, why not send New Years cards?!  Tinyprints is giving away one reader 50 New Years cards.  Leave a comment and I will select a winner (by random.org) on Monday!

Christmas Cards + Tinyprints + A Giveaway

Hand Lettering + Christmas Cards + Sharpie

I’m not sure what it is about Sharpie Metallic Markers, but they make it so easy to make it through a stack of cards.

Happy Holidays!

xo  annie



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