Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Doors of Montepulciano


Welcome to beautiful Montepulciano in the heart of Bella Toscana! Last fall, my parents, aunt, husband and I did a huge trip all over Italy and I finally have an opportunity to write about our travels. After exploring many, many Tuscan towns, one of my all time favorites is the gorgeous town of Montepulciano, nestled in the rolling green Italian countryside. We stayed in a giant old palace (which typically is less expensive and a better experience than a hotel) with views that were beyond breathtaking...

 There are so many things I wanted to share with you about this lovely little village, I am just going to have to write about Montepulciano in several parts. This part is dedicated to the enchanting doorways, that entice you down winding hallways and alleys and make you want to take a peek through people's doors...My cousin calls this "The Door Sophisticate" !
Enjoy my loves!




Ok, so the adorable red bug is the real reason I took the picture below!









I hope these doorways have inspired you as much as they have me! I believe beautiful, warm design begins at the front door... What can you do to make your door more enchanting? 
You can now purchase my prints by clicking the tab that says shop the boutique or by clicking here.
Ciao Amici!


Shabby Apple Delight!

Dresses from Shabby Apple    Dresses from Shabby Apple
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Woot, Woot! I am beyond elated to announce that I am now an affiliate with the gorgeous Shabby Apple line! Shabby apple is a brand that I have admired, respected and loved for a while now, and I am super thrilled to introduce them to you! This shop has everything beautiful, vintage, and nostalgic a gal could ever want! Do check them out by clicking here!
Dresses from Shabby Apple    Dresses from Shabby Apple
Shabby Apple's clothes line is modest, yet sexy, colorful, playful, and vintage! It reminds me of the gorgeous boutiques I have seen during my travels across Europe, especially more recently in Provence and the French Mediterranean. They also have awesome accessories and unique pieces for your home. Live beautifully and shop Shabby Apple!
Dresses from Shabby Apple    Dresses from Shabby Apple   Dresses from Shabby Apple

Dresses from Shabby Apple
For my American friends living abroad, when you order, order using your American address!
P.S. If you want to hook a sister up (moi), click on the site via my page! Thanks dolls!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

L.O.V.E.


L.O.V.E...Don't you just LOVE (no pun intended) that Natalie Cole song!? I do, it reminds me of being a kid and having that playing in the background while my folks were cooking supper, and I was doing...who knows the heck what. As a kiddo, I also remember that my folks didn't go all out for Valentine's day. I know this is going to sound corny, but they had romance in their life on a daily basis. My Dad would always help my mom in the kitchen and they, my brother and I would sit down to a candle lit dinner, almost every night, with jazz on and the t.v. off. We would laugh, cry, dream about the future, brainstorm new art and design projects, (burp, then get the evil stare) and  talk about our day... Unfortunately, evenings like these are becoming more and more rare in family units these days. 
Don't get me wrong, flowers, candy and romantic dinners are wonderful, I believe they should be done more often than JUST on Valentines day. I challenge you all, to not wait for a calender day to show love to your significant other, but to work on creating a beautiful ambiance on a daily basis to show everyone special in your life that you care. How, you ask? You don't have money, you say?
How simple is it to light a candle or two, throw on some nice music, dim the lights and enjoy each others presence...Let's all work on this my peeps.

I did very little around our barn for Valentines but wanted my place to be a little festive without spending ANY of our precious travel money.
I wanted to showcase a picture of my grandmother, reading a love letter from my grandpa (in a canoe) during World War II. This gorgeous picture is such an inspiration and represents true love at its finest.

 I made a little wire heart-shaped wreath and wrapped it with scrap striped fabric that I had left over... I think I shall leave it hanging year around.

Below, I hung some heart shaped Christmas ornaments on some gnarly branches to make a Valentines day tree. I love buying items that will work in decor for all different holidays and seasons.

 I love my husband to pieces and I adore this monogram (that I finally got) from the one and only, Southern Proper Monograms... Monograms and silhouettes never go out of style. They are timeless folks! Put em all over your house! This is over our headboard in our bedroom (which is still a major work in progress!).

I felt the outside of our barn looked a little Valentines day-ish, being that it's pink and white, so I thought I would share it with you! I recently painted this wooden bistro set (Annie Sloan) "Versailles Green" and think the green compliments the salmon color of the barn! Before and after photos coming soon!

A lantern lit on the front porch is a nice warm welcome to any guests that may pop over! Just remember if you do this, don't forget to blow it out...seriously.

 The wreath below fits in lovely with the Valentines day color scheme our barn "naturally" has going on.

While I was out in the cold lighting candles and taking pictures of wreaths, my husband invited me on a wintery walk.
Check out the family of deer we saw behind our barn!

My husband even protected me from...
It was super romantic, you should have seen it!

Trying to re-create the lovely days I remember at home as a kid, my husband and I lit candles, put the world music (which is an epic, exotic jango mix) station on, and cooked all day long. It was a beautifully romantic  and perfect day.
We made garlic naan...

Butter-Chicken Tikka Masala (A recipe I have been working on for 15 years), and iced chai tea lattes.


For dinner, we concocted  a coconut, lime, cilantro, curry poured over cinnamon-grilled chicken and cardamom-basmati rice. Yep, that's the long name we are calling it... The lovely day we just had IS FREE ROMANCE FOLKS, and it's available to all of you this Valentines day. 

Every day, focus on giving your presence to people... Please try my challenge. Your marriage, friendships, any relationship will be better with a little bit of extra effort, and a touch of ambiance!
By the way... I love sparkles.
Happy Valentines day!


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