Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cozy Comfort with Scarves

Scarves are one of my favorite accessories. I love when the weather gets cooler because I get a whole other item of clothing to incorporate into my wardrobe. I usually knit my own scarves, and I already own too many to wear, but I could not resist buying this super-soft scarf from Gap. The fabric is irresistibly cozy, like as cozy as your favorite t-shirt, and it's wide enough to wrap up in. I bought one in an eggplant color, which is no longer available online, but they still have black, an earthy brown and a sea blue, which I might just have to buy as well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Days and Apple Crisp

It was a chilly, rainy weekend in Seattle, providing the perfect opportunity for a meal in the crock pot and apple crisp for dessert. I combined a basic recipe from Paula Deen with the topping from Nigella Lawson's equally delicious blackberry crisp. It's a warm, comforting treat, which goes nicely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a little added sweetness.

Apple Crisp
Recipes courtesy of Paula Deen and Nigella Lawson

6 large apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I recommend Granny Smith)
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the apples, water and lemon juice in an 8x8-inch baking pan. Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds, kernels and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir the melted butter into the crisp topping and spoon on top of the fruit. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and browned.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fashion Plates

When it comes to sets of dishes, why not collect different patterns for different occasions? And if one of those occasions happens to be a girls' night in or an afternoon tea, then by all means get yourself a set of Rosanna dishes. The charming and feminine patterns feature pastels, intricate designs, even Marie Antoinette -- who, by the way, would probably love these plates. A few of my favorite collections are Boho, La Soiree Parisienne, Red Dots and Darjeeling. Rosanna makes plates, bowls, glasses, flatware, tea sets and candlesticks, which are all perfectly suited to your stylish, girly girl activities.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bringing Fall Indoors

Although summer weather is still hanging around, I can't help but think about my fall wardrobe, favorite crock pot meals and the seasonal touches I can bring into my home. Crate and Barrel's latest designs have got me inspired. The color palette features rich jewel tones and warm, inviting colors. A few of my favorite finds are these deep purple dining room chairs, these sleek vases, this glossy brown bowl and these cozy alpaca throws. It's enough to make you want to curl up on the couch with a piece of pumpkin pie.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wedding Belles

Engagement and wedding related posts have been an unexpected focus as of late. And to cap it all off, I'd like to point out an especially beautiful wedding blog called Southern Weddings. With inspiring photos, you get a detailed look at some stunning weddings. Ideas for invitations, food, flowers and those important personal touches can translate beyond the wedding world and are helpful for all kinds of entertaining. If you're looking for some bridal inspiration, here's a particular southern wedding I can't help but recommend.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunshine in a Jar

Here's a home decor item that serves double duty. This simple mason jar would make an adorable addition to a bookshelf filled with eclectic items, but it also serves as an energy efficient LED lamp. Just keep the jar in direct sunlight during the day, and at night, a soft glow will emanate from the glass. The jar can function as a disguise night-light, leading the way to those late night snacks, or you could place several throughout your garden (they're waterproof), creating a romantic atmosphere for outdoor parties. The light from Urban Outfitters is a little steep at $45, but I think it makes a great gift for the girl who has everything.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Entertaining Italian Style

Well, I'm back from New York. The highlight of the trip was hostessing a fabulous engagement party with the help of some friends. Since the groom is Italian and the bride spent some time in the country, we decided on an Italian-esque food theme, which included bruschetta, salami and prosciutto and skewers of mozzarella, basil and grape tomatoes. Dessert included chocolate-covered strawberries, mini cheesecakes and espresso granita. We paired the food with red and white wine and a variety of Italian soda, including cranberry and tangerine. The food was tasty, the atmosphere was lovely, and the guests were hopefully happy.


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