Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fashion :: Inspired By: Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

1. Cory Lynn Calter Monocromatic Corset Dress {no longer available, other options here and here} 2. Onyx Bouquet Studs 3. Sam Edelman Chevron Faux Fur Coa

Happy Halloween my dears!  Do you have any fun plans for this evening?  I won't be dressing up, but I have been spending the last few days visiting apple orchards, carving pumpkins, and watching Halloween movies - one of my absolute favorites being Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas."  I know this movie is a bit polarizing, and honestly I found the visuals too scary as a child to watch, but as I have gotten older I have really started to appreciate it for what it is - the vision of a creative genius. 

Every time I watch the movie it inspires me in a different way.  This past week I was drawn to the black and white ensemble of Jack, The Pumpkin King.  It reminds me of my favorite Cory Lynn Calter dress that I purchased four or five years ago.  I was going to a wedding in Chicago later that day, and as I was packing noticed the silk dress I was planning on wearing had a large stain down the front.  Since I didn't have time to get it dry cleaned I ran out with 30 minutes to spare and literally stumbled upon the black and white striped "Monochromatic Corset Dress".  The second I tried it on I knew that it was not going to be one of those impulse buys that I would never wear again.  The dress fit me like a glove and I must have had at least 25 women pull me aside that night and ask me where it was from.  Years later, it is still my absolute favorite dress.  Every time I wear it I have a magical night.  So to celebrate Halloween, Tim Burton, and my favorite dress I have pulled you together a monochromatic look inspired by "The Nightmare Before Christmas."  The back of the dress is definitely what elevates it to "favorite dress" material, so I don't like to cover it up.  But if it's cold I would throw on a black faux fur coat and play up the costume-inspired elements of the dress with fun pumps and a quirky black cat bag {an appropriate nod to Halloween}.  

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Travel :: Villa Campomaggio

During our recent Italy trip we took a six-day road trip through Tuscany.  We started south in the Val d'Orcia region and slowly made our way north through Siena to the Chianti countryside.  When in Chianti we stayed at the beautiful Villa Campomaggio, an elegant 15th century villa that had recently been converted into a hotel.  The villa's perfectly groomed grounds {the only time I have ever seen grass as green has been on a golf course} were jaw-droppingly gorgeous - secret gardens, a pool overlooking rollings hills of grapevines, chairs for reading surrounded by lavender, cypress trees, dark, mysterious forests, all with a picture-perfect view of the Chianti countryside and the tiny town of Radda in the distance.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Travel :: Camping

Last week I told you about one of my favorite fall traditions, and this week I will be telling you about another - camping.  I have been camping since I can remember and has always been one of my favorite weekend getaways.  There is something about sleeping in under the stars, cooking your food over an open fire, breathing in the crisp, clean air, and being surrounded by nature in all its glory that seems to hit the refresh button on my life.  Being outside is the best way for me to clear my head and reenergize my spirit.  

A few weeks ago Ryan, Yoda, and I headed east to Versailles State Park to meet my mom and stepdad.  It was a perfect fall weekend - cool and breezy in the evening and warm during the day.  The leaves had just started to change and floated gracefully down to the ground like rain.  Friday night we cooked pasta, vegetables, and chicken over the fire for dinner {with a drizzle of Truffle Oil I had brought them back from Tuscany - yum!}.  Afterwards we sat by the fire and roasted marshmallows, ate smores, and gazed up at the stars.  Saturday the boys went mountain biking and my mom and I went on a long hike with our dogs.  We had a simple dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup and spent the last few hours of the night talking around the fire.  Sunday morning we gathered our belongings and headed back to the hustle and bustle of the city.

PS - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Travel :: Siena, Italy

During our road trip through Tuscany we spent one day and two nights in the beautiful Medieval city of Siena, famous for the Palio Horse Races.  I was absolutely blown away by the architecture, the golden light, the views, the churches, and the art.  We first visited the 900 year old Duomo.  The striped columns, stained glass windows, golden murals, marble floors, and the ornate facade made for one of the most stunning cathedrals I have ever seen.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Interiors :: Ali Cayne's West Village Townhouse

I still can't believe that our beloved domino is back.  And with the new quarterly magazine comes beautifully curated online content such as the stunning West Village townhouse of restaurateur Ali Cayne.  The high ceilings, gorgeous lighting, herringbone wood floors, clawfoot tub, neutral color palette with pops of gold...I am absolutely smitten!  And that kitchen?!  I have never felt emotional about appliances, but that stove makes my heart skip a beat.  I have always dreamt about living in New York, and this townhouse is exactly what I have imagined.

P.S. - Follow Dreams in HD on bloglovin' here.

Images via domino

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recipe :: Fall Leaf Cookies

Today I am very excited to share with you my favorite family tradition.  My mom and I have been making these cookies {recipe from a 1993 issue of Martha Stewart Living} since I was in first grade.  Twenty years later we have made them together every year, minus one {sorry Mom!}  These leaf cookies are always a crowd pleaser, I swear every year I make them people tell me I should open up my own bakery.  The best part about them is while they are quite impressive to look at they are so so so easy {I know a lot of people say that, but in this case it really is true}!  

Fall Leaf Cookies

Makes approximately 40 large cookies, 60 small

COOKIES (Recipe via)
6 egg yolks
4 eggs
2 cups butter, softened
2 1/8 cups white sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Add the vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt - stir into sugar mixture.  Cover dough and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Grease cookie sheets or cover with parchment paper.  On a floured surface roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut into desired shapes using leaf cookie cutters.  Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

ICING {Recipe via}
6 cups sifted confectioners sugar
6 large egg whites (we use powdered whites, just to be safe)
Almond extract to taste
Food coloring

Put sugar in a mixing bowl.  With the mixer running slowly add the egg whites, allowing sugar to absorb them.  Add just enough egg whites to get a smooth, slightly liquid consistency (you may not need all 6).  Add almond extract and mix well.

Divide icing into small bowls and add food coloring as desired (we typically make red, yellow, green, and orange for these cookies).

We love to play around when decorating these cookies, and since the icing is a nice, smooth consistency it allows us to swirl the icing to create a veiny or ombre-esque effect.  

To create our "standard" cookie as photographed below, I typically spread one color on one side and a different on the other, leaving about a quarter inch in the center bare.  Using a toothpick add a third color to the center of the cookie.  Make sure you use enough icing so all of the colors are easy to swirl and work with.  With your toothpick, lightly "pull" the center color through each side, creating the look of veins.  Continue until you have reached the desired effect. 

Let dry, and watch your friends be amazed!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Travel :: Tuscan Hill Towns Part II

Oh Tuscany, how you have won my heart.  One of my favorite aspects of the six days we spent there last month was visiting the quaint little hill towns {see previous post about Pienza, Montepulciano, and Montalcino here}.  Over the six days we had the opportunity to visit two more adorable villages.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Art :: Follow Me To...

If you haven't noticed I have what seems like an incurable case of wanderlust, which is why I am absolutely fascinated with Russian photographer Murad Osmann's Instagram account.  Osmann documents his and his girlfriends travels with his "Follow Me To..." Instagram series in which he photographs her leading him by the hand to new and exotic destinations.  The photos themselves are beautiful but I love how they have such a sense of romance and adventure to them.  What a dream.
Images via Instagram

Monday, October 21, 2013

Travel :: Tuscan Hill Towns Part I

One of my favorite aspects of driving through Tuscany was stopping at the ancient hill towns scattered throughout the countryside.  On our third day we visited three towns: Pienza, Montalcino, and Montepulciano.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Interiors :: Sarah Gray Miller's Upstate NY Home

Happy Friday dears!  Today we are taking a short break from Italy photos, and instead I want to give you a little interior design inspiration.  I recently came across the upstate New York home of Sarah Gray Miller, editor-in-chief of Country Living, I have to tell you that I am absolutely smitten!  The color palette, mix of antique and industrial design, and her ridiculously cool collections of curiosities give it the perfect combination of elegance, whimsy, and coziness.  And I love how most of her pieces are from flea markets, Craigslist, Ebay, and other budget friendly sources such as Home Goods and Home Decorators Collection.  Proof that high style doesn't cost a fortune!