Bloggy Break

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." ~Ovid
Hey y'all. I'm taking a long weekend off. Be back on Monday. Need to steep in my creative juices and recharge my right brain.

Photo by my husband. On our honeymoon in Maui. 2005.



I'm taking a little getaway this weekend, but before I do....I made sure to snatch some 9:30am tickets to SATC2 tomorrow. Now I remember what Christmas eve felt like when I was 7!

Cheers, girls!
It's only a day away (happy dance!). Sip your cosmos, pull on your vintage Halston and slip into those Manolos....
It's almost here:

Cocktail du jour

The Tangerini:
  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 1 part Tangerine juice
  • splash of grenadine
shake vigorously with ice.
serve very cold.

The Four Friends

Bette Midler said it best, "well, you got to have fri-ends."

In my life, I've been fortunate to have had some fabulous friends. Some are near, others are far away. Some are old enough to be my mother, and others have known me since I was five. As I prepare to enter my thirties, I have come to recognize that every gal needs four types of friends

Chalk it Up

Perhaps it's the teacher in me, or even the compulsive list-maker, but the thought of a chalkboard wall is enticing: a recipe here, a doodle there.Though in order to make the chalkboard wall all the more appealing, I would want a handwriting makeover. My current chicken scratch would not look like interior decor. It would look like a list-making nut had moved in. While we're pretending, I would request that my handwriting look like that which is ubiquitous on French café menu boards.


Dinner Time

This is a truth universally acknowledged: Mondays were made for comfort food. Last night, knowing that my hubby would return from work depleted and ravenous, I treated him to some semi-homemade chicken pot pies.


Champs Elysées: Going Vert

The BBC recently profiled a story about the Champs Elysées being covered in tiny plots of land, transformed by French farmers. For two days, the honking of Citroens was replaced by the baying of donkeys. The Jeunes Agriculteurs (Young Farmers) union organized last-weekend's event to underscore the plight of French farmers. Leave it to the French to make plight look pleasing...

Words to Live by

Let's be real, people. If I unleashed my true inner 13-year-old, this blog would be called "Puppies and Other Cute Stuff." Be thankful that I exercise a bit of self-control have not yet reverted to a puppy a day post.

Images borrowed from
LifeIsMiraculous & LiveJournal.

The Art of Travel: Souvenirs

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
The word souvenir conjures up visions of cheap Eiffel Tower key-chains and "I Heart NY" t-shirts and gaudy Cancun shot glasses. Linguistically though, souvenir comes from the French verb "to remember," a much more lovely notion than its modern consumerist meaning.

While I hope that my mind will always guard the precious details of all my adventures, I do often tote back an object that will help me remember a great trip. Most often that object is a small painting.

In the eighteenth century when groups of wealthy young Northern Europeans flocked to Italy on the Grand Tour, often they would return with a veduta (a view), a detailed painting of the cities they visited. While I cannot return from my trips with a Canaletto in tow like those eighteenth-century British gents, I do aspire to adopt a similar travel practice, even if on a far more modest budget.


I Hope You Dance {this weekend}

This weekend has been perfectly lovely. It's one of those weekends where I make up songs, where I twirl in the kitchen, where I skip down the sidewalk. Perhaps it's the touch of summer in the air, perhaps it's my glee with the end of the semester, but I am simply ebullient this weekend. I feel like dancing. I want to dig out my point shoes and spin. Ah, giddy, joyous, freeing dance.


Saturday Coffee Cake Break

I am always on the hunt for recipes I can pull together without a trip to the market. Yesterday, having just discovered a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer, I set out to bake something deliciously summery. After perusing the Food Network website for a bit, I stumbled upon Ina's Blueberry Crumble Cake.

Now that I've devoured my first slice with my morning coffee, I can attest that this cake is scrumptious.

Seeing Shells: Beachy Lighting

Even though my overall design aesthetic is funky vintage French, I always have beachy details in my rooms. Whether a stray seashell or starfish, having seaside objects nearby makes me feel relaxed and give my spaces a casual attitude.


Trend Alert: Moroccan Madness

Prediction: with much of SATC2 set in Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E. (but filmed in Morocco), Middle Eastern fashion trends are going to be all over the place this summer. As with the first film (and the previous 6 seasons of shows), certain items become the rage and gals from Staten Island to San Diego start adopting their own versions of the signature looks: the "Carrie" necklace, big belts, heaps of pearls, poofy skirts. I would imagine that most of the predominant fashion trends of the 2000s can ultimately be traced back to the one and only Carrie Bradshaw.

Flowers for Friday

I haven't gone out to buy my usual Friday flowers quite yet this morning. Instead, I am dreaming of this flower store I spotted in Florence in 2007.

While all the other touristas were flocking en masse towards the Duomo, I paused a moment to snap this photo of something more quotidian: a sidewalk in bloom.
Photo by moi. Florence, Italy 2007.
Near the Ponte Vecchio.

The Barter System

Sometimes I barter with myself. Self, if you go for a thirty-minute run, you will be amply rewarded with a pedicure. Does any one else play these mind-games?
Why can't the post-workout endorphins be enough for me?

Images borrowed from
WangYiGuang & GirlsGottaSpa.


Cocktail du jour

The Lemon Drop :
Tart and sweet. Zingy yet smooth.

Dinner Time

If you are what you eat and I am eating a tart....well, you do the math. This Thursday, as almost every other, my hubby has his "man-date" with his best-bud. Rather than sitting at home and eating my single girl dinner of cheerios and chardonnay, I decided to make myself something civilized and scrumptious. And, what, my dears, could be more civilized that a savory tart?

In a Word

Today I'm feeling:Images borrowed from LesPlusBeauxx, Flickr,& BlackWatch.

Coveting: Walkin' Boots

My recent t.v. obsession is the Texas high school football drama: Friday Night Lights. I discovered it late in the game (pun intended)only a few months ago, right before the debut of the long-anticipated 4th season on NBC. And, like all of my favorite dramas (The Sopranos, The Wire, Dexter), the character development is what instantly hooked me.

This show is about way more than football. It's about the ordinary flaws and triumphs of everyday folks. But, what really allows the show to shine is the superb casting. In particular, Tami Taylor (Connie Britton), as the coach's wife, is perfection.

Do what you love

A caveat...what you're about to read is my version of a Jerry Maguire-style occupational manifesto:

Throughout high school, I had stridently planned to pursue my goal of becoming a physician. Most everyone in the family worked in medicine. Why wouldn't I wear a white coat and stethoscope too?

Then, in college, thanks to one miserable biology professor with a Napoleon complex and one erudite art history professor with passion, my interests shifted from anatomy and physiology to oil on canvas and illuminated manuscripts. Why would I continue to labor through biology labs when I felt insatiably hungry for more art history lectures?


A Novel Idea

Having become far too consumed by television, I was determined to find a novel that would pull me back into voracious reading. After browsing the aisles at my local Barnes and Noble (I can't wait for Amazon. I'm an instant gratification gal), I found my recent favorite page-turner: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

Love Stories

I'm guessing most Jane Austen purists would choose the 6-part BBC Pride and Prejudice as their preferred depiction of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I, however, was quite taken by the 2005 version starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.

Chocolate Fix: Brownies from Scratch

After discovering how simple it was to pull together these divine, gooey brownies with pantry staples, I will not be taking help from Mrs. Betty Crocker again.


Salad, French Style

One of the first culinary revelations I had in Paris was the salade composée. Whereas most of the salads I had experienced in Missouri up to that point in my young life were sloppy heaps of iceberg with an occasional carrot, French salads were presented in orderly little stacks of veggies and pickled goodies. Salade composée, composed salad, was elegantly arranged with flavors that mingled together deliciously.

As result of this early Parisian training in "how to make salad look yummy," when possible I take a little extra time to arrange my salad components in a pleasing way. Even when you're just throwing together a jar of Ragu and some penne for dinner, this salad takes the meal from "pas mal" to "très bien."

Gushing Over 9 by Design {again}

As I've admitted before, I am completely captivated by 9 by Design on Bravo. Unlike so many of the train-wreck reality programs, this show focuses on a family that is living well and doing good.

The Art of Design: Signac

For me, design inspiration almost always comes from something on hanging on my wall. Color palette, textures or shapes---what you're attracted to in an artwork will certainly translate into a room you adore. Art is the ultimate inspiration. How would this pointillist St. Tropez Tree by Paul Signac inspire a living room?

I envision myriad shades of blue with touches of lemony yellow, eclectic furniture and a few beachy elements:
Images borrowed from TheGlamLamb, House&Home, HouseOfTurquoise, Lonny, SkonaHemviaDesiretoInspire & CandiceOlsen.

Spring Spruce Up

When design trends trickle down to a store within my price point, I get giddy. I've been seeing Suzani and lattice prints EVERYWHERE in designer rooms lately. So, I was a happy homemaker when I found these cheaper chic goodies at my favorite budget-friendly spots.

A Suzani tablecloth by Dwell at Target:
A lattice lamp with a Moroccan touch from Home Goods: Lattice pillows by Dwell at Target:


A May Gray Day

We Southern Californians have entered the most dreaded of all our weather "seasons"---May Gray (followed by June Gloom).

The usual incandescently sunny days have been replaced with week long stretches of blah, gray, chilly haze.

Yeah, yeah, it is absurd and annoying for Californians to complain about the weather; but go ahead and cue the violins, because I am experiencing a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The blue skies have turned gray. My sweat pants have replaced pencil skirts. All I want to do is sit inside and drink cappuccino and watch Ina cook on the tele.

Thank goodness for my nutritionally-conscious hubby or I would be noshing on this for my "May Gray" dinner:
and this, post sugar-coma:Image borrowed from TakeANap.

Lux Nova

In the 12th century, when Abbot Suger of Saint Denis decided to rebuild his Romanesque church near Paris, he wrote the new Gothic architectural vocabulary and incorporated one of the visual revelations of medieval art: stained glass windows.

Words to Live by

Image borrowed from Vi.Usualize.Us & WeHeartIt&GeekinthePink.

Les Rêveries de Paris

"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate." ~Henry Miller

Today I'm experiencing a big-time case of geographic ennui (yes, I know, quelle horreur). As usual, my travel daydreams have taken me to Paris. My mind has wandered to one specific spot: Les Bouquinistes.

Les Bouquinistes are the 250 used book sellers that dot the bank of the Seine, near the Ile de la Cité. Each coveted green metal box (the wait list for a new spot is 8 years) is filled with ragged novels or ancient maps or yellowing magazines, as they have been since about 1500. As a flea market junkie (punk intended), the surprise of discovering an out of print edition of a favorite book or an old copy of Vogue proves well-worth my time.
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