Devoción Coffee Brooklyn

Monday, April 4, 2016

Devoción Coffee in Brooklyn might just be the prettiest coffee house I’ve ever been to…anywhere.  The light shines through the atrium windows in the ceiling above the large open warehouse space to provide a lovely setting and to provide the light needed for the “Green Wall” which takes up the entire end wall of the shop.  As soon as you enter the building you see steel and glass windows that look onto the roasting area of this huge shop and immediately you know this place is the real deal.  The only other Devoción is the original location in Bogotá, Columbia.

Devoción Coffee Brooklyn

Part of the charm is the attention to every detail including their cups and saucers in sunny yellow.  I found these that reminded me of the ones at Devoción.  You can purchase their coffee on their website.

Devoción Coffee Brooklyn

Devoción Coffee Brooklyn

Devoción Coffee Brooklyn

The center area which holds two large leather Chesterfield sofas, benches, tables and chairs and the open floor space in this huge warehouse help make this an oasis in the city.  While we munched on turkey sandwiches and enjoyed our coffee we noticed people working, talking, reading and even taking a nap.  Devoción in Williamsburg is a place you’ll enjoy on a day when it’s beautiful or on a day when the rain is falling and you feel warm and safe inside.  The market umbrellas help make this space feel like you are some place tropical.  If you are anywhere near Devoción or even if you’re not….make it your destination.  The space, the coffee, the food is simply amazing.

Devoción is located at 69 Grand Street at Wythe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


Sweatshop Coffee Brooklyn

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sweatshop coffee Brooklyn

Sweatshop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has pretty much everything I love in shop.  Painted brick, dark gray walls and concrete floors, wood tables and stools and even a neon sign in white.  Sweatshop is known as Creative Space + Espresso Bar.

Sweatshop Coffee Brooklyn

Sweatshop Coffee Brooklyn

I love the gray cups and saucers and the enamelware tumblers in black and gray.  Every detail in this shop is sort of perfect. I might need to order a few of those for summer entertaining on the patio.  I found them here. 

Sweatshop Coffee Brooklyn

A delicious scone, a beautiful latte in a lovely coffee house and time spent with my daughter, Madeline = a perfect day!  Sweatshop is located at 232 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Next stop Devocion!



Black Brick Coffee, Williamsburg

Monday, March 21, 2016

Black Brick CoffeeWilliamsburg, Brooklyn.  Last week Madeline and I spent the morning in Brooklyn.  The main purpose of our trip was to see Clare at Arrojo. Before and after our appointments we checked out four pretty cool coffee shops.  Our first stop was Black Brick on Bedford Avenue.  We found it after seeing it on the instagram of Coffee Cups of the World.

Black Brick Coffee Williamsburg Brooklyn

Black Brick Coffee Williamsburg Brooklyn

Black Brick Coffee Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Look up, down, everywhere there were details not to be missed in this eclectic shop.

Black Brick Coffee Williamsburg Brooklyn

It took almost 90 minutes in morning traffic from Connecticut so I sort of knew I might not make a healthy choice. Boy, was this a great place to start. The dulce de lece donut was worth every calorie. We chose a seat at the window. I’m not sure why some seats are designated as computer free tables, but we were okay with that. Clare mentioned later that we missed the secret garden in back. I guess maybe they sensed we were not locals…and therefore the garden remained a secret?

Black Brick Coffee Williamsburg Brooklyn

Next stop, Sweatshop on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg.


14 Things to see in New York

Sunday, March 6, 2016

14 things to see in New York that involves six landmark buildings, two parks and four coffee shops–There’s so much to see in a city like New York, but if you have, say a couple of hours and want to see some cool stuff and have coffee on the way….here’s a few ideas.

I decided to start my morning at The City Bakery.  It’s big, has great coffee or hot chocolate and amazing bakery items. You can almost always find a seat. Sidenote: Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant had an ice tea at the table in the window in Music and Lyrics. Once you’ve had your caffeine, if it’s a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday then head back over and check out the Union Square Greenmarket. From Union Square head back to Fifth Avenue.

The City Bakery NYC Union Square

Coffee cups at The City Bakery

The Flatiron Building is at 175 5th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets. While you’re in the area, you may want to check out Toby’s Estate Coffee at 169 5th Avenue. It’s a beautiful shop with a few seats. Straight through the coffee shop is a lovely flower shop and a mini Strand Book Store.

The Flatiron Building and Yellow Taxis

Toby's Estate Coffee Flatiron

If you have a little extra time, you can literally stop and smell the roses. The flower markets in NYC are located between West 28th Street between Avenue of the Americas and 7th. You’ll know you are in the right place when all of a sudden the sidewalks are lined with plants and flowers. (Weather permitting of course). I like this article on the NYC Flower Markets.

The NYC Flower Markets

This brings you to your next coffee stop at the Ace Hotel on West 29th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. A beautiful place to charge your phone or just to sit and relax in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. The restrooms are downstairs, on street level there are sofas and chairs that are quite comfortable if you are lucky enough to find one available. It’s cozy in the winter and the darkness of the lobby in the summer is also quite nice on a bright sunny day. Stumptown Coffee Roasters can be reached from inside the lobby or from 29th Street. There’s a few stools along the window. When you leave, take a right and head back over to Fifth Avenue and walk toward 30th Street.

Ace Hotel New York

Stumptown Coffee Roasters at the Ace Hotel New York

The Empire State Building is at 350 5th Avenue at 33rd Street. Did you know the Empire State building is open 365 days a year from 8am until 2am?  Last elevator up is at 1:15am.  Are you thinking of the ending of Sleepless in Seattle?  From here you could head over to Macy’s if only to ride on the original wooden escalators. Think Miracle on 34th Street. I had not been in years, but recently a friend reminded me of the wooden escalators and I’m glad she did!

The Lobby of The Empire State Building

The original wooden escalators at Macy's Herald Square NYC

Now head over to the New York Public Library walking through Bryant Park on your way. The NYPL has amazing exhibits and always free. The building itself is stunning and worth taking the stairs and walking the hallways. If you haven’t had enough to eat or drink, there’s an Amy’s Bread on the main level.

The New York Public Library

If it’s a beautiful day head back over to the Grace Building on 42nd Street across from Bryant Park. Bluestone Lane has a beauitful shop in the Grace Plaza Pavilion on West 43rd and Sixth Avenue. The outside plaza is a wonderful place to sit and relax before heading back to Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Terminal

Three hours, three or four cappuccinos and four or five landmark buildings. A good day in New York.

Decorate with what you love

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We’ve lived in California not once, but twice.  It’s hard to decorate without having that California vibe because it’s a part of us.  Although we don’t currently live coastal, we’ve decided it’s okay to use the things we have and love even if it’s a bit California coastal.

California Coastal decor in Connecticut

I’m always moving things around and decided it was time for a little change in the kitchen.  The Enzo Mari Apple Pear print moved to the dining room making room for this piece from Barclay Butera in Newport Beach.  It may be snowing outside today, but I’m always California dreaming…  And today (minus the snowstorm) I feel like this space looks like it could be in California.  White shiplap that we completed over the holidays and white floors makes it bright and sunny, even on a cloudy day.

California Coastal in Connecticut

We love our black and white wave and pier original photographs by surf photographer Tom Servais. 

Boys Room with Black paint and Pendleton Blanket

The Endless Summer poster moved from Connecticut to California and back to Connecticut again.  One of our favorite movies to watch on a cold winter weekend is the the surf documentary, Endless Summer. 

People ask us, “Do you think you’ll ever live in California again?”  The answer is…no, maybe, probably, time will tell.  So, what do you think about using coastal decor even if you don’t live at the beach?


New York Botanical Garden + J.McLaughlin

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where do you go if you really really need a little dose of Springtime in New York during the month of February?  The Conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx, of course.  My husband and I met in Phoenix so I think the cacti and succulent garden in the Conservatory is my favorite part.  For this post J. McLaughlin supplied all the clothing and the tote.  I love the Rale Cashmere Poncho from J. McLaughlin, I’ll be wearing this all spring and on cool evenings at the beach this summer.  They come in every color.  The black pants are the Felicity pant which are great for everyday and wonderful for travel.  The perfect pant to get you from Winter to Spring. The Everywhere Tote is so well made and strong enough to carry my laptop and camera and everything else I need without looking overpacked.

New York Botanical Garden Conservatory in Winter

The Conservatory at New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Gardens + J. McLaughlin

The Cacti Garden in the Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden

Rale Cashmere Poncho from J. McLaughlin

The New York Botanical Garden in Winter

The New York Botanical Garden in Winter

It’s pretty quiet this time of year, but still a lovely place to visit.  The restaurants and the beautiful gift shop are open.  I can’t wait for May when this walkway is lined with peonies!  Thank you J. McLaughlin for the beautiful clothes!

Valentine Gifts from the kitchen

Friday, February 5, 2016

Valentine Gifts from the kitchen

I’ve teamed up with Minted for a savory little Valentine gift from the kitchen.  My sister actually gave me the idea to make pickled red onions.  It’s the ultimate topping for almost anything from burgers to tacos or a sandwich.  We used to go to a wonderful French restaurant on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica when we lived in Southern California.  What I remember most (besides sitting and enjoying a long lunch on the patio in February) is that they served pickled onions and carrots along side a delicious sandwich.  And since they are a beautiful pink, I thought this would make the perfect little gift for my friends for Valentine’s day.  To package them up, I used jars that I always save for projects like this and then painted the lids with chalkboard paint. I ordered Minted Skinnywrap Address Labels and customized them to use just for this purpose.  I’m thrilled with the results and they make a jar of picked red onions look like a happy little gift.

red onions

Penzeys Spices

Valentine Gifts from the kitchen

Valentine Gifts from the kitchen

Valentine Gifts from the kitchen

pickled red onions in jars

Valentine Gifts from the kitchen

Pickled Red Onions

5 large red onions

I 16 oz. bottle white vinegar

1 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Bay Leaves

25 whole allspice

25 whole cloves

5 dried chili pepper

Peel the onions outer layers off and slice into thin rings.  Or use a mandolin and leave the onion whole after peeling the outer layers off and slice thin rings.  If using a mandolin, be super careful.  I use a knife glove just to be safe.

In a large stockpot, add the vinegar, sugar, salt and spices and bring to a boil.  Once it has reached boiling, add the onions and simmer for 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.  Once cooled, use tongs to transfer the onions to jars.  A few of the allspice berries and cloves will get mixed in with the onions.  Strain the remaining liquid and then add to each jar.  Refrigerate and use within a few weeks.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.


Paint your walls black

Monday, February 1, 2016

Paint your walls black – I’m seeing a lot of very dark walls all over Pinterest and it seems it’s a trend.  I’ve been been embracing it for a while.  I must admit, I started in our previous home with just a partial wall painted black in our dining room.  For years everyone has been talking me out of painting walls black.  Paint is the answer to every design dilemma.  If you don’t like something, paint it white, (our stone fireplace), or if you’re feeling bold, go dark, like we did.

Paint your walls black

Shiplap Walls in the Kitchen

Our current home was built in 1900 and the garage was added probably during the 1970’s.  It’s actually in our backyard which means it needs to look good.  I had all kinds of big ideas which involved new barn like vertical siding, a new door and adding a window so it would look more like a guest house than a garage.  But then one weekend we said, “What if we just painted it black?”  So an afternoon and $100 in paint and it looks so much better.  It even improves our view from the kitchen.

Black Garage

Paint your walls black, Chalkboard Paint

Painting a chalkboard wall is the easiest thing you can do to add a little black paint.  If you don’t want an entire wall, you could  paint an end cabinet or a narrow wall.  It’s great for lists and birthday messages.  When I get tired of looking at the messy eraser marks, I just give it a quick fresh coat of chalkboard paint and we start all over again.

black and white photography on black walls

We used Benjamin Moore Graphite in the master bedroom, our son’s room and a tiny powder bathroom.  The walls, moulding and doors are all painted in graphite.  Our black and white photographs by Surf photographer Tom Servais have never looked better.  In California, we had them on white walls, but they look so much more dramatic on black.

Paint your walls black

I love how natural wood and bright colors look on black walls.  To see lots more ideas check out my Pinterest boards: Black, Dark and Moody, Black & White and Black, White, Wood & Sometimes Denim.




Home Tour + The Zhush

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sue De Chiara’s blog, The Zhush was one of the very first I ever read back when I didn’t even know what a blog was.  At the time, Sue and her family resided in Westchester County just over the boarder of Connecticut and we were living in Dana Point, California renovating a beach house.  During endless on line searches I somehow came across Sue’s blog, The Zhush. I loved Sue’s writing,  her style and of course her attention to detail.  I was surprised when she asked if I would like to be featured in her “Blogger Home Series.”  I’m in good (like really good) company with other bloggers that I’ve “known” from the beginning of blogs, Tina, from The Enchanted Home and Elizabeth from Pretty Pink Tulips. Sue and I and now live in the same small Connecticut town and only met recently in real life at a book signing hosted by Elizabeth for Eddie Ross’s new book Modern Mix.  It really is a small world!  Thanks Sue, for featuring our little house on The Zhush today.  You can see it right here.

Home Tour + The Zhush

Home Tour + The Zhush

Home Tour + The Zhush

Sue now runs her online store Zhush which features a well curated shop of beautiful things for the home and personal gifts for everyone in your life.  Every detail counts and these are a few of my favorites at the moment:  The Dana Gibson Gold Striped Pen Cup, the Eiffel Tower Bottle Opener and I love these cake servers.  Perfect for a hostess gift with or without the cake!

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

My daughter and I are big fans of Bluestone Coffee, known for their recognizable blue to-go cups that you see on the streets whenever you are within several blocks of one of their outposts.  However it was only recently that we discovered their cafe on New York’s Upper East Side.  It’s located across Fifth Avenue at the entrance to the reservoir at Central Park and also adjacent to the newly opened Cooper Hewitt Museum at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue. It is the most beautiful place I can think of to enjoy a cup of coffee.  The cafe is within the Church of the Heavenly Rest.  Seriously, it’s almost a religious experience just to sit and enjoy your coffee within the walls of this lovely cafe.  It was freezing the day we went, but they have lots of outdoor seating for warmer days.  You will almost want to enjoy one cup within the cafe to take in all the loveliness of the space and then maybe a cup or two outdoors where you can watch the cars and people go by on Fifth Avenue.

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

They have a large communal table in the middle and alcoves with cozy booths on one side and a bar with stools on the other side.  And as you can see above, lots of outlets to charge up.  Service was friendly if not impeccable.

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

I love cafes that have menus with things like toast.  Who doesn’t love a nutty bread with a smear of butter, ricotta and little honey?  We actually split an order with our chai and cappuccino.  Next time you want to escape the city for an amazing cup of coffee and bite to eat, try Bluestone Lane’s upper East Side Cafe.


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