November 11, 2018

the cutest little book store

You know me and vintage houses… I’m really drawn to them, so when visiting Geneva last week, I discovered this newly opened book store, Harvey’s Tales.

Housed in a beautiful old house on James street and just around the corner form the historic shopping district on Third Street, Harvey’s Tales is absolutely delightful!

Geneva residents Chuck and Roxanne recently opened this adorable book store. Harvey’s Tales was named for the owners’ Bernese Mountain dog, Harvey, who sadly they lost last year in October. He was 10 years old. They recently adopted another Bernese named Hazel.

The historic building was built in 1860, and is also known as the ‘Cory House’, the building used to be the Kris Kringle Haus, a year-round Christmas store for ages and ages.

The building is also listed in the book, “Ghosts of the Fox River Valley,” as the music of the dearly departed Miss Vere Cory, a music teacher, can still supposedly be heard playing the piano in the house at times.

After everyone’s favorite go-to shop Robin’s Book Store closed in Geneva after many decades a fixture in town, there was a real need for another one in Geneva. I think locals and visitors alike are happy there’s a new bookstore in town.

Harvey’s Tales is 2,400 square feet of space, with a cozy coffee bar on the first floor right near the kids and young adult section. The second floor features fiction and non-fiction for us ‘grown-ups’.

There are so many cute and cozy reading spots!

The children’s room is darling…

and reminders of Harvey are everywhere.

I have no affiliation to this store. I just happen to love it, and in turn, I love sharing my fun finds with you all!

Harvey’s Tales is located at
216 James St, Geneva, IL 60134

ciao! fabiana

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November 9, 2018

the biggest tablescaping holidays

We made it through the first week of November, and now we’re headed for the homestretch… Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year! And, I just realized that Thanksgiving will be here in less than two weeks!

Our trip to Geneva last week was so memorable and the town was just so beautiful. News this morning from our cousin Melinda is that it snowed this morning! Wow… we would have missed the beautiful fall leaves if we didn’t get there when we did.

While in Geneva, one of my must-see destinations was the Kane County Flea Market which runs the first weekend of each month. My primary goal was to gather as much vintage Indiana glassware that I could possibly fit into my luggage!

As you can see from the photo above, I did find some nice pieces, but only the amber one was found at the flea market. My instincts told me to search some of the local thrift stores and that’s where I hit the motherlode.

The set of green glasses were found at the Catchpenny thrift store in Barrington. I walked in, and there they were, waiting for me, at only .97 cents each! But wait… when I got to the register I found out everything at the store was half off! Wow! I don’t find bargains like that everyday.     

I love using this type of vintage glassware to set my holiday tables. In fact, you’ll catch four pages of the ‘Enchanted’ Christmas table I set in the December issue of Romantic Homes magazine. Here’s a little peek at one of the photos that’s an outtake.

My inspiration for this table were my black and white Joyeux Noel salad plates. From there, I incorporated black and white gingham, and just a bit of green to add necessary color to the table. Blush pink roses finish of the look to add a little romance.

Check out the whole story and pics in Romantic homes! I just saw if for sale yesterday at our local grocery store and they also have it available at Barnes & Noble.   

Another table I set exclusively for Romantic Homes also showcases my favorite glassware. This time in amber, this alfresco Thanksgiving table is one of my favorites. I also used roses on this table, but I went with a more natural look with wood accents and natural textures.

Check out the whole look here at Romantic Homes.   

One of my all-time favorite tables is this Thanksgiving table I recently set up with my beautiful tableware from Serena & Lily. I was going for a clean, modern look and just love the simplicity of it. 

The pretty Mayberry napkins add just the right reddish-orange 'papaya' color to the table that's so perfect for fall.  Keep a lookout for the Christmas table I'll be setting in a few weeks with these same Serena & Lily goodies. Check out the whole look of the Thanksgiving table and dining room here.

Also on the radar this month is this yummy recipe for Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies. They offer just the right amount of autumn flavor and are so nostalgic to and fun to make! Recipe found here.   

You may remember this silly little ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ tablescape I did last year. Well, you can catch it on the pages of Country Sampler’s Christmas Decorating issue along with my gold magnolia wreath that’s also featured.

I’ve been truly blessed this year that some of my projects have been featured in national magazines for the first time. It’s really surreal to see my photos and stories in print!

Happy weekend to you all!

I’m going to try to get out into the garden and plant some roses. I’m so excited to have found a really pretty English rose yesterday called ‘Edith’s Darling’, a Downton Abbey variety! 

ciao! fabiana

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November 7, 2018

farmhouse's favorite green bean cassarole

Just popping in to share this really yummy Thanksgiving side dish that everyone will love! Created by Chef Mead at Farmhouse here in Newport Beach, it’s sure to wow everyone at the Thanksgiving table!    


Serves 8 to 10


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, (I use a combination of crimini, shitake and oysters) stems removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half and half
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces of seasoned fried shallots
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, blanched and cooled
½ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tsp of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

1.   Cook the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2.   Sprinkle the flour evenly over the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Cook until the flour is no longer dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the half and half, chicken broth, tamari or soy sauce, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

3.   Remove the sauce from the heat, add the green beans and 1/2 of the fried shallots, and stir to combine. Transfer the green bean mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer.

4.   Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, smoked paprika and remaining shallots. Bake until golden and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes.

5.   Let cool 5 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Easy to make ahead: Assemble the casserole without the crispy shallots and store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Top with the fried shallots and bake.

ciao! fabiana

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on instagram for lots of extras!

photo credit:
Farmhouse Roger's Gardens

November 6, 2018

a walking tour through the autumn foliage

We arrived in Geneva on Wednesday… 


it's such a fun time of year in the Midwest. 

We had previously spent 4th of July this year in Geneva  during that heatwave, so this cooler weather was a welcomed change of pace, and I started my walk through town as soon as we finished with lunch.

This historic little stone house is just around the corner from where we were staying at the Herrington Inn. I just love the large yards, amazing stone walls and old wrought iron fences in this part of town, and the fall colors were really breathtaking.   

All these pics are from Halloween afternoon. 

I wanted to soak in all the gorgeous fall foliage 
and decor as soon as we arrived. 

Our actual very first stop in town was the Little Owl, a fun little restaurant that’s been here for over 75 years. We were famished after traveling all day, so their yummy burgers really hit the spot!

I love the architectural details of the old buildings here on State Street. Inside, the Little Owl still retains all its vintage character, and it's light and bright decor is updated perfectly.

In town, most of the homes were subtly decked out for Halloween. The pretty old farmhouses are some of my favorite homes, with those amazing front porches.

So spooky and cute!

This old stone home sits right on the banks of the Fox River and belongs to friends of my husband. It’s been in the same family for decades, and still maintains its gorgeous storybook style while being tastefully updated on the inside.

The sun shining through the autumn leaves is so dreamy!

You’ve probably seen photos of this beauty. I have to photograph it every time I’m in town, and now for Halloween…

It’s truly spectacular!

Here’s a view from the side. Another porch happily greets guests coming in from the driveway. So cute!

Just another cute side yard vignette in town.

Those white houses with the dark shutters
 get me every time!

Aren’t these embellished front porches darling?

And the wrap around porch on this one, wow!

I think my absolute favorite corner in Geneva is Sixth and Fulton. I don’t know why, but I’m just drawn to this part of town every time I visit.

This ivy covered home is really spectacular in person and reminds me a little bit of Savannah

Those two large windows in front are original and have the most amazing vintage wavy glass in them! Plus you can catch a glimpse of the inside which is so stylish and beautiful.

Here’s a look at the back of the house, and directly next door is this darling little house....

with the sweet front courtyard that I fell in love with this summer.

The main historical shopping district in Geneva is on Third Street, where you can find The Paper Merchant. This unique store is located in a lovely 1869 Gothic Revival home, and is one of my favorite little gift shops. You can’t beat its cute curb appeal and gingerbread details!

Right across from the Paper Merchant is the most iconic store in Geneva, The Little Traveler, which is housed in a thirty-six room Victorian home that seems to be a combination of several vintage homes all connected by more rooms!

Their well-known café serves lunch, amazing sweets and Sunday brunch. Our good friend David is the chef there, and his desserts and pies are my favorites!

So if you’re ever in St. Charles or Chicago, make sure to take a little extra time and visit Geneva. The train from Chicago actually stops just one block from The Little Traveler! 

A walk through this charming little town takes me back to my childhood, and growing up in a small town in New York. Actually, the feeling I get walking through old-town Geneva is like something out of a movie... 'It's a Wonderful Life' to be exact. It really reminds me of Bedford Falls, and I really should come back in the winter for the full effect, haha!   

I’ll be back later in the week with some of my favorite restaurants in Geneva, and boy, were they good!! 

ciao! fabiana

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on instagram for lots of extras!

November 5, 2018

geneva, illinois in the fall

Happy Monday!  


It’s been a week or so since I last checked in, but I’m finally back at my desk. My family and I just returned from a little trip to my husband’s home town of Geneva, Illinois.

'The Herrington Inn’

The fall color there in the Midwest was absolutely breathtaking, so I quickly wanted to share a little preview of my favorite homes and their fabulous curb appeal surrounded by the spectacular autumn foliage.

I’ll be back later in the week with some of my favorite restaurants, coffee houses and treasure hunting excursions.

We actually arrived on Halloween night and stayed through the weekend at our favorite inn ‘The Herrington’.

Every morning I bundled up in my coat, hat, gloves and scarf and took a morning walk through this idyllic town that we love so much…

It wasn’t too too cold, but it does get a little gusty out there during those cool morning walks, as you can see!

This white Victorian home is one of my absolute faves! It’s located right near the quaint little train station in Geneva.

This is where I started my walk each morning. 

I can’t wait to share more with you about this sweet little historical town! There's so much to explore! Check back this week for more!

 ciao! fabiana

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on instagram for all the latest!

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