Friday, February 28, 2014

Art :: Amy Alice Thompson

Happy Friday dears!  Directly inspired by Monday's post about New Mexico, today I will be sharing with you the wonderful world of artist Amy Alice Thompson.  I recently came across her work on The Jealous Curator {one of my favorite sources for contemporary art} and absolutely fell in love with her use of vintage landscapes, mixed media {a technique that is one of my personal favorites}, nostalgia, geometric shapes, and of course GOLD.  I don't know about you, but I'm about ready to pack my bags and head out for a road trip of the Southwest!

More about Amy..."Amy's work has centred on re-contextualizing imagery from the 40's and 50's through mixed media. Her work explores themes of memory, childhood, and the natural world through the mediums of drawing, painting, and collage. She studied Fine Art at York University and graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto/Florence, Italy) with Honours in 1995. Her work has been exhibited across Canada as well as New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Berlin. She has exhibited with The Ottawa Art Gallery (Ottawa), Art Interiors (Toronto) and Diane Farris Gallery (Vancouver). She has received support from the City of Ottawa, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council and her imagery has been featured on book, magazine and album covers." - Amy Alice Thompson
Images via Amy Alice Thompson

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recipe :: Blackberry Lavender Scones

I remember being a little girl and my mom asking me to go out into the garden to pick some fresh rosemary for dinner.  Walking barefoot through the yard, I stopped to smell my favorite flowers and wander through the herb garden.  After a few tries I found the rosemary and ran inside to give it to my mom for the dish she was making.  As we sat down for dinner we bit into the tender grilled chicken and noticed it had a rather unique, floral flavor.  It was then my mom realized that I had grabbed the lavender, not rosemary, and subsequently one of my favorite childhood dishes, "Lavender Chicken," was created.

Years later, although I have finally learned the difference between rosemary and lavender, I still am drawn to the fragrant aroma of lavender.  While it may not be for everyone, I absolutely love the flavor and depth it brings to a recipe - especially baked goods.  So today I will be sharing with you one of my favorite scone recipes from Joy the Baker that I first made last year on Mother's Day.  This recipe can be adapted numerous ways, I am envisioning lemon poppy seed, strawberry rose petal, raspberry dark chocolate...the list goes on and on.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Lavender Scones {recipe via Joy the Baker}
Makes 10-12 large scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 beaten egg and granulated sugar for sprinkling on top before baking

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, lavender, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Cut in butter (using your fingers or a pastry cutter) until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Work the butter into the dry ingredients until some of the butter flakes are the size of peas and some are the size of oat flakes.  

In another bowl, combine egg and buttermilk and beat lightly with a fork.  Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough.  Fold in the blackberries.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 15 times.  Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut into 2-inch rounds using a round cutter or cut into 2×2-inch squares.  Reshape and roll dough to create more scones with excess scraps.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Serve warm.  Scones are best the day they’re made, and though they can be frozen and lightly reheated in the oven if you need a future treat.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interiors :: For the Home 01.

L'Objet Swan Salt Cellar // Gold Heart Matchbox {Have this and love it!} // John Robshaw Hand-Painted Throw Pillow // Dwell Studio Stripe Rug //Paul Pedulla 'Beach Buddies' Painting // Radiant Orchid Matisse Chair // Copper Planter // Tim Walker Pictures // Copper Pennant Light // French Marble Cheese Dome // Serena & Lily Pom-Pom Throw // Lacquer Business Card Holder // Dip Dyed Stool // Gold Antoinette Mirror // Batik Serving Set // Gemstone Magnet Set // Gold and Black Accent Table // White & Gold Alarm Clock // Pink File Cabinet // Hanging Rattan Chair // Serena & Lilly Embroidered Sheets & Border Frame Sham // Library of Flowers Bubble Bath

As you can tell, I am seriously yearning of spring.  From yesterday's round-up of pastel picks for your closet to today's post of current faves for the is clear that my subconscious is desperately trying to bring some color into the endless string of cold, dreary winter days.  I'm currently dreaming about this stunning swan salt cellar {seriously, almost too pretty to use}, super soft sheets in the Pantone color of the year, an adorable succulent planter, bubble bath in the cutest floral packaging, and sitting outside in this hanging rattan chair surrounded by fresh flowers.  Are you dreaming of any treasures to spruce up your home for spring?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fashion :: Candy Crush


Lizzie Fortunato Safari Clutch // Tiffany & Co Chalcedony Earrings // Karen Walker Pink Sunglasses // Heidi Klein Bikini // JCrew Mint Spike Necklace // Tibi Full Skirt // T By Alexander Wang Shift Dress // Salt Tasting Dish // Lollia Handcreme // Acrylic Heart Pendant // Lucite Tray // MSGM Two-Tone Top // Mint Sandal // Repetto Ballet Flats // Kate Spade iPhone Case // Elizabeth and James 'New York' T-Shirt // Emma Pencil Pouch // Bracelet // Camisole and Short // Hair Comb // Crystal Drop Earrings //  Loeffler Randall Citrus Printed Bag // Deborah Lippman Nail Polish {Tip Toe Through the Tulips} // JCrew Embellished Sweatshirt 

I have always, always, always loved color.  At one point a few years ago my preference towards all things bright was so extreme that I realized I actually did not own one single piece of neutral outerwear {but I did have coats in yellow, indigo, coral, pink...}.  Since that point I have grown to appreciate neutrals {especially in the winter} and have invested in black and tweed jackets, however I know that my eye will always be drawn to pieces of the sugary-sweet variety.  Because pastels are trending in a very serious way this year, I think it is the perfect opportunity to treat myself to a few more girly chic pieces {especially this clutch, this shirt, and this swimsuit}.  Because even when they are no longer "in vogue," pastels will always have a very special place in my heart.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Travel :: New Mexico

As much as I love to travel abroad, there are still so many of nature's great wonders here in the US that I want to visit.  What better way to see our beautiful nation than a leisurely cross-country road trip?  While I may not have enough free time to do that in the near future, I have been day-dreaming about renting a car and exploring the particular the stunning landscapes of New Mexico.  Ever since I read Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" I have been fascinated with the surreal, otherworldly beauty of New Mexico's white sands, rock formations, ancient Pueblos, and endless desert.  How amazing would it be to drive down the historic Route 66 Highway, see Shiprock Mountain from a hot air balloon, and sleep under the infinite stars?  Just another experience to add to my ever-growing bucket list...
Images via {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8} {9} {10} {11}

Friday, February 21, 2014

Art :: Gray Malin's 'La Dolce Vita'

Hooray for Friday!  I am so happy to be in Raleigh, North Carolina for the weekend visiting my bestie and am absolutely loving the mid-sixty degree weather {a welcome change from the months and months of cold we have had in the Midwest}.  Digging through my pictures from the Amalfi Coast for Tuesday's post reminded me of Gray Malin's beautiful 'La Dolce Vita' series, and I thought I would share with you today.  The photographer explains, "Documenting many of Italy’s most famous beaches on a 2,000 mile road trip, this series was inspired by the glamorous Italian Riviera lifestyle that mesmerized the world during the 1950s and ’60s. Focusing on the retro-vintage beach umbrellas that seem to have stood still in time, this series is meant to evoke the classic nostalgic opulence of what the Italian Riviera once represented."  You can buy Gray's work and live La Dolce Vita here.  Ciao!
Images via Maison Gray

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recipe :: Tuscan-Style Marinated Chicken with Couscous

Inspired by my post earlier this week about Italy, I wanted to share with you another one of my favorite healthy go-to recipes, Tuscan-Style Marinated Chicken with Couscous from Clodagh McKenna's cookbook "Homemade."  I admit, I may or may not have purchased this cookbook because of it's adorable typography, casual layout, and bright pink spine...but I have absolutely loved every recipe I have tried out of it.  This is one of my favorites as it is one of those dishes that is super easy to put together and great to keep in the fridge for those times when you feel too rushed to pull together a quick meal.  The chicken can easily be omitted for all you veggie's out there and substituted with a hearty vegetable or tofu.  

Tuscan-Style Marinated Chicken with Couscous {recipe via Clodagh McKenna's "Homemade"}
Serves 4

1 c. olive oil
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 chicken breasts, free range or organic if possible

1 generous cup couscous {I like to use whole wheat}
1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. hot chicken stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
3 c. baby spinach
Balsamic vinegar to taste {not in the recipe but I always add to give the couscous a little extra moisture}

Place the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Cover and put in the refrigerator, and leave to marinate for up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the chicken, place on a hot grill pan {or skillet}, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook on each side for 3 minutes before cooking in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the couscous in a large bowl with the apricots, season with salt and black pepper, and mix well.  Pour the chicken stock over the couscous and cover immediately with a large plate to seal in the steam.  Leave for 10 minutes

Fluff up the couscous with a fork to separate the grains and stir in the lemon juice, olive oil, almonds, baby spinach, and feta.

Once the chicken is cooled, cut into thin strips, let cool, and fold into the couscous.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interiors :: Villa Passalacqua

I don't remember exactly what brought the idea of visiting Lake Como to my mind, but I know it has long been one of my top bucket list {and possible honeymoon} destinations.  The gorgeous, crystal clear Italian lake is speckled with some of the world's most luxurious villas and surrounded by picture-perfect views of the snow-capped Italian Alps.  Due to time and geography we have yet to have visited Lake Como, but to me it is just that much more of a reason to take another trip to Italy!

While most of the villas surrounding Lake Como are private {Hollywood dreamboat George Clooney is just one of the many VIP's who owns a home here}, there are numerous rental properties available across the lake.  Rentals range from small apartments to luxury villas, and when I came upon Villa Passalacqua I was absolutely blown away.  This gorgeous 18th century home can be rented out {"price upon request" of course!} for family reunions, events, or weddings.  Can you even imagine attending a wedding ceremony in the beautiful Italian gardens then heading inside for dinner and dancing under the ornately fresco'ed ceilings?  Pure magic.  Whose going with me?!