February 6, 2015

empower yourself

How do we find balance in our lives when as women we are so busy and overwhelmed with everyday commitments? Balance is so important to have in all aspects of our lives especially with family, friends, business, and of course, ourselves. For me, sometimes (or usually) my requirements are the last ones that get met. With a husband, four sons, a new daughter-in-law (yay), my mother, 3 dogs, two cats and a household to run, I don’t have time to catch my breath most days.

I've recently discovered the Empower Women’s Conference blog, and it has been a real inspiration for me daily.  In a post they recently did on Finding Balance, the writer, Andrea lists a few things to remember throughout our day.  First thing to remember is to turn to your faith. It does bring inner peace. The second is to remember that it’s ok to say no sometimes. Don’t over commit yourself.  And remember, none of us is perfect.  As I tell my kids, just remember to do your best!

Setting goals for ourselves is also so important.  Daily goals, weekly goals, yearly goals and lifetime goals are so really something we all need to think about.  Write them out.  Keep them posted at your desk or on your fridge. Keep them private or share with others.  You will be rewarded by the outcome! 

Think about the legacy you are creating for future generations.  What will you be remembered for after you are gone. I have been actively keeping records of our family’s genealogy for over twenty years, and it’s fascinating to think about what our great grandparents may have been like. We have some family members that date back to the renaissance period and beyond. 

The DNA we share with our ancestors really has a big part in forming who we are. Unless we hear stories or have a history told by other family members, we are left only with a few photos, birthdays and anniversaries.  Should we be documenting our own biographies for future generations?   

Being resourceful is an important part of being a good problem solver, and as the Empower Women’s Conference blog states, “don’t create drama or add to the problem.”  Good to remember!   

“Dream up, dream big and set your mind on higher thoughts! Break out of your comfort zone to move your life into your next dream.

The next Empower Women’s Conference, a girlfriend getaway near Palm Springs, is coming up soon!  It’s February 27 through March 1, 2015 in beautiful La Quinta, California. 

This year, the conference features five women who dreamed up and found success! I invite you to visit their site and blog to learn more about this amazing event. 

ciao! fabiana

{This post is sponsored by Empower Women's Conference, 
however all opinions are genuinely my own.}

February 4, 2015

orange oilve oil cake

This is one of my family’s favorite treats, Orange Olive Oil Cake.  I love the delicate orange flavor and the fact that it’s not too sweet.  The addition of olive oil makes it so moist!  The best part about making it is that all the ingredients are easily found in my pantry. 

It’s so easy to make and cooks in less than 1/2 an hour.  It's the perfect afternoon snack and so delicious with coffee. Next time, I might try making it with lemon or blood orange instead!  Let me know if you make it, too…

Orange Olive Oil Cake

Butter, for greasing the pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice and zest of 1 orange (about 3 tablespoons juice, 1 tablespoon zest)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Mix together the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until blended and light. Drizzle in the olive oil and vanilla and mix until light and smooth. Add the orange juice and zest and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another medium bowl. Add the flour mixture half at a time to the wet ingredients and mix on low just to incorporate. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool 15 minutes, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Recipe courtesy Melissa d'Arabian

ciao! fabiana

p.s  my son made the cute snowflake stencil 
for the powdered sugar design on top.

February 2, 2015

white house, dark shutters

We're getting ready to install new windows on the front of our house this week, and after that we will be ready for painting.  My husband and I have always loved white houses, so here is some of my favorite inspiration for our home.  

Dark shutters to follow the paint new job!  I will keep you posted with the progress.

Above is Mr. Ciao’s childhood home. 

ciao! fabiana

house numbers

Do you prefer numbers or letters for your house address?

ciao! fabiana

February 1, 2015

home tour: a little bit of chinoiserie

Being on the committee for the Newport Harbor Home and Garden Tour for the last three years has been so much fun for me.  I think my favorite part of being involved with this group is getting to know all the fabulous women who each have a special talent that they share with us in putting together the home tour.  

This year we have three fabulous women heading up the tour, Karen, Marion and Pam.  I have been to Karen’s home a few times, and am always so impressed with her sense of style, especially in d├ęcor.  

I love that Karen’s living room is an evolved space.  It came together over time, as she collected some of her favorite things over the years.  Her blue and white ceramics collection has been building for over thirty years.  

The gorgeous zebra rug was found on consignment.  It’s a great anchor to this eclectic room with its strong black and white pattern. 

Karen spotted this gorgeous French shield at an antique store in Laguna Beach, and fell in love with it.  I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite pieces in this room!   

Every treasure holds a story in Karen’s living room.  The woman in the beautiful portrait is Kitty Keller, a dear friend of Karen’s who also helped her dog-sit her beloved Jack Russell terriers.  

The pair of red leather ottomans was found at our church rummage sale. St. Andrew’s has the best rummage sale in May, right around the time of the home tour.

Blue and white pottery dominates the dining room.


One of Karen’s favorite vignettes is in the kitchen.  All her favorite dog collectables are displayed here. 

I couldn’t help but peek into her family room and spy a few more dear dog references, and of course the beautiful turquoise accessories caught my eye! 

As Karen’s visitors come and go, they pass this by a pretty iron bench in her front entry...

with a humorous warning!
{chien lunatique = crazy dog}

Thanks for coming along with me on a tour of Karen’s home.  And, if you are in the area, please join us on May 14, 2015 for the Newport Harbor Home and Garden Tour.  We are featuring 8 homes this year! 

Karen and friends

ciao! fabiana


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