Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dining in a dream room

I am traveling this week, and I love this house I am staying at right now.  It is filled with beautiful decorations that I adore, but also with beautiful people for whom I have much love.  Antique furniture in pristine condition adorns each room in this residence, but is fashioned and arranged in a way that is both inviting and extremely comfortable.  The dining room has recently been rearranged to create a cozy conversation area, but also to still be utilized as a dining area.  The decor in this space is colored with two of my favorite hues: yellow and blue.  The inclusion of vintage dishes and heritage items creates an homage to history designed in a modern way; the vintage touches that I observe remind me of one of my favorite historical estates, Mount Vernon.  So thank you (to you know who!) for the always delightful stay in this marvelously decorated home.

Simple beauty in a spring centerpiece on the dining table

Vintage and new white dishes mixed together provide a striking display on white shelves

Love collection of pitchers and china below this brightly colored oil

The sun streaming through the windows makes this area a perfect place to cozy up in on a lazy afternoon; the standing fireplace creates a cozy space to gather in on cooler evenings

So inviting- cozy blue pillows placed on striking wood chairs, a footstool and blanket for comfort, and a tough of old glamour in the display on silver

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Classic Chocolate Chippers

Baking is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  While I do not consider myself a highly skilled chef by any means, I do have confidence in my baking abilities.  Rainy days are often inspiring as the perfect time to bake, and this past gray Saturday afternoon was just the time to indulge in the making of my favorite chocolate chip cookies.  I even splurged and added some Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips.  This is a recipe that I have enjoyed making since my high school years, and it still remains as a favorite among my family and friends.  And better yet, these are the first cookies to be stored in my new cute cookie jar (as shown here).

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 and 1/3 cups shortening, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
12 oz. chocolate chips
Combine shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla; mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well blended.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gray Daze

I love overcast days, and it is great to see the rain coming your way so that you can be prepared with a rain-appropriate outfit.  When I saw the rain headed my way the other day (as pictured above), I knew I had better layer and carry an umbrella.  The different shades of gray in the sky reminded me of a gray dress from my closet:

While gray is a great color for both gray-sky days and spring, bright accents can be easily added to spruce up the plain color (I enjoyed wearing a brightly colored sweater and carrying a yellow purse with this gray dress the other day).  Bright colored accents can bring cheer to your day, and help to brighten the outlook for others you meet throughout the day.  I have created some fun outfits by building on gray basics with small infusions of colorful accents, and I hope these will inspire you to create some new rainy-day outfits from the items in your wardrobe.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Good Eats

< Basil Parmesan Bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. >

These past few weeks have been filled with lots of celebrating and a chance to indulge in some delicious food as a result.  Whether dining out or cooking at home, warm meals have been perfect for the cold, rainy weather that has surrounded us so often as of late.  To be honest, I really enjoy the treat of eating at a restaurant, as it is a great way to enjoy a celebratory dinner with friends and not have the dishes to wash afterward.  But on rainy weeknights, a nice warm meal in the comfort of your own home cannot be beat.  The basil parmesan bread pictured above is one of my favorites from Great Harvest (which was given to me as a belated birthday present), and was a nice treat to enjoy at home with a hot bowl of tomato bisque.  I love looking at pictures of food for inspiration just as much as I enjoy looking at pictures of fashion and design, and I hope that these pictures will provide some inspiration for your palate.

< A chicken teriyaki and tempura sushi boat >

< A brie and cracker tray provided some nice bites when a few friends came over >

< Chicken enchilada and chimichanga overload >

< Salmon Jalapeno sushi rolls >

< A yummy chocolate treat to indulge in >

Friday, March 25, 2011

Obsessed: Black and White

Photo credit: Richard Young/Startraks

Happy Friday to you all!  When I saw this photo of Gwyneth Paltrow (taken when she was on hand for the relaunch of the Bottega Veneta flagship store in London) earlier this week, I absolutely fell in love with her simple yet fabulous black and white outfit.  The single splash of light pink color from her minaudi√®re makes her black dress and white booties perfect for spring (obsessing over her ensemble!).  Although I usually only wear black during the winter months, I am now inspired to add different colors with purses and other accessories in order to make the black clothes in my closet appropriate for each season.  The sets below provide a few black and white items to obsess over for both your closet and your home decor.  And while everything pictured in the collages is in the simple black and white color pallet, just think of a single-colored purse you have on hand to bring some spring life to a black and white dress, or spring colored throw pillow you have stored away to spice up a black and white room, and Voil√† - instant seasonal color!  So enjoy thinking of ways to infuse spring color into your wardrobe and home right now, and have a great weekend!