Monday, March 31, 2014

Travel :: London, England

My first visit to London could not have been more perfect.  I stayed with a dear friend, Ashley, whose Westminster flat was less than a block away from Parliament and the River Thames.  While she worked I explored the Tate Britain and the stunning Natural History Museum, did my Christmas shopping at Harrods, marveled at the beautiful row houses {I felt like I was on the set of 'Oliver Twist!'}, and wandered along the Thames through Holiday Markets, past funky street art, by colorful storefronts, and finally across the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral.  Together we headed to the West End to see Jersey Boys, shopped at Camden Market, took an evening boat ride down the River Thames, explored the boutiques and galleries of Shoreditch, ate our way through Borough Market, had high tea at the Harrods Tea Room, and spent our evenings catching up with bottles of wine.  I absolutely loved the city's vibrant energy, fascinating history, and unique mix of tradition and modernity, and can't wait to visit Ashley again!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Artist Spotlight :: Old English Co. + {Giveaway!}

Happy Friday everyone!  I am thrilled to be bringing you another giveaway today from one of my favorite Etsy designers, Ben Treanor of Old English Co.  I included Ben's 'Bonsoir Mon Amour' print in one of my recent Etsy round-ups, and he kindly offered to donate a print of your choice to one of my lucky readers!  Ben started Old English Company while working full-time as a designer and illustrator for Waterstones {a UK-based chain of bookstores}.  After creating a multitude of greeting cards, calendars, and products for Waterstones he decided to open up his own design business...thus Old English Company was born.  The small Notting Hill design studio creates an array of stylish and customizable prints, cards, and homeware that combine traditional and contemporary illustration and typography.  

Ben's humorous and whimsical designs will add a dash of personality to any space.  Personally, I think this {in mint} would make a perfect addition to our gallery wall while I would love this {in pale pink} and this {in black} in my kitchen.  This {in ash} melts my heart because it reminds me of our beloved Yoda, who we call our little white fox, and how cute would these look in a nursery?!  To enter to win a print of your choice from Old English Company, visit their Etsy shop and simply leave a comment in the below comments section saying what print you would choose if you won.  For more entries, use the rafflecopter below.  Have fun!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recipe :: Ahi Tuna, Avocado, and Mango Salad

One of my favorite things to eat when I'm at the beach is seafood. I'm not a big meat eater, so whenever I'm near the water I eat as much fresh fish as I can get my hands on. I love ceviche, oysters, swordfish, mussels, salmon...the list goes on and on. But, there is nothing in my mind that compares to a perfectly cooked tuna steak. Add some avocado and mango? Well, you've got yourself a winner!

Ahi Tuna, Avocado, and Mango Salad {recipe adapted from 'Barefoot Contessa at Home'}
Serves 4-5

2 pounds very fresh ahi tuna steaks
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest of 2 limes
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes(
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
2 teaspoons soy sauce
10 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 firm, ripe Hass avocados, large-diced
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 mangos, cored and large-diced

Heat a dry sauté pan and sear the tuna over high teat for 2 minutes on each side, until seared on the outside and still raw on the inside.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lime zest, lime juice, wasabi powder, soy sauce, Tabasco, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Toss the avocado and mango chunks in the dressing and then arrange the avocados, mangos, tuna, and red onion on individual plates.  Drizzle with more dressing and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interiors :: Wallpaper Guide

Oh wallpaper, how I love thee!  The way you add depth and texture to even the blandest of spaces, the way you look framed by crisp white molding, the way you pack a major design punch in one step...I know you are polarizing {much due to the fact that removing you is so darn awful}, but I can't help it, I love you!  Perhaps it's the perpetual renter in me, but when we finally buy our own place you bet that I will be wallpapering at least a few walls.  Whether you want a bold print, a subtle texture, a modern touch, or a whimsical twist...there is a wallpaper style for everyone.  Looking for more wallpaper inspiration?  Some of my favorite rooms {a few of which even use the above designs} are below.  Enjoy!

Images via {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8} {9} {10} {11}

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fashion :: The Sunshine State

Hello from the Sunshine State!  The weather is warm, the ocean is refreshing, and my beach bag is packed with sunscreen, a good book, and my trusty camera.  I pulled together some of my favorite vacation essentials including these adorable scalloped shorts, this breezy polka-dot blouse, and this tropical-print pouch.  Do you have any warm weather getaways planned?

Shop the look:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Blogger :: Paris in Color from Melinda's Musings

{Place de la Concorde}

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  We are on our way to Florida, but no worries I have lots of fun content planned for this week :) Today I am excited to be sharing with you a guest post by none other than Melinda of Melinda's Musings.  We 'met' a few months ago and connected on a mutual love of travel.  I swear, this girl is always on the go!  I absolutely devoured her Instagram feed when she took a weekend getaway to Paris last month {jealous!}, so I'm thrilled today that she will be posting about just that.  C'est parti!

Hello Everyone! I'm Melinda of Melinda's Musings, and I'm so excited to be guest-posting on Dreams in HD today. It was not too long ago that I came across Molly's wonderful blog, and couldn't help noticing that we shared similar passions - style, art, food, photography, and travel….as well as the ability to find and appreciate the beautiful things in everyday life. 

Since Molly is off on her own travels this week, she asked me if I'd like to share a piece of one of my most recent trips with you. Last month I was very luck to spend a few days in Paris with my was simply wonderful! But the weather was on-and-off rainy, and while some say that "Paris is even more beautiful in the rain," I have to admit that I prefer the sunshine! The reason being that not only do I love bright blue skies, but I love taking bright, colorful photographs. The rain did lend itself to one great shot, but the photos I chose to share with you today represent the most colorful ones from our trip. I hope you enjoy them! 

{One of the many infamous "Love Lock" covered bridges}

{Carousel at the Hotel de Ville}

{Colorful street art mural near the Centre Pompidou}

{The Centre Pompidou contemporary art museum's colorful, industrial exterior}

{Yaacov Agam's installation at the Centre Pompidou}

{Gérard Fromanger's "En Chine, á Hu Xian" at the Centre Pompidou}

{"Made In Japan, La Grande Odalisque" by Marital Raysee, at the Centre Pompidou}

{A colorfully painted door in La Marais}

{Me, in front of a blue door in La Marais}

If you'd like to see more photos from our Paris trip, visit Melinda's Musings. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+.  A very big Thank You to Molly for having me guest post today!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Art :: Just Breathe

Happy Friday!  Today I'm guest blogging on Melinda's Musings, so make sure to stop by her blog to see my five favorite links from the week.  I am very much looking forward to our upcoming trip to Florida {only three more days!}  Ryan's cousin is getting married on the beach and his family decided to extend the trip for a family reunion, so we will be spending all next week in Clearwater Beach enjoying the sun and sand.  After this brutal winter, it will be a much welcomed getaway!  In the spirit of warm weather, today I wanted to share with you the work of one of my favorite artists, Samantha French.  I love the hyperrealistic look of her oil paintings, can't you just feel the warm sunshine and cool water on your skin?  From the artist...

"My current body of work is focused on swimmers underwater and above. Using vague yet consuming memories from my childhood summers spent immersed in the tepid lakes of northern Minnesota, I attempt to recreate the quiet tranquility of water and nature; of days spent sinking and floating, still and peaceful. These paintings are a link to my home and continual search for the feeling of the sun on my face and warm summer days at the lake. They are my escape, a subtle reprieve from the day-to-day. At the same time, I am drawn to an idealistic time before my own, where swim caps and wool swimsuits were commonplace. This combination of memory, observation and photography (old and new) has allowed me to preserve the transitory qualities of water and remembrance." 

Learn more about Samantha here and purchase her work here.  Have a great weekend!

Images via Samantha French

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Recipe :: Spring Asparagus and Gruyère Tart

Happy first day of Spring!  Today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes for an indulgent Spring Asparagus and Gruyère Tart that always impresses without actually being much work at all.  Perhaps it's the homemade crust, but guests always think that I slaved for in the kitchen for hours when in actuality this recipe takes about 20-30 minutes max of hands on time.  It can be varied based on what you have in your refrigerator {I'm envisioning feta + sweet potato, broccoli + cheddar, kale + leek...} and is great served for brunch, lunch, or dinner paired with lightly dressed greens.  For an added treat, roast a handful of grape tomatoes with a little olive oil and serve on top of the tart...I promise you won't be disappointed!

Spring Asparagus and Gruyère Tart {recipe adapted from Clodagh McKenna's 'Homemade'}

5 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
approx. 1/3 cup cold water

18 thin asparagus spears (approx. 10oz)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Gruyère
1/2 cup half and half
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil loosely chopped

Start by making the pastry.  Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour, then add enough cold water to bring the pastry dough together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Once the pastry has chilled, roll it out using a wooden rolling pin and line a 9 1/2 inch tart pan {I have this one}, pressing the dough down firmly and trimming off the excess pastry around the edge of the pan.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

While the pastry is baking, rinse the asparagus spears and slice them in half.  Beat together the eggs, cheese, and half and half, and season with salt and black pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into the tart and arrange the asparagus spears on top.  Sprinkle with fresh basil.  Bake the tart at the same temperature for a further 40 minutes or until the center looks and feels golden brown.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Interiors :: Abby Larson's Home

Style Me Pretty was the very first blog I discovered.  I read it before I even really knew what a blog was, I just loved browsing through all of the beautifully photographed weddings.  Today, the site has grown into so much more than a simple wedding website...but it still remains true to founder Abby Larson's lovely and feminine aesthetic.  So imagine my delight when I recently stumble upon Abby's gorgeous New England home in Domino.  I love the pops of color, art, and combination of modern and traditional furniture.  But my favorite part of the house?  Her adorable little yard!

Images via Domino