A new front door has been a project I had been long researching. Because a front door is the first impression for guests, in many ways it should encapsulate the essence of your home’s style. Looking through one of my favorite design books, I found an image of a very beautiful interior oak door in […]

The last thing I want to do in the summer is turn on the oven unnecessarily so the crock pot becomes this cook’s tool of choice. I made this classic family recipe for July 4th weekend. While it’s good for a crowd as a side dish, it’s also worthy as a standalone main and even […]

The measure of good weather is a meal outdoors. While we’re at least a month away from being able to enjoy such an extravagance, I look forward to the return of greenery and setting a pretty table on our deck. I had set up this brunch table to celebrate my sister’s birthday last summer. I […]

There’s nothing I love much more than fresh flowers, and would love to tuck them into every corner of my house. That’s obviously not practical year-round, especially when the garden is dormant. The flower water must be changed daily, the vase cleaned, the ends re-snipped, any wilting bits pulled out… Because I love the impact […]

To me, the most marvelous flower arrangements evoke a time and place. I was inspired by wild black raspberry branches currently in season in the woods nearby our house. I gathered some other wildflowers to fill it out, as well as roses currently blooming in my garden. I arranged the branches in this crystal compote, […]

We’re well into May, but this weekend will be the first weekend it truly feels like spring because I’ll have time to work in the garden and set out our outdoor furniture for the season. The garden is waking up and there are weeds to pull, cutting garden seeds to sow, and garden beds to […]

Just in time for Easter, daffodils, grape hyacinths, early tulips, wild bluebells and my favorite native Dutchman’s Breetches are coming up in the garden. My favorite way to decorate for any holiday is to use a minimum of holiday-specific pieces that I’ll have to store, and instead bring the outdoors in for a seasonal touch. […]

A trousseau is the tradition of receiving a particular set of wedding gifts meant to last more than a generation. It includes white linens (often monogrammed with the bride’s initials) and also china and silver. Now that we are returning to somewhat “normal life,” weddings and showers are happily returning too. According to etiquette tradition, […]



Swedish semlor (semla is for a singular bun) are a yeasted, cardamom-scented, almond paste and cream-filled bun traditionally enjoyed during the Lenten season, especially on Fat Tuesday. They are so decadent and delicious that they are absolutely worth the time in the kitchen. Best enjoyed with a cup of coffee for a whimsical afternoon treat! […]

Classic white dinnerware is never out of season. “French porcelain” may sound fussy, but in fact, it’s one of the most durable materials you can select for everyday dishes or fine dining. I didn’t register for a china pattern and instead opted for the beauty and simplicity of white porcelain. I selected our dishes from […]

As I have embraced a simpler aesthetic over the past few years (less effort to clean and store!), our Christmas décor now features lots of candles and greenery, beautiful by day or night. And my year-long aversion to red goes on hiatus for the holiday season with accents of red roses in nearly every room. […]

The most perfect box in the world comes tied with a perfectly-tied ribbon around it. What makes it so special? Besides being a visually pleasing bow, the ribbon is tied in such a way that it does not criss-cross at the bottom of the box, allowing it to sit flat on a surface. Also, the […]

We enjoyed spectacular fall color in our backyard this year. Except for our oak trees which hold their leaves for most of the winter, nearly every tree around us is now bare. We keep leaf cleanup simple by raking leaves to cover our garden beds (free mulch and winter protection for bare soil) and then […]

I was scraping the bottom of a Dijon mustard jar to make my favorite vinaigrette and decided it was too pretty to toss. Not an ordinary glass jar, this mustard was a new-to-me French whole grain variety, Pommery Meaux Mustard, that I admit I bought for the pretty packaging. Once the label was stripped, it […]

One part spooky, one part chic is my recipe for Halloween decorating. I get my cheap thrills in the form of glittered bugs, gilded snakes and natural elements. I love that Halloween is on a weekend this year, so I’m looking forward to a chilly couple of days watching supernatural thrillers with a lots of […]

Come fall and winter, black tights are an essential aspect of my wardrobe and Wolford is the essential hosiery maker. They will run you around fifty dollars a pair, but if you take care of them, they will survive seasons of regular wear. The reason I will spend more on a pair of Wolfords is […]

It’s that time of year again for trimming wicks and basking in the glow of a gloriously rich candle, reading material optional. I’ve written about some other favorites here, but some newer scents that have captured my attention. Chilly air. Leaves. Candles. Bliss. TLC Candle Co. ‘Gatherings’ With notes of red currant, teakwood, pomegranate, nutmeg […]



So you’re all dressed up and ready to go to a dinner or cocktail party at someone’s home. You dutifully ask the hostess, “What shall I bring?!” to which she replies, “Oh, just yourself!” But really, what shall you bring. Any time a hostess throws a soirée she should provide absolutely everything (unless the event […]

The site of the revered fashion house of Chanel at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris is not only home to the brand’s flagship store, but above it, Coco Chanel’s apartment. The name ‘Chanel’ is synonymous with good taste and elegance. Within this classic, cream-colored building with clean lines and black accents lies a great juxtaposition. […]

This is the TV that launched a (multi) thousand-dollar mini remodel. I have never spent this much money on a TV before, but it has been worth every penny. When we decided to pull the trigger on it plus upgrading and simplifying our home theater system, I didn’t want something so pretty to be installed […]

If you’ve never heard of a ‘shrub’ before in the context of mixology, you’re not in the minority. It is a non-alcoholic syrup usually fusing together fruit and aromatics in a concentrated solution of sugar and vinegar. A shrub is the base of such wonderfully refreshing mocktails that, due to the acidity of vinegar and […]

This post has been a long time coming, but I am so happy to share how we updated our living room earlier this year. The idea began with wanting to upgrade our TV. We wanted the amazing Samsung Frame TV that would display art when in sleep mode instead of what I would always see […]

This summer we headed out west to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a family vacation. Jackson Hole is the name of the valley which includes the town of Jackson, Teton Village, Grand Teton National Park and more. We flew into Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), the only airport in a National Park (Grand Teton) because it was […]

After spending so much time at home last year, and finding great comfort in the coziness of our living room TV and down-filled sofa, it was time to refresh some of the things that bothered me in this area (thank you, Great British Baking Show, for your calming and inspiring presence throughout quarantine). I created […]

How does an American celebrate Bastille Day? By making a tart, bien sûr! I created the bleu, blanc and rouge of the French flag out of blueberries, white cherries and raspberries across a base of baked custard with a hint of Grand Marnier orange liqueur.

We are so lucky to live in a town with the most wonderful farmer’s market. It is hosted each Saturday inside one of our fairground buildings, so it is open rain or shine! Not to mention, we are in the middle of some of our country’s best farmland, so we have access to some excellent produce and goods.



The Fourth of July and berry desserts go hand in hand. ‘Semifreddo’ means ‘half cold’ in Italian and is a delicious frozen mousse/sorbet that is served after it’s softened about 10 minutes out of the freezer. You can make this dessert with fresh or frozen fruit (which is a good hack if you don’t want to remove the pit from two cups of cherries like I did), just as long as you have a few fresh berries for your garnish.

In the late 19th century and into the early 20th, herbier specimens were collected and pressed from flowers and plants from around the world. This practice was a popular pastime for affluent Europeans. Collectors of plant specimens would spend a great deal of time drying, pressing, mounting and labeling the plants they found on their […]

As if on cue, each of my rose bushes have burst into full bloom this week. Their glory only lasts for a few days, so I am clipping as many flowers as I can to enjoy everywhere inside, deadheading spent blooms and fertilizing the plants with hope for another bloom or two this summer and […]

To me, there is nothing more luxurious than sleeping on ironed and starched pillowcases. I’d love ironed sheets too, but lack the household staff to make this wish a regular possibility. What I do not love is buying more plastic bottles than necessary, and recently discovered that I can easily make my own starch at […]

When we were planning our wedding, I was sure that I wanted a ‘party dress’ to change into after our first dance. As I started to look for one, my style inspiration was the infamous nude dress Marilyn Monroe wore to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to John F. Kennedy in Madison Square Garden (to me, 1962 […]

When I was at one of the famed Paris flea markets, I found a little box containing eleven (my lucky number!) Francs from the 1950s. For only a few Euros, I scooped them up and thought I could make a truly unique souvenir that would always remind me of my first Paris flea experience. With […]

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 I am in probably the minority camp that actually really enjoys cleaning. I regularly keep cleaning supplies stocked and the list is pretty short because most things I use can do triple duty, or more. The items I use are all mostly […]

Seasonally, I love to create flower arrangements out of what’s blooming in our yard. I was inspired to create this bouquet when I found a leafy, carrot-looking bunch of greenery that started sprouting up in my vegetable and cutting garden. I was so close to pulling it as a mystery weed, but glad I didn’t […]

A few years ago, I shared about how I created a closet out of a spare bedroom. Though I have ample space, this room was somehow always on the verge of becoming a disaster zone. Whenever I would seek to reclaim my messy closet, I would spend about every other Sunday afternoon “organizing.” What I […]



Our master closet, which I also refer to as my dressing room, is a repurposed bedroom adjacent to our master bedroom. Plans have been long in the works to adjoin this room to our bedroom with a new private entrance, and to close off the wall to our hallway. At that point, I would consider […]

What is better than homemade bread? I love focaccia because one recipe makes a TON and it becomes a canvas for any flavors you wish to apply to it, like a pizza. I quarter each loaf and freeze half so that I usually have some bread on hand. I kept this batch relatively simple with […]

When my sisters and I were little, Easter was all about the basket. Now that I’m grown up, I build my own basket each year, and all I really need is flowers. After months of nothing but evergreens to snip, our yard is bursting forth with Muscari, Crocus and Narcissus and I’m in heaven. I’m […]

Of all the rooms in your house, the bedroom should be the most restful and calm-inspiring, serving as your retreat at the end of the day. I have long loved a classic neutral room and my heart fluttered at the sight of the master bedroom at the beautiful Patina Farm in Ojai, CA. It is […]

A standalone cabinet, whether IKEA or a marvelous antique, is my most favorite type of furniture because it can not only anchor a space with its scale, there’s also something about a piece of furniture devoted to storing little collections that appeals to my organization and container-loving heart. I had long been on the search […]

Several years ago when we replaced the white gutters on our house with black, it gave me the opportunity to rethink our home’s whole look. I love the overall bones and symmetrical layout of our 1969 brick ranch. These classic proportions make our house rather chameleon-esque and virtually any style can be applied to it. […]

The world’s oldest and most acclaimed candlemaker is Cire Trudon. Dating back to 1643, they provided illumination to the court of King Louis XIV, as well as to the great churches of France. Over the generations of family owners, they perfected the process of wax purification and created a perfectly clean-burning candle with virtually no […]

At the end of last year, we decided it was time to begin the process of replacing some of our existing flooring. Our house had six different types of flooring including carpet, engineered and oak hardwoods, travertine, tile and bamboo, and none of them are necessarily reflective of our style. Upon reflection, I am grateful […]

I’ve read somewhere that in designing your home, the master bedroom sets the tone for your whole house and therefore is a good place to get started. For me, the “catalyst room” has always been the dining room. It’s a room synonymous with hospitality, and becomes the ambassador of your style to your invited guests. […]



The origins of patîsserie are arguably not in France, but from the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of the Assyrian Empire circa 800 B.C. I count this dessert among my most favorites to both make and enjoy, these cookies and pots de crème being the others. Phyllo (meaning leaf) is a super thin pastry, sold in the […]

On this especially cold Valentine’s Day weekend, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than together in our little château. On the menu for our celebration tonight is Ligurian Focaccia (recipe from a great Netflix series), my favorite pasta dish, Bucatini with Pomodoro Sauce, and a great bottle of Champagne. Here are some moments from around our […]

In the Midwest, you know the season has turned to winter when all moisture is zapped from your skin, and you find yourself applying lip balm every five minutes. Winter calls for enhanced skincare protocols, so here are some tips I adhere to this time of year.  Use a purifying mask weekly to help remove […]

The original French pinup girl is Brigitte Bardot, and many of her iconic style choices are the origin of what we think of when we think ‘French fashion’ today. She herself underwent a major style transformation from her 1950s debut at the Cannes Film Festival as a demure brunette, to her evolution as a sultry […]

A few years ago, after watching the Barefoot Contessa pull a jar of 25-year-old homemade vanilla extract out of her incredible pantry, I was inspired to make my own. According to Ina, as her supply runs low, she just keeps topping off the jar with more vodka and the vanilla beans keep replenishing her supply. […]

As is now tradition with my sisters, I like to put together some of my favorite finds from throughout the year to give at Christmas. While 2020 was a year that had many challenges, it was one in which I embraced simple luxuries more than ever as a way to focus on the good. Here’s […]

This year at our little château, we have embraced a simpler aesthetic for Christmas décor. While decorating for Christmas is fun, I never enjoy spending hours packing away lots of holiday stuff. So this year when I unpacked it all, I edited my collection down to just a few favorite, sentimental items that bring us […]

The Dala Horse is a centuries-old Swedish symbol originating the the Dalarna region, once characterized by small villages surrounded by forests. As horses were highly prized and respected, small hand-carved horses were given to children as gifts. The earliest Dala horses were said to be plain, but as their popularity spread among the regions, people […]

Annually, Neiman Marcus puts out its Christmas Book with gift ideas and it infamously includes a collection of ‘Fantasy Gifts’ for the person who has everything. When I was younger, I thumbed through the pages of this catalogue with great interest and marveled at the creativity of its offerings, like an ‘ice house’ complete with […]



When you’re really craving chocolate, nothing less than a decadent flourless chocolate cake will do. But it’s so rich you don’t need much, which is why I make this chocolate torte recipe in mini cupcake tins lined with parchment cupcake wrappers. The whipped cream frosting piped on top balances the dense chocolate for a perfect […]

For my beverage of choice, there are a few key points to remember for maximum enjoyment. Read on for my Champagne etiquette tips. How to Chill Too warm a bottle (above 57ºF) can create excess foam, which also makes the bottle harder to open. Too cold a temperature (below 42ºF) reduces the bubbles, masks the […]

On a beautiful fall weekend, Nathan and I drove down to Kentucky to visit the Maker’s Mark Distillery. A few years ago, Nathan signed up for the Maker’s Mark Ambassador program. As a part of that membership, his name was added to a barrel of bourbon and with that, the five-to-seven-year time clock for the […]

Before a killing frost, these two flowers thrive in a cool season garden and are among the last standing when the rest of the more showy blooms have faded. Traditionally “filler” flower types, Queen Anne’s lace and euphorbia are easily grown from seed and are just as beautiful on their own, especially planted or gathered […]

In the final installment of our basement remodel home tour (see also my craft room and the guest suite), I’m taking you around what we refer to as ‘The Cellar,’ as inspired by the 1920s vintage French wine rack and Champagne refrigerator we now have in our main living space. After the remodel, our basement […]

‘One part spooky, one park chic’ is how I like to approach Halloween décor. Inflatable ghosts need not apply. I like to mix it up from year to year to make new, eerie little vignettes around the house. I’ve had the same bag of tricks for the past several years consisting of black birds, glittery […]

Continuing on our basement remodeling tour (craft room here), we arrive at our mini Guest Suite. At the bottom of the basement stairs is a little bath and bedroom connected by a hallway that have all been completely refreshed with new drywall, flooring, trim and paint after our flood. I made an inspiration board for […]

Way back in January, pre-Covid and what feels like a lifetime ago, our basement flooded when our sump pump failed. I was home alone, and on a routine weeknight I had gone down to the basement to fit in an evening workout. It had been raining and at the bottom of the stairs, I was […]

I have been on a tear in the craftiness department lately, in particular with my stock of samples of very pretty fabrics that I’ve been trying to reimagine into our décor (most recently here and here). The challenge with fabric samples, of course, is that you have such a small amount with which to work, […]



Though you may have grown up believing that ice cream and spoons go hand in hand (remember those little wooden tongue depresser “spoons” that came with the ice cream cups served at classroom parties??), it is actually a rule of etiquette to enjoy ice cream with a fork. From the Victorian era of highly specialized […]

Have you ever wondered about the proper way to order a bottle of wine at a restaurant? When ordering a bottle, one partakes in a little ritual with the waiter or sommelier. The bottle is presented at the table, and the patron verifies by the label that the wine being presented is indeed the correct […]

My friend, Anya, shared with me her recipe for a classic Russian salad. And with the current profusion of garden tomatoes and cucumbers that have been flowing through the house the past few weeks, I can’t stop making it. Classic Russian Salad Ingredients 2 cups tomatoes, chopped 2 cups cucumbers, diced 1 cup sweet onion, […]

Amid a pandemic, many of us have needed to embrace the idea of a ‘staycation’ this summer. While I’ve always appreciated where I live, I am seeing my small, midwest town through a new lens — that of a tourist. Wherever you live, I challenge you to do the same! Here are some of the […]

When you walk across the grounds of a château in the Loire Valley, or in any park in Paris, you will sense a common theme emerge. In French gardens, there is an undeniable passion for order over nature. The grandfather of the French garden aesthetic, Andre LeNotre, was gardener to nobility and kings in the […]

On an early spring day walk in the woods with our dogs, we stumbled upon a few moss-covered bricks sticking out from the soil. I love anything covered in moss, so I immediately freed them from the dirt to take home with me, thinking they would be lovely accents somewhere in our garden. Then a […]

Green onions grow like weeds. When you buy them and the roots still attached, they’ll keep growing! An old-fashioned trick for green onions is to store them in a cup with just enough water to cover the roots, and you’ll always have green onions on hand. You can speed up the growth by storing your […]

I have a beautiful Tahitian pearl that I got on my first trip to France. The owner of the small chateau where we stayed had a friend whose hobby was pearl diving in Tahiti, and he was selling a small selection of his finds on the property. I was fascinated to learn about the process […]

Whether you walk through the Historic District of Charleston, South Carolina or visit virtually admiring photo after photo scrolling through Pinterest and see beautiful, old buildings with painted black accents, you should look twice. The color you are seeing is likely actually a green so deep it appears black — Historic Charleston Green. While there […]



Ever inspired by the great castles, châteaux and estates of Europe, I love that these places all have names which add to their character and history. The first autumn in our home, I was washing dishes at the kitchen window and the most beautiful red fox dashed across our backyard. We live close to a […]

Nothing shines so brilliantly as a beautiful piece of silver. It feels extra luxurious to use, even in the most casual of settings. While we don’t have a set of real sterling silverware, we have a few pieces among which are small silver bowls and a tea set. The classic French onion dip and potato […]

One of my favorite pieces of advice from Miss Manners is that ‘adults entertain in their home.’ My sisters and I were trained young by the Greatest Generation on how to entertain. In high school, we had the good fortune to be the hired helpers of dear friends of our grandparents who would have us […]

I have a gorgeous set of cross-hatch crystal stemware from my grandmother that is decades old, but shines like new with easy cleaning. Instead of relegating the crystal to a storage box or basement shelf, I use it regularly — even a glass of water tastes better when sipped from a thin, glittering glass! For […]

This project to label my perennial garden is one that I have had on my to-do list for a while, and when I found these copper garden labels on Amazon, I was immediately inspired to get it done. This year has been a great one for gardening, and having just done a major plant edit, […]

Around the turn of the 20th century, ladies began favoring hats over bonnets, and thus the popularity of the hatpins soared. While the pinhead of the hatpin could be simple to quite ornate, the function of a hatpin is for keeping a hat pinned to the head. The pin is quite sharp, enough to pierce […]

We received this beautiful polished nickel bar cart as a wedding gift from my aunt and uncle. It’s sentimental to me because it was the first adult piece of furniture of our own in our newlywed house, which was on the scarce side of furnishings and happily appointed with a few hand-me-downs from our families. […]

For our 30th birthday trip to Las Vegas a couple of years ago, we stayed at the Encore at Wynn and had the most memorable watermelon cocktail (served in a tiny watermelon half!) by the pool. I made a note on my phone of the listed ingredients on the menu and just recently attempted to […]

This year in our gardens, I did some major reordering and editing of existing plants. Many of the perennials I planted several years ago have filled in nicely and in some cases needed to be divided in order not to crowd and snuff out other plantings. Perennials are wonderful because as opposed to annuals, they […]



Several years ago, Nathan took a trip with his family to Hawaii, and they visited the Dole Plantation where he learned how to slice and serve a pineapple. He taught me how when he got home, and I’ve been cutting pineapples this way ever since. It’s a method we now refer to as ‘pineapple boats’ […]

Though our master bathroom is hardly my dream salle de bain (we plan to one day renovate it), there are certain elements that I can enjoy now to make this important room feel not only intentional, but also like a welcoming and beautiful oasis where we get ready each day. Fresh Flowers and a Floral […]

While Princess Diana was one of the most glamorous style icons of the 80s and 90s, it is her later casual looks composed of quality basics that really seem to have stood the test of time. She gravitated toward a high-low mix of structured, boxy blazers and denim in a chic, neutral palette later on […]

If you’ve never made lemonade from real lemons, do give it a try. Add to that a touch of lavender syrup instead of sugar for sweetness, and it’s a classic American beverage with a French twist. Add to that a splash of good vodka, and now you’re on vacation in the south of France. For […]

I love May in the garden. Now that we’re past Memorial Day and just on the very cusp of summer, our gardens are coming into a beautiful swell of blooms. I made this arrangement which is a perfect distillation of what’s putting on a show in our yard right now. What’s in this arrangement? Clematis […]

Usually my chocolate cravings can be satisfied by a handful of bittersweet chocolate chips, but when not, this decadent recipe is the ultimate solution. A pot de crème in French loosely translates to ‘pot of custard.’ This chocolate version is richly scrumptious and best served chilled. I didn’t have multiple same-sized ramekins, so I used […]

I am delighted to present this post in partnership with Basic Invite, an online destination for most any paper wish you could dream of including bridal invitation suites, personalized thank you notes, graduation announcement cards, and my favorite of all: custom stationery. One of the marks of a stylish person is a set of bespoke stationery; graciousness, […]

Gift wrapping supplies are a home category that can easily spiral into excess. When I found myself pitching scads of soaking wet rolls of gift wrap and tissue paper after our basement flooded earlier this year, I decided to pare down what was salvageable to a thoughtful edit inspired by one of my favorite beauty […]

For Nathan’s birthday weekend, I wanted to make him a treat we have been dreaming about for a while. My sister and I made it last year for Thanksgiving (there were no leftovers the next day) after having tried it for the first time at the Milk Bar location in Las Vegas the year before. […]



We have a perfectly lovely and functional laundry room, but when we seek to remodel our combined kitchen and family room, the laundry room will echo the aesthetic of the kitchen finishes with the cabinetry, stone selections, and paint. We do not have a pantry, but I would like our laundry room/mud room to shoulder […]

The subtitle of this post is “According to My Dad,” because he’s the source of all of my cast iron knowledge and lore, so to him I tip my hat. I was happy to recently have a couple of rusted-out cast iron skillets, once belonging to my great-grandmother, come into my possession. Vintage cast iron […]

We’ll be celebrating my birthday at home this year with takeout from one of my favorite restaurants and a good bottle of wine. An at-home celebration is made instantly more festive with the addition of party hats! You can create the classic cone with string, but I like to elevate mine with tinsel pom poms […]

Jane Birkin and her basket bag. She was photographed throughout the 60s and 70s carrying a simple woven basket which she carried everywhere from the market to black tie events. She also happens be the namesake of a very luxurious bag from Hermès because of this basket bag. As legend goes, in the early 80s, […]

I usually give myself my own manicure and treat myself to a monthly pedicure. But currently, I use my same toolkit and a soak in the bath followed by a quick foot filing to get a professional pedicure at home. Though it’s always a classic choice to match your nails to your toes, these are […]

A while back, I came across the most beautiful leather-bound journal in a bridal magazine from British leather goods maker, Smythson. I think it was in the context of wedding gift ideas, and this was a journal where you could record the details of your parties and entertaining in your home, an idea which really […]

Traveling to the Loire Valley of France is a magical experience, and one that offers a relaxing pace amid the beauty of open spaces, historical villages, charming outdoor markets, and the majesty of its châteaux. The region is about 150 miles stretching from Bourges, across the Sologne and down river to Angers. In the heart […]

At the beginning of the year, I found myself thrown into an unexpected design project when our basement flooded. I shared my design boards that I put together for our basement project (here and here) back in February; now our basement is mostly finished. What we only partially fixed up during this project was the […]

It was such a welcome sight to see signs of life emerging from our garden over this weekend. Being housebound for a period can tune you into beauty you may not have noticed otherwise. I was inspired to create something beautiful from what I could gather in my yard, and made this arrangement which exemplifies […]



Everyone has a few favorite things that make the days run smoother, or items that when you’re away from home you miss. Today I am sharing what I either reach for on a regular basis, or buy multiples of again and again. Some of these things are a bit of an investment and others cost […]

Perhaps it’s voyeuristic, but I love seeing the contents of others’ bags. There’s so much information contained within pertaining to preferences, routines and tried and true beauty favorites. I have a few tote bags that I rotate carrying to the office with me every day, but I tend to gravitate towards this perfect one from […]

I get to make lunch at home every day. Often times I rely on leftovers from dinner the night before, but sometimes I just crave a classic egg salad sandwich but with a twist. The key is a few gourmet pantry items in the form of capers and cornichons which add a salty bite and […]

When we first moved into our home, my sister and I (fueled by coffee and adrenaline) spent an entire weekend painting each room of the house. My favorite room for a long time was the laundry room that we painted black. My vision was a Laundress-inspired black and white, chic laundry room that would make […]

Winter is a tough time of year for seasonal flowers. While a great variety of flowers is available from the Southern Hemisphere, those come at a great environmental cost. Yet there are certain spectacular blooms to enjoy exclusively in winter like this bouquet, which is exceedingly simple. My mother-in-law grows amaryllis each winter and starts […]

Sometimes you just don’t have the budget available for a big bathroom renovation, but that doesn’t mean you need to live with something you don’t love until you do. When we moved into our house, the guest bath wasn’t bad and had been refreshed since the original 1969 version, but the finishes are not what […]

I love that Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year. Here’s some scenes from around our house as we celebrate love, flowers and heart-shaped foods all weekend long. The prettiest valentine we received in the mail Peachy pink roses in the front hall Chalkboard love Red roses from my Valentine Heart-shaped pancakes with elderberry […]

Nathan and I have been subbing in more meatless options at meals, and these black burgers are not only on regular rotation in our house, but make me not even miss regular burgers! Especially when served on a brioche bun with cheddar cheese, pickles and my classic “fancy sauce” (2 parts mayo, 1 part mustard, […]

It was by a small miracle that I even found this small piece of my mom’s childhood at all. Last year, while helping to clean out the home of my dear grandparents after their passing the year before, I came across a little acrylic pencil tray filled with a collection of pencils, paper clips and […]



Recently, I shared my design board for our basement renovation project which shows the finishes I am selecting but the post mainly focuses on the living area. Our basement also has a craft room (here and here), full (tiny) bath, and a guest bedroom which we’ll also be addressing while we’re at it. The other […]

Last week, our basement flooded. I went downstairs for a workout and at the bottom of the stairs I was greeted by 4” of standing water. I suspected a burst pipe and donned some rubber boots to go turn off the water main, but it ultimately turned out to be a failed sump pump as […]

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy possessed a simple stylishness that has stood the test of time nearly twenty years after her untimely death. In recent years, we’ve seen a new wave of minimalism, but before ‘Scandi chic’ was cool, Carolyn was dressing with stunning simplicity. A woman today wearing what she wore in the 90s would not […]

When we traveled to Sweden and Denmark last year, I couldn’t be stopped from checking out pharmacies for new beauty products as I’ve done on past trips to Paris, arguably the best spot in the world for pharmacy finds. The variety I found in Scandinavian pharmacies deserves honorable mention as I was delighted at the […]

As is now tradition with my sisters, I like to put together some of my favorite things of the year (usually beauty-related) into a gift to give at Christmas. Here’s what I loved this year. 1. Mini Bolga Basket This little basket is so chic yet functional, and can do double-duty as pretty home décor […]

Life’s too short to wear ugly anything; the same goes for these Christmas sweater sugar cookies. I love all cookies, but there’s almost nothing better than a beautifully iced and sprinkled sugar cookie. My sister, Christina, and I were inspired to decorate cookies when she came across Fancy Sprinkles. We decided to keep our palette […]

It’s hard to be minimal at this opulent time of year. Yet, the more times I have decorated (then undecorated) our home for the holidays, I am learning what really transforms and gives warmth to our space and what is just clutter and stressful to store year after year. Instead of going all out, I […]

Williams Sonoma buche de Noel, Williams Sonoma

I love receiving Christmas cards almost as much as I love sending them out, and also like to store cards from the last year or so and bring them out at Christmas before eventually recycling them (or upcycling them if there’s a pretty motif I can reuse in cardmaking or gift wrapping). Since it’s fun […]



I have a little collection of blue and white vases that I display in our dining room beneath some beautiful hand-painted birds on silk. While I am minimizing our Christmas decorations this year, I wanted to add a new statement piece that complements the decor of our dining room that I won’t tire of year […]

I am usually pretty good about not letting “things” accumulate, but there are just some things I cannot bring myself to discard or give away. Enter this heap of beautiful Hermès ribbon I had stockpiled with no real use for it until I thought it could be upcycled in a lovely way — into a […]

I was dazzled the image of this New York Times Cooking recipe for their Rose Apple Tart and was determined to make it for Thanksgiving this year. Not only is it undeniably pretty, but also supremely and wonderfully delicious, as well as easy to assemble. I used Honeycrisp apples for their pink skins, which is […]

This year for Halloween, we placed about a million pale pumpkins all around our house, four of which (barely) survived ravaging by squirrels. Of these remaining, I wanted to use them for our Thanksgiving centerpieces. This time of year is tough for cut flowers, as seasonal blooms are scarce and grocery store bunches offer little […]

For the the most wonderfully moody season, I know of no way better to create ambiance at home than with candles. Throw on Charlie Parker radio on Spotify and a cold, rainy day and you’re in business. While I do tend to hoard candles, I also burn and enjoy them at almost an equal rate. […]

This combination just smells like Christmas to me. When I was was little, especially around this time of year, my mom would fill a little saucepan with water and add to it orange peels and ground cinnamon, keeping the stovetop on low all day. There’s a cozy feeling of warmth from this simple trick, like […]

I could lie and say that I love doing laundry, but I am not going to. Because it can sometimes take herculean effort to get moving on this household constant, I need little enticements to make the task a little nicer. Podcasts certainly help, but Jo Malone is a little better. Instead of settling for […]

Everything in Paris is magic. Each time we return it feels new, and I get the blues as soon as the wheels leave the tarmac of CDG. If you’re a tourist, there’s so much to do and see, as well as old favorites to return to that you’ll simply never get enough of this romantic […]

It was fate that placed me not a two-minute-walk from the most gorgeous little flower shop I have ever beheld. During our stay in Paris this September, our apartment was located just around the corner from this shop located on Rue Saint-Antoine and we happened upon it on our way out to get supplies for […]



The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi is something I have recently become acquainted with, but realize now I have long identified. The term itself is more than the sum of its parts. Wabi in Japanese refers to simplicity and living in tune with nature, as well as making the most of what you already have. Sabi […]

One of my most favorite things in the world is Champagne. My love for it is endless, so much so that the name of this blog pays homage to one of its most endearing and whimsical qualities. I have visited Épernay, a city within the Champagne region where some of the world’s leading Champagne houses […]

A very easy day trip from Paris is to visit Monet’s home and gardens in the small village of Giverny. We took the early train on a beautiful September morning and as had been recommended by many sources, rented bikes from the café directly outside of Giverny’s train station (Gare de Vernon-Giverny) for the few […]

My recipe for Halloween decorating is one part spooky, one part chic (inflatables and artificial cobwebs give me goosebumps). I like to look for natural materials that evoke an eerie mood. This year, I was inspired by a damaged crabapple tree in the park near our house. A major limb had fallen under the weight […]

On our previous trip to Paris, I was able to visit one of the minor flea markets, but for this trip, I was determined to at last see the largest (and oldest) flea market in France, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. By car, it is about 20 minutes outside of the city center. You […]

For my favorite holiday, I love to create eerie little vignettes around the house. This year, I really enjoyed reimagining my existing decorations instead of adding anything new. Now I’m just counting down to a night of endless candy and scary movies! Here’s how our place looks this year. A shrouded figure in the foyer […]

The gentleman whose last name is now synonymous with luxury and is credited with inventing the luxury hotel experience also dreamed up some of the very amenities we have in our homes today. Caesar Ritz was the “King of Hoteliers and the Hotelier of Kings” and lived by the maxim, ‘the customer is always right.’ […]

I would never get a tattoo, but on our recent trip to Paris, I couldn’t wait to get the jewelry equivalent — a permanent, delicate gold bracelet welded onto my wrist! A couple of years ago, a blogger I follow shared that on her trip to Paris that she and her friend got these permanent […]

We gave our guest room the moniker ‘The Princess Suite’ (complete with an engraved brass tag on the door from our local award shop) because I wanted our invited company to always feel as though they’ve checked into a boutique, 5-star hotel. Rather than feeling like they’re just staying in a spare bedroom, giving the […]



As we were planning the design of our new fence and patio projects this year, I referred to this original design board I put together almost as soon as we moved into our house. We have a classic brick Ranch-style home with Neoclassical elements (symmetrical layout, pitched roof and evenly spaced windows) to which I […]

As we transition into shorter days and cooler weather, and I mourn the seasonal ending of our farmer’s market, I was inspired to put together this part-foraged, part-home-grown arrangement to mark this shift. Marrying fall foliage of the Japanese maple branches with the end-of-summer dazzlers like dahlias and garden roses makes for a beautiful pairing […]

I have made this dish more times than any other recipe in my life. First of all, it’s delicious and the base of the cilantro and garlic-scented rice plus the seasoned beans on top are a perfect canvas for any Mexican-inspired toppings you wish to add — the more the merrier! It’s supremely easy to […]

A few months back, my cousin had the idea that she would like a special prop to feature in her upcoming graduation photo shoot: a hand-painted Champagne bottle depicting her new home city. She asked me if I could create this, and it was a creative challenge I gladly accepted! She had some inspiration for […]

I will forever buy new school supplies in September. And of course, this “grown-up” school supply list wouldn’t be complete without a candle for your desk! I especially love this scent from Byredo which is meant to be reminiscent of old books, so I enjoy burning this one in our home library. This is also […]

I visited the town of Geneva, Illinois for the first time this summer at the invitation of my aunt (a design maven who shares my love for all things French-inspired) specifically to visit the beautifully unique concept store, SG Geneva. Part home decor and design, part gift store, part garden design center and housed in […]

No matter the time of year, I must have fresh flowers in our house for it to feel complete. Houseplants, too, lend a dimension of loveliness and of the outdoors to the rooms of our home, but not as luxuriously as cut flowers. I am fortunate to have a garden, so for much of the […]

Once upon a time, we stayed in a little attic room of a French château in the Loire Valley and for breakfast, were presented with the most beautiful tray of farm-fresh delicacies I have ever seen. I still dream about this breakfast, and it is a source of inspiration I draw on for whenever we […]

At a cooking class in Puerto Vallarta I attended earlier this year, we learned to make a traditional guacamole. Just a handful of fresh ingredients yield a perfect balance of flavors that make it hard to stop eating; I know it by heart now and make it all the time. Guacamole Ingredients 3 fresh Haas […]



Earlier this year, we took a trip to Mexico with our cousins and stayed a couple of nights in Puerto Vallarta. On our first day, we enjoyed a day-long cooking class at Gaby’s Restaurant that began with a walk to the market with our excellent teacher, Chef Julio. At the open-air markets, we learned about […]

One of my current mindfulness practices, as well as hidden talents, is calligraphy. It is a hobby for which my interest first sparked when I handled a hand-calligraphed wedding invitation and marveled at the swoops and swirls of the lettering. I was no older than ten at the time, but it was a landmark moment […]

Coffee table books are one of my favorite design accessories. I feel that one can never have too many books, so if they can also be beautiful, they lend substance to well-styled table, shelf, etc. Admittedly, I have purchased books merely for the look of them (with every intention of *one day* reading). Yet there […]

When you decide to build a fence, you face myriad decisions, but the first of which is whether to build a custom fence versus pre-assembled wood panels. We elected the custom route for a few reasons, but the most important of which is that I have been real e-stalking the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garden’s) Hamptons […]

The first opera gloves were worn in 1566 by Queen Elizabeth I, who wore an eighteen-inch pair of white leather gauntlets with gold trim to a ceremony at Oxford. What a glamorous image! Today, when I think of white gloves, the image that comes to mind is of expert glove-wearer, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and all […]

In our guest room, I keep a little basket filled with some of the essentials for an overnight guest. Not unlike a luxurious hotel, perhaps the mark of the best host is one who anticipates her guest’s every need so as to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. Putting some thoughtful amenities in a basket […]

One of my favorite things to munch on with when I would visit my Grandma Larson was her crescent roll vegetable “pizza” that she would make for summer get-togethers. It’s a cold hors d’oeuvre that’s pretty enough for company and the fresh produce with dill-infused cream cheese on a crescent roll base is super appetizing […]

I’ve had a few pairs of napkin rings sitting around my craft room for ages, still in the box. They were wrapped in a cartoonish sticker of holly berries and decidedly ‘holiday’ but easily removed. Underneath they were a lovely gold metal with a nice weight. I thought I could repurpose these to do year-round […]

For our birthdays, we were gifted with the coolest addition to our kitchen to date, which has revolutionized our Friday nights: a portable, wood-fired pizza oven! I had long dreamed of a dedicated outdoor space that we could create around a large (and expensive) pizza oven so that we could make our own pizza at […]



For a recent macaron recipe I made, which requires a lot of egg whites, I had just as many egg yolks that couldn’t go to waste. Enter the madeleine — part cookie, part cake, all lovely. Madeleines are said to have originated in France during the reign of Louis XV and they traveled to his […]

My friend, Chrissy, shared this recipe with me years ago and from time to time, I will make a batch of these delicious protein bites which are perfectly satiating for a quick breakfast, or healthy snack after work when dinner is still a couple of hours away and you need to squeeze in a workout […]

An ombré cake is as beautiful as it is delightful to slice. My sister and I made this cake using the scratch recipe that is the same as our wedding cake baker made (she has retired from her business and was so kind to share!). It is composed of classic white cake and Swiss buttercream, […]

On our last trip to Paris, we visited the famed taxidermy shop, Deyrolle, and marveled at all of the specimen creatures from Grizzly Bears to scorpions and everything in between. Though it feels like a museum, everything here is for sale, so I knew I wanted to bring some of this memorable shop home with […]

One snowy winter day, I looked out our kitchen windows and was struck by the idea of creating an inviting patio off our deck. We really enjoy being outside in our backyard, especially our deck, from spring through fall, but we lacked extra seating for conversation and a safe location for our fire pit. I […]

Back in February, we embarked on one of the most memorable, adventurous trips to date with our cousins down to Puerto Vallarta, then way off the grid to an eco-development about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta. Dotted along the Pacific coastline are little fishing villages with striking jungle backdrops. These villages are really only […]

For a special birthday treat, Nathan and I booked a seating at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel Afternoon Tea. Though the hotel offers two afternoon seatings every day of the week, reservations are recommended because they usually fill up! While extravagant, it was one of the loveliest dining experiences I can imagine. When you are seated with […]

Orchids seem to perplex most people. They are gorgeous in home decor and ubiquitous at most supermarkets, making them all the more accessible. Phalaenopsis are the most commonly available orchids because they are the easiest to grow. Yet for many would-be orchid keepers, the blooms don’t seem to last and they are relegated to the […]

I am currently in the midst of the most glorious and highly anticipated time of year — peony season! The challenge with loving this flower is that it also has one of the shortest windows of bloom time to enjoy. One rough, spring storm, or a heat spell can knock down or wither the luscious […]



For a quick cocktail hour snack, you can whip this bruschetta up in no time. I usually have all of these ingredients on hand. In a pinch, you could use canned San Marzano tomatoes, but fresh is best. While it’s more traditional to serve on sliced baguette, I didn’t have any, so I reached into […]

Macarons are a finicky, wonderful delicacy that are worth mastering because the results are sublime. The macaron itself (excluding the fillings or flavorings) is composed of only three ingredients: almond flour, powdered sugar and egg whites, so reliance on the highest-quality ingredients is of the utmost importance. My sisters and I enrolled in a Mastering […]

A few years ago, Nathan and I took our second trip to Paris. I had been wanting to return since our first visit and hope to spend my lifetime returning again and again. I love the quote ‘In travel, I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the […]

French toast is one of those dishes I have never read a recipe for because it’s emblazoned on my brain in having watched my grandma make it dozens of times at our sleepovers. We always took turns picking breakfast (Grandma was nothing, if not fair!). Britta always picked pancakes (or was it waffles?) and I […]

In preparation for the Kentucky Derby tomorrow (and the Kentucky Oaks today!) I will be picking out my hat to watch the races from home, with something to sip on of course! Despite the heaps of mint in my garden that would be perfect for a julep, I recently learned about this new cocktail that […]

The tradition of the giving of flowers for May Day dates back to Roman times (see last year’s post). This May Day basket I created is a sampling of everything that’s blooming in my yard right now: tulips, hellebores, redbud branches, miniature daffodils, grape hyacinths and Japanese anemones. I nestled a low, wide bowl into […]

Earlier this month, we found ourselves in the Bahamas for a super fun destination wedding. When we weren’t hanging with family, we were running around New Providence and Paradise islands checking out the sights. Here are some snapshots of what we saw and enjoyed. Baha Mar Resort & Casino — This brand-new resort was just […]

It has been almost ten years since our first visit to Paris. For all I had built it up to be in my head, the city delivered even more magic and beauty. Though we have since been back and tried new things, seen new spots, these are my tips for a first-time, starry-eyed visitor. First […]

I have made this dish far more times than I can count. It’s one of those meals that you can just eat bowls and bowls of and never have enough — and it’s even better the next day! Plus, it has so many great options for garnishes and of course I can never quite enjoy […]



Also sometimes called ‘Aztec soup’, tortilla soup is something I could eat bowls and bowls of (unless of course it’s only one of a dozen dishes presented to you on a particular day, as was the case for the cooking class my cousins and I attended in Puerto Vallarta). In any case, it’s a perfect […]

How do you improve upon a classic? Adding brown butter, sea salt and sprinkles takes Rice Krispies Treats into the stratosphere. I made these this weekend for a throwback nostalgia night with friends where we revisited favorite things from middle school. I love Smitten Kitchen’s recipe which introduces the brown butter and sea salt to […]

You do not need to take your cashmere (or wool) sweaters to the dry cleaner. I use an eco-friendly line of products from The Laundress to care for my sweaters, which not only smell luxurious, but help guard against moths and other critters who like to nibble on natural fabrics. Handwashing is the best method […]

I had this little angel vine plant among a cluster of my winterized house plants. I saw that it had sent off several shoots and was winding its way around orchids and philodendrons; it really wanted to climb! Inspired by a topiary from one of my favorite stores, Terrain, I thought I could make my […]

There is always a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine chilling in our fridge, because you never know when a special occasion (or a Tuesday!) might bubble up. There’s never a bad time to enjoy a delicious glass of bubbles. While a glass of Champagne will always be my first choice, I have learned to […]

As part of a cooking class I attended with my family on a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, we began with a walk to the local market to gather our ingredients. The first stop was the tortilleria where we would be picking up fresh masa for making our own corn tortillas. We also got to […]

The best thing about Valentine’s Day is that it serves as a reminder to have fun and to do a little something special for someone you love — or yourself! Maybe that something can be heart-shaped pancakes for lunch (or dinner)? This is my favorite pancake recipe and it calls for buttermilk, an ingredient I […]

Pimento cheese is a Southern classic, and is famously featured at the Masters Tournament each year at Augusta National as a signature spread on sandwiches. I like it a little extra spicy and my favorite way to serve it is on crackers with a pickled jalapeño on top! The Best Pimento Cheese Ingredients 2 cups […]

Chinese New Year officially begins on February 5th, 2019 (a date that changes each year) and marks the beginning of the Spring Festival, a celebration which continues for several days. This year is the year of the pig, the twelfth character in the Chinese zodiac animals. The traits of those born under this sign are […]



We live in an area you could safely call a “sushi desert”, so if you want sushi takeout, you have to make it yourself! While there were certainly a lot of specialty ingredients I needed to purchase, and a fair amount of preparation, I was so impressed by the deliciousness of what we made. Though […]

The glowing green pharmacy lights of Paris are a beacon to my product-loving heart. The shelves of French pharmacies are stocked with some of the best skincare in the world and a virtual candy shop for an American, beauty-loving tourist. The discovery of these items from past trips has carried over to my regular skincare […]

One of my favorite things to do on a trip is to locate a vintage store or flea market. I absolutely love treasure-hunting and have found some spectacular finds abroad, as well as at my local Goodwill. Of course, if not shopping in person, Etsy is my favorite online destination for vintage wares. Here are […]

This savory breakfast casserole is great for weekend house guests and vegetarian-friendly. My sister and I made this one inspired by some of our favorite salad ingredients. Throw in a carafe of French press coffee and you’re really in business! Make up to a day in advance of baking. Spinach, Arugula and Tomato Breakfast Casserole […]

This recipe comes from Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Life cookbook which is loaded with childhood-esque comfort food favorites. While you definitely need to plan in advance for these cinnamon rolls since they are yeast rolls that require rise time, why not double the recipe and freeze some while you’re at it? The rolls and the […]

One of my favorite gifts to put together for Christmas is a collection of favorite beauty-themed items that I give to my sisters. They are things that I discovered, or revisited throughout the year and therefore are things I know they would certainly enjoy. Here’s what I loved this year. 1. Microfiber Hair Wrap This […]

Each year that I decorate our home for Christmas is an opportunity for new ideas. While some things stay the same (like location of the tree, placing jingle bells on every possible door, etc), other things are brand new and fresh. This year’s gift wrapping theme will be black and white with touches of hunter […]

I was watching the Barefoot Contessa around Thanksgiving and had an epiphany when she showed how to make your very own high quality vanilla extract. It’s such an expensive ingredient if you get the good stuff, and of course (especially around the holidays) I tend to sail through my supply. Because I always try to […]

When my grandmother ran for the Illinois state senate, she passed out these cookies and recipe cards as part of her campaign. This treasured recipe card has a prominent place in my recipe box and is celebrated each Christmas season when I reach for it to make these cookies for giving and enjoying. They are […]



How can a such a simple cookie be so perfect? These melt-in-your-mouth buttery pecan delights benefit from using the best quality ingredients you can find since there’s practically nothing to them. Here’s how to make my favorite Christmas cookie. Snowball Cookies Ingredients 1 cup butter, room temperature 1/4 cup powdered sugar 2 cups flour 1 […]

This recipe is from my friend, Kathy, who owned a fabulous catering business whom I had the pleasure to work with a few times, and she so graciously shared the recipe with me. This show-stopper appetizer is not only beautiful in its presentation, but oh-so delicious and simple to prepare. The red and green of […]

Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers is a lovely little handbook, filled with simple and chic illustrations, written for the adolescent audience but applicable to all. It was originally published in 1961 and re-released back into print for its fiftieth anniversary. It would make for a splendid gift marking a graduation, or other significant occasion, especially […]

There’s something about a well-organized drawer that’s just so satisfying. My home office desk has two shallow drawers (which don’t allow clearance for most traditional drawer organizers) which at first I saw as a storage challenge, but have since embraced since they don’t allow for things to get too out of control since I can […]

One area in my life I will forever have difficulty minimizing is my love for books. However, if it’s something that brings you joy, I think having a collection of something is justifiable. I recently restyled my home office bookshelves to spark even more joy by arranging my books and miscellaneous favorite objects d’art in […]

This pie is a repeat Thanksgiving favorite and is so good, it has blown traditional pumpkin pie out of the annual pie lineup. Plus, it’s always fun when you can break out your kitchen blow torch. This pie is a tried and true Martha recipe that’s a little involved for all its parts (crust, filling, […]

‘Spooky Chic’ is how I like to describe the way I decorate for Halloween. No over-the-top bloody limbs and psycho clowns for me, thank you. Just a hint of eeriness, like you’ve stepped into a Gothic novel (with a dash of cheekiness) is the right balance for celebrating this spooky holiday. Here’s a glimpse at […]

Also known as a butter bell or crock, the French butter keeper originated in France, in an area known for its pottery. It is an elegant solution for always having spreadable butter on hand, while also keeping it fresh at room temperature for weeks. The keeper consists of a lid resembling a bell which holds […]

Varberg, located on Sweden’s west coast, is a gorgeous holiday destination for Swedes. It also happens to be where some lovely family members whom we connected with on our Scandinavian Adventure live! Originally a military fortress under Danish rule, it became Swedish in the 1600s. The town has long been known as a seaside health […]



Copenhagen is a gorgeous Scandinavian city that feels all at once quaint and world-class. It is known for being bicycle-friendly, as 50% of residents bike daily (there are even separate bike lanes with traffic signals!). Of course, Danish girls look effortlessly chic, hair blowing in the wind, and somehow wearing a flowing skirt on their […]

Want to create the magic of endless restaurant chips and salsa at home? Look no further. This salsa recipe is a staple in our house since I make it about every other week. It does more than just chip duty though; it’s a quick lunch scooped over 1/2 a cubed avocado, a topping for quesadillas […]

Adapted from “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman This lasagna recipe is a dreamy classic, perfect for a cozy night in, or for feeding a crowd. When making lasagna, or any other heavy-assembly recipe, do yourself a favor and double the ingredients to make extra, or several little ones to freeze. While the original […]

While ascribing meaning and secret messages to flowers is often attributed to the Victorians, it actually has roots in the ancient eastern traditions of Egypt and Greece. History tells us that Lady Wordley Montagu can be credited with sharing the tradition with Western Europe after a visit to Turkey in the 18th century. She said, […]

I love getting mail. And because I do, I thought my simple mailbox could use some lovely personalization to elevate the daily visit. I see so many sad mailboxes with peeling paint, or faded plastic, and while it may seem trivial, why not let this little extension of your home be a source of pride? […]

While visiting a special exhibition at the Met this summer, I was particularly taken by a gorgeous piece from Chanel, unlike anything I had ever seen. A gilet is a generic term for a sleeveless jacket, or vest. This piece in particular is more of a statement that requires little else in a supporting role. […]

Comprised of fourteen islands in the Scandinavian archipelago, it’s easy to see why Stockholm is sometimes called the ‘Venice of the North.’ Nathan, Christina and I embarked on a Scandinavian adventure this summer to meet some family, and finally get to see some of the storied beauty we had always imagined. Stockholm is a truly […]

Making French press coffee is one of my favorite weekend indulgences. Normally I try to limit my caffeine intake to a single cup a day, but on a Saturday, I can throw caution to the wind and drink the good stuff all day long. What’s wonderful about a French press is that it is easy […]

If you find yourself with a ton of tomatoes at the end of summer, one of the best things you can do is make a big batch of marinara. The flavor simply does not compare to the jarred variety, and you can enjoy decadent pasta dinners well into winter. The sauce I make is a […]



I tend to snatch up little bits of memorabilia, like postcards, trinkets, tickets, etc. while traveling and then when I get home, they sit in a souvenir bag in a closet with every intention in the world of “one day” going into a scrapbook. When that didn’t happen, I thought of a simpler solution – […]

When the seasons change to spring and summer, I like to transition our house from warm and cozy to light and airy, tucking away heavy throws and decluttering like a madwoman. Yet, there’s something so tranquil, no matter the time of year, about the soft glow from the fireplace in the evening. We have our […]

Linen, a fabric that is spun from flax, was the first fiber to be made into a fabric which dates back thousands of years. Upon the advent of the cotton gin around the time of the Industrial Revolution, its popularity waned in favor of cotton due to its relative ease to production and being less […]

Eataly first opened in Torino, Italy in 2007 and has since expanded internationally to major cities, including several in the U.S. My first visit was to its huge Chicago location, but most recently, I was able to see the smaller, but substantial Boston store. It’s such a cool concept: a high-end, Italian specialty grocery store […]

I was dazzled by the Heavenly Bodies exhibition which is currently on at The Met. This visit was my first to New York and while there are thousands of reasons to return to the city, going to The Metropolitan Museum of Art has long been at the top of my list. The Costume Institute (the […]

I hopped on the Marie Kondo “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” train a while back, and am constantly amazed at how it continues to shape my housekeeping practices. One key idea behind the KonMari Method is that once everything has been tidied into its proper place (ideally where you use it, and group like […]

These cookie bars taste like yesteryear because they seem to be embedded in my memory banks as a childhood staple. I loved to take a spoon (still do) to scoop out the remainder of the sweetened condensed milk in the can before it was tossed. Though wonderful to taste right out of the oven, they only […]

Some summer evenings call for time spent outside to watch the sunset and a cool drink in hand. This cocktail tastes like summer to me. Lavender Lemon Cocktail 2 oz dry gin (we tried The Botanist) 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 oz lavender simple syrup* Splash of sparkling water Optional garnish: fresh sage, […]

This unique flower, native to Brazil, and also known as ‘electric daisy’ can give you one of the craziest taste experiences. We learned about it on a trip to Las Vegas this spring. The Cosmopolitan hotel’s Chandelier Bar has a secret menu from which you can order a ‘Verbena cocktail’ (a very tart, lemony margarita […]



When you plant mint in your garden and take no measures to contain it, you’re going to have mint for the rest of your life, no matter how many times you rip it out. What you learn to do is embrace it, and look for as many ways as you can to use it. I […]

If you planted garlic in the fall, and watched the scapes grow from the ground and finally mature, there will come a point when it’s time to harvest, which is about mid-summer. The plant starts to signal readiness when its leaves begin to turn yellow, then brown. Keep checking on the garlic plant until the […]

It is with tongue-in-cheek that I share these photos from our visit to Versailles (from a few years back) on the eve of la Fête Nationale française. I recently learned that Bastille Day in France is not actually a celebration of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, but instead the establishment of a […]

“I never considered a difference in opinion of politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” -Thomas Jefferson I rarely miss the opportunity to decorate for a special holiday, and America’s birthday is no exception. My favorite way to decorate for Independence Day is to put flags everywhere, which is a simple […]

Ever since watching the Chef’s Table episode featuring this cake, I knew I needed to try it! Christina Tosi, the genius head pastry chef of Momofuku’s Milk Bar, created this concept of a “naked cake” where you could see and appreciate the intricacies of what’s going on inside, and the result is beautiful. She has […]

This recipe is for the much loved, five-star rated bread that is so incredibly simple to make, and the result nothing short of impressive. How can only flour, yeast, salt and water achieve this result? Probably magic. Time is the fifth ingredient, so plan on making this dough a day ahead of baking. Here’s how to […]

Yes, you can eat dandelions, and they make for a deliciously bitter salad green! I think their bitterness is best offset by a sharp vinaigrette with a little anchovy paste and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Of course, one caveat for eating dandelion greens is you need to make sure you’re harvesting them from a chemical-free area. […]

As much as I love to burn candles and enjoy filling the house with a lovely aroma, I can stretch my candle budget and still make our home smell great with this alternative. I slice up 1/2 a lemon and add with a sprig of rosemary to a small saucepan, fill to the top with […]

Last summer, we took a weekend road trip to the village of Sainte Geneviève, Missouri, founded in 1735 by French Canadian colonists making it Missouri’s oldest town. It was the first major European settlement west of the Mississippi River. Due to the remarkable preservation of its original log structures, it is filled with historic attractions […]



If you’ve been to a farmer’s market in the past few weeks, you may have seen tangled bunches of green stalks bundled together for sale. These are the unbloomed flowers of the garlic plant and the long shoots are called “scapes.” They are generally harvested off the plant before they bloom so that the plant […]

It’s really hot right now. Next to a glass of freezing water, this cold, refreshing cocktail is the next best thing to cool you down. Lillet is something I admittedly bought because the bottle is pretty, but as it turns out, it is delicious and traditionally served “très frais” over ice as an apéritif wine. It […]

Peaches are popping up at the farmer’s market and nothing says ‘summer’ like stone fruit. To select the best fruit, there are a few things you need to know. Peaches are tree-ripened which means that as soon as they are picked, they stop producing sugar.  If you’re purchasing your peaches at the grocery store, they will […]

Sometimes you need more in a snack, and instead of reaching for sweets (me) try a healthier, more satisfying option – avocado toast! This version is so easy to make, I wouldn’t even consider it a recipe, rather a solid go-to for your healthy eating arsenal. I find myself making it a few times a […]

Did you know that there is a special gift traditionally associated with each anniversary? The list of gifts serves as a guide for couples to mark the special occasion with a memento. Etiquette says that others are under no obligation to give an anniversary gift, even if attending a party in celebration of the anniversary, […]

I make a point of changing our sheets weekly, but during the week, I use this homemade linen spray to smooth out wrinkles and freshen things up. I also use this spray on any upholstered items between cleanings (if you have any animals in your house on purpose, I highly recommend owning an upholstery/carpet cleaner). […]

If you, like me, are among the many stateside Royal Enthusiasts, then you have been counting down to tomorrow, the wedding of Prince Harry with Ms. Meghan Markle. I will be anxiously awaiting the coverage which will begin around 4:00 am Central Time leading up to the wedding at Windsor Castle at 6:00 am CT. […]

You can certainly buy lemon curd in a jar, but it is so easy to make and the taste of homemade is incomparable. Plus, you can keep some on hand for up to six months by storing it in an airtight container in the freezer. I like lemon curd as a standalone dessert mixed with […]

Candied violets are a Victorian delicacy, and if you have violets popping up in your lawn now, you can transform them into a sugary adornment for cupcakes, garnish for a cocktail or addition to a cup of tea. Violets are edible, but ONLY if they are growing among untreated grass. Because I keep bees in […]



There are four tools on my garden bench that if I didn’t have, I would feel like I am missing a limb. These essentials not only perform their specific function well, but can also multitask. I keep my hand tools in a bucket of sand to prevent rust. It is important to clean and dry […]

I love the look of terracotta pots that look like they’re from the greenhouse of an ancient chateau, white with age and mossy beauty. Eventually, any terracotta pot left to its own devices outdoors will assume this look, but you can speed along the process with a few tricks. The one above is a pot […]

There are a few items on menus when we go out to eat that I will automatically order, no matter where we are and one of those is any version of a Brussels sprouts salad. So much more substantial than a traditional lettuce-based salad, it’s enough to feel like a complete meal, and usually has […]

Films often attain iconic status not only for their stories told, but for the beautiful way their stories are delivered through costume. I have compiled by no means an exhaustive list, but a handful of some of my favorite looks from very stylish movies that left an impression, and in their own way inspire on […]

I have had the good fortune to visit San Diego more than a handful of times (for business, and one of my darling sisters happens to live there), and as much as there is to see and do, I can’t go without spending some time at the storied Hotel del Coronado. While I’ve never been […]

About the time the seed catalogs arrive mid-winter, I get very excited. Even though I enjoy the changing seasons in the Midwest, it’s hard to go so many months without watching things grow and making a bouquet from what’s in bloom. Growing from seed affords you a wealth of varieties that are not available as […]

Making a really good cup of coffee at home is one of my favorite simple luxuries. I typically limit myself to a single cup a day, so I focus on making it a quality one. I’ve loved making coffee with a French press, but am a recent convert to the pour over method. Here is […]

I was inspired by a beautiful flowering basket from one of my favorite home goods shops, Terrain, to create my own. The heads of my daffodils outside are starting to poke out of the ground. These bulbs I am forcing indoors should quickly surpass those with the warmer temperature inside. When watered regularly (but not soaking as […]

The Oscars mark the closing of such a glamorous time of year. As we are headed out of winter, I always see this night as a bookend to the luxurious winter season with all its sparkle and celebration. While I haven’t thrown a formal party to date, I go all out with decorating our living […]



As real snowdrops are currently popping up in our yard, I am reminded of this chocolate cake I made last Easter. I used this Martha Stewart tutorial for crafting the crêpe paper snowdrops and for the cake and frosting, I used a well-loved family recipe. Read below for recipe and assembly tips. Snowdrop Chocolate Cake […]

These are the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. They are big, crisp around edges, soft in the middle, packed with chocolate, and topped with a salty bite. I remember watching The Martha Stewart Show in college when she made these. Having no kitchen in my dorm, it was pure torture. I could not wait to go home […]

Buying bulk grains and beans is not only budget friendly, having these on hand is the basis of a multitude of wholesome meals! I decanted the grains and beans I use most often in cooking into glass cracker jars, which are great because they have a wide mouth which can accommodate a scoop or measuring […]

Hummus is so much better homemade, and you can make a lot more for the money than what you can buy at the store. While a food processor makes this recipe really easy, a blender will work too. I make this all the time to have on hand for snacking with crudités, for adding to […]

These brownies were a signature of my Grandma Larson, and in my opinion, no other brownie can touch these. They are fudgy, yet slightly cakey, have crispy edges, and are only improved with a sprinkling of chocolate chips on top before putting in the oven. She called them “Barbara Billingsley’s Brownies” who was the actress […]

1. Start with a Clean Slate Tie up your hair and add a headband to keep your hair back. Prep your face by removing any makeup and wash with a gentle cleanser. 2. Enjoy an Aromatic Soak Fill your bathtub with hot water and add bath salts and a few drops of your favorite essential […]

If you have embossing tools and a small collection of rubber stamps, your options for personalized stationery are virtually endless. I like to keep a supply of a variety of blank envelopes and cards in various sizes on hand (Paper-Source has the best selection!). Adding an embossed element to a plain card elevates a handwritten note. […]

Usually a cashmere sweater comes with a bit of yarn that you can save for eventual repairs (they are targets for moths). I keep this extra yarn along with spare buttons in my sewing kit so I can easily find it when I need it. If not, you will need to get some matching yarn […]

You can wash silk at home and keep it looking new sans dry cleaner. Here’s how I take care of my silks from the comfort of my own laundry room: In a plastic or enamel basin, fill with lukewarm water and a 1/2 cap of mild detergent (the one I use is linked below) and […]



No Superbowl in our house is complete without homemade chili. Time is the key ingredient for the flavors to develop in the slow cooker all day. While chili is standard fare for football, it’s made interesting by the variety of toppings and spices you can use. I like to serve it with an assortment of […]

Being prepared for a sartorial mishap is one of the satisfying markers of adulthood. I believe that this preparedness begins with a proper mending kit and a little home economics know-how. While the freebie mending kit you got from your hotel room can get you by in a pinch, it’s likely not going to allow […]

I love having a single space to corral my craft supplies, and while it’s never actually this tidy, it doesn’t matter because it’s contained. This little basement room gets wonderful natural light and is the home to gift wrapping, sewing, calligraphy, creating, and more because it’s just such a happy place to be. Even if […]

If you’re curious about sewing, and would like to learn how to make your own (fill in the blank), once you have a minimally stocked kit, and optional sewing machine (hand sewing is always an option), the world is your oyster. I first got into sewing wanting to make my own napkins, and eventually made […]

These cookies are on regular rotation in our house. They make a perfect, unique hostess gift and happen to go perfectly with bubbly or tea. It is important to use culinary-grade lavender (linked below) when baking with lavender flowers. The addition of lavender extract in place of the usual vanilla takes these shortbread up a […]

Why not make your own crackers? This variety is super-savory, and the dough can be made well in advance and frozen, ready to slice and bake before you need them. The addition of thyme adds a wonderful aroma to your house as they bake. Here’s how to make them: Parmesan-Thyme Crackers Ingredients 3/4 cup all-purpose flour […]

I discovered this organic Mexican chocolate on a trip to Boston (the company is based in Massachusetts). Their website has lots of recipes and suggestions for how to use their chocolate, but I think none can be better than to drink it! While this chocolate comes in a variety of flavors, my favorite is the […]

The palace of Versailles is well known to have had spectacular displays of potted citrus trees in its gardens, a sure showing of opulence and luxury during the reign of the monarchs. During the winter months, these potted plants were removed from the Orangerie garden and stored indoors. You can bring a bit of Versailles […]