December 29, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

by Shelly

I had completely intended on posting one or two posts before Christmas hit.  But alas plans were a bit altered when I realized I had to get my butt in gear to host the holiday and I only had a few days to prep before the in laws came to visit.  Christmas came….we ate, we drank, we laughed, and lounged…a lot.  My tradition each holiday is to NOT make the same ol’ thing.  This years’ menu contenders were a hit and I may just have to put a few of the dishes on holiday rotation.

The Christmas Eve table setting…..

Unlike holidays’ past, I decided to take down the decorations and completely de-Christmasfy the house before New Years.  I am just done done done with jingle bells, reindeer, glitter, etc.  DONE!  I left a few wintery items up like the knit pillows and the Pendleton blankets on the sofas and chairs however.

Well with the cleaning out and lightening up of the house, I usually also feel the need to internally “clean house” and eat lighter. The rain has come back today in So Cal and this soup (recipe here) is just the thing to start eating healthy again after all the rich holiday foods.  Fresh chicken meatballs, spinach, a light broth….yum!

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We don’t do photo Christmas cards every year, but this year we did and I wanted to go all out with a fun theme of sorts.  The hubs acquired his dad’s 1972 Jaguar E-type when we were first married 8 years ago and it’s been a fun toy to take out on date nights and special events.  We’re both a pretty into the whole English thing.  In fact my husband lived there for a short time after college and he surprised me on our one year anniversary with a trip there. I had never been before that.

In any case, I thought it would be fun to do a cheeky Brit themed photo session for a few years now.  And this Christmas season I decided, was the perfect reason to finally do a shoot!  So today I wanted to share our fun pics with you done by the lovely Beth of Beth Moser Photography!  We love the way they came out.

Side note….It was 96 degrees the day we took these photos! We looked absolutely RIDICULOUS to everyone at the park that day where we took the photos. The husband was not thrilled with my clothing choices at all!

SUCH a ham that kid!

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December 11, 2012

I’ve Been Good Santa!

by Shelly


I’m in quite the festive mood this year!  The house and the tree were fully decorated by the last week in November.  I’ve also managed to knock out quite a bit of my gift shopping already. That is definitely a first! Well, as much as I love to give…oh how I do love to receive as well!  Here is what I am hoping Santa will bring me this year.

To be honest I haven’t been following the Smitten Kitchen blog, but I have pinned quite a few recipes of hers over on Pinterest!  I just know the pictures in this cookbook are going to be amazing and I am excited to try out some fun new dishes.

Ina, Ina, Ina!  I cannot get enough of this woman.  Everything I’ve ever made from her is wonderful, and fairly easy (for me at least). Of course I also need this cookbook to complete my Barefoot Contessa library.

Every year I get a new planner to keep me on track.  For some reason I not only need to enter appointments in my iPhone, but it helps me to also write things down. After seeing  this planner on Instagram, I knew it was just the thing I needed to keep me organized next year.

While visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday, my awesome cousin in law Rhyan was sweet enough to sit down with me for a while and give me a much needed makeup tutorial and brush up. After she used this cool egg makeup blender, I noticed my makeup looked more natural on my skin.  I also like the fact that it’s washable, so I can reuse it over and over again.

This serum is AWESOME! I started using this about a year ago and have really noticed the difference it has made on my skin.  It’s toned down the redness, helped with my dryness and given me overall brighter skintone. I’m down to drops in my bottle at home, so a new supply would be nice.

My current right hand ring is bent to hell.  I’m really loving the delicate ring look. This set fits the bill and is definitely a great price!

I’ve been searching for a classic watch that will go with everything.  This Timex is just the look I was hoping to find. Clean, timeless and goes with everything.

We went to a fun Christmas party thrown by some of our best friends Saturday night.  When we got home I took off my shoes as soon as we came in the door. Well, the new puppy thought they were yummy. When I found them the next morning she had eaten the back of one of them. I actually think these black heels are a bit nicer than my old pair AND they’re 50% off right now!

After picking up this magazine a few times in the grocery store I realized that it wasn’t the stuffy, old person’s food mag that I thought it would be. I’m totally obsessed with it now!

Hello beautiful!  This bracelet would just be so pretty for nights out or even for a bit of a more glam daytime look. Definitely a look that will never go out of style.

I’m all about getting comfy after hours.  This hoodie would be the perfect thing to zip up, get cozy and watch our new fav show Breaking Bad in.

Are you hoping for something particular to find it’s way under your tree?


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Limited budgets often get in the way of our home decorating dreams.  But more often than not, a small budget, a new set of eyes, and some professional help CAN help transform a space!  Case in point….



My clients’ cute little condo was feeling cluttered.  With a few too many knick knacks, patterns and a case of crowded furniture, her home lacked a defined style and wasn’t feeling “pulled together” like she wanted.

We were working with a pretty small budget, so figuring out what needed to go and what should be replaced was very important in keeping within her limit.  I suggested we rework the floorplan as much as we possibly could.  The room is small and it didn’t offer many alternatives as to how the big pieces in the room could be placed.  With that being said, we also didn’t have the funds to replace the red sofa, matching chair or any of the other big pieces in the room.  The client had recently bought the painting of the woman above the sofa and wanted to pull more of those colors out to tone down all the red.  So, with those thoughts in my head, we worked up a plan to make the room a bit more sophisticated and girly like my client. :)


The first thing on my list was to remove the striped linen panels and wood and fabric cornice boxes on the windows.  They looked dated and made the room feel more country/old world, than glam traditional like my client wanted.  We added silk duponi panels from Pottery Barn and hand forged iron rods to the windows.  I put these up myself in a hurry just to get the shot, but we will be adding iron rings as well.  They are out of stock right now.

The oval side table that was originally there was replaced with a larger round side table to fill the space better. I would have liked to see an even wider round table there, but again budget was a factor here.  On top of the table we replaced the dated crystal lamp with a clean, more modern glass lamp with a simple linen shade.  The hammered bowl is from Nate Berkus’ Target line and the frame is the clients.  To the left of the sofa we paired down the two floor lamps the client had in the room and replaced it with this mica shade adjustable lamp from Ballard Designs. I apologize for the glare from the lamp! The ivory linen pillows on the sofa were added to bring in a bit more neutral color to the space.  And then to the lucite coffee table I added a cool gilded gold tray and mercury glass vase from West Elm, along with a lacquered sea urchin….another Nate piece!

I moved the clients’ antique Swedish chair to the sofa wall, to open up the other side of the room and to make the chair more of an art piece.  I then placed her stack of House Beautiful magazines under the chair…again to give more of a “look” to the chair.

{close up of coffee table}

We’re adding some more touches next week and I will be sure to post more photos of the updated space then.  But in the meantime my clients’ space has been freshened up just enough and in time for a little holiday party she is having tonight!  Enjoy Jen!!!

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