The last time I went to LA it was on a trip with friends and we stayed at the Hotel Bel Air, while we were there we had dinner one night and breakfast every morning at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant located in the hotel’s courtyard. I wanted Michael to see this beautiful place and experience the wonderful food and atmosphere so I made reservations for us at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air for 6 o’clock. (above image via)
March 15, 2017
February 27, 2017
I recently purchased a few books from one of the popular sale websites and the first one I’ve had a chance to flip through is Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart, and it’s glorious. The book is written and put together by journalist and photographer Janelle McCulloch. McCulloch specializes in design, architecture, and style and has written for numerous design magazines, including Vogue Living and Elle. McCulloch’s Paris takes you on a tour of the City of Light and is divided up into the different arrondissements or neighborhoods that make up the city. She goes in-depth in each arrondissement telling you what to see, where to stop and rest, where to stop for a bite to eat or a cup of hot chocolate. The first half of the book is all about the 18 arrondissements, the second half is about where to specifically find things, there’s a whole section of the best books stores in Paris and gets specific such as where to buy books for gardeners and cooks. There are sections on where to buy tableware and linens, homewares, decorating stores and on and on. The book is filled with gorgeous photographs taken by Janelle McCulloch and is a wonderful addition to any personal collection for a Francophile or as a gift. Check out Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart, you won’t be sorry. Until you do here are some images from the book, Enjoy!!! (above image via)
November 17, 2016
There are many visions of Italy: One seen by foreigners, one seen by us Italians, and eventually, behind it all, there is the true Italy. In this book I would like to reveal to readers, through Aline’s inspiring photos, my Italy, and I hope readers will discover an Italy as true for them as it is true for me.
—Gelasio Gaetani d’Aragona Lovatelli
The Italian Dream: Wine, Heritage, Soul is the product of a journey, one that follows Italy’s best wines. The Italian Dream is the product of a combination of talents, French photographer Aline Coquelle and Italian aristocrat Gelasio Gaetani d’Aragona Lovatelli, together these two of created a tome that’s a beautiful homage to Italy and the beautiful lifestyle of the country. Coquelle is a world traveling and world famous photographer and is known for using silver film for her photographs which give the look at old time photography, as she says, “saving tradition is the new revolution.” Count Gelasio Lovatelli is a member of one of Italy’s oldest aristocratic families and an authority on Italian and International wines. Join me today for a peek at The Italian Dream from Assouline Publishing, the perfect gift someone who loves wine and all things Italian. Enjoy!!!
September 30, 2016
I love to bake, I don’t do a lot of it because of the obvious reason, we would just eat it. But truth be told Williams-Sonoma has beautiful bakeware that could definitely get me in the mood to bake up batches of fall goodies. They have amazing pans that when the cake or bread comes out is full of pumpkins and leaves. There are tools for cutting out amazing Fall inspired pie crusts for Autumn apple or pumpkin pies, and I love the pans that allow you to create small bite size goodies with an Autumn theme. Check out a few of the pieces of bakeware here and head over the Williams-Sonoma website to see all their amazing pans and utensils for baking Fall goodies. Enjoy!!!
September 28, 2016
When I think of Ballard Designs I always think of furniture, fabrics, home accessories and not so much seasonal merchandise but they have some wonderful choices in Fall home decor. Whether you’re looking for pumpkins made of stone, clay, or glass Ballard Designs has them as well some wonderful serving pieces that look like real hollowed out pieces of wood. I gathered a sampling today for you to see of their holiday wares, but check out their website for a complete look. Enjoy!!!
August 18, 2016
All my life I have heard of The Hague in the Netherlands and to be very honest I thought it was a building but it’s a city, I guess it’s just the only city I know of with the word “the” in it besides The Vatican. Anyway, we decided to visit The Hague as it’s the center of not only the Dutch government but also the home of the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. We traveled by train to The Hague which was about an hour outside of Amsterdam, The Hague sits on the western coast of the Netherlands next to the North Sea. My friend Maartje had told me about a wonderful museum in The Hague called Mauritshuis (it was originally a private home) which houses over 800 artistic objects with most of them being paintings by Dutch artists such as Rembrandt, Ver Meer, and Holbein, so we set that as our destination in Google Maps and walked over. Mauritshuis is a wonderful museum, it feels much more intimate than a lot of museums since it’s in a former home and it also allows you get very closely to the works of art and see detail. After a couple of hours at Mauritshuis we explored the city of The Hague, walking through the Dutch Parliament building, we found the Dutch Royal Palace, explored several shops and had a wonderful lunch of salads at ‘t Goude Hooft (The Gold Head) and of course took lots and lots of pictures. Here’s a peek at our day in The Hague, Enjoy!!!
August 17, 2016
We knew if we were going to the Netherlands we had to see windmills and a Dutch friend of mine had told me about Zaanse Schans, a neighborhood northwest of Amsterdam that is home to several historic windmills as well as historic cottages all along the banks of the Zaan River. The journey was just a short train ride away, I want to take this moment to tell you that the Dutch train system is VERY easy to navigate and the people working at Centraal Station in Amsterdam were always very helpful in getting us where we wanted to go. We rode the train from Amsterdam to the train station closest to Zaanse Schans and walked into town, now I have to tell you that the village is just across the river from the Zaans Gedaans Cocoa Labs, so we were basically in a town with a chocolate factory. At times during the day all you could smell was chocolate, the day we were there it was gray, cloudy, and breezy so we were getting wafts of chocolate riding on the air all day long, it was wonderful. The windmills at Zaanse Schans are all still working, some are lumber mills, one grinds mustard and for a fee, you can go up in them and get a closer view. We walked the whole village and around the windmills, we had lunch in a charming pub, took tons of pictures that I’ll share some of today, then headed back to Amsterdam. I’m so glad we visited Zaanse Schans, it was very charming as were all the people living and working in the village. If you visit Amsterdam definitely put Zaanse Schans on your “to do” list. Enjoy!!!
August 15, 2016
On Sunday, July 31st our traveling companions, the Potts family, returned home to Oklahoma and Michael and I moved on to the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. I’ve always wanted to go to Amsterdam, when I was a little boy that was the only foreign city that I knew anyone had visited. My dad was stationed in Germany in the 1950’s and he and his buddies traveled to Amsterdam on their leaves, he had told me about visiting the canal city and we had pictures he had taken. Amsterdam is a beautiful city, it definitely feels smaller than London and everything is very compact and for that reason, all the buildings, new and old, go UP. City Central is wonderful and of course, you can wander up and down the streets along the canals for hours, literally losing yourself in the architecture and flowers. Today many of the beautiful old buildings along the canals are homes to businesses and not people, it’s gotten to be so expensive to own and keep up these amazing old houses. There are cruises you can take along the canals and explore the city and they point out all the sites along the way. We had wonderful food throughout the city, Michael tried several different kinds of beer and I experimented with Rosé wines. Of course, pastries are plentiful and a day didn’t go by that we didn’t have some kind of good Dutch candy or chocolate. All this week I’ll share our adventures in Amsterdam with you and the day trips we took to other cities and the surrounding countryside. To kick things off here’s a look at Amsterdam through our camera lens, Enjoy!!!
July 15, 2016
Almost as important as the taste of a good cake is the presentation, and nothing can do that better than a beautiful cake stand. American Heirloom is a wife and husband run company that started out specializing in handmade cutting boards ( a whole different post) and has since evolved into among other things cake stands. Their cake stands are so elegantly simple and the fact that their bases are made of wood (maple and walnut) makes them that much more alluring. Right now the stands come in two different wood types and two different silhouettes, and two different sizes plus some of the stands can be personalized with names, initials, and or dates to make a wonderful gift for weddings or a special birthday for a baker. As you can also see from the above picture the stands can do double duty to help create a beautiful centerpiece for your table or would also be great cheese boards for pre-sliced cheese, or put the crackers on the cake stand and the cheese below it on another board. Join me today for a peek at Amy and Bill’s creations and to see more great products from American Heirloom check out their website. Enjoy!!!
June 8, 2016
Hot Summer days mean wanting to get cool and lots of time that means getting in the water and today we are using that for inspiration as we check out some of the newest additions to tabletop at Pottery Barn. Whether it’s being on the water and focusing on boats and everything nautical that goes with them or being in the water and focusing on all the creatures dwelling below the depths, Pottery Barn has some awesome plates and serving pieces. Any and all of these pieces will be perfect in a house on the beach by the sea or your family’s lake house. In the meantime, I’ll get the shrimp and crab legs and you set the table. Enjoy!!!