Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inspiring Recipes:: Deliciously Beautiful Cakes

I have to admit I have cake on my brain, particularly wedding cake. I am excited because I am actually making our wedding cake using our favorite recipe - it will be vanilla cake with blood orange curd and buttercream (the recipe is here).  Some might think it is a little crazy that I am making our cake (I am also doing our flowers) and believe me things might get a bit hectic but it will make our day even more special.  Here are a few deliciously beautiful cakes that are inspiring me right now, enjoy the sugar rush!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Product Spotlight:: Vineyard Hill Naturals Milk & Honey Body Collection

The combination of milk and honey evokes pure comfort.  I recently discovered the line Vineyard Hill Naturals and couldn't help but be instantly smitten with the pretty packaging and the lightly scented products.  My favorite is Milk & Honey, a delightful collection that includes products body lotion, body wash, soap and body butter.  This scent has the creaminess of milk and the sweetness of honey but with hints of nutty coconut.  Vineyard Hill Naturals can be purchased at Target.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dries van Noten's Garden Oasis

If I were to close my eyes and dream of an idyllic garden oasis it would be just this - the country home of fashion designer Dries van Noten in the heart of the Belgium countryside.  Situated in front of a still pond and surrounded my impeccably manicured grounds, it is not wonder that this oasis serves as such a source of inspiration for his collections.  

I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend! It was lovely being in Boston with the family celebrating my nephews first birthday, what a bundle of joy that baby to any room. I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Few Beautiful Things

Happy Friday everyone!  Today we are headed up to Boston to celebrate the first birthday of my nephew, which should be adorable.  But before I leave you I wanted to share some beautiful links that I found around the web this week and of course, this floral editorial featuring Caroline Winberg wearing one of my favorite dresses from the Dolce & Gabbana spring runway (one of their best shows yet, that I would just die to get my hands on).  I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!

For me presentation is everything, so I am head-over-heals for this cookie and paper flower gift idea I discovered at Oh Joy!

These photographs from Ann Street Studio nearly melted my heart - who knew a monkey could be so cuddly?

Our honeymoon itinerary is all-set for Italy, but I would like to extend our adventure to Livonro after seeing these photographs shot by Nicole Franzen

I simply adore still life photography - this Easter celebration on Hortus Cuisine is taking the cake right now (such stunning light)

Paris...I will see you soon...

And speaking of France, what a dream it would be to purchase a chateau and convert part into your very own bistro - Mimi's life is a dream

Image via FGR

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Line to Love: Lover

I love discovering new brands from other blogs.  One fashion brand that I am currently smitten with is Lover, which I discovered through Tuula Vintage.  This line is the epitome of feminine combining luxurious lace details with dreamy floral prints.  Here are some of my favorite pieces from this Australian line that is definitely making its name here Stateside - currently this brand can be purchased at Net-a-Porter. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Clean Plate:: Micro Green Arugula Salad with Fresh Mozzarella

Despite the amount of desserts that I bake and feature here, the majority of the time I am eating a very healthy diet consisting of a lot of leafy vegetables, fruits and healthy fats.  In fact, right now I am on a healthy cleanse (I am inspired by Bon Appétit's Food Lovers Cleanse) trying to get my body back on track. The steroid medication that my doctor subscribed must leave my body (this medicine can linger for over a month in your system), so I am trying to assist by eating very clean for at least one week, which means no added sugar, dairy or gluten, let's see how I do.  Yikes! (The recipe below includes dairy, in the form of mouth-watering homemade mozzarella, this was PC - pre-cleanse. )

In order to reflect that I am excited to start a new column here titled, Clean Plate, where I will dedicate posts to not only eating healthy, but simple meals that do not take a long time to prepare.  Oftentimes when it comes to eating healthy, time is of the essence, so each recipe that I share here will take this precious element into consideration.  I am starting off today with a Micro Green Arugula Salad with Fresh Mozzarella that not your typical greens, yet are a powerhouse of nutrients.  This salad is topped with my go to dressing for every salad - a lemony vinaigrette that features buttery olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard and paired with fresh mozzarella, handmade at Caputo's here in Brooklyn.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Take Me There: L'Hôtel Particulier Arles, France

 I almost love researching trips as much as I enjoy going on them.  I love scoping out attractions, museums, food and of course hotels, in particularly their designs.  While researching our honeymoon I came across L'Hôtel Particulier in Arles, France that is just too pretty not to share.  I adore the use of white and the exposed stone walls that lend the perfect amount of Provencal charm.  Wouldn't you just to love magically appear there now? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Trend Spotting : Feminine Shorts

Happy Monday everyone! Did you have a nice Easter weekend?  It was warm and sunny here in New York, in fact there was so much sun that my poor skin that had not seen the sun in months got sunburned - I guess next time I will reapply.  

It seems like nearly forever since I last wore shorts, so I am eager to to slip on a pair and enjoy springtime.  One look that I am loving that was spotted off the fall runways is a feminine version of shorts the spring and summer staple.  The silhouette is longer, chicer and is definitely do able for a professional setting (if your job allows it).  Paired with heels or heeled sandals this is one look that I cannot wait to wear once the weather begins cooperating.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Life Lately {April Edition}

(Sundays spent down by the East River - nothing like enjoying a cone from Ample Hills Creamery)
(Magnolias in Cobble Hill)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Magnificent Magnolias

Magnolias, how magnificent you are. You arrive just when we need you but are gone far too quickly.  My favorite season has arrived and the amount of color on the trees makes me utterly delighted.  It begins with vibrant yellow forsythia, followed by magnolias and then ends with the grand finale of spring, the cherry blossoms.  I have been closely monitoring a magnolia tree around my apartment and recently on a spring day, that felt gloriously like summer, it bloomed.  Here is a glimpse at these beautiful pink tinged petals that grace us with their beauty, if only for a few days.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Pea and Mint Soup

Easter weekend is one of my favorites - I love preparing a delicious brunch and gathering together with family.  If you are looking for a great starter for your weekend brunch I recommend this season appropriate soup, Spring Pea and Mint Soup.  After a winter full of heartier soups, this version is very refreshing combining sweet peas and cooling mint with spring garlic and onions and topped with crumbled feta.  Peas and mint are a dynamic duo when paired together, the former lends a subtle sweetness while the mint add a great herbal, cooling note.  If you are looking to make more of a meal out of this soup just add cooked quinoa or brown rice.   Continue for more...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dreaming of Our Honeymoon

Only one month and two days until I walk down the aisle with my best friend and man of my dreams! I cannot believe it.  Since the end of March time has been flying by so quickly, however, I am trying to savor the last month of our wedding anticipation.  Typically when my soon-to-be-husband and I plan our vacations we plan around food first - this might sound like we are gluttons but rather we love good food that is prepared with the freshest ingredients and second of course is architecture, history and beautiful beaches.  Well our honeymoon will consist of both - we will be traveling to France and Italy.  We both love exploring new places so renting a car is essential.  We will begin in Paris and then travel to the Provencal town of Arles, then we are off to Cassis on the Mediterranean.  Next we will cross over the boarder to Italy and visit Portofino and the Cinque Terre.  This might be my dream photography trip!  Now my question to you is have you ever been to Arles, Cassis, Portofino or the Cinque Terre? If so, please I would love your restaurant suggestions!  In the meantime, here is what I would love to pack in my suitcase.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Currently Craving:: Yellow as Bright as the Sun

What a fantastic weekend! The sun was shining (it was 73 degrees), the birds were chirping, trees were blooming and I couldn't help but have a smile on my face.  Among the many things that I love about New York is that when it is nice outside people are out by the dozen either at the park, by the river or just strolling down the side walks.  In ode to that sunshine and also being inspired by Merritt's sunny yellow Zara jacket (which I love), I compiled a few sunny pieces of inspiration that will also hopefully induce a smile.  Happy spring everyone!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Fever & Pretty Links

Happy Friday everyone, boy what a long week it has been. Why is it that some weeks linger longer than others?  Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?  We are finally getting around to getting our wedding bands (yeah!) and I am hoping to just do some relaxing.  Before I leave you here are a few beautiful things I spotted this week around the web in addition to this spring-like editorial from Harper's Bazaar UK.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

I would leave Brooklyn at a minute's notice if I could stay at this rustic Italian abode

Speaking of spring fever, here are ten places in New York that can actually cure it

This Stockholm apartment is pared-down, yet beautiful

Here are a few great tips on how to better your food photography skills

Speaking of food, this recipe for Honey Buttermilk bread looks delicious with fantastic photography

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Our Wedding: Our Engagement Photographs

I cannot believe that our wedding day is quickly approaching! In order to celebrate our upcoming nuptials I thought I would share our engagement photographs taken last summer at Brooklyn Bridge Park, which served as the perfect location with a direct view of the Manhattan skyline.  Our photos were take by my fiancé's uncle, a very talented photographer that will also be taking our wedding photographs.  We wondered around the Park on a very breezy summer day finding the best locations.  The photographs with the brick wall are extra special since we were in the storied Tobacco Warehouse that have been uprooted - sadly they are turning this structure into shops.  I am glad that we were able to capture the beauty.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Devils' Food Cake with Hazelnut Crunch

The delicious combination of chocolate and hazelnut is the Italians answer to peanut butter and jelly, except I'll be honest, I like their pairing better.  Luckily this dynamic duo comes in the form of Nutella, an addicting spread that I cannot trust to have my house for fear that it will be my topping du jour on nearly everything.  I recently wanted to make a cake, to thank the family in the area for all that they did for me while I was in the hospital.  My thankfulness translated into a Devil's Food cake with Hazelnut Crunch, a definite labor of love that was quite possibly the best cake I have ever made.  It combines an incredibly moist chocolate cake that has hints of rich coffee (the recipe calls for it), a hazelnut crunch that is addicting and incorporates rice cereal, nutella and freshly toasted hazelnuts and is topped with a mousse-like frosting that is out of this world. In other words it is death-by-chocolate.  While this cake took a while to bake and put together, it was well-worth it, after all my fiancé and his wonderful family deserve it. If I could have sent this cake to my friends that sent me flowers,  brought me macarons and loads of magazines to my sisters that drove from Boston and all of the people that were praying for me -  I would have made that many cakes.  This cake is for you too, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  Now, let's eat some cake!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Petal by Petal:: 'Pink Ice' Protea

Natures beautiful and diverse color palette constantly serves as a major source of my inspiration. Now that spring is here and the flowers and trees are beginning to bloom, I feel in a sense that life begins again, all of the color just awakens me!  While winter is upon us, I take to the flower district for my color fix, hence why I was immediately drawn to the 'Pink Ice' Protea, a gorgeous pre-historic looking flower with a cooling pink hue that is just stunning.  They are one of the oldest flowers known and their structure is something at which to marvel.  From doing my research every single protea is not a single flower, but rather a grouping of flowers surrounded by long broader petals called bracts.  The center of the protea is incredibly soft, it practically feels like cashmere.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Love This Look: The Full Skirt

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was quite lovely, it all ended with a bridal brunch where I got to meet so many nice people that were so giving.  I have to say that I feel like a full-fledged adult now, we have so many matching things and wonderful pieces, hello Le Creuset in Lapis, we are so blessed as a couple!  

The full skirt is one of those pieces that exudes femininity.  Tibi has mastered this silhouette over the past few seasons whether it be the paint splattered version from last season or this seasons light and airy eyelet in gorgeous pastel shades.  Here are some of my favorite looks spotted off the Fall 2014 runway and my picks to help achieve this look.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Few Beautiful Things

Happy Friday everyone! So glad the weekend is near and with it spring temperatures.  I am excited because I have my second (local) bridal shower on Sunday hosted by my wonderful mother-in-law-to-be.  Before I leave you for the weekend, I just had to share this dreamy photograph shot by Vanessa Rees, the incredibly talented photographer that I was able to assist a while back on a shoot - I mean how amazing is this styling?  Also, here are a few beautiful things that I have spotted around the blogosphere this week. Have a wonderful weekend!

Can we talk about this pavlova? Such stunning photography and styling

I adore Albertina's newest pillows, so pretty

I would love to attend this photography workshop

I love Louise Rowe's California home - a bit bohemian with touches of Hollywood glamour

Excited to read the latest issue of Rue

Such a chic office, I would love to have that wall paper in my own

A grilled cheese party? Yes, please!

Saveur Magazine has released their nominations for the best food blogs, one day I would dream to be on that list

Image via Vanessa Rees

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring's Best Rose Fragrances

Fragrances centered around the rose unfortunately have a bad reputation for being either too powdery, cosmetic or old-fashioned.  However, there is a new crop of fragrances centered around the rose that are just the opposite, they are bursting with freshness giving them a much more modern feel.  Working in the fragrance industry I smell a lot of different fragrances, but truth be told, I have always gravitated towards rose fragrances, my favorites being Stella by Stella McCartneyFrederic Malle Lipstick Rose and L'Occitane Rose 4 Reines.  I have rounded up some of the best new floral fragrances that combine an array of different varieties of this storied and romantic bloom.  If you are put-off by the idea of wearing a rose fragrance, I challenge you to smell some of the fragrances above because I know they will leave you hypnotized.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mango Tartlettes

I have a thing for baking desserts in miniature - not only are they portion control friendly but they are also just prettier than their larger counterparts.  One of my favorite fruits have made their way into stores, the champagne or alfalfa mango. I love their sweet and tangy flavor and the fact that they are not as fibrous as traditional mangoes.  In order to get the best out of their flavor, I decided to make a Mango Curd tart with an almond meal crust (this recipe is gluten-free) and topped them with some beautiful and edible violas.  The idea of eating flowers might be quite strange even to even the most devout flower lover, but they are definitely worth trying.  The violas I incorporated here have a cinnamon, almost bubble gum-like flavor and served as an interesting pairing with the mango curd.  

Also, I am super excited that my Savon de Marseille soap was featured on  Check out the feature here.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Style File: Spring's Best Flats

I am not going to lie, when it comes to shoes I love comfort - oftentimes the thought of heels can run pain through my sad, over-stressed feet.  However, if there is one key trend that was spotted during the fall shows it was the return of the flat in all of it's glory, whether it be in the form of a brogue, ballet or sneaker.  Since I am ready to kick back the boots until next fall, here are some of my favorite flats for all budgets to get you through until you can say, hello, sandals!

Sunday Supper

Sunday dinner is hallmark in my book - there is nothing like gathering at the end of the weekend with friends or family to toast the week that was and the week that will be.  During the week it can be hard to have a proper meal with the fiancé, but the weekends are where I cook and we enjoy at least two meals together.  I love going out to try new restaurants but more often than not I prefer to flip through a cookbook or latest food magazine and usually end up making some sort of healthy soup or delicious roast chicken.  In order to inspire you to do the same, I have compiled some delicious recipes from