Thursday, July 20, 2017

In Living Color - Designer Anna Spiro

Brisbane based Anna Spiro of Black and Spiro is no stranger to color or pattern.  She is not afraid to layer multiple colors and patterns with antiques and modern art. Her attention to detail and love of the unique and unusual combine for a look that appears haphazard; but is actually carefully curated. Doesn't she look as chic as her interiors?
Anna Spiro, interior designer.
Here is a peek at some of her wonderful designs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Entertaining - Simple Poolside Dinner

We have had beautiful weather here on the Central Coast the past week.  Friday night we had our friends over for a simple pizza dinner served poolside.
summer bottle tablescape
I have a three  of these portable round tables that come in super handy.  I can put this 48” one right over my coffee table when we have four or five people and  don’t even have to move it. I cover it with one of my burlap tableskirts ($25.99) here.  I can switch out my toppers or even add a scarf like I did here or here for different looks.

Spring Table 1

If you want a really super easy meal buy trader joes naan bread and add your favorite toppings.  Here are three of our favorites.

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FRESH FIG FLATBREAD
  • 4 PIECES OF TRADER JOES NAAN BREAD
  • FIG SPREAD (JAM) TO TASTE
  • FRESH FIGS TO TASTE
  • SLICED PROSCIUTTO, AS DESIRED
  • SLICED GOAT CHEESE AS DESIRED
  • 3/4 CUPS FRESH ARUGULA OR BABY KALE (OR TO TASTE)
  • 2 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL, FOR CRUST
  • 1TSP FRESH ROSEMARY
Spread olive oil and chopped rosemary on crust.  Slather on fig jam to taste.  Add goat cheese, sliced figs, and sliced prosciutto. Bake at 400 for approximately 8 min.  I add the arugula after the flatbreads are cooked.
FRESH MOZ AND TOMATO FLATBREAD
  • 4 PIECES TRADER JOES NAAN BREAD
  • 2 TABLESPOONS OF OLIVE OIL FOR CRUST
  • 2 CLOVES OF GARLIC CRUSHED
  • SLICED FRESH MOZARELLA AS DESIRED
  • SLICED HEIRLOOM TOMATOES AS DESIRED
  • FRESH BASIL AS DESIRED
Spread olive oil and garlic on crust. Add sliced mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, and basil.  Bake at 400 about 8 mins.
LAUREN’S MUSHROOM, SAUSAGE, & FRESH ARUGULA FLATBREAD
  • 4 PIECES OF TRADER JOES NAAN BREAD
  • MASCARPONE CHEESE SPREAD LIGHTLY ON CRUST
  • 2 ITALIAN SAUSAGES (I USE ONE HOT AND ONE MILD)
  • CHOPPED FRESH OREGANO TO TASTE
  • 2 CUPS SLICED MUSHROOMS
  • 3/4 CUPS FRESH ARUGULA OR BABY KALE (OR TO TASTE)
This flatbread is the easiest of the three and always the favorite.  My talented daughter in law invented it. Brown the sausage & mushrooms with the oregano. Spread the naan with mascarpone cheese to taste.  Add the cooked mushroom & sausage mixture.  Bake at 400 about 8 min.  Add fresh greens once they are cooked.
I serve the pizza with the simplest salad on earth. I don’t ever measure the ingredients but here is the actual recipe.
Image result for arugula salad
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby arugula
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly-grated Parmesan, plus extra shavings as garnish
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality olive oil (lemon if you have it)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice(I add the zest as well)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Add arugula and Parmesan to a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle evenly with olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with black pepper.  Toss until combined.
  2. Serve immediately, garnished with extra Parmesan if desired.
I think next time I make it I am going to try this fabulous olive oil from my friend Nancy of Always in a Southern State of Mind.  Check out her blog you will love it.  She has a great sense of humor, loads of talent, and is full of fun. Look what she sent me in the mail? I am beyond touched. Nancy is one of the sweetest people I have met in the blogging world.
olive oil
If you don’t have much blooming in your garden a simple bottle table scape always does the trick. Save bottles from specialty vinegars, olive oils and wine bottles. All you need are a couple of stems per bottle.
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Of course dinner by the pool would not be complete without a little entertainment from Beau.
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And the view at the other end of the pool before everything was hacked back!
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I hope you are having a great week.  Have you been doing a lot of outdoor entertaining?  If you have some simple recipes please share!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beth Webb “An Eye for Beauty”


Today I am doing my "happy dance"  Seriously If you have read my blog for long, you know there is one designer whose work I am totally in awe of. There are always new designers whose style I love but none whose work I respect and admire more.  I have written posts about Beth’s work here and here. I have been praying for a long time that she would write a book.   I popped over to her website and guess what? She has and it is available for per order on Amazon here.     
       

I am beyond excited and can’t wait for the release date.  Beth is known for her light filled spaces that combine classic details with a modern sensibility.  Here is a peek at some of Beth’s gorgeous spaces.

           




    
Needless to say I have already preordered mine.  Pop on over to Amazon and order yours.  You won’t be dissappointed.   

 Do you love Beth’s work as much as I? I would love to hear about it.
All images via Beth Webb’s website here

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ageless Style-Adrienne Shubin of The Rich Life in Wine Country

Welcome to Elizabeth’s (La Contessa of The Vintage Contessa) and my latest installment of Ageless Style. Every month we each feature someone we consider chic at any age. Style shouldn’t have an expiration date.  We want to look great period not great for our age, right?
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This month I am featuring Adrienne from the Rich Life in Wine Country.   I started reading Adrienne’s blog quite some time ago.  The Sonoma Valley is one of our favorite places to visit.  She covers all of the interesting places and events going on in the Sonoma Valley and takes beautiful photographs along the way.
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She owns her own style and covers approachable, wearable fashion. She has a monthly feature with Jill from Everything Just So  called “How I Wear My”  that is full of inspiration and fun.
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I love Adrienne’s laid back wine country style.  She can rock a pair of jeans, boots and her signature hat,
Adrienne, tall boots
but glam it up when duty calls.
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She is amongst a handful of women challenging what life after 40 can look like. Here is my interview with Adrienne.
How Would You Describe Your Style? 
Wine Country Casual

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What Inspires your signature style?

A: My lifestyle here in Sonoma Valley is my main inspiration. I am surrounded by beauty – both natural and manmade – and spend a lot of time outdoors when the weather calls for it. Throughout most of the year, I attend festivals and events at wineries and other locations. I also do hotel reviews for my blog which often include tours and taking in the local scene. I need comfort as well as style – I won’t sacrifice either one.

Q: What accessory Can You Not Do Without?

A: Since I carry a camera, two lenses and some small camera lighting devices with me most of the time, I need a purse that will accommodate my needs. The Adora bag by Armadio is a beautiful Italian leather tote bag with a classic and simple design.
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I have it in several colors including black, yellow, cobalt, burgundy, off-white and light peach. I carry one almost every day, despite having lots of other handbags to choose from.

Q: Favorite Color

A: For spring and summer, I love yellow! For fall and winter, I love burgundy. 

Q: Do you have a signature piece that defines your style?

A: Long necklaces. I have dozens of them and really love to wear them. Most of mine come from KayandStar. Julie, the owner and artist, is a lovely person and I adore her pieces.
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Q: What are your style strengths?
 
A: I have a good eye for accessorizing. I can tell immediately when I have gone overboard with accessories and need to tone it down. For example, I have this new turquoise blouse with ruffled sleeves that would go so well with a colorful Hermes scarf I have - color wise. But, it will not work to pair them together because it’s too much. The pattern and bold colors of the scarf compete with the ruffles of the blouse and, well, it gives me a headache just thinking about it! I prefer to let the blouse stand alone with a pretty necklace instead.


Q: Do you have a style icon?

A: I do not. However, there are bloggers I take inspiration from. I think Cheryl of Northwest Mountain and I have a similar style so I always like to see what she’s wearing. And Tamera Beardsley has a fashion flair like no other. I always love to see what she’s wearing. Plus she is beautiful woman, inside and out, and I am proud to call her my friend.
I also like Susan of Une Femme, also a friend, for her fashion tips and outfits. I think her style is somewhat similar to mine – I relate to her.
 


Q: What are your beauty essentials that you couldn't do without

A: I am 100% devoted to my esthetician, Karen Borgfeldt of Hello Beautiful in Santa Rosa. She carries a skin care line, only available through skincare clinics, that has improved my skin greatly since I started going to her last summer. I use a variety of products, recommended by Karen for my skin’s issues, and I get a chemical peel at Hello Beautiful every four weeks. It’s in my calendar for the entire year and I never miss an appointment.
adrienne skin

Q; Do you have repeat offenders in your closet if so what are they?

A: Yes, I do! I found these cute floral maxi dresses on Amazon, of all places, that are flowy, lightweight and they have short sleeves, which I appreciate. They were only about $30. I bought one and liked it, then decided to get more. Now I have 4 or 5 of them. They are going to be my go-tos when the hot weather arrives.
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Q: What advice do you have for women over 50, or over 40?

A: If you used to love fashion but now you want to give up on it because you don’t know what to wear and/or how to dress for your new middle-aged figure and age. It is SO easy to fall into the habit of not trying when you reach a certain age. I almost went there this last year and had to force myself to resist the urge to live in elastic waistband pants and big tunics. Thankfully the blog helped motivate me to keep trying.

Visit blogs written by women you relate to, pick up a style book, ask a stylish friend where she shops – treat it like a fun project! 

Q: Do you have any style rules that you live by?

A: If it is not comfortable – both in the way it makes me feel about myself and the way it fits me - I will not wear it.

Q: What are your favorite online go to sources?

A: At 6’ 2”, properly fitting pants, jeans, dresses and even tops are a challenge for me so I go for lines that carry “talls” but generally steer clear of lines that are for tall women only. I know that sounds strange, but I don’t like the styles the tall brands carry.
I shop Banana Republic, Gap, Ann Taylor, and Old Navy for talls. For other things – tops, shoes, accessories, skirts – I shop Nordstrom, Macy’s, Chico’s, Anthropolgie, Soft Surroundings and Sole Society mostly.


Q: Do you have a particular designer that you are drawn to?
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A: I have been working with Stella Carakasi since early 2014, blogging about their line, participating in fashion shows and other events with them and I consider myself their biggest fan!

Over the years, I have gotten to know Stella and the fantastic people who are working hard to make this brand the success that it is. Stella is a local Bay Area designer and I love supporting local businesswomen.  Her unique, artistic and beautiful clothes are wearable, luxurious and different. I am drawn to her asymmetrical lines – usually quite flattering on us tall women – natural fabrics, and structures that are so comfortable, they a pleasure to wear.

I have many Stella Carakasi pieces in my closet that I adore and always get very excited when new collections are released. I got a sneak peek at fall 2017 and WOW!  Prepare to be floored!

All images courtesy of Adrienne Shubin.

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Adrienne. If you love the wine country stop by Adrienne's blog The Rich Life in Wine Country for more inspiration. 

And don't forget to pop over to Elizabeth’s post (The Vintage Contessa)  about our darling friend Sandra Sallin.  I bet you can’t guess her age!
girls
Elizabeth (the Vintage Contessa), Me, Brenda Kinsel, (Brenda Kinsel) Sandra Sallin (Apart from my Art), and Mary Ann Pickett (Classic Casual Home).
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