Realizing we’re all living some crazy busy lives these days, I love sharing ideas on ways to simplify our lives while making them as enjoyable and beautiful as possible. Therefore, today I’m sharing a very simple way to put together a holiday wreath. Did I mention is was simple?

I found this wreath for about $15.00 dollars at my local craft store.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been obsessed with this gold/rust color that you see on the berries above. It was actually these gold berries which inspired me to put this wreath together.
I decided to go with three different variety of embellishments for my wreath but you could get crazy and do tons more — whatever makes you happy.
I started with the berries because they will dictate where everything else will go.
I started by adding them in the middle of the wreath on both sides. Working my way down and layering them as I go, my goal was to meet at the bottom while still leaving a little room for the pinecones.
Next, I added these little pinecones, with the goal of creating a small cluster at the bottom of the wreath.
Then, I added these two embellishments for more greenery.
Just add them above the berries on either side of the wreath.
And her she is! From start to finish it took me about 20 minutes. You could always add a beautiful ribbon at the bottom if you’d like.
Note: You may need some floral wire to attach everything securely.




One of my favorite tablecloths to use, anytime and every time, is just a simple painter’s drop cloth from your local hardware store — I love them!
I found all these dried wheat stalks years ago at a local craft store and made wreaths with them one year. For the most part I just throw the stalks into whatever vase or bowl I’m in love with at the moment.
Again, I always love using branches or flowers from my own garden (or whoever’s I’m in at the time). This is a black diamond crape myrtle. I love the color!
Now, I’ve collected all my goodies to put together tomorrow’s Thanksgiving table.
I love these little corn guys.
I’m ready to clip my fun branches to fit into my black wooden pots. I clipped some branches from an oak tree as well.
Clipping them away from the table to avoid making a ginormous mess.
And, she’s all done and ready to be enjoyed…
My favorite guy, Bruno, who always gives me great support, but can be a little camera shy.
I strongly believe in creating a table that moves you. Throw away the perfection part of it, or whatever prevents you from living the way you want to live. I even mix and match placemats, napkins, whatever works at the time. I’ve never been a rule follower when it comes to design or entertaining. As we all know the most important part of Thanksgiving, or any meal, is that we enjoy time with friends and family. Ever thankful for those around us and the time we have together.


I love tomatoes and I thought, with summer coming to a close, it was the perfect time to take advantage of some really gorgeous tomatoes.


from Mimi Thorisson’s, A Kitchen in France

Tart dough (see below)

All-purpose flour for rolling

A few sprigs of fresh basil

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/4 pounds (550g) tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 tablespoon honey

1 small ball buffalo mozzarella torn into small pieces

*Serves 4

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Press into the base and sides of a 10-inch tart pan and trim the edges. Prick the base with a fork. Put the pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the basil, mustard, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and pinch of salt in blender. Puree until smooth.

Spread the tomato paste over the base of the tart shell and then pour the basil oil over it. Arrange the sliced tomatoes in a circular pattern, in one layer, in the tart shell. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the honey and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the tomatoes.

Bake until the pastry is golden, about 35 minutes. Let the tart rest for 15 minutes.

Scatter the mozzarella and some basil over the tart before serving.

I went ahead and just bought the dough in the frozen section of my local supermarket but if you do have time, it’s easy enough just to make it from scratch. See recipe below.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

9 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes and chilled

1 large egg

3 tablespoons cold water

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the butter and work it in with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center and add the egg and water. Mix until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least 1 hour, or overnight. Makes enough for one 10 inch tart shell.

Happy Sunday!


I love a fig tree in the garden. Mine is a bit wild at the moment. I usually keep it nice and tidy but decided this season to just let it do what it wants. Even though this years figs aren’t extremely flavorful, I do love using the leafs for decor, especially for cheese boards.

Happy Saturday!



2 pints vegetable stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

a dollop of butter

1 large onion peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped

2 cups risotto (Arborio) rice

2 wineglasses of dry white wine

5 tablespoons butter

4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 small artichokes

zest and juice of 1 lemon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked

Stage 1: Peel the artichokes back to their pale, light leaves, then halve them and remove the hairy chokes with a teaspoon. Immerse the artichokes in water with half the lemon juice with a heavy lid or heat -resistant dish placed on top of them to keep them immersed and stop them from discoloring.

Stage 2: Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, garlic, and celery and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without coloring. This is called a soffrito. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 3: Drop your prepared artichoke halves into the simmering stock.

Stage 4: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring — it will smell amazing. Once the wine was cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly and the outside. Keep adding ladle full of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around *15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.

Stage 6: Remove the artichokes from the stock pan and add to the risotto. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan, artichokes, toss with lemon zest and mint. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Salt if needed.

*Cook’s note: This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s book Jamie’s Italy. This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I’ve been using it forever and everything I make from this book is excellent! This is a very simple recipe but it always takes me longer than 15 minutes to make. From start to finish, I would allow an hour. I made it last night and it took me a while but I’m a slow cook because I always like to enjoy conversation and a glass of wine while cooking.

Serves 6


Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’m excited about this time of year because it means more outdoor dining. Yay! I’ve been gathering images of inspirational interiors and beautiful gardens to share with you. I’ve been working on some renovation projects in California and in Texas and I’m looking forward to sharing those as well. Hope to see you back soon. Cheers!


from my home to yours…

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and prosperous New Year!


Happy Wednesday! Lately, I’ve been using a lot more faux plants in my designs, including some really beautiful faux succulents. One of my favorite ways to display these faux succulents is by arranging them in stone planters — I love the look!

This is a beautiful, yet simple, way to add something extra to your kitchen island, entry or dining area. For this client’s home, I went with this handsome limestone planter and selected mainly purple and gray succulents that would complement the color tones in her kitchen. Below, you can see how easy it is to put an arrangement like this together.

(I was in a bit of a rush putting this together so I apologize for the quality of the photos.)

  1. Cut the floral styrofoam to fit the inside of the planter — this will help hold the succulents in place.

2. Add moss on top to camouflage the foam.

3. Next, add your faux succulents.

You can cut, or bend, each to the size you need. I always believe more is better, so I ended up adding about 15 succulents to this 10″ x 5″ planter.

If you would like to see more of my examples of faux plants, check out my pilates studio project.

Happy Thursday! With tomatoes in season, one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is by making this simple yet extremely flavorful sandwich. This is my all-time favorite sandwich.




Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

Fresh Pesto

Basil or Arugula


A baguette is perfect for this sandwich, but if it’s not easily available then any thick country bread would work.

Spread the pesto on both sides of baguette. Add the sliced tomatoes, salt the tomatoes. Stack the sliced buffalo mozzarella on top and add a little salt to the mozzarella. If you don’t have pesto then you can use a good olive oil.

One thing that I didn’t have on hand but would have been fantastic with this sandwich is fresh basil or arugula. Served with a fresh green salad and a small glass of chilled white wine and it’s the perfect lunch.

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