One of the things I love most about summer is the ease and simplicity of entertaining. We spent our summers in California and almost every night we would pack up an assortment of cheese, meat, crackers, dip, fruit, nuts…whatever we had in the pantry and the refrigerator and arrange it on a great big platter or cheeseboard. We would throw on a tablecloth, light a few candles in lanterns and watch the sun dip into the Pacific. Now that our kids are older we no longer leave for the summer, but we still enjoy a beautiful feast out on the patio around sunset.
I buy a few cheeses, almost always one that goes with a fig jam, peppers, Castelvetrano Olives, salami, cashews, tomatoes, crackers and bread and when I have time, I make Ina’s marinated artichoke hearts.
Ina Garten’s Roasted Artichokes, you can find the recipe right here.
Mary Ann in San Francisco just wrote a great post on the Best Party Platter complete with a shopping list and I can’t help but miss California a little lot when seeing Elizabeth’s recent post from Big Sur. I guess I’ll always be California dreaming… Happy first day of summer. It’s gonna be a good one! xo annie
Hey everyone, It has been cold and rainy, but I’m hoping for some sun this weekend! Here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share!
First, I am in love with the work of artist Lizzy Ragsdale. I can’t wait to introduce you to her. She did a beautiful oil painting for us from a photo of one of our favorite places….Tuscany. She’s gorgeous and incredibly talented. In the meantime this photo of Lizzy is by her talented photographer boyfriend, John Love. You can see more of Lizzy’s work here and I’ll be doing a post featuring her work and a little Q&A to introduce you to Lizzy in the next couple of weeks.
2. My niece Courtney told me about these beautiful prints from Angela Hardison. Citrus….It reminds me of when we lived in Arizona. In the springtime the orange blossom scent was intoxicating. This print reminds me of Arizona in the best possible way.
3. Are you in need of Denim Therapy? It’s in an office building in midtown Manhattan. You can drop off or send them your ripped jeans and they will repair them and send them back. Denim comes in about a zillion shades of indigo and somehow they match the threads to your pair that has worn through or ripped and they can repair it like no one else! I just received mine back in the mail….and I’m amazed!
4. In case you get some beautiful flowers for Mother’s day, here’s a great post on how to prolong the life of cut flowers from Design Mom.
5. Some of my readers know that I have started working part-time at the beautiful new Serena & Lily Design Shop in Westport, Connecticut. It has been fun to be a part of the team that helped bring the store together by opening boxes and moving things into the house. It really is like moving, except everything is shiny and new. The house that is now Serena & Lily is a historic home that was tucked behind some buildings across the street. They actually picked it up and moved it to its current location, 35 Elm Street in downtown Westport. I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite things at the shop over time, but for now, a huge thank you to Marina and Emma, Julie and Megan, Lara and Carolina for stopping by and saying hello. I hope to see you again! Drop me a note so we can stay in touch!
Have a great weekend and I hope the sun shines bright wherever you are!
Marie’s last name Kondo has become a verb. People are saying “I just Kondoed my entire house.” I may not have Kondoed my entryway closet (above), but I did organize it using a bin from Steele Canvas basket Company to store shoes and boots and a tote bag to keep hats and gloves. The basket on the shelf stores extra guest towels, soaps and candles for the bathroom which is to the left. We painted it black because even with the WC sign on the door, people would always open the closet door first and it just looks so much better in black.
Her first book really was life changing for many people. My sister and I both read it and all through the Christmas holiday we were organizing like crazy. We would talk on the phone and say “well if it doesn’t spark joy, out it goes.” She even sent me photos of things with the caption “no joy.”
Kondo’s approach to organizing is to keep only what you need (or those items that spark joy) and how best to organize so that it uses the least space. Kondo is a celebrity in Japan where her space-saving techniques are perfectly suited to tiny Japanese apartments. So why are people in the United States with big houses, basements and garages so attracted to this book? Kondo says it’s because decluttering your space is also decluttering your mind. So the whole time I thought I was wrong to have to clean and tidy up my entire house before I could even think about opening up my laptop to begin to work…I guess I may not be all the crazy. I simply cannot “work” if my surroundings are a mess. Mindfulness may be a a global trend but clearing your house and your mind makes a lot of sense.
I’ve always been pretty organized, but one thing that I learned from the first book is to let go of things. If I buy something and it turns out to be a mistake, I let it just sit in my closet because I feel too guilty to get rid of it, especially if it was expensive. But when I see it, I get upset. Chances are I’m not going to fall in love with it after not liking for a year or more, so if I allow myself let it go…I can rid myself of things and clear my mind a little at the same time.
Verizon is partnering with Marie Kondo to give their customers first access to digital copies of Spark Joy as part of their weekly “WhyNotWednesday” series. If you are a Verizon customer and would like to receive a digital copy, leave a comment and I’ll make sure that the first three people to leave a comment get a copy.
Back to organizing….those closets are not going to tidy themselves!
This contest is now closed. Winners have been notified. Thank you for reading!
A couple of months ago my dear friend Patrica van Essche invited me to a lunch and book signing for Eddie Ross and his new book Modern Mix. Coincidentally, at about the same time I was reading The Life-changing Magic of Tiding Up by Marie Kondo. Eddie is famous for collecting and using a combination of styles, patterns and mixing old and new. Kind of the more the better philosophy and while I was reading the Tidying Up Book I kept thinking…maybe I have too much stuff and maybe I need to get rid of some of it. Well, then I went to the book signing and Eddie was delightful of course. He spoke with passion about entertaining and using your stuff. Lots of it all mixed up together. Not just any old way, but beautifully and somehow together it all looks wonderful and chic. In the Tidying Up Book, the author speaks about Sparking Joy. If an item sparks joy then one should keep it. Seriously, page 210 of the index: “Joy, as standard for keeping.”
Eddie spoke with passion, and yes joy, about being a hoarder of all things beautiful. I adore his book for everything from inspiration to tips on acquiring, what to look for, where to find it and then how to restore it. If you would like a copy of Eddie Ross’ book Modern Mix, leave a comment and I will select one winner at random on December 17th. I leave you with my mixed up cabinet of old, new, collected over time pieces mixed in with holiday balls and greens. And yes, it sparks joy!
So if you know me at all, you know that Madeline is studying abroad and will be home in time for Christmas. This weekend while my husband is visiting her in France, I’m sort of re-doing her room. Madeline never really liked that I chose pink for her sunroom door and the collage wall was always sort of a mess. (You can see it here) After talking to Madeline about what she wants to see in her room, I went to work. Since it’s her room, I completelymostly kept everything, but just sort of re-arranged it. She wanted everything to be neutral. Really?
The “M” is from Anthropologie and even her Tory Burch and Rebecca Minkoff bags color coordinate to her new neutral room.In a small room, everything has to have double duty. The armoire is from Ikea and we used fabric on the glass doors to hide her stacks of sweaters. The hutch on the right is from Room and Board and she also wanted fabric on the doors to hide all sorts of things from makeup to chargers. I used trays from Terrain for everything from her perfume to her supplies on her desk.
These shelves would have given anyone a headache. I simply took everything off and started to put it all back by color. The Literary art prints on each side of the televsion are from Obvious State.
We use Edison style light bulbs like this one exposed and in lamps and pendants because of the nice warm glow they provide.
Faux Sheepskin pillow covers and throws from Pottery Barn make it cozy and comfortable. I have at least eight of these pillows around our house and they are so soft. Every sunroom needs at least one big plant. I splurged on this one from Terrain. The marble top twig table has been in every room of our house and only recently ended up in her sunroom. I hope she loves all the little changes!
When we purchased this house Madeline and I never even saw it until we relocated from Southern California. Her room in our California house was also a little suite, so you can imagine how thrilled I was that she would again have an extra little room. Here’s a link to her California suite.
I have always been intrigued by what people collect and how they display it. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this idea and every time I am heading out to a few thrift stores I’ll take a quick look for inspiration. It’s so much more fun to walk through a Goodwill store, thrift shop, flea market or a tag sale with an open mind, but also with an idea….for a collection.
We have sand from every beach, matches from wonderful restaurants and then there’s the stuff that that is tossed out and ends up at Goodwill or tag sales, but when it’s grouped all together….it looks quite lovely. Here’s a few pics of the stuff I’ve been finding lately for just a few dollars. Summer means baseball and a lot of times in the middle of now where, but there’s always a thrift store or two.
I adore old silver trays. Each is similar in size, but the details are very unique. Our two favorite restaurants, Buvette and Via Carota use them as their serving trays. I have several on a wall in our dining room and several in the kitchen. When my mom visits….I bring out the polish!
So what do youcollect? And if you are a collector, how do you display it?
Today is Part 3 of the Gallery Wall Project that was started by Mary Ann of Classic.Casual.Home and Cindy of Rough Luxe. So today the group of bloggers will reveal their own gallery wall projects. I have learned a lot along the way. I am continually adding inspiration for gallery walls on my Pinterest board titled Beautiful Wall & Art.
In my own home I used a relatively narrow wall in my living room and basically filled the space with things I’ve been collecting. Since my entire house is shades of black, white, wood with gold and brass, I honed my gallery wall collection to that as well. My wall includes old photographs in black and white, silhouettes, a piece from Minted called Sedona, a mirror I found at a thrift store on one of many baseball weekends with my son, a small plate with a gold key that I have used in so many houses to collect keys at our entry. I found a page from an old book of poems that says, “It Can Be Done” Of course every wall has its challenges. A few mentioned things like outlets or light switches. Why do builders put them in the middle of a wall? This has never made sense to me. My challenge was a dated thermostat and a light switch. I bought a Nest thinking that would add a little something to my wall, but naturally this house does not have the right kind of wires to use this device. Nothing in a house built in 1900 is easy. So the outdated thermostat remains.
Since the living room gallery wall is not a new project, I decided that I would do something in our attic on another long narrow wall. My husband added molding and then I simply created a collage of palm tree photos inside the molding in a grid format. There are 55 to be exact and naturally there was an outlet. I went through my old photos from when we lived in California in search of palm trees, ones from vacations and Phoenix. Then I enlisted the help of my friends to send me a few of their favorites. Karen of Home Sweet Hollywood and Linda of Design in My View were kind enough to send me lots of palm tree photos and they both named each one they sent. Names like: Hollywood Sign Palms, Landscape Palms, Studio City Palm trees, Dana Point Palm Tress Through Dirty Windshield, Montage Palms, Beach Palms, Palm Springs, LA at Night, LACMA, Hollywood Post Office….it brought back so many memories. The funny things is….I don’t even like palm trees. Or at least I didn’t like them, but then we moved back east and all of a sudden I started seeing palm trees on Karen and Linda’s instagrams every day and I felt a pang of nostalgia. So now, I kinda love them. Funny how that happens. The quote by Charles Dickens sums it up pretty well. “One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind”.
Thank you Mary Ann and Cindy for inviting me to join this project. Had it not been for you I may have never finished the Palm Tree Wall that I love so much! And now check out the gallery walls of these fabulous bloggers!
When Mary Ann of Classic.Casual.Home and Cindy of of Rough Luxe asked if I wanted to join of group of bloggers in a three week project about Gallery Walls….of course I said yes. I’m a pleaser, what can I say? The first week we posted about inspiration. Well I have plenty of inspiration and ideas….many collected on my Pinterest board aptly title Beautiful Wall & Art. Week Two is the tricky part. Well it’s tricky for me because I’m pretty sure I go about the practical side of creating a gallery wall all wrong. I start out okay….I collect things that will all look good together. I measure the wall where I’ll be putting this gallery of things. I tape a square the same size on the floor to get an idea of where I’ll put everything. I place the items on the floor and get a pretty good idea how they will look on the wall. Then I start hammering away….yeah, you may have noticed how I did not mention measuring again. So for each item I have hanging on the wall, there are at least four or five holes. When a friend at dinner recently asked if I could help her create a gallery wall….I was sure I heard my husbands thoughts….noooooo!
My living room right after we moved in a few years ago, walls freshly painted and nothing yet hung on the walls… There are some really great ideas out there. Mary Ann and Cindy have a Pinterest board with inspiration and the how to’s of creating a gallery or salon walls and the following bloggers have shared their ideas as well. Or for a sneak peek of everyone’s projects, check out #projectdesigngallerywalls on instagram.
I recently found a gorgeous rug at Ikea. Of course I couldn’t just buy it and be done with it. I had to go home and think about it. While I was thinking about it I was asked by Rug Pad USA if I would like to review a rug pad. I have to admit I have never really put enough thought into buying a rug pad. I have always bought the inexpensive non-slip kind that never stays in place, stains and discolors the wood floor underneath….your basic nightmare. Rug Pad USA has rug pads in every size or custom sizes and for every surface, like rugs pads for hardwood floors. They are all made in the USA and are guaranteed. They have a 15-20 year warranty! As soon as I received the rug pad and unrolled it and put it into place, I noticed a huge difference. I placed my new rug over it and have been enjoying it ever since.
Our new rug is just what I wanted, but it’s quite thin and so the rug pad gives it all the comfort and actually makes it feel more luxurious and comfortable. Check out Rug Pad USA right here and use pr15off code for a 15% discount!
Laundry day seems to be everyday in Tuscany. As we drove through towns and villages and walked through the city streets…it seems everyone hangs their laundry out to dry during the summer months. In the United States, clotheslines were once a fixture in every suburban backyard and even in small backyards in more urban areas. It seems that now many have resorted to the more convenient method of the dryer. Not so in Italy. Everywhere we went, town after town, city street after city street, it was hard to not see a display of clothes hanging to dry. I loved it! As soon as we arrived home, my husband hung one line from tree to tree and now I hang my clothes and sheets out to dry almost every day. So what do you think? Do you air dry your clothes or would you consider it?