September 25, 2015

the prettiest travel journal ever

Swept away by WANDERLUST is a charming travel journal, bound in a premium, earthy latte-colored cloth, for the boho-chic traveler who wants to document her journey in a unique way. 

Each page is filled with fun questions, original writing prompts and witty ‘to-do’ notes enticing the traveler to jot down her thoughts, feelings and experiences while adventuring our big beautiful world. 

Whether taking the train down the California coast exploring the beaches or honeymooning in Paris, each journey can be celebrated and documented beautifully.

This journal is filled with encouraging life and 
travel quotes, thought-provoking prompts, 
edgy global photography and a world map.

"Stories are born every minute and forgotten the next, and finding a stylish and simple way for people to capture snippets of their own journey through this life is what our journals are all about," said Axel & Ash co-founder Hanna Axelsson.

ciao! fabiana

p.s.  what are your wanderlust destinations?

September 20, 2015

spooky halloween dinner party update

A couple of years ago, my husband and I hosted an elegant but spooky Halloween party for our friends. We had each place setting set with a photo of one of our favorite classic spooky characters, like Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Each guest was then given a sticker on their back with the name of one of those characters, without them knowing which one they had on their back. They were then to go around to the other guests and ask questions so they could try to figure out who they were and where they were seated. Everyone really enjoyed this game, and it was really cute when a newly engaged couple found out that they were Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein.

I’m planning to host a similar party this year, so I have already started planning out my spooky people for this year’s party. It’s such an easy and fun theme for a Halloween dinner party, and you can really personalize it with your favorite movie and tv personalities. All you have to do is print out an 8x10 copy each of the spooky faces you select. Use a round salad plate as a template to draw a circle around where you will cut your printed face.

You now have a circular photo that can be nestled under a glass plate and be visible to your guests. You can use a charger plate under that to finish off the look. Accent your table with lots of candles, owls, spiders and pumpkins! 

Bela Lugosi as Dracula & 
Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch

ciao! fabiana

September 18, 2015

sweet potato creme brulee

This is an elegant alternative to pumpkin pie!

Sweet Potato Creme Brulee
8 servings
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked, peeled, and pureed
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 quarts heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split in half
16 large egg yolks

In a medium bowl, mix together the pureed sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice until combined. Butter 8 8-ounce custard cups or ramekins. Spoon 2 to 3 tablepoons of the sweet potato mixture into each cup to form a 1/4-inch layer.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean, and 3/4 cup of the remaining sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and another 3/4 cup sugar. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Return the saucepan to the stove and cook on low heat for 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Fill the custard cups with enough of the cream mixture so they are about seven-eighths full. Place the filled cups in a baking pan that is large enough to hold them all. Add enough hot water to come within 1 inch of the top of the cups. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custards are barely set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out a little wet. Remove the custards from the baking pan and place them in the refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the broiler. Lightly sprinkle the surface of each custard with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Place the custards under the broiler for about 30 to 60 seconds and let them brown. Keep an eye on the custards, as this happens quickly.

Remove the custards from the heat, and once the sugar has hardened (1 to 2 minutes), serve the creme brulee.
Recipe courtesy of The New, Low-Country Cooking 

Ciao! fabiana

September 17, 2015

a fun and easy fall tablescape

Use clear glass dinner plates to showcase your pretty table linens. These are pretty dishtowels that can be used as Thanksgiving napkins.

ciao! fabiana

September 16, 2015

rooms that feel like autumn’s that time of year again!
rooms that make you just want to hang out!

images  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5 

ciao! fabiana 

September 15, 2015

easy to transform gold pumpkins

 These little pumpkins and gourds were only $1 and can
easily be transformed with a little gold spray paint!
(purchased at the Dollar Tree)
Here's how I used them at my own table...
These little gold pumpkins can now be incorporated into a fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving tablescape.  At my table, I added orange napkins and neutral accessories to create a soft palette.  These look great on the mantle too!     
 Knotted napkins make it fun and casual.
 Each guest gets their own unique golden pumpkin to keep!
 I chose burlap runners and a knarled olive branch for texture. 
 Bamboo cutlery adds more texture and a hint spookiness.
 Owls and a few white ceramic pumpkins round off the look.

ciao! fabiana

September 13, 2015

jerusalem artichokes

When my mother comes to visit, she always comes with something yummy to cook up and oftentimes, she brings something new to try. So, what happens when she comes over after a trip to the health food store with an abundant amount of Jerusalem Artichokes? 

Well, we cooked some up, but since they are roots, I planted the rest in my garden. A few months later, I have a beautiful crop of small sunflowers. 

I will dig up the chokes as soon as they are ready, so right now I am enjoying these pretty little flowers.

Jerusalem artichokes (a.k.a. sunchokes) are so easy to grow!  They have a delicate, artichokey flavor that is easily incorporated into recipes. They really don’t have anything to do with artichokes. 

The name came about from “girasole”, the Italian word for sunflowers, because the plants look like small sunflowers.

The word “girasole” somehow became “Jersualem” to English speaking people, and then “artichoke” was added to account for the similarity of flavor.  Here’s one of our favorite recipes:

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes 

1 pound Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
½  cup olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh thyme 
2 cloves minced garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Scrub Jerusalem artichoke tubers and cut out eyes. Cut tubers into 1-inch pieces.

Mix olive oil, thyme, garlic, and sea salt together in a large bowl; add Jerusalem artichoke pieces and toss to coat. Arrange coated pieces in one evenly-spaced layer on a baking sheet.

Roast in the preheated oven until Jerusalem artichokes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

ciao! fabiana

September 10, 2015

a trough full of seashells

My friend Merideth has the cutest little coastal décor shop named MerMade Designs, right here in Newport Beach.  

Don’t you love how she styled these rustic wooden troughs full of seashells? 

It keeps the spirit of summer alive all year long! Just a little reminder of those glorious days at the beach!

And here’s another look… literally, a boatload of seashells!  This one was designed by Barclay Butera Interiors and was showcased on the Newport Harbor Home Tour.  

ciao! fabiana


While I’m here today, I wanted to share some of my "Tablescaping Essentials" with you. I have a whole page on the Amazon website with my favorite picks for setting a beautiful table.

Quite often time is of the essence, and I have last minute projects or events to work on, so I turn to Amazon for one or two day delivery. You’d be surprised at how many amazing items they have to offer! And I'm constantly updating this page with my new favorites. 

You can check it out here, at Tablescaping Essentials.

For more Newport Harbor Home Tour inspiration,
check out this brand new book:

September 9, 2015

color inspiration: yellow in kids' rooms

I love a little hint of true yellow in a child’s room.
Aren’t these vignettes so fun?!

ciao! fabiana

House of Turquoise
The Simplified Bee
House Beautiful

5 recipes for late summer tomatoes

Those summer tomatoes just keep coming!  Here are five of my favorite go-to recipes that I have made over the years, but especially this year with my lovely crops of heirloom tomatoes.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup  is a recipe from Ina Garten and is one of my family’s favorites, especially paired with grilled cheese sandwiches. I make a big batch and freeze half for another time.

Stuffed Artichokes remind me of my grandmother who made a similar recipe, and wow, what a treat!

Alexis’ Chopped Vegetable Salad is named for Martha Stewart’s daughter.  I make this salad during the summer when it gets really hot out. It’s cool and refreshing, as well as yummy and nutritious. 

Zesty Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is a classic Italian dish that you must try, if you’ve never had it! The puttanesca sauce gets its flavor from olives, capers and anchovies. 

Pasta alla Checca is a quick and basic pasta made with lots of fresh tomatoes. 

If you try one of these recipes,
let me know what you think!

ciao! fabiana

September 8, 2015

succulent ideas for fall

The transitional time between summer and fall is a great time to replant some of those large pots in the garden, and succulents are the best choice for low-care, beautiful pots.  They always look great, and you can get so creative with the different varieties there are to choose from. 

The colors, textures and size of different succulents really let you create unique arrangements that will grow and grow to become more and more beautiful.  And why not try filling a pumpkin or large gourd with succulents?  

Find a small pot that will fit perfectly inside your pumpkin, so that the edges don’t show.  Then just plant it tightly with your choice of small succulents.  Voila! You'll have a gorgeous fall arrangement that will last you at least through Thanksgiving!   

Small branches are cut into ¼ inch slices and layered around the perimeter of this glass bowl. The addition of spanish moss along the bottom edge completes the look. Pebbles on the bottom of the container will keep it from getting water-logged.

A tall spiky variety looks great 
surrounded by rosette-shaped succulents. 

Mix and match.  It all looks great! 

ciao! fabiana

photo credit:
Roger's Gardens

a neutral fall palette

I'm keeping my fall décor neutral so far this year, keeping with the white, soft metallics and natural materials as my color scheme. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist a pop of orange here and there as we get closer to Halloween, though!  

Updating vintage jack-o-lanterns with metallic spray paint is a great way to neutralize your holiday décor and create a little bit more of an elegant look.  Right now my jack-o-lanterns are turned backwards, so they look like pumpkins.

Once October hits, I'll turn their little faces forward!

Here are a few that I painted in soft gold.

before and after

This little white pumpkin was found at the Dollar Tree. I really like how this little inexpensive guy can just be nestled in with the real and vintage pumpkins in the vignette.

ciao! fabiana

September 6, 2015

happy labor day

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

ciao! fabiana

rustic table decor for fall

Rescue an old wood plank and use it as a table runner for rustic autumn look. Just add greenery, mini pumpkins and a variety of pillar candles to create your own unique tablescape.

ciao! fabiana

September 4, 2015

halloween carnival at roger's gardens

A mysterious traveling carnival has pulled into town.  Tent doors flap amidst the dry, swirling autumn wind.  The night crackles with an odd vibration, as if a veil of peculiarity has settled over these hallowed grounds.  A maelstrom of sights, sounds, smells, and people… 

This is Halloween at Roger¹s Gardensthis is Carnival !

Halloween at Roger's Gardens premiered this week.  It's always a fun way to get inspired for the fall season.  As you wander through the beautiful gardens, prepare yourself as you are pulled from the shadows into the vortex of the Big Top.  This isn't your garden-variety nursery anymore!  They have prepared four tents just for you.  
•        The Magician’s Tent: Lurking in the shadows, a world of magic beckons in a color palette of red, white and black.  Spells will be cast with top hats, rabbits, magic wands, and other props that await your sleight of hand.
•        The Fortune Teller’s Tent:  In this colorful, gypsy-inspired den you can connect with the spirits, get lost in the gaze of a crystal ball, and explore vintage merchandise and Day of the Dead accessories
•        The Medicine Man’s Tent: Pick your poison. It¹s all here.  Conjure up a frightfully festive mood with the creepy cabinet of curiosities.  Loaded with slithering snakes, nibbling rats and hair-raising spiders, the creepy crawlers will frighten off the most intrepid visitors.
•        The Sideshow Tent:  Navigating the twists and turns of our Big Top may lead you (spirits willing) to the side show, to which no carnival is ever complete.  Be awed by beautifully adorned masks, gourmet candy, and one-of-a-kind collectibles created by talented artisans.

Roger's Gardens is just the place to help conjure up inspiration for the dark, haunted chamber you call home.  Enter if you dare… I hope you will stop by the Halloween Boutique in person.  You won't be sorry!  

You know how much I love a great tablescape, 
and here are some of my picks from Roger's that would
 look great for a spooky Halloween dinner party!

ciao! fabiana


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