April 9, 2012

A happy happy Easter!

by Shelly

We’re taking a quick trip out of town to go to Legoland, but I wanted to share our casual Easter soiree with you.  Very casual, nothing fancy…  just my family (the inlaws stayed in Central California this time)…a yummy ham, and a FABULOUS lemon cake that I’ll share the recipe for. Yummo!

Mason jars filled with pink tulips and gerbera daisies, gingham napkins, silver bunny napkin holders, Easter candy in silver dishes, and my collection of Easter bunnies were the theme for our table this year.

Our kiddo ate SOOO much freaking candy that I thought her head was going to spin off!  By 3pm though…she had crashed into a pool of blankets on the sofa….and so did the hubby and I to be honest!

But the highlight of the day….well in my book that is…was this delicious lemon cake from Martha Stewart that was just perfect for Springtime!

It wasn’t too hard to make and everyone just devoured it!  Here is the recipe should you want to make it for your next event!  Oh, and to make it EXTRA yummy you must add the lemon curd between the two cake layers as described under the “Variations” section.

Lemon Cake

  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Total Time 45 minutes, plus cooling
  • Yield Serves 12


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.
  4. While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.
  5. Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely. Prepare frosting, substituting 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract. Frost cooled cakes and top with candied lemon slices.

Cook’s Note

When making frosting, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for the vanilla extract.


To make the recipe Martha prepared with John Barricelli on “The Martha Stewart Show,” follow these instructions immediately before frosting the cake: Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with lemon curd. Top with remaining cake; continue frosting top and sides as directed.

Whipped Frosting


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.

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April 6, 2012

What I’m Listening To.

by Shelly

Today is going to be a busy one as we head into the Easter weekend. I TOTALLY forgot to have Easter bunny pics taken of our 5 year old…so I need to rush her over to the mall at some point. I also need to shop for food Sunday…I’m hosting…pick up a few more things for Ellie’s Easter basket and possibly clean up the outdoor furniture since it’s planning on being a hot one this weekend!

I tend to discover the best music while walking our dog during the day. I have to admit that I’ve been caught on multiple occasions singing along while plugged into my headphones. It’s my stress releaser! I don’t care if people laugh at me! :)

Well before I share my Friday music pick with you, I’d like to share a little project I’ve been working on since we moved into our new home. As you may know or have heard, interior designers often have the WORST time deciding on a look for their own home. I think it’s because we just see SO MUCH of what is out there in the design world. It’s overwhelming and frankly I really wish I had at least three homes to decorate in three completely different styles. I guess I just need to have more clients!

But I have finally come to a solid conclusion on the direction I would like to go in our family room..slash…dining room…lash my office. Yes, all three are unfortunately stuck in one giant room. So everything has to work well together and double as something else, ie. the dining table becomes a conference table when meeting with clients. The wingback chair I just ordered for my desk chair can double as seating when we have guests. You get the picture. I still need to find some additional fabrics for seat cushions for my kubu chairs (they already have stains from the 4 year old!) and fabric to recover an old chair I am bringing in from the other room, but for the most part…IT IS DONE! The new sofa should arrive in a few weeks and desk chair should be here shortly as well. I’m excited!!!  Oh, and local friends…yes you will finally get an invitation to come see the new house.  I know, we’ve only been here a year now, but better late than never right?!  Here is the room:

Thoughts, comments??? I love it and it’s got that laid back, layered look with a slight feel of an English conservatory I was going for.  There will be lots of plants….two palm trees in baskets, as well as potted ferns and ivy scattered in the built in bookshelf in the room.

Now for my Friday jam! Enjoy and a very HAPPY EASTER to you and your family!!!


Oh man… am I READY for warm weather! As much as I love winter evenings cuddling up on the sofa under our Pendleton blankets, with our kitty laying between my husband and I and our lab Zipper hanging out by our feet…. I am all about throwing off the outdoor furniture covers, sprucing up the outside planters with bright Spring flowers and enjoying the outside! This weekend is suppose to be glorious here in So Cal. And we are going to be spending our Easter lounging outside on the patio eating bbq lamb and roasted veggies with orzo. I can’t wait!

In other news, I’ve been BUSY!!! I know I’ve said it before, but boy…seriously friends…I’m trying to balance and it is not easy at all. Working moms, please tell me how you do it. I’m a perfectionist to say the least. I don’t feel right if the house is not clean, the laundry is not done, a home cooked meal (preferably an Ina Garten recipe) is on the table AND my work life is buzzing along happily. I know…I need to let go a little huh? I’d love your input here. But with all this busy-ness I will have LOTS to show you soon! Stay tuned.

With Spring all around me I have had a few things on my radar…..

{kate spade carousel bangle}

{kate spade gramercy grand}

{kate spade seaport in coral}

HELLO KATE SPADE WATCHES!!!!!  Where have these been all my life?  I’m not even sure which one I really, really want because to be honest, I want them ALL!  **Ummm, honey….if you’re reading this…yes this would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift. Yep…perfect. :)

John Robshaw fabric for Duralee.  Debuting in April!  When I attended the Design Bloggers Conference back in February, we were given a sneak peak at the line and I was intrigued.  Then at Westweek a few weeks ago, Duralee hosted an event at their Pacific Design Center showroom where they showcased the entire line AND John Robshaw himself!  What a pleasure it was to meet him and chat about his inspiration for the line.  I am dying to introduce the fabrics in some of my designs and possibly in my own home.  So colorful and fun!

Lamb’s Ear.

The most lovely greyish green color.  Makes a flower bed feel instantly “cottage”.  Bees absolutely LOVE the stuff when it flowers (I’m a huge bee supporter!).  And it’s fairly easy to grow.  A must in my garden.

{pure style home}

{little green notebook

I have just been lusting after large scale botanical prints and leaves behind glass.  They are a double punch of design….graphic AND they bring nature indoors.  I’m lobbying heavily for a few of these to grace my client’s entryway that I’m currently working on. So pretty!

{essie neon collection}


I loved it when I was eight years old…and I’m loving it now.  I recently bought some adorable neon t-shirts and jackets for my Ellie and I must say she looks too cute in those fun colors!  And I recently painted my fingers a fun neon pink.  It’s happy, totally trendy and I’m all about it. OH…..and I just got in NEON LINEN from one of my fabric lines. Seriously…neon linen. Sounds like it may be too much, but oh it would look divine in the right room.  Hello, Mrs. Four Flights of Fancy…do you hear me!?

So what’s on your radar this month? Do tell. :)

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