Entries Tagged as 'Living'

Minted Giveaway

Friday, June 26, 2015

I love Minted…Christmas cards, announcements and art!  Remember when I included this piece on my collage wall?  Minted generously allowed me to choose art to fill the wall in our powder room.  It’s tiny and all black (including the ceiling) so we needed something to pop on those dark walls.

Minted Giveaway

Once I decided on approximate sizes, I chose the largest piece first.  I made templates of each piece and taped them to the wall to make sure I chose the right sizes.  The larger of the three (bottom) is called Look DOWN by Gail Schechter.  Coincidentally while searching all of the Minted Art Prints I found a companion piece from the same artist called Looking UP.  Lighting has always been important to me and the top small piece evokes the feeling of warm lighting on a summer night along the coast.  And that’s exactly what the artist describes about this photo called  Twinkling Light. Minted has several framing options, but since these were going on a black wall, I went with White Premium Wood Frame for all three.

Minted Giveaway

Minted Giveaway

So now the part about the Giveway….Minted is giving one reader $250 to use for anything at Minted.com. To enter visit Minted right here and then come back and leave a comment.  Winner will be announced Monday, July 6th!  Good luck!

Museum Hopping + Queens, NY

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When my daughter said she wanted to see the Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image, I said “heck yes!”  She has Fridays off from her internship in NYC so every Friday we plan a field trip so to speak.  This Friday was Queens.  Turns out we’ve spent very little time in the borough of Queens.   Sure we spend lots of time at JFK and LaGuardia airports, but even baseball….we’re Yankees fans.   So you won’t find us at CitiField.   Yesterday we spent the afternoon museum hopping all in about a three mile radius.

The first museum was the Museum of the Moving Image for the Mad Men exhibit.  It was a hot day so we started with a sparkling water in the cafe.

Museum Hopping + Queens

Museum Hopping + Queens

Don’t let this image fool you.  There were plenty of people in the museum, but at this moment we had the cafe all to ourselves.  All white with a view of the minimalist garden.

Mad Men Exhibit + Mesuem of the Moving Image

Can’t you just smell the stale smoke while viewing this image?!  Matthew Weiner’s  Mad Men exhibit is open through September 6, 2015.

Next, we went to MoMa PS1.  We are regular visitors at MoMA in Manhattan, but we had never been to  MoMA PS1 that occupies the space of a 100-year old Romanesque Revival school building.  The building was still very much like a school with all the school lighting, doors and windows that seemed to be original to the building.  Again…no museum tour is complete without a stop at the cafe where Madeline posed as if she were a school girl during morning attendance.

MoMAPS1 + Queens

The cafe at MoMAPS1 + Queens, NY

Our last museum of the day was The Noguchi Museum.  I have been wanting to visit this museum for years.  My familiarity with the artist was through his design of the popular Noguchi Table  produced by Herman Miller.  I am so intrigued by the artist and his painstaking methods of working on pieces of granite to create these large sculptures.  The building itself is incredible.  Indoor/outdoor space with atrium like gardens and white painted brick walls and salvaged wood floors throughout the galleries.  Walls of windows creating gorgeous light flooding through the space.  The garden was closed for restoration, but don’t miss the Socrates Sculpture Park just a few blocks away like we did!

The Noguchi Museum + Long Island City, Queens, NY

The Noguchi Museum + Long Island City, Queens, NY

The Noguchi Museum + Long Island City, Queens, NY

Madeline is always rarely open to modeling.

Gastroteca, Astoria Queens

Gastroteca + Astoria Queens

But we did manage to find a great spot for lunch at Gastroteca and an adorable shop called Lockwood on the way back to the car.  We had a great afternoon.  All in we spent about 6 hours and 2 of those were driving.  So three museums, a little lunch, a tiny bit of shopping and six hours with Madeline….I’d say that’s a perfect day.  Well to me anyway!

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Remember when I said Buvette was my favorite restaurant?  Well it is still is my favorite, but so is Via Carota just a block away on the opposite side of Grove Street.  Seriously, if we lived in the West Village, I would spend my morning at Buvette and have lunch or dinner at Via Carota.  You feel like you are in Italy at Via Carota.  My favorite dish is the Wild Boar Ragu.  We’ve tried several items on the menu and always order at least one daily special.  Everything has been simply amazing.  Next, we must to try the couples other restaurant,  I Sodi on Christopher Street.  Our experiences at both Buvette and Via Carota have been all about the food and then not at all.  The food, yes….amazing.   The Castelvetrano olives are delicious.  I don’t even like olives and now I can’t stop thinking about them.  There are so many small, but wonderful details.  From the moment you walk in you feel truly cared for.  The service is impeccable.  The warmth of the space is comforting in the same way that a bowl of warm pasta or a piece of bread drizzled with olive oil warms your soul.  Exposed brick walls, original or reclaimed wood floors, chairs from either a school or a church that holds the menus in the back of the chair and silver trays to serve pretty drinks from the bar.  A long communal table that on the day we went held a giant bowl of beans and later replaced with candles in vintage china saucers ready for the dinner crowd.

Via Carota + The West Village, NYC

Above photo by Kelsey Borovinsky.

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

Via Carota + West Village + NYC

I do love a restaurant that still gives out boxes of matches.  The little cards arrive with your bill and I’ll keep them as a memento.


Lemon madeleines + homemade gifts

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Madeleines are one of my favorite things to bake.  Most recipes make a small batch and since they are best when enjoyed the same day, it’s perfect.  I made Lemon Madeleines for a friend’s birthday today using this recipe from Martha Stewart.  These little cakes come out perfectly every time.

Lemon Madeleines + Homemade Gifts

I dusted them with a little confectioners sugar and let them sit out for a bit before I packaged them in a jar.  While they were cooling to room temp I quickly made a tag using this inexpensive watercolor set.

I used a punch to cut out the tag shape, but I often just cut a rectangle or a square to use as a tag.  I used white twine to wrap around a jar that I found at Home Goods and delivered to her door step.  Happy Birthday sweet friend!

Lemon Madeleines + Homemade Gifts



Happy May Day!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day + Pink Peonies

Somehow May Day seemed to sneak up this year.  I’m blaming it on the cold Spring we are having.  Peonies in our garden are no where near blooming, but eventually…and until they do I’ll buy them at the grocery store.  Last year I made these to celebrate May Day.  Have a beautiful weekend!  xo annie


New York City based Compass, a real estate platform helps people find not just their home, but the neighborhood that best fits their personality and needs.  It inspired me to share our house story!  Every purchase or rental agreement involves a story of how that house or apartment came to be your home.  Our latest home purchase was a little bit of knowing what we wanted and a little bit leap of faith.  I didn’t actually see our house until a year after we purchased it.  We were relocating back to Connecticut from Southern California and the logistics of seeing the house just didn’t align….and I really wanted this house.  It was in the neighborhood we wanted, walking distance to town,  enough bedrooms and baths and it had a front porch.   We have lived in several houses.  Fifteen.  Some for years and others for just a matter of months while we renovated another or during a long distance move.  But in every house we have made sure that the entryway is welcoming.

Front Porch

A pineapple using Sharpie paint pen on glass front door

I use Edison style bulbs for a nice warm glow in the lanterns and write different messages on the glass door with a water-based Sharpie paint pen.  Your entryway is the first impression that people have when visiting.  I hope mine says, come on in…..the door is always open!

Summer front porch

Hallowen front porch

Winter Front Porch

Front porch/home in summer months

Decorating for any holiday or season starts with the front porch.   In the summer we plant ferns and by Labor Day, it’s mums getting ready for Halloween.   While it’s still warm enough to plant, but the mums have seen better days, I look for something evergreen to put in the planters that will get us to Spring.  This year Spring has come so late that we skipped planting tulips and pansies and went straight to ferns.  Spring is still slow in getting here, but I’m ready for “porch season!”



DIY Easter Cards + Seed Packets

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last year I made Easter cards using seed packets from Terrain.  I did something similar this year because on a recent trip to Terrain on the first day of Spring….a day that it was snowing, I just could not resist the beautiful Atomic Red Carrot seed packets from Baker Creek.  I bought the packets not really knowing how I would use them, but knew it had to a be at least slightly different than last year.  Once I got home I looked to see what I might already have on hand.  I had bright orange envelopes so all I needed was the card.  I purchased tall cards #10 at Paper Source in slate and used a uni-ball Signo pen to “doodle” a little Easter greeting.  My inspiration for the drawings came from Creativebug and Lisa Congdon. 

DIY Easter Cards + Seed Packets

DIY Easter Cards + Seed Packets

DIY Easter Cards + Seed Packets

DIY Easter Cards + Seed Packets

DIY Easter Card + Seed Packets

According to the Greeting Card Association, the average price of a greeting card is between $2 and $4.  Personally, I think that’s on the low side.  Still, even with a pack of seeds, each card is less than $4.  I love sending and receiving cards.  I look forward to a mail day that includes a handwritten addressed envelope with a beautiful card.  My friend Nancy sends the most creative cards for every holiday.  In addition to being visually beautiful, they are also clever with a play on words or something fun. What about you? Do you send greeting cards via snail mail?


Easy Citrus Panna Cotta

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My darling sister sent me a box of Arizona Sunshine!  Well, actually a box of citrus, which….basically is the same thing.  Just slicing open an orange or grapefruit makes the entire kitchen smell fresh and citrus-ey.  So what to do with all this citrus?  I made panna cotta.  What I love about panna cotta is that it’s delicious, easy and the best part, a make ahead dessert.

Easy Citrus Panna Cotta

Easy Citrus Panna Cotta with Arizona Citrus

Easy Citrus Panna Cotta

Citrus Panna Cotta

Citrus Panna Cotta

1/4 cup juice (lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange)

1 1/2 tsp grated citrus zest

1 tsp unflavored gelatin

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

Combine 1/4 cup fresh squeezed juice, the grated zest in a small sauce pan and sprinkle the teaspoon of unflavored gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of the heavy cream to the mixture with the gelatin and heat until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat.

Add the mascarpone cheese and the sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and blend until smooth.  Slowly add the remaining cup of heavy cream and mix together.  Stop when it starts to get volume and add the gelatin mixture to the cream mixture and whisk together until combined.  Divide into 8 ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  When you are ready to serve, dip each ramekin into a bowl of hot water and run a knife around the edge to loosen.  Invert onto a small plate and top with fresh fruit or with just a little grated citrus zest.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit on Epicurious. The recipe from Bon Appétit did not use an electric mixer, but I was unable to incorporate the mascarpone and sugar without one.  Perhaps if it is brought to room temperature, you could just use a whisk.

If you want to add fruit as in the Bon Appétit recipe just stir 2 tablespoons of juice, a little sugar and a tablespoon of butter in a skillet until sugar dissolves. Off the heat fold in the berries and add to your panna cotta with a little fresh zest.


Sunday Edition {Color} Green

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March has always been assigned the color green….obviously.  Green beer, bagels….you name it and it seems like there’s a green version for March 17th.   Like the Shamrock shake at McDonald’s.  I’ve never had one, but I think that’s been a thing for years.  So someone is apparently ordering them.  But I digress…March will always be green.  Here’s a few of my favorite photos featuring the color green taken during the month of March over the last few years.

Paris in the Springtime

Vesuvio on Prince Street, NYC

Dana Poinr Nursery, Dana Point, CA

Laguna Beach, CA

two handed coffee cup holding

1.  Jardin des Tuilieries 2.  Vesuvio Bakery, 160 Prince Street, NYC 3.  Dana Point Nursery along PCH in Dana  Point, CA  4. Tide pools in Laguna Beach, CA  5.  Madeline drinking a chai tea at Maison Mathis last week wearing the perfect shade of  “March Green” albeit a week prematurely!

For more green, even my Pinterest board covers have been taken over by green!

Painted Stone Fireplace

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

To paint or not to paint brick or stone fireplaces is always a big decision.  This question is the most popular topic I get emails about.  I have to admit I’m fearless when it comes to painting brick or stone.  I realize it’s permanent, but I have always liked the results.  When we first purchased our Connecticut home I was convinced we would demo the fireplace and replace it with something more traditional.  Once we started exploring that option, we realized it was expensive and we would still have a raised hearth.  So with expense in mind and results not what we wanted, we decided to have it painted white.  Basically that’s my answer to every design dilemma.  Have you ever painted brick or stone?

Painted Stone Fireplace

My favorite white paint is Benjamin Moore Cloud White.  Or if you are out west, Dunn Edwards Whisper White.  It’s not too white or too creamy.  It’s a true white, but still warm without any yellow.  I repaint the fireplace about once a year to freshen it up.

White Paint Colors


Painted Stone Fireplaces {Before}

Our painters were still not convinced that I really meant everything painted white.


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