Fun with Food

Spring (Food) Fling

Springtime Table

Springtime Table

Day 23 of the Whole30 regimen we’ve been on and all we can think about is FOOD!  Yes, it’s been enlightening to remove all sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and dare we say, alcohol, from our diets these past three weeks but boy, it’s been HARD and we’re so tempted to cheat.  All we can think about is the food we can’t choose not to eat while we’re on this adventure.  With the promise of endless energy, great sleep, slimmer waists and more positive attitudes, we’re sticking to our meal plans and counting down the days (7, 6, 5 – you get the gist.)  But that doesn’t mean we’re not looking forward to a food fling when we’re done…  We’ll start off by toasting our accomplishments with what else? A spring fling cocktail!

Spring Fling Cocktail

Spring Fling Cocktail

Next, a rich plate of pasta with cream, peas and pancetta with a side of garlic, herb and cheese bread.

Orrechiette with Cream. Peas and Pancetta

Orrechiette with Cream. Peas and Pancetta

Garlic Herb and Cheese Bread

Garlic Herb and Cheese Bread

And to top our meal off, a divine raspberry pistachio cake that will finally satisfy our neglected sweet tooth.

Raspberry Pistachio Cake

Raspberry Pistachio Cake

Full confession – we’ve hidden some bags of Cadbury mini eggs from the boys since we knew they’d be sold out by the time we could eat them.  Given that we’re are sooooo sick of the real ones, we’re hoping this lovely mini egg cake will act as breakfast fare for a day or two or three…

Mini Egg Cake

Mini Egg Cake

Cake for breakfast is a great way to start the day, isn’t it?

table / drinks / pasta / bread / cake / cake

Set The Table, The Latest Buzz

Coffee Table Essentials Challenge

Mid Century Coffee Table

Mid Century Coffee Table

What would we do without our coffee tables?  They are the centerpiece of any living or family room and play a vital role in our daily lives.  Our family room coffee table is devoid of any knick knacks given that it’s usually the place where teenage feet and multiple remote and gaming controls come to rest.  Our living room’s coffee table, though, is a pièce de résistance.  We love a well-styled coffee table so when we heard about Chairish‘s Coffee Table Essentials Challenge we knew we wanted to take part in the fun.  But styling a coffee table can be tricky.  Some people tend to over accessorize leaving absolutely no room for a wine glass, while others leave the space unadorned and decidedly uninteresting.  There are several things we keep in mind when we decorate our tables.  First, we like to use books.  New or vintage, the more colorful the better.  You can’t go wrong with coffee table books (and perhaps that’s why they’re called coffee table books!), especially if the cover or subject matter coordinates with your environment.

Cy Twombly - Paradise

Cy Twombly – Paradise

Second on our list is a natural element to soften the hard edges and add texture to flat surfaces.  Of course, arranging flowers right before guests arrive may not be how you want to spend your time so a potted plant, a bowl of succulents or a very lifelike faux design is good to have on hand in a pinch.

Pink Peonies in Marbled Vase

Pink Peonies in Marbled Vase

Third on our list of essentials is something fun.  We love games but we know that Monopoly takes up lots of room so we opt for something compact like a beautiful deck of cards or this elegant shagreen tic tac toe set.

Aerin Home - Shagreen Ric Tac Toe

Aerin Home – Shagreen Ric Tac Toe

Candles are a must to bring sparkle and life to a party.  We like the look of tapers in beautiful holders on a coffee table as they bring height and light to the space.

Skultuna - Lily Candle Holder

Skultuna – Lily Candle Holder

Last but not least, we love using decorative accents that we’ve collected on our trips or that have been passed down to us by our parents and grandparents.  We have a collection of vintage decanters and while we wouldn’t necessarily use them for our wine, we do like to display one or two.  They add interest to the setting and inevitably spark a conversation.

Empoli - Decanter and Glasses

Empoli – Decanter and Glasses

We hope you’ve enjoyed our styling tips and wish you all a Happy Easter!

coffee table / book / bouquet / game / candle holder / decanter

 

Fabulous Finds

The Scent of Spring

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has indeed sprung which means it’s time to switch our perfume from our winter favorites to something a bit greener and definitely more floral.  For years, we’ve been wearing a lovely Tocca fragrance given to us by our blogging besty, Pretty Pink Tulips, but sadly it’s no longer made.  So we’re exploring new spring scents and have found some that cover all the bases…  If you like sparkling citrus with a touch of uplifting spice, Clarins Eau des Jardins and Tocca Isabel are for you.

Eau des Jardins

Eau des Jardins

Isabel

Isabel

For those of you who prefer something on the herbal side with soft fresh picked floral notes, you might like the new limited edition Herb Garden collection by Jo Malone and Dolce & Gabbana’s Floral Drops.

The Herb Garden Collection

The Herb Garden Collection

Dolce Floral Drops

Dolce Floral Drops

And finally, Diptyque’s Florabellio is like spring break in a bottle – an invigorating coastal base is infused with green apple blossom for the perfect olfactory landscape that captures a garden by the sea.

Florabellio

Florabellio

What spring scents are your sporting these days?

FlowersClarins / Tocca / Jo Malone / Dolce & Gabbana / Diptyque

 

In the Garden

In the Garden with Ronald van der Hilst

Cothen Tulip Garden

Cothen Tulip Garden

Given our love for tulips and our Belgian upbringing, it’s no surprise that when we came across the work of Antwerp-based, Dutch-born artist Ronald van der Hilst, we had to get to know his work.  Though originally from Asia, the tulip has played an important role in European history and its rich heritage captured Ronald’s imagination at an early age.  For years this simple, yet iconic, bloom has become an endless source of inspiration for him.

Museum Plantin Moretus

Museum Plantin Moretus

Arboretum Kalmthout

Arboretum Kalmthout

"Falling Drop" - Cothen

“Falling Drop” – Cothen

But not all of Ronald’s gardens feature tulips.  The landscape he designed for a Dutch businessman in the east of Holland was inspired by the music of Gustav Mahler, filled with drama and a sense of rhythm.  A garden should be beautiful every day of the year so Ronald included water features to reflect the sky and surrounding landscape, adding interest even in the dead of winter.

Dijkerkoek Water Feature

Dijkerkoek Water Feature

Dijkerkoek Boxwoods

Dijkerkoek Boxwoods

With our gardens waiting for the first signs of spring, we’re so looking forward to seeing our tulips bloom!

photos

Color

It’s Easy Being Green…

Leif - Jungle Leaf Pillow

Leif – Jungle Leaf Pillow

despite what Kermit says!  It’s hard to believe that we’ve been writing this little blog of ours for seven years and it’s just a coincidence that we launched it right around St. Patrick’s Day with a post titled The Color Green (we know… how original!)  So in honor of this anniversary and Gaelic fête, we’re celebrating with a bit of green today.

Jasper Conran at Wedgwood - Chinoiserie Cup

Jasper Conran at Wedgwood – Chinoiserie Cup

Miles of Light - Green Collage

Miles of Light – Green Collage

No matter what shade – apple, spring, emerald, pine, shamrock – green brings the freshness of the great outdoors into any room.

CRAFT - Textured Twist Tumbler

CRAFT – Textured Twist Tumbler

Diane James Home - Succulent Napkin Ring

Diane James Home – Succulent Napkin Ring

This time of year, a touch of green on a table or on a wall can really help chase away the Ides of March.

Herend - Yoga Frog

Herend – Yoga Frog

Even this little yoga frog knows that green is “om” for your home!

Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day…  May your troubles be less and your blessings more, and nothing but happiness come through the door.

pillowcup / print / glass / napkin ring / frog

Fabulous Finds

Spring Blooms

Ranunculus and Elephants

Pretty Posies

Spring has sprung in our part of the country…  the daffodils are sprouting their green leaves and the birds welcome the day with their morning song.  We’re looking forward to refreshing our home and our wardrobe with some pretty spring things and here are a couple of our favorites…

Stella Jean - Giornalista Kimono Blouse

Stella Jean – Giornalista Kimono Blouse

Oscar de la Renta - Ornamental Floral Napkin

Oscar de la Renta – Ornamental Floral Napkin

Parker Thatch - Lots of Love Notes

Parker Thatch – Lots of Love Notes

Yves Delorme - Enfleur Pillow

Yves Delorme – Enfleur Pillow

Fringe Studio - Beautiful Pouch

Fringe Studio – Beautiful Pouch

Is spring blooming where you live?

P.S.  Do you just love that pouch?  It’s coming to our website soon!

posies / top / napkin / notes / pillow / pouch

 

Book Report

Spring Into These Books

The Flower Workshop

The Flower Workshop

Have you heard?  Spring showed up two weeks early here in New England – guess that Pennsylvanian groundhog had it right this year!  Today’s temps are supposed to break some records so spring flowers will soon be blooming in just time for Easter.  And just time for Easter, some of our favorite floral designers are out with new books filled with sumptuous bouquets.

Free and Fabulous

Free and Fabulous

We’re inspired by Ariella Chezar’s step-by-step instructions in The Flower Workshop and think she might even be able to teach us a thing or two.  Lewis Miller’s exquisite new book, Styling Nature, is filled with gorgeous photographs shot by Don Freeman making this tome worthy of a collector’s bookshelf.

Styling Nature

Styling Nature

Marvelous Masterpiece

Marvelous Masterpiece

And former Wall Street broker and compliance officer, DeJuan Stroud, took a big leaf of faith when he quit finance to turn his hobby of floral design into a business (we know what that’s like!)  Now he’s one of the most sought-after event planners in New York and his new book, Designing Life’s Celebrations, is sure to please.  This fresh guide to entertaining will show you how to conquer “stem fear” and create beautiful bouquets to go along with your tablesettings.  Every meal should be a celebration, shouldn’t it?

Designing Life's Celebrations

Designing Life’s Celebrations

Pink Perfection

Pink Perfection

Hurrah…Spring has nearly sprung!

ariella / fabulous / lewis / marvelous / dejuan / perfection

Fashion Friday

Fashion Friday: Meet Marissa Webb

Spring 2016 - White Floral

Spring 2016 – White Floral

A quick glance at our weather forecast next week tells us that spring is on its way (even as it threatens to snow today)…  Temps will be climbing into the high 50’s so we’re hoping to break out some pretty florals to celebrate the sunny days.  One designer we’ll definitely be investing in this season is Marissa Webb.  With an FIT education and over a decade at J. Crew in various design roles including Head of Womenswear and Accessories Design, this Korean born and American raised designer knows how to blend elements of nature and architecture by mixing highly structured pieces with soft and feminine accents.

Spring 2016 - Blue Floral

Spring 2016 – Blue Floral

Spring 2016 - Yellow Silk

Spring 2016 – Yellow Silk

The new Spring 2016 collection marries leather, lace, cotton and silk for a modern mash-up that looks both effortless and elegant.  We love the floral prints (of course!) as well as the bright colors and sophisticated textures.

Spring 2016 - Orange Lace

Spring 2016 – Orange Lace

Juxtaposing high fashion with everyday wearability is not new but we think Marissa takes the concept to a new level by pairing grungy plaids with feminine silhouettes and black leather jackets with long lace skirts.

Spring 2016 - Leather and Lace

Spring 2016 – Leather and Lace

We’re counting the days ’til spring and wishing you a fashionable Friday!

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Fabulous Finds

Bamboo-zled

Gucci - Spring 2016

Gucci – Spring 2016

While some say that bamboo is back, we’re wondering if it ever went out of style.  Even Gucci has revived it’s iconic curved bamboo handles in the company’s Spring 2016 collection of handbags and totes.

Arme de L'Amour - Ring

Arme de L’Amour – Ring

Juliska - Classic Bamboo Dinnerware

Juliska – Classic Bamboo Dinnerware

This signature handle design first appeared just after World War II in 1947 when the world was still rationing resources.  Bamboo cane could still be imported from Japan so the artisans at Gucci developed a patented method to heat and bend the material and ta-da, the Gucci Bamboo Handbag was born.

Seda France - Malaysian Bamboo Candle

Seda France – Malaysian Bamboo Candle

Wisteria - Bamboo Pagoda Mirror

Wisteria – Bamboo Pagoda Mirror

The bamboo handle was so interesting and innovative that it became an instant hit and was carried through the 1960′ and 70’s as an integral part of the brand.  And now it’s back gracing a range of bags printed with pretty petals.  Bamboo is not only showing up in fashion accessories but also in home decor and here are some of our favorites!

Jonathan Adler - Bamboo Wallpaper

Jonathan Adler – Bamboo Wallpaper

Not that we’re trying to bamboozle you…

bag / ring / plates / candle / mirror / wallpaper