July 14, 2018

book review: favorite gardening books

Summer is often the time when your garden looks its best. If you’re like me, gardening tips and advice is always welcomed, and gardening books often provide just the right dose of inspiration. This season, I discovered five gardening books that I absolutely love!

Growing Heirloom Flowers provides plenty of ideas on how to grow those pretty old-fashioned varieties that are so charming out in the garden.

Among my favorite flowers mentioned in this book are peonies, lilac, pansies and roses. They’re all quite easy to grow, and this book provides lots of helpful growing tips, flower arranging ideas and recipes. 

Look at these darling ice cubes!

Growing Heirloom Flowers is currently on sale 
on Amazon at a new super low price!

The Wellness Garden, Success with Succulents and Vegetables Love Flowers are three more of my faves. These three books encompass some of the most important things I value about gardening.

The Wellness Garden is all about surrounding yourself with plants and nature that have healing properties. Herbs for example are quite easy to grow and have many beneficial uses. 


I especially love the chapter on Therapeutic Gardening and growing a Healing Garden. In my garden I grow rosemary, thyme, sage and bay year round and often include these daily in my cooking. 

Not only that, but just the fragrance of these plants is beneficial even while they’re just growing in your garden. “For example, you surround a park bench with rosemary, the scent appears to a positive energy reaction.”    

Succulents are one of my most favorite things to have in the garden, and they look so great with herbs and fruit trees. And best of all, they’re pretty easy to grow. Success with Succulents offers great advice on growing these gems both outdoors and in. The book also covers the top 100 Choices in Cacti and Succulents.  

Succulents can be a little pricey and I love how this book shows you step-by–step how to root and propagate your own little menagerie of plants! 

Here’s an example of the descriptive and 
informative pages in this book.

Vegetables Love Flowers shows us how lovely companion gardening can be. And no, it doesn’t mean having a friend with you out in the yard which works beautifully, it means growing plants near each other that compliment on another.

For example, it’s a great idea to plant snapdragon next to your tomatoes to attract more pollinators like bumblebees to your tomato blossoms. More tomato blossoms mean more tomatoes!

Companion gardening is a great idea if you think about it! I love so many of the tips in this bookps which help plants grow healthier, and in turn reduces any need for pesticides, which I totally ban from my garden!

I especially think A Big Garden is a sweet book to share and read with a child. It's written and illustrated from a totally fanciful perspective. Overall, it's a very artsy book that any gardener would love.
“Landscaper Gilles Clément joins forces with illustrator Vincent Gravé to create a monthly journal for gardeners everywhere. The lush and colorful drawings contain thousands of tiny details, while poetic texts provide information on a wide range of subjects, including insects, winter, vegetable gardens and fruit." 

"The tiny figure of the gardener guides readers through this spectacular large-format book, with which these talented artists show their love for nature.”  So sweet and gorgeously illustrated!!

I hope reading about this grouping of books has inspired you in your garden, and that you’ll add one or two to your libary! 

ciao! fabiana

Here are some quick links for you...


Disclaimer:  I received these books as a gift and am reviewing them for free and must disclose that fact. All opinions are truly my own.

July 12, 2018

geneva homes tour part two

I’ve still got all those pretty homes in Geneva on my mind. So today, I’m sharing part two of my mini "homes tour"…

This first home is probably the most prominent of all the homes in town, and it sits just near the train station. The trains don’t run that often so the noise is not at all a bother. I love how immaculately this home has been kept with pretty topiary hedges all around.

This Italianate Victorian style is quite popular in Geneva and I just love the little cupola on the top of this home! And look at all the vintage detail around the roof and porch!

This little update farmhouse is one of my faves! Isn’t the contrasting black and white façade just fabulous? This is how you modernize an older home without damaging all the character it was originally built with.

The courtyard and entry is so inviting! Look at those barn doors on the side of the garage… so cool!

And this house may look tiny, but it extends further back in the yard. The rest of the home is painted black like the garage, and is mostly hidden from the front street view. This home also sits across the street from the home I fell in love with, but more on that later…

This ivy covered home sits to the left of the black and white farmhouse. I also fell in love with the character of this home, especially those huge front windows that are original to when the house was built in the 1800’s. They have that soft wavy quality to the glass that you can’t replicate anymore.

Since this home sits on the corner, you can take in two sides of this ivy-covered beauty.  And speaking of ivy-covered beauties...

Here’s another home that looks like a beautiful mess. The ivy has just the perfect overgrown quality that just draws you in. And how about that red door! Always a welcoming sign, the door is flanked by two urns planted with coordinating petunias.

This pretty home with the red door has a sprawling back yard and sits on the banks of the Fox River. The island park is right across the river and features live bands during the summer! 

We visit this home every time we’re in Geneva because it’s the first house my husband lived in when he was a little boy. He remembers playing down by the cemetery and the train tracks which are both a block away, and that was all before he was six years old! 

He can’t believe his mother let him go on these adventuresome outings with his older brother and sister.

I love the wraparound porch, and with the morning light shining down on the red floor, a pink aura envelopes the whole side of the house. I guess the flamingos and gnome feel right at home! 

Now we’re headed back to my absolute favorite neighborhood in Geneva that features the little black & white farmhouse and the ivy covered home on the corner that I just showed you. Here's a stately and chic antique home that's quite to my liking, but wait…  

The front yard has been converted into an adorable vegetable garden that’s absolutely acceptable from the street because of its symmetrical beauty and gravel paths. Isn't it darling?

A Victorian farmhouse with Annabelle hydrangea for days… another favorite in my little neighborhood. Details, details, details!

Every morning, I'd let my family sleep in and I’d sneak off for an hour or two to walk around town and take in the early morning vibe of town. By day three, my internal GPS would automatically take me to this corner of 6th and Fulton Street where this home sits.

I sort of fell head over heels in love with this pale yellow home, which just happened to be for sale. Day after day, my affection grew, and I could picture myself living in this 1851 home with grand rooms, huge summer porches and a beautiful curving staircase.

It's the sort of home I've always wanted, and by peeking in all the windows, I could tell it was absolutely perfect! Luckily the house was vacant, so I wasn't overstepping my boundaries.

Well, those morning walks through Geneva were precious to me, and that pale yellow house still holds a dear place in my heart, but realistically California is our home, which really isn’t anything to complain about!

ciao! fabiana

July 9, 2018

geneva homes tour part one

Happy Monday, and it looks like it’s gonna be another HOT one!! Even with this outrageous heatwave we're having in Southern California, it's still nice to be home. 

I was gone all last week on a family vacation to Geneva, Illinois and I have a whole lot of pretty pictures to share with you all… 

Geneva's a darling historic town about 45 minutes west of Chicago, and my husband has deep roots there. It’s his home town and his mother’s home town, so we still have lots of friends and family there.

Driving into town, this gorgeous brick Georgian colonial home caught my attention! Look at the pretty sun room on the left side.  

Every street in Geneva is filled with the most charming homes. I walked by this little farmhouse with the wicker swing each morning.

This is one of my favorite styles, and it's white with black shutters! Three stories, plus a basement, of fabulous square footage…wow! 

The variety of architectural styles is amazing!

Some of the stone houses are among the oldest in Geneva.

This Victorian house on the hill sits right behind my husband’s childhood home. It was once the home of the Bogash family, and is a prominent fixture in Geneva on Batavia Avenue.

The Fox River runs through Geneva, so every morning I would walk along River Lane and admire all the pretty homes with sprawling backyards that sit on the riverbanks. We stayed at the Herrington Inn & Spa which is only a few houses away from this stone beauty.  

Huge white hydrangeas are everywhere in town… and they're so perfect for summer! 3rd Street features several blocks of shops and restaurants that are converted from beautiful old mansions.

Most of the side yards are just as beautiful as the front!

I love seeing all the American flags flying proudly on these stately old homes.

More hydrangeas!

There’s really a great variety of vintage farmhouses too.

This farmhouse, below, has really charming Victorian gingerbread details, but it’s not over the top. It’s currently being refurbished, yay!

So cute!

Who doesn’t love a great wraparound porch?!

Besides admiring all the architectural beauty of Geneva, I really enjoyed the little sights and sounds of the town.

I never felt alone walking around, because in the early morning the robins, squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks and songbirds were out and about too. The sound of the train in the distance is also very comforting and nostalgic.

ciao! fabiana


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