time for the crate.

We are showering our November bride this weekend and on my recent trip to Crate & Barrel for the perfectly-timed gift (and still clinging to the summer colors left amongst the newly-added fall items), I dreamt of bringing home ...

{images from crateandbarrel.com}

From top row, left-to-right: Aster Blue Stripe Dish Towel (on sale); Bianca Melamine Tray; Foil Bakeware; Loire Plates (on sale - note: online only features orange; other colors avail. in select stores); Hamptons Green Serving Bowl; Squeeze Juice Glasses; Rings Pitcher; and 3-Piece Potluck Baker Set.

My BFF Krisa and I are in charge of the food for Sunday's shower. Hope to share some pics of the weekend prep and Sunday Funday with you next week.  Happy Friday, all!

{ink + number rubber stamps from Paper Source; tulle, foam letter stamps from Michael's; most-perfect gift boxes in the world C&B}



I have been so into peaches lately and have been looking for un-intimidating ways to cook with summer's best-est fruit.  The blogs must be reading my mind - I just clipped two amazing-looking, delicious-sounding, recently-posted recipes that are going in the cookbook binder stat:

Five O'Clock Food's Upside Down Peach Cake, inspired by Alice Waters' Plum Upside Down Cake, and perfected during Lesley's days as a pastry chef at Sage Restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif.  Lesley's step-by-step instructions and photos are just what I need to try something new (si se puede!).  A Lesley creation + peaches + upside down cake = sign me up.

Pithy and Cleaver's Savory Peach Salad, not only with peaches, but with my favorite summer veg: fresh corn cut from the cob (and oh yeah... feta, bacon, basil, balsamic-marinated onions, and arugula, too).

Just last week, I actually tried a recipe from a mag with the succulent fruit (!): Real Simple's real simple Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches, featured in the July issue.  The sweet peaches caramelize the onions, and together, keep your pork chops nice and juicy and sweet - no applesauce needed here.  (Note to self: next time, remember mom's advice.  A hot pan from the oven is, well, hot.  As is the actual. pan. handle.)

Oh, peaches.  I think my pie dish is calling.

{All this peach excitement over tonight's new Vons Club $10-and-under wine purchase: Pine Ridge's 2008 Chenin Blanc - Viognier.  Two thumbs up.  Happy dinner time - cheers!}


pretty maids all in a row.

I have seven sisters. Two by marriage, five by college. All seven were in our wedding, and that’s not a small group when it comes to finding bridesmaid dresses.

While we’re all different shapes and sizes, I wanted my pretty sisters to feel comfortable and beautiful (while matching my list of… long, brown, breezy, romantic… and affordable). I was also looking for a few different dress options that matched in fabric and color and could incorporate a bow or sash to personalize each dress. Without being too specific, I was looking for something very specific.

Enter: J. Crew Weddings and Parties

Register your wedding and J.Crew helps you (and your maids) shop by color palette, fabric and fit.  
Buying + shipping + sizing + returning + exchanging = so much easier when you have your own personal J.Crew bridal shopper.

One of my seven sisters is getting married in November (!) and has her dress checked off the list, and is now on the BM dress hunt in the brown family, for two. Some looks I like:

{Images from J.Crew.com}
Clockwise from top left (note to self: select colors/styles on sale): Silk Taffeta Blakely Dress in chocolate; Silk Taffeta Selma Dress in vintage wisteria; Silk Taffeta Bow Monde Dress in chocolate; and Silk Taffeta Lorelei Dress in fatigue.

I would be tempted to buy any dress with a color labeled 'vintage wisteria.'

PS: Extra 30% off at J.Crew (final sale) through tomorrow.  Code: EXTRA30.


good becker's morning to you.

I made a pit-stop at Becker's on my way to work to pick up a little pick-me-up for one of our friends.  Can't resist sharing some of their good stuff...

Speaking of Good Stuff, the old MB location has transformed into the 1300 Highland Shops & Worklofts and is officially open. I can't wait to check out the new home + design shop on the first floor, across the street from my husband's favorite Uncle Bill's.


casa with a view.

Our dear friends hosted a little Sunday B.B.Q., complete with carne asada, grilled shrimp and rajas (new to me (and delicious): roasted chile strips with onions, seasonings and creamy goodness) - which was the perfect end to a great weekend.  Like our host and hostess, this house is beautiful inside and out.  Besides the jaw-dropping ocean view and the company of family and good friends, here's what I love most about la casa...

Turquoise-toned front door and tiled archway:
Open shelving in the kitchen:
Lush landscaping:

The beautiful deck, pool and backyard (take II):

Warm hospitality, delicious food and bev:

Cheers to a great week.


the city of roses (not pasadena).

I love the Pacific Northwest. There’s something so crisp, clean and friendly about everything and everyone from the area. 

My in-in-law’s are no exception. They’re some of the warmest and most fun people in the universe, and they’re visiting this weekend from Portland.  Portland, did someone say Portland?  I must share with you my favorite thing about the City of Roses... Quail Creek Ranch.

{Quail Creek Ranch, complete with red barn, just outside of Portland}

My first visit to the farm – in our family, there’s only one farm, and it’s Quail Creek – was for my brother’s wedding to amazing sister-in-law no. 1 in 2006. That magical week in Portland on the Christmas Tree Farm feels like it was yesterday, and coincidentally, was exactly four years ago this coming week. Double-coincidentally, exactly six years ago this weekend, my husband’s brother married amazing sister-in-law no. 2.

This is a big month for our family.

It’s also time for the Oregon Brewers Festival, and yes, four years ago, the day after my brother’s wedding, we went, we enjoyed, we drank. It’s on the riverfront and is so much fun. 

Since my brother's Portland wedding, we have made a handful of visits, including two more weddings, one for one of my best friends and one for one of my husband's (I'll repeat: Portland = good peeps).  I'm certainly no expert, but being in a Portland-state-of-mind as we head into the weekend, I thought I'd share a few other favorites about the city that I've discovered on our trips up north...

Red Star Tavern
Perfect for a casual dinner or, say, a bridesmaid’s brunch hosted by your best friend’s aunts who make you feel like you’re part of the family.

Powell’s Books
Getting lost at Powell’s is a beautiful way to spend an entire, lazy afternoon.

High-end jeans and clothing store owned by our friends Melissa and Blake who make high-end feel like your friend. In addition to ‘shop owner’ Blake has been called ‘the Jean Whisperer.’ Enough said.

Zupan’s Markets
Family-owned, Bristol Farms-esque market that specializes in wine, flowers and locally-sourced food? Check. Check. Check.

Other favorite Portland spots recommended by my brother and his wife include Andina for unique apps and delicious Peruvian food in the hip art district, The Pearl; for a great happy hour with a view of the entire city from 30 floors up, Portland City Grill; and for a burger the locals recommend that’s well worth the drive to Hillsboro (maybe on your way to buy a Christmas tree?), Helvetia Tavern.

Note to self: Must plan next Portland trip soon. For now, I’ll just live vicariously through our weekend visitors... and one of my favorite food bloggers, Portland-based Elizabeth Fuss.

Oh, and happy anniversary to four of my most favorite people in the world.  I'll cheers to you with a glass of my latest fav, affordable Portland pinot, Cloudline.

PS: Thank you so much for all of your sweet notes of encouragement.  Made my day!  Love feedback; keep it coming.


blog one. day one.

I recently had dinner with someone who, over a delicious glass of pinot at one of my fav Manhattan Beach hot spots, said, ‘just. start. writing.’ A few weeks and a few more glasses of wine later… I did. She was a new friend, someone I had known for about four hours before she gave me the kick-in-the-pants I’d so badly needed.

How exciting to just start writing!

After uncovering the blog world while planning our April 2009 wedding (more on that to come), I’ve felt something tugging at me to record, capture and share with those willing to indulge my love for events, planning, design, food and life in general as a 30-something in sunny Southern California (although, to date, our summer has been more gray than sunny, but I’m okay with that. My husband is not.).

I hope that you’ll stop by often, and find some bits of inspiration here and there. As I get my feet wet, and we engage in this little conversation in cyberspace, I thought I'd share a few things that inspire me, make me happy and run through my head (often, at three in the morning)…

breaking in a new pair of flip flops.
trying to replicate my grandma’s perfect apple pie recipe.
starting and finishing my wedding album… one year and three months later.
waking up to a homemade caffé Americano.
designing an invitation of any kind. to a party of any kind. that I’m hosting.
coming home to the latest issue of Real Simple in the mail.
my obsession with handwritten letters, fonts, grammar and language (lowercase and incomplete sentences occasionally allowed).
being a more patient person.
farmer’s market finds (and not letting them go to waste!).
being creative what with you have.
finding a good, new book.

heirloom tomatoes in the summer. ranunculus in the spring. fresh no. 2 pencils in the fall.
christmas at christmastime.
befriending Ina Garten and meeting her fabulous friends in her East Hampton home - how bad can that be?
finding the perfect living room rug.
planning a weekend getaway to los olivos or palm desert (not necessarily in the same weekend).
the new, cute-looking home + design shop opening up on 13th St.
cooking dinner for friends.
getting over my fear of headstands… om.

Here's a little slice to say thanks for stopping by, and a taste of what's to come.  Hope you visit again soon.  Salud!

Photo by Amy & Stuart Photography

PS: Speaking of slices (of cake), there's really only one place to get them in MB, CA.  We get our other slices here.