Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Blackberry Farm Recap

To celebrate my birthday last month, we took a quick little getaway up to Blackberry Farm.  This magical spot had been on my bucket list of places that I was dying to visit, and I am happy to report that the hype of this special farm is 100% real.  We were absolutely blown away by the charm of Blackberry Farm (so much that we immediately booked to visit again in late September).  

Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee, the sprawling 4,000 acre property is about as "all American" as it gets.  The estate does an astounding job at blending the whole working farmstead experience with elegance and luxury.  The "farm charm" (as I dubbed it) is everywhere to be found; white rocking chairs are thoughtfully placed around the property to take in the views, fire pits are lit nightly to roast s'mores, a picturesque boathouse sits on a serene pond looking straight out of a Nicholas Sparks movie, sheep and horses graze lazily in pastures....you get the picture.  It's laid back and totally refined at the same time all while oozing Southern hospitality in the most perfect way. 

Being completely surrounded by nature in this rural setting, combined with the crisp, fresh air was exactly what I wanted out of this trip, and below is a selection of photos that I took while we were on property.

^^ We were upgraded to a mountain home called "Elkmont" upon arrival.  It was beautifully decorated and was more than enough space as we were just traveling with Isla.

^^ We dined in The Barn only on the night of my birthday.  It is a much dressier environment (men are required to wear dinner jackets) compared to the rest of the property.  Wearing:  cashmere turtleneck (found here) //  Veronica Beard tweed skirt (available here) //  Chloe boots (here)

^^ We had a pretty set routine while we were at BB Farm.  During the morning hours we would explore the property with Isla by golf cart, we fed the pigs apples, would visit the barn animals, tromp around the forest surrounding the creek, look for kitty cats in the garden, etc.  After Isla's nap, we would drop her off at the kids camp for 3-4 hours (the kids camp was closed for the season so we paid for private sessions) and they tailored some really amazing adventures for her.  She still talks about how much fun she had with Ms. Polly and Ms. Miranda!  

^^ This is what we did while Isla was in the kids camp 🙌  Adam and I have done wine tastings all over the world and this was by far the most phenomenal wine + cheese pairing I have ever taken part of!  This was just the group wine tasting they do weekly, but we were the only guests participating so we had the sommelier all to ourselves.  A fun note about Blackberry Farm's wine collection: they house the second largest wine collection in North America with over 160,000 bottles of wine!

^^ Wearing: Emerson Rose sweater (last seen here) //  Good American denim (my favorite here) //  Sperry wedge boots (here) //  Barbour jacket (here)

^^ Isla's dream was to pet this horse named Willard. We also participated in a carriage ride around the property with a retired working Amish farm horse named 'Too Big'!

^^ The fly fishing shack

^^ I posted this photo of this cute market bag (which I quickly purchased!) on my instastories and had so many of you ask where you can buy it.  It's actually for purchase on the BB Farm online shop (here).  I get compliments on it all the time!

^^ One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Lagotto Romagnolo kennel.  They are Italian truffle hunting dogs that the farm breeds and trains.  They have the absolute sweetest temperament, are hypoallergenic, insanely smart, and have a 3 year waiting list for a puppy.  We immediately added our name to the list :)

Fun activities that we booked:

Wine tasting - obviously

Carriage ride around the property - so fun to learn the history of the property and bundle up under blankets in the antique carriage.  Isla was bored, however, and threw her baby doll off the carriage and it got ran over oops!

Private bird watching hike - Adam & I did this 1 hour bird watching hike while Isla was in the camp and it was so much fun!  We had binoculars and our guide would point out native birds and other species on our walk - super fun!

I also want to mention our sweet travel agent, Orit, who has booked all of our travel this past year.  She is absolutely flawless at what she does and her attention to detail continuously amazes me every time we travel.   I think this area is really where she shines compared to most other travel agents that I have worked with in the past who is only concerned with booking you and moving on to the next client.  If anyone is looking for a new travel agent, I would be happy to provide her email address (I have asked her if this was okay, and she has allowed me to give her info out).  

Thanks so much for reading! xx

Monday, February 5, 2018

More New Home Inspiration

The construction of our new home is progressing fairly quickly at this point.  We broke ground in December, rough plumbing has gone in, and our foundation should be poured in the next week or two.  After dreaming up this home for the past 2+ years, it is so wonderful to see it start to come to life. Once the foundation goes in, we should start cruising from here!

Back in December, we retained a new interior designer, Bria Hammel Interiors.  I have followed her on instagram for quite some time (view her feed here for some dreamy inspiration), and when we decided to part ways with our previous designer, I had her and a few other firms in mind.  We flew up to Minneapolis towards the end of December to meet with her in person and that sealed the deal.  She does projects all over the US, flying down every few months to dedicate 3-4 days solely on our home.  It has been such a pleasant process to far, and I'm blown away by the creativity of her + the Bria Hammel team.  I only wish we would have had her on board from the beginning!

Last week I shared a few photos on instagram that have served as major home inspiration for our interiors and I wanted to share them with you on here as well.  I had so many people reach out to me and ask if these are on my Pinterest boards as well, and the answer to that is no.  I have found that following designers on instagram is a much better source of inspiration vs scouring the depths of Pinterest for images.

As I stated in this post, my style is very classic.  I'm drawn to dark hardwood floors, white millwork, marble, polished nickel, built ins, and lots attention to details.  I also like clean lines, and not a lot of clutter.  We want to build a more traditional style home, but with an updated present day feel (if that makes sense).   I want the overall aesthetics of our new home to look effortless, peaceful, and approachable.

Below is a sampling of photos that I find inspirational, and hope to be able to bring certain elements of each photo into our new home.

Which photo is your favorite?

Have a great week - thanks for stopping by! xx

Friday, February 2, 2018

Cookbooks That You'll Actually Use

One of my most commonly asked questions is for recommendations on cookbooks that I frequently use.  Most of the time I don't use recipes, but whenever I'm feeling the need for a little inspiration in the kitchen, or I want to turn out a stellar special occasion meal I'll turn to the following cookbooks below.

All three of the cookbooks above have been so influential in culminating my love for cooking true Italian foods.

Ina is my spirit animal.  I'm being 100% honest when I say that I want to be her!  Her latest cookbook, Cooking For Jeffrey is so great.  I forced Adam to go with me to hear her speak at her book signing last year when she was in my area :)  Healthy in a Hurry is also a great source of inspiration for quick weeknight meals.

I feel like The Skinnytaste is such a no brainer, but whenever I bring it up in conversation to people, they most often have never heard of it!  There's so many wonderful low calorie + low fat recipes in here that actually taste unbelievable.  This cookbook is far superior to her newer cookbook in my opinion.

My brother gifted this to me over 10 years ago, and it has been one of my most beloved cookbooks to date!  This is the bible for anything baking related.  

I couldn't leave out cookbooks for the littles.  I don't really source many recipes from these books any longer since Isla is out of the learning to eat stage, however when she was younger these cookbooks had so many great ideas for flavor combinations, and different ways to introduce spices in a really tasty + healthy way!  I'll be holding onto these for when we have another baby.

Pasta Night is a Williams-Sonoma cookbook series, and contains some really great recipes for quick pasta meals.  The Elements Of Pizza has some wonderful (harder to make) pizzas for more experienced home chefs and the basic dough recipe is fantastic!

Lastly, this is the newest cookbook that I've added to my collection (I just bought it last week).  Tuscan cuisine is my absolute favorite, and I'm really excited to try this out as it has amazing reviews!

And in case you were ever wondering what cookbooks Queen Ina loves, here's a list of what she recommends.  I took this screenshot off of her blog years ago and recently found it in a file on my computer.  Annnnndddd now I'm off to purchase all of them 😉

Shop These Cookbooks:


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