Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Home Inspiration

Hi all!  Long time no see.  I've really missed this space, as well as connecting with all of you!  I want to make a conscious effort to post on here more often, especially since we're getting ready to break ground on our new home soon.  I want to document the new construction process so expect to see more posts in the future.

From the beginning, I've always envisioned a very classic home featuring dark hardwood floors, beautiful white millwork, and black steel framed windows.  My husbands style is more contemporary, so this has definitely been a challenge for our interior designer.  

One conversation that took place between our builders and myself really stands out in my mind.  Our builders were remarking on current design trends {cough, cough, big white boxes} and I told them how I wasn't interested in current trends, nor did I care what others are doing in home design.  Classic never "goes out of style", and what I would love is for a potential new homeowner to walk into our home 30 years from now and say, "this is an amazing home with so much character, and warmth.  It may need to be updated, but it has great bones."  

This thought process really helped guide us through the design phase which ended up being fairly lengthy due to the mass of changes we made along the way.  I'm actually glad that we took our time, because we were able to tweak our plans, and add so many minor details that will make a huge difference in the flow of our home.  We're now waiting for our plans to be given the final stamp of approval from the city and are expecting to break ground in the next month or so!

Below is a sample of "inspiration" photos that I've saved and shared with our interior designer over the course of the last year and a half.


























I'm excited to share this new journey with you.  Thanks for stopping by! xx

Monday, October 24, 2016

Celebrate The Season

Decorating for the fall season is my absolute favorite.  Pumpkins and gourds always stay out until Thanksgiving, and fall scented candles burn well into December in our household.  

This year, I'm sort of starting from scratch with the fall decor.  Back in June, when we were moving into our new condo, my husband "accidentally" threw away a huge plastic bin that contained the majority of my fall decor.  Yeah.....insert major eye rolling emoji there.  Lucky for him {or perhaps, unlucky for him!}, I'm pretty darn good at online shopping, and have been scouring the depths of the net in search of what our new place needs.  

Here's what I've bought so far, plus a few other items that have been on my radar.






Shop These Items:

The coziest cable throw blanket {under $100 here} //  I have a standing tradition of buying olive leaf wreaths during the holidays, and have my eye on this dried olive + eucalyptus beauty {reasonably priced here} //  I recently bought my first "crackle sound" candle, and I love the soothing sound that it produces - it's like a wood burning fire! {the scent that I bought is amazing for fall, get it here} //  Marble + copper is a huge trend that I'm seeing everywhere for Thanksgiving, and this stunning wine chiller needs to make its way into my kitchen asap {available here} //  How perfect are these "thankful" stemless wine glasses?  Even though they are back ordered, I just placed an order for a set of 8 of as they should arrive in early November {on sale! here} //  Want a collection of fresh miniature pumpkins & gourds to arrive at your door in an adorable wooden crate?  Such a cute and easy way to add small touches to your mantel or tabletop display! {available in 3 color coordinating colors hues here} //  Brass accents are another easy way to add in elements of the fall season.  These brass lanterns would be gorgeous when paired with a rich berry colored pillar candle {found here} //  I prefer the quality of Staub cocottes over Le Creuset, and this pumpkin cocotte is absolutely gorgeous in person.  I bought it 2 years ago, and I look forward to pulling it out every year.  Definitely an investment piece that you'll own for years to come {now available in 3 colors! here}


Happy shopping! xx




Thursday, October 20, 2016

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

These delicious pancakes have quickly become a favorite weekend breakfast staple in our house.  They're fluffy, delicious, and contain the perfect balance of sweet and spicy warmth.  And lets be completely honest.  Who isn't obsessed with pumpkin spice everything this time of year?  

They also freeze really well so any leftovers can easily be reheated for a quick weekday breakfast.  Just separate them by sheets of parchment paper, and place in a large ziploc bag prior to freezing.  When you're ready to use, pop them in the toaster to de-thaw, and enjoy! 






Ingredients


1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. sugar {or sugar substitute}
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. all spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup pumpkin purée {not pumpkin pie mix}
Canola oil


Directions


In a large bowl, whisk the milk with the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla.  Pour in both of the flours, the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Next, stir in the pumpkin, making sure the pancake mixture is well combined with minimal lumps.

Heat a nonstick skillet {or griddle if you have one} on medium low heat.  Grease the skillet with the canola oil.  Depending on how large you would like your pancakes {I use 1/4 cup size}, drop the pancake batter into the skillet in rounds.  Cook for around 3-4 minutes, until the pancakes are fluffy, and the edges are firm.  Flip them, and cook for about 3 more minutes until thoroughly cooked and golden brown.










Thanks so much for reading! xx

Friday, October 14, 2016

Butternut Squash Risotto {Baby Friendly!}

Hi, friends!  I posted a short version of this recipe last night on snap chat {username: andy-adler}, and there was a lot of interest to post a full version so I thought that I would share it.  This is actually a recipe that I posted on here almost 2 years ago.  I dug it out of the archives, and have made some minor tweaks to it over the past couple of years, but the cooking process is exactly the same.

This recipe is also extremely baby friendly.  Isla absolutely loves risotto.  She loves the creamy consistency of risotto, so I make a big pot of it about once a week for her, and always grate up {read: sneak in!} seasonal veggies into the mixture.  

Once the weather starts to cool down, and butternut squash becomes readily available, I LOVE to play around with different ways to prepare the sweet tasting squash.  One of my favorite ways is to roast it in the oven, and add it into risotto.  Risotto is one of my staple recipes that I've really mastered and the addition of the sweet & nutty flavored butternut squash combined with the creamy risotto really embodies cold weather comfort food.

Tackling a butternut squash for the first time can be a little intimidating and most of the time I seek out squash that has already been prepped & cut into small chunks from the produce department at Whole Foods {out of pure laziness}.  If you're unsure about peeling & cutting up your squash, here's a good link that shows you exactly how to do it!

This recipe is excellent served on it's own, or makes a great side dish to chicken or fish.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 







Ingredients

3 cups prepped butternut squash, cut into small chunks
Olive oil
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
Garlic powder
32 oz low sodium chicken broth
1 large shallot, minced 
1 cup arborio rice 
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired 


Directions

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place squash in a medium bowl, drizzle with olive oil {enough to thoroughly coat it}, and heavily season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder.  Toss to coat.  Spread out squash on a baking sheet and bake for around 15-20 minutes, turning twice throughout the duration of cooking.  You want the squash to be soft, and lightly browned up for extra flavor.  Remove from oven and set aside.

While the squash is baking, heat chicken broth in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Once heated, reduce heat to the lowest setting to remain warm but not at a state of simmer.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add in shallot and saute until fragrant, around 1 minute.  Add in dry rice, and stir constantly, ensuring that each grain is coated in the olive oil.  The rice will begin to "toast" up, and once you begin to smell the rice after a couple of minutes, it's time to move onto the next step.

Pour in 1 and 1/2 cup of the warmed chicken broth, and about half of the cooked butternut squash, stirring and pressing down on the butternut squash with the back of a large spoon to "smash" it down so that it can easily blend into the risotto.  Reduce heat to medium low.

Constantly stir the rice until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed and when the pan starts looking & feeling dry again, add in another 1/2 cup of broth.  Continue this stirring/adding broth process until you have transferred all 32 ounces of the broth to the rice pan, and the rice is "al dente", around 30 minutes total cooking. 

Next, add in the last half of your cooked butternut squash into the rice mixture.  Don't mash this batch of squash down {you'll want larger chunks to stay intact for texture}.  Stir well to incorporate.

Add in cheese, if desired, and divide evenly among plates.  










Thanks for reading.  Have a great weekend! xx

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tuscany Vacation Diary

Adam & I returned recently from our first major vacation sans baby.  Leading up to our departure I was a nervous wreck, fretting over every possible "what if" scenario.  I contemplated if I was making the right decision.  Was I was being too selfish by wanting a holiday away from my baby?  In the end,  I am so extremely glad that we took this vacation because Isla was perfectly fine without us {much to my dismay, she doesn't actually need me as much as I thought}!  My mother flew in from Seattle to watch Isla, and she had the help of our nanny + housekeeper so we knew that Isla was in excellent hands.  

This first year with Isla was a major shock to my system.  I think before you have children, you have an idea in your mind of how hard it is going to be, but it's truly something you can't anticipate or prepare for because you just don't know until you know.  Even though I do have a part-time nanny, I am still extremely hands on in her daily schedule, and making the decision to take a holiday with my husband, removed from 24/7 "mommy mode" was like a breath of fresh air for my marriage.  Whether or not people like to talk about it, having children can add stress in the most rock solid of marriages.  Spending quality time with my husband was a sort of "reset" button where we were able to reconnect, and I was free of feeling like I was spreading myself too thin, or somehow neglecting my baby because I knew she was at home and well taken care of.  Sure, we missed her like crazy, and checked in/face timed about 3 times a day, but I am so happy that our first time away was such a positive experience because it's something we definitely plan on doing once or twice a year from here on out.

We made the decision to spend 1 week in the Val d'Orcia region of Tuscany.  If you remember from any of my previous posts on traveling throughout Italy, you'll know that this is my absolute favorite place on earth.  Adam & I were married in this region of Tuscany {you can see photos from our wedding here}, and it has made such an imprint on my soul, so I was absolutely thrilled that we were returning to this special location.



^^ We stayed at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, and I can not say enough good things about this property.  The grounds are absolutely stunning, and every aspect of our stay was flawless.  The staff, the ambience, the rooms, the food......omg don't even get me started on the food!  







^^ The property grounds consist of over 5,000 acres and was once a small village dating back to the 13th century.  The hotel did an amazing job at converting old horse stables into suites, and even the old jail was converted into a villa!



^^ The weather couldn't have been more perfect while we were there.  We've had an extremely hot summer in Miami, so this was a nice reprieve from the heat + humidity.  //  Wearing: Soft Joie vest {here}, Vince wool tee {here}, Zara denim {here}, and Jeffrey Campbell tasseled mules {highly suggest! here}.  These loafers/mules were SO comfortable, and many people asked me if they were Ferragamo or Tod's as they look much more expensive than they are!






^^  We took a private tour of La Foce, which I highly suggest if you plan to visit the area.  They have really weird hours so definitely plan ahead.  I've wanted to tour this property for close to 4 years, and was elated that we finally had the chance to do so.  




^^  Can my next house have an annex exactly like this designed for storing lemon trees during the winter months??  Literal #HomeGoals :)







^^  I had a glass of wine in my hand basically the entire vacation.  //  Wearing: Cinq à Sept silk top {here}, Paige denim {old} and Aquazzura Christy flats {on sale here}




^^  A couple pictures from snap chat.  We took a private cooking class on my husband's birthday.  I'm sure this is what his birthday dreams are made of lol, but it ended up being a great time!



^^  Out to dinner wearing: J.Crew cashmere tee {30% off here}, DVF skirt {found here}, Isabel Marant booties {old}.






^^  One of the highlights of our trip was the opportunity to participate in the fall harvesting of the grapes in one of the hotels vineyards.  Picking grapes in Tuscany was an absolute dream, and now I'm able to officially check that item off my bucket list!



^^  After saying goodbye to Val d'Orcia, we drove roughly 2 hours back to Florence and checked into Il Salviatino, which is located about 15 minutes outside of Florence in an area called Fiesole {pronounced fee-ez-olè}.  We've stayed inside the city center of Florence more times than I can count, and I was looking forward to trying something different.





^^  We had originally reserved the "Affresco Suite" which had a stunning original fresco from the 17th century on the ceiling of this particular suite, but the bed was SO uncomfortable and the room creeped me out to the max at night so we changed rooms the next morning.










^^  One of the highlights of the property is the stunning garden which overlooks the entire city of Florence.  The views are unbelievable.  We sat outside every night at sunset with cocktails and read books or just watched the sun slowly sink over the city.  I'm on the fence, however, if I would recommend this property.  While the hotel is beautiful, and rich with history, it was also lacking in certain areas.  The breakfast left a lot to be desired, the beds were extremely uncomfortable, and the taxi ride to the city center ranged from 15-40 euros each way.  











^^  A few pics from out and about in Florence.  Normally when we travel to Italy, I still try to stick to a somewhat balanced diet.  NOT THIS TIME!  We went all out; bread, crostini, cheese, pasta, and so much wine with every meal.  




^^  This picture cracks me up!  My husband snapped this of me trying to narrow down a purchase in Céline.  //  Wearing: Rebecca Taylor long sleeve tee with lace {in black on sale here}, WAYF faux suede skirt {so cute! here}, and Aquazzura flats {found here}





^^  Our last day in Florence was spent visiting one of the world's top art museum, the Uffizi Gallery, and also doing a little last minute shopping for Isla.  It was our second time visiting this gallery and though it was crowded {highly suggest you go as early as possible}, it was really enjoyable.  We also experienced the best meal we've ever had in Florence at "Golden View" which offers spectacular views of the Ponte Vecchio {3rd image}.  //  Outfit details: Brochu Walker top {found here}, Zara denim + Jeffrey Campbell shoes {both are linked above}, KIN/K hat {available here}, and my new Céline Box Bag in python.



Sorry for the picture overload here, but I do hope that you enjoyed them!  I had a really difficult time trying to narrow my selection down.  Quite a few of you who follow me on Snapchat messaged me about your own upcoming trips to Italy, and for anyone who intends to visit this area of Tuscany, I have a travel guide to the area that I would be happy to email you.  It provides recommended wineries, restaurants, local farms, and attractions to visit.  Just leave a comment below with your email address if you're interested :)

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great day! xx




 

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