Interior Inspiration: Living Room

Since we painted our living room back around Christmas, I’ve been busy collecting (pinning) tons of ideas and inspiration for how to complete the room.

Our current quest: two brown leather couches. I went back and forth on whether they should be matching couches and finally settled on two different ones. We host a lot of get-togethers so having plenty of seating is really important to us. Eventually, we would like two leather sofas, two King Louis chairs and two “x” stools for the main seating area, as well as one or two comfy chairs for a reading nook in the corner. Here is our inspiration – stay tuned as it develops (and if you’ve seen any good gray/leather inspiration send it my way):

Images: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]

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Traveling Tuesdays – Cote de Azur

Cote d’Azur

After Florence, we boarded the bus for a long drive to Cannes, France. To break it up a bit, they let us have a pit stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. I for one am a really big fan of Pisa. Its just one of those things you always see in books and photos, but it still shocks you when you see it in person. I mean that thing really leans.

It is next to impossible for me to stay awake in cars. The roar of the engine and bumps of the road just lull me to sleep, but the Husband made sure to wake me up for the good parts, like the drive along the Italian and French Riviera. It is so picturesque and makes you really evaluate how lucky you are to be looking at it.

We were originally supposed to stay in Nice, but Globus (who books trips as a profession) somehow didn’t realize it was Grand Prix weekend and there were no rooms to be had so they shipped us on down the road to Cannes. So not only were we in the South of France during the Grand Prix, but we also got to catch the tail end of the Cannes Film Festival, complete with red carpet and Hollywood glam (sadly, there were no celebrity sightings). Nonetheless, it was awesome. The first night we had dinner on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean, then we headed for the casino where we played for a couple of hours before taking a beautiful walk back. We ended with a nightcap at a very trendy sidewalk café complete with freshly shaved prosciutto and live music.

The next day, we ignored the advice of our very opinionated and somewhat boring tour guide (he believes seeing the sites is vacation enough) and hit the beach! We actually lucked out by staying in Cannes because the beaches are much nicer (sandier) than the ones in Nice. We ate lunch in our lounge chairs and took a swim (more like a wade for me – it was freezing) in the Mediterranean.

That afternoon/evening we drove back to Nice where we took a walking tour through the town and got wonderfully distracted and off track when we stumbled upon this French flea market. The Husband and I were awestruck. We picked up a few treasures for our friends back home and lusted after all the amazing antiques on display. The garage sales in Fort Worth just don’t have that kind of loot. After a walk on the Nice Promenade we drove up to Monaco where we saw the church Grace Kelly was married, along with the beautiful palace and amazing views of yacht-filled marinas and bays. We also drove the route of the Grand Prix that was still set up from the race the day before and visited the beautiful Monte Carlo Casino where I had just enough time to burn $100 on the slots.

The next day we caught the express train to Paris, but first stopped at Fragonard, a perfume factory in Grasse. They are known for their expertise in parfum, and I finally learned the difference between eau de parfum and eau de toilette. I’m wearing their éclat now and love it.

I think its safe to say that we all want to come back to the South of France, but for a longer stay. Next and final stop: Paris!

 

 

 

Matrimonial Mondays – Majors

Major Love

Remember our friends Patrick and Rachel who we hosted a fabulous fiesta for a few weeks ago, well we followed that with a wedding full of dancing, photo montages, hugs and reliving the glory days. I’ve known Patrick since pre-school, had his mom as a teacher, our dads work together and we went to college together, so his wedding was like a childhood/family/high school/college reunion. Patrick and Rachel are two of the funniest people I’ve ever met and we laughed at their humor, wit and nervous excitement all the way through their sweet ceremony. The ceremony and the reception were at the City Club in Fort Worth, which you may remember is one of my favorite venues.

Wedding Favorites:

The band: Identity Theft out of Dallas – They were phenomenal and could play new, old, indie, classic, anything you wanted.

Photographer: The Minnericks – This husband/wife team were everywhere and got some great shots.

Favors: Koozies with “Major Love” – a play off Rachel’s new last name

[Last three images by The Minnericks.]

Foodie Friday: Venice

Venice – The Food

Okay, by now its obvious that we did not go hungry in Italy, but I wanted to share our Venice wining and dining experiences too in case you have a chance to visit any of these. My number one tip for dining in Venice – find an outdoor dinner venue with a great view.

Ristorante Da Celio – We had been doing touristy stuff all day, had two just so-so meals in Rome and were jonesing for some authentic, unhealthy, delicious Italian food. Ristorante Da Celio was just the place. We ordered amazing pizzas, fresh salads and huge bowls of pastas with the best sauce accompanied with some Italian beers and cold white wine. It totally hit the spot, and I will definitely go back there if I’m ever in Venice.

Hotel Danieli – Our tour director assured us we were getting the best views of Venice from our water taxi on the way in, but he was wrong. The best view was on the terrace of Hotel Danieli. I’m pretty sure my dad saw this place in The Tourist and planned on visiting ever since, but he treated us to a wonderful meal with an unforgettable view.

Caffe Florian – This is right on St. Mark’s Square and is the perfect example of Venetian style. It has been around since 1720 and has all of the old world charm. There are lots of tables outside in the square that are perfect for people watching, but it will cost you a pretty penny. Italians take their experience and their coffee very seriously. This did not deter my brother and the Hubs though. They cozied in for a café and a snack while us girls did some shopping and while Dad and Colby investigated the Klimt exhibit.

Harry’s Bar – It would be a shame to go all the way to Venice without stepping in to Harry’s Bar and trying one of their signature bellinis. This place was established in the 1930’s and has been the “aperitif hour” hot spot for countless members of high society.

Stock the Bar Showers

One of my favorite wedding trends has been the ever-popular Stock the Bar Shower. Grooms love them, the wedding party doesn’t dread them, and brides get a chance to blow off a little steam.  I love these because glassware is my second favorite thing in the world (behind paper goods, of course). If you have a lot of local friends that appreciate a good cocktail, this is a great modern twist on the bridal shower. Here are some stock the bar party and gift ideas to inspire your own version:

Love Lemon Tree Paperie

Pinterest find

Love these highball glasses from Furbish

Great gift or serving ware for a stock the bar shower

A saloon theme with these as a gift would be awesome.

Great theme for a fall shower

The perfect in-theme pass-around.

Images: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

I had the opportunity to throw two stock the bar showers last year, which were both a huge success. Here are some of the highlights:

Michael and Brittney

The first was for one of my sweet friend, Brittney, from college. We had not met many of their local friends before so I was a little nervous about how it would be received. Well my worries were unwarranted. We had a blast! Michael and Brittney got a ton of fun liquors, bottles of wine and barware and we got to know their friends much better (it made the wedding that much more fun). I thought these invitations from Invitation Box were fitting since we all met in Raiderland. (I did have some issues with Invitation Box though – just FYI.) I found some really cute napkins at Target and used that as my color scheme. I think it turned out really well.

The second was for my law school friend, Saniya and her husband Ali. I co-hosted with two other classmates, Kathryn and Lindsay, and let me tell you – attorneys know how to throw a party.  We combined Mediterranean  food with wine-themed décor on the tables. For a guest book, we had guests sign corks with well wishes and the corks now sit in a beautiful glass hurricane in their dining room.

Caprese skewers (Pinterest idea)

Traveling Tuesdays

Florence

The first time I went to Italy, Florence was my favorite city, and this time it did not disappoint either. By this point the seven of us had been together non-stop for five days and were starting to irritate each other, so we used Florence to split up and have some alone time and just relaxed with tons of good food and many Italian beverages.

Favorite Sites: (1) The Statue of David at the Accademia Gallery – it is overwhelming in the best way; (2) The Duomo and Basilica – they just don’t build things like that anymore; (3) Piazza della Signoria – just what you picture of a Tuscan city;

Shopping: Leonardo’s Leather Works – this is my second time at Leonardo’s and I highly recommend this store. They have a huge selection and help you do all of the tax-free paperwork. I was about to buy myself a belt and my sister was going to get some bracelets when my dad offered to buy us the leather jacket and bag we were really lusting after. I was so impatient to wear mine, I wore it to the Moulin Rouge in Paris 5 days later. That leather jacket may have been the highlight of my trip! Kayla and I then split off from the parents who headed to the Uffizi (Dad loves Renaissance paintings), and walked towards the Ponte Vecchio and shopping district for some souvies.

Food & Drink: The real highlight of Florence was the food! Florence is in the heart of Tuscany and just above the Chianti region and as far as Italian food and Italian wine are concerned, Tuscan flavors and Supertuscan blends of wine are my favorite. Here are the restaurants and bars we went to and I  highly recommend all of them if you ever find yourself in Florence.

Paperorosso – This was the very first restaurant we went to and was a matter of luck. Our hotel room was not ready and our group was too tired and grumpy to walk all the way into town and Paperorosso just happened to be right in between. The owner was so welcoming and made it feel like we were locals. He made us things off the menu and was incredibly hospitable. This was the first place I had charcuterie while in Italy and I was in heaven! So many meats and cheeses to choose from. Colby and a few of the others ordered a grilled porkchop that melted in your mouth. It was just what we needed to get in the foodie mindset for Florence.

Enoteca Pinchiorri – This was one of those restaurants that has been on my food-loving father’s bucket list, but instead of just doing  a date night with Mom, he took the whole family for an unbelievable, once in a lifetime experience. It is a top Michelin rated restaurant and by far the most elegant place I’ve ever dined. We had 15 courses, unbelieveable wines to match those courses and the most impeccable service I’ve ever experienced. The waiters literally escorted you to the restroom and disappeared into the walls (that’s what it felt like at least). Afterwards, the amazing sommelier gave us a tour of one of the best wine cellars in the world. Just seeing a $1 million bottle of wine made me giddy; I can’t even fathom what it would be like to drink something like that. Another bottle was  from the late 1800’s! That bottle of wine has survived many a war. This dining experience was truly unbelievable and I feel so lucky to have been able to enjoy it. If it is good enough for Presidents Clinton and Bush, its good enough for me.

Baldovino – My dad read about this place in one of his travel books and it was unbelievable. By far the best pizza I had in Italy and I got the charcuterie again – Oh my gosh! I heart Italy. This one is near Santa Croce so a very easy place to stop in and grab a bite as you tour the city. (The Santa Croce area turned out to be one of my favorite areas – if you can stay close to here you are guaranteed to have a marvelous time).

Finisterrae Ristorante – This was a group dinner planned by our esteemed travel agency, Globus, (eyeroll) who had butchered the dinner choices up to this point, but this one was amazing. The food was outstanding and so authentic, the decor was Tuscan-chic and the service was great. This is a great well-priced Tuscan dinner.

Bars – I mentioned before that the fam split up for the day, well when the Husband splits up from a group you can usually find him in the nearest pub or in this case looking for the nearest pub. He befriended not one, but two bar owners as he explored the city on his own and mapped out a plan for our evening. The first night we visited an Argentine pub before dinner – Argentino 7 Secoli – also near Santa Croce that had the biggest beers I’ve ever seen. The second night we followed dinner by visiting The Lion’s Fountain Irish Pub where they had a Texas Tech t-shirt that everyone got a kick out of signing and Sei Divino that had the best peach bellini (both for taste and presentation) I’ve ever tasted (there may have been a wine bar or two in between these).

All in all – if you love art and food, then Florence is the place for you.

Matrimonial Monday

First Anniversary

The Husband and I just celebrated our one year anniversary. Its hard to believe its already been a year, but it has been a great year. We had a fabulous dinner at Mercury Chophouse (look for it in a future Foodie Friday), followed by a beer at one of our favorite local English pubs, Ye Olde Bull and Bush (this is the only place I could get the Husband to sit down and work on wedding stuff). It was a great date night and we spent the evening reliving our favorite moments of the wedding and reminding ourselves how grateful we are to have such great families and friends.

I finally got to give this super cute card from Colette Paperie:

I also read through the journal I started on my wedding day last year (thanks, Michelle) – a neat way to remember all the day to day details and fun and a great gift for brides:

This is a first anniversary tradition that should die:

Not near as good the second time around.

We both made an effort to give the traditional first year gift of paper (or something related to paper), but it was no easy task (I settled on getting him Gardener & the Grill, a great little cookbook for summertime that I saw on Camille Styles). Here are some of the other contenders I had it narrowed down to as well as a few things I wouldn’t have minded receiving:

Field Notes – perfect for the gardener

monogrammed coasters (image from rewardStyle)

1001 Whiskies Book

Smock Wrapping Paper

Weekend Recap

I worked remotely Thursday and Friday which made it feel like I had a glorious five day weekend. We just kicked back at the lake and enjoyed some good quality pool time and some delicious food. Mom had the house looking super patriotic – I am definitely buying myself a couple of those red, white and blue lantern strings for next year. Our friends Juan and Jo Anna and their sweet baby, Greyson, came up and spent the weekend with us as well as my aunt, uncle and cousins, so we had a really fun group. We enjoyed lots of fun cocktails (Dad makes a new one with champagne, St. Germain’s and a secret ingredient that is amazing) and watched Lake Nocona’s ever-impressive fireworks show.

Jo Anna brought my mom a beautiful patriotic arrangement.

The Husband bought live lobsters on Tuesday at Central Market that we had to keep alive until Wednesday night to cook. It was a challenge, but we were successful and the meal was absolutely wonderful. This was the first time the Husband had par-boiled the lobsters and then grilled them and they were so good. (For future reference, Central Market can par-boil them for you to grill later which would save you the trouble of keeping 14 lobsters alive for 24 hours.) For the steaks, he marinated them overnight in a sauce from Fischer‘s (an great little grocery store and meat market in a neighboring town) and then used our good friends, Tom and Justin’s homemade rub on them (they’re about to launch a new website for all their yummy recipes, check it out – TGK). I think I could have eaten 16 oz. by myself. And mom of course had snacks, dips and desserts galore including homemade ice cream which she makes for me every year. A while back, Juan introduced us to his famous corn dip and it has been a hit at our family get-togethers ever since. I’ve shared the love below.

Juan’s Famous Corn Dip

  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped red pepper diced
  • 1 chopped 1 red onion
  • 2-3 cored and chopped jalapenos if you’re adventurous
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 – 1 bottle of Kraft Zesty Ranch Dressing
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (sometimes I do more cheese)
  • Mix all of this together and chill
  • Top with crushed Chili-Cheese Fritos

Foodie Friday

Okay, I promise this is my last alliteration, but I have a whole list of restaurants I’ve been wanting to write about and Friday was open. Anyone that has met my family knows that food plays a central role in our get-togethers. My Dad especially has a passion for fine dining and living so close to him we often get to experience some awesome new places. Dinner and drinks is also our primary social outing. There is seriously nothing I love more than trying a great new restaurant and having a fabulous, long dinner with lots of good conversation. So to share those experiences, we now have “Foodie Friday.”

Ellerbe Fine Foods

This restaurant had been on our list of places to try for almost a year, but we finally got to visit it 2 weeks ago. Some of my friends raved about it and some of them hated it, so I was anxious to make my own opinion. We’ve tried to go a couple of times, but they book up quickly on most weekends so I highly recommend making reservations.

The Atmosphere: Ellerbe is in the newest up-and-coming area in Fort Worth, on Magnolia Avenue in the Hospital District, which I have really enjoyed exploring lately. That area is kind of working the hipster/Austin vibe which is cool and different for Fort Worth. The decor is really simple and elegant – mix and match vintage farm table chairs, flour sack napkins, burlap hand towels, etc. They also have a neat little market area where you can buy wine and specialty gifts – a great place for hostess gifts!

The Food: I’ve been to farm-to-table type restaurants before, but our group especially enjoyed this one because a lot of the farms were in  small towns my family has lived in. My aunt and uncle even knew one of the farmers the restaurant works with. We pretty much each got something different, and it was all amazing. My recommendations: Start with the assorted artisanal cheese and charcuterie or the creamy Scott Farm sorrel soup. The Copper River Salmon and the Porkchop were my favorite entrees. (Keep in mind their menu changes frequently depending on the season and availability of produce. The menu they have now has several other dishes than their one online). We always save room for dessert – I am not a fan of bread pudding, but I now crave Ellerbe’s version. Delicious.

Images: [1], [2,3], [4,5]

Thirsty Thursday: Grapefruit Goodness

Grapefruit Goodness

So last Friday my sweet friend Lindsey had several of us over to grill out and enjoy some cocktails, including this delicious concoction that I now crave every time I step out into the summer heat. Also, several weeks ago I interrogated her about where she got the awesome soap that was in her bathroom (a little creepy, I know) and she surprised me by ordering me a bottle off eBay. I’m obsessed. The smell of the soap is freesia and poppy but it was the same color as the Grapefruit Goodness which made for a good photo.

Grapefruit Goodness – (Lindsey, feel free to rename) – 1 part Grapefruit juice, 1 part vodka, 2 parts tonic

We also went to Pop’s Safari Cigar Shop after this where we discovered that they had a patio. How did we not know this? The Husband’s occasional cigar is much more bearable on a cute open terrace.