January 13, 2018

weekend wrap-up

Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels
Gown by Gucci 

Hi guys, happy Saturday! Hasn’t the beginning of the new year been moving along quickly? With the hustle and bustle of the holidays over and done with, this is my favorite time to move forward with new opportunities and meet up again with old friends.

With all the anticipation of starting the year with a blank slate, I’ve got all sorts of project ideas swirling around in my head, plus a few things I want to share with you all!  

Victoria, the Masterpiece series starts up again tomorrow night. Did you happen to catch this series last year? It's the best thing to hit the screen since Downton Abbey. Visually  it's gorgeous and authentically recreated in a seriously breathtaking manner, from the costumes and jewelry to the locations and historic events. The role of young Queen Victoria is beautifully acted by Jenna Coleman. Here she is in a natural setting, without the signature blue contacts she wears to portray Victoria on the show, wearing Victorian inspired jewels. 

Necklace and ring by Faberge & Gemfields
Dress by Balmain 

Victoria airs Sunday night, January 14 at 9pm on PBS.

Necklace and ring by Cartier
Dress by Alberta Ferretti 

If you liked my last post on Hilary Duff’s home, here are a few more pics. I still can't get over how fabulous those pink front doors are!

And that tile in the kitchen... wow!

And speaking of tile...

My husband and I are headed to LA this weekend to check into the Plaza La Reina hotel in Westwood. The style and grace of this locale harkens back to 1920’s Santa Barbara. Look for more on this 5 star boutique hotel from me very soon! Above, Laura Dern strikes a pose on the beautifully tiled staircase of the Plaza La Reina. 

Could this be a fabulous boutique hotel somewhere in Italy? No, it's a secluded little enclave in the heart of Los Angeles, and I can't wait to visit Plaza La Reina in Westwood this weekend. 


It looks like the perfect little overnight getaway that would be romantic enough for Valentine’s day!

A Winter White Coastal-Inspired Dinner Party

Among the ideas swirling around in my head are specific themes I’m going for in upcoming tablescape projects. Here are a few mood boards I’ve put together for January and February.

A Fresh and Fun Valentine Celebration

An Old New Orleans-Style Mardi Gras Dinner Party 

And lastly, remember my thrifting adventure earlier in the week? Well, I spotted a sad little antique drop-leaf secretary desk that had the most delicate silhouette for only $25. It was terribly battered and beat up, so I walked away from it, knowing that I absolutely had no room in my house for it anyways.

Well, guess what? I couldn’t stop thinking about it for two whole days. I kept envisioning it painted white with a pop of Tiffany blue inside. Wouldn't it make a fabulous bar? So, I went back thinking there was only a slight miniscule chance that it would still be at the Goodwill Store.

You guessed it! I got lucky. There it was... and now here it is in my home waiting for a little wood filler, pretty paint and lots of TLC.     

ciao! fabiana

photo credit:
Jenna Coleman from InStyle Magazine
Villa La Reina, Los Angeles

January 11, 2018

a sneak peek at better homes & gardens

Early this morning, Better Homes & Gardens Magazine shared a preview of their upcoming February issue on their Instagram stories. The cover and main feature shows Hilary Duff’s adorable California home, so I wanted you all to take a peek at it too, before the issue is released next week.

ciao! fabiana

photo credit:

January 9, 2018

pretty storage options

Do we ever have enough storage options in our homes? For 99% of us, I think the answer is no! We all just have so much stuff. It seems like I’m always on a mission to reconfigure under-utilized space in my home. A little nook here, and a little shelf there, but my latest endeavor is finding more space to organize all my tableware in one room.

I’ve got one extra room in my home that’s a multi-purpose family use room, but I’ve managed to reserve the closet and two tall built-ins for my “stuff”, and yet it seems like I still don’t have enough space.

So in my search for more useful ideas, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you all…

And by the way, I didn’t forget about my Golden Globes Red Carpet post, it’s that I just wasn’t that inspired by the all-black gowns. 

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the #TimesUp movement and think the show and all of Hollywood did a great job of getting their message across. I think the focus this year was less on fashion and more on the issues at hand. 

There were several beautifully dressed women on Sunday, and these four were among my faves.

Kerry Washington, Mandy Moore,
Reese Witherspoon and Naomi Campbell

ciao! fabiana

photo credit:
1. The Red Chair, 2. BH&G, 3. Bieke Claessens,
4. House Beautiful, 5. pinterest, 6. The Lettered Cottage,
7. pinterest, 8. House & Home  

January 8, 2018

adventures in thrifting

Today was the perfect day for thrifting. It’s Monday, the kids are back in school, it’s raining and I have three big bags of donations to take to the thrift store. That’s the perfect time to put on my old jeans and a roomy sweater  and run out the door... no make-up, hair in a ponytail and slip-on vans on my feet. I was slumming it today, and so happy I got to visit my favorite local thrift stores.

One of my weaknesses is vintage English bone china. I'm always on the look-out... I LOVE to collect plates and dishes, and boy did I find some treasures today!!

These oval platters are actually quite small, which I love! The turkey platter is only about 9 inches wide and so cute, and easy to store! 

The green majolica platter with the bunnies is probably my favorite and will be so cute for Easter. It’ll also look great with some of my green cabbageware plates.

Here are some darling plates with hints of green. Even though I love English plates primarily, I can’t resist a beautiful Bavarian or Irish plate once in a while. The shamrock dish is so delicate to the touch. When I search for china, it has to have just the right feel to it, in terms of weight and material. 

These floral ones are mostly Bavarian, and I love the delicate flowers in the patterns. They're really fun to mix and match. I tend to categorize my plates in terms of color, design and pattern, that way they can work together as a collection.

I'm working on better storage for my plate collection, which is a challenge. I like to be organized, otherwise things tend to get get overlooked when you need them most. 

This Staffordshire bone china plate has the most unusual design that reminds me of Spirograph!

Here are a few other goodies I found today. The Danish map plate may be the start of a new collection. Wouldn’t it be fun to have several different European map plates arrange on an accent wall? And I absolutely couldn't resist these cobalt blue glass bowls. The color is so vibrant. 

Ceramic periwinkle blue fish plates? Why, yes! They’d be cute in a coastal inspired tablescape. These are dinner plate size.

Blue & white and red & white transferware plates are probably my faves, so when I found a whole pile of these in different sizes, I grabbed them and later was relieved that they all were quite a bargain.

But, I think my favorite deal of the day was this set of six floral red & white Anthropologie salad plates for $6. Yes, a dollar a plate, woo hoo! They’re gonna be so cute for Valentine’s day!  

ciao! fabiana

January 7, 2018

cooking show: baked in vermont

Happy Sunday! We’re officially one week into the new year, yay! I don’t know about you, but the colder weather (50-60 degrees here in Newport Beach) always draws me into the kitchen and I end up cooking a lot more than usual, especially on the weekends.

I was especially inspired by my latest discovery on the Food Network, Baked in Vermont with Gisine Bullock-Prado. Evidently I’ve missed several episodes this season, but the ones I’ve seen have me hooked!

Not only does Gesine bake up wonderful goodies in her Vermont kitchen that also doubles as a cooking school, but her personality is absolutely bubbly and so fun to watch!  

Gesine's a multi-talented pastry chef and baking instructor that you may have also seen on The Kitchen and on TheToday Show. Have you guys watched her show at all?

She lives and teaches in the 18th century farmhouse that she shares with her husband Ray. She also has some amazing savory recipes that she makes, but for today we're gonna keep it strictly sweet!  

Such a dreamy old home! 

Picture perfect!

Here’s a little peek at her BH&G feature from last year. 

When I first heard Gesine, her voice and mannerisms reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t pinpoint it right away... 

...then I remembered she’s Sandra Bullock’s little sister. They really do sound a lot a like!

At the top of my list of new dinner items to make this month are Gisine’s Turkey Potpie with Biscuit Crust and her Broccoli Salad with baked Croutons, but as for this today, I'm gonna start with making these lemony blueberry muffins. I wanted to give you a head start too, so here's the recipe, plus one more for good measure!

Lemon Blues Muffins with Crumble Topping

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon natural lemon extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the muffins: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the lemon extract and mix to incorporate.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and nutmeg and whisk for 30 seconds to evenly distribute the leavening. With the mixer running on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add the buttermilk and follow with the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Using a large rubber spatula, gently give the batter a few quick strokes to make sure there are no pockets of flour remaining. Fold in the blueberries. Fill each muffin cavity three-quarters full.

For the crumble: In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt using a wooden spoon or your fingers. Keep working the mixture until the butter is absorbed and the mixture starts to clump.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crumble on top of each muffin. Bake until the muffins just spring back when gently poked, 15 to 20 minutes.

Mini Berry Ladyfinger Tarts

Makes 8 individual tarts

2 packages of lady fingers

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
pinch salt
5 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup raspberry purée or jam

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups mixed whole fresh berries
1 spool decorative ribbon, 1 inch wide
Make the filling:

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and 1 cup of the cream and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the granulated sugar, egg yolks, salt, cornstarch, and raspberry purée. Whisk on high speed until combined. Once the milk mixture has come to a simmer, slowly pour it down the side of the bowl into the whisking egg yolk mixture and continue whisking until well combined.

Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface so that a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.

Remove the filling from the refrigerator. It will have firmed up quite a bit; stir it with a wooden spoon until it loosens and is smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the filling until combined. Transfer the raspberry filling into a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip.

To assemble:
Place 8 metal rings on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Line each ring with ladyfingers, the sugar-dusted side facing out, by standing them up side by side until the ring is filled. Place a ladyfinger cake round into the bottom of the ring, trimming the round if it's too tight a fit with the standing ladyfingers. Repeat with each of the remaining rings.

Place 3 raspberries on the bottom layer of each ring. Pipe filling into each ring until it just reaches the top of the standing ladyfingers. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

To serve, carefully remove the rings. (Heat the rings gently with a kitchen torch or blow dryer for easier removal if necessary.) Arrange the mixed berries atop the filling. For an especially adorable presentation, gently tie a ribbon around each tart.

(I simplified this recipe by purchasing good-quality lady fingers. Gesine, of course bakes her own!) 

P.S. Gesine’s fun cookbook Bake It Like You Mean It is available on Amazon, or just tune in to the Food Network. Her next show is on Tuesday, January 9th at 12:30pm. 

ciao! fabiana

photo credits: Gisine Prado, Food Network, BH&G

By the way, don’t forget to watch the Golden Globe Awards tonight! I’ll be tuning in early to catch all the red carpet fashion for sure, and we can talk about it tomorrow!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

more recent posts...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...