bimini…

I recently had the privilege of running over to Bimini in the Bahamas with my uncle, aunt and cousins aboard their boat. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour trip from Ft. Lauderdale over, so not bad at all! We even dropped in some lines and caught six mahi (two got away) within about 20 minutes! Seriously good fishing out there for anyone who loves deep sea.

Unfortunately the weather kicked up a bit and we had to return to Florida after only one night, so I didn’t see much of the island, but what I did see definitely makes me want to return sometime!

Here are a few pictures, enjoy!


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sixx design

Has anyone else seen the Bravo TV show, “9 by Design?”

Image by The New York Times

I’ve become a little addicted to it. In case you don’t know, here’s a short overview: Husband and wife, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, have seven children….that’s right, seven. The ages range from 12 to 8 months or something like that. For the last 10 years they have been demolishing, renovating and redesigning old spaces into livable areas as the design firm, Sixx Design (named for the six children they had at the time).
Case in point, a recent episode highlighted the fact that one of the unconventional home spaces they were working on used to be a Manhattan sex club. Yeah…not your typical home renovation. Now, mind you, neither of them has any traditional training as designers. But they sure have a knack for it. You should see these uber cool, beautiful spaces they come up with!

Let me tell you what I love:

1) The kids names: Wolfgang, Bellamy, Tallulah, Breaker, Five, Holleder and Major. Right off the bat, they just sound like super cool people…though I know not everyone would agree with me, I love the names!

2)Their style: They have this wild, “I just threw this on” kind of messy downtown look to all of them, kids included. I love it.

3)And of course, their design aesthetic: Seriously, just watch the show (or check out their website) to see the amazing aesthetic this duo has!! They each come from the South and I think it definitely plays into their designs, which combine traditional with modern, vintage with contemporary and Southern antique with New York eclectic. If I had endless amounts of money, their design style is exactly what I’d be shooting for. Beautiful. Seriously. Check it out.

Image from Casa Sugar

Image from Magnificent Me

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

Image from WeHeart.

chocolate praline layer cake…

Ok, so it’s been a while…

I’ve been extremely busy with work (a good thing for the most part), working on the house, and traveling. And it’s not even that I have much interesting to say today, but I want to get back into the swing of things.

What better way than to share a delicious baking recipe?!

I found and fell in love with this recipe during college and have made it a handful of times over the years since. I’m all about semi-homemade greatness and this recipe takes the cake…literally! (My apologies for the shameless pun).

The most recent time I’ve made it was this past weekend for a Mother’s Day celebration. Though the cake was falling apart (it was still too warm when I had to get it ready) and not super pretty, the cake stand was practically licked clean by the time I took it home. ­čÖé

Try it for yourself and see what you think!

Chocolate Praline Layer Cake (by Julie Bengtson, winner of a Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest during 1988)

INGREDIENTS
Cake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 (18.25-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury┬« Moist Supreme┬« Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

Topping
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
16 pecan halves, if desired
16 chocolate curls, if desired

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 325┬░F. In small heavy saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over low heat just until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Pour into two 9 or 8-inch round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.
2. In large bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture.
3. Bake at 325┬░F. for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.
4. In small bowl, beat 1 3/4 cups whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form.
5. To assemble cake, place 1 layer on serving plate, praline side up. Spread with half of whipped cream. Top with second layer, praline side up; spread top with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with whole pecans and chocolate curls. Store in refrigerator.

once upon a rainy thursday…

We’ve been having such gorgeous weather (“hot,” according to my husband, but I LOVE it!) that I almost don’t mind the rain today. Plus, on the bright side, it’s washing away the yellow film of pollen that has absolutely covered EVERYTHING outdoors.

So, browsing the web it is!

Here are some of the things I can’t get enough of:

{From top to bottom, left to right, images found: Eden Roc (I just LOVE the lobby, it’s such a beautiful mix of vintage and contemporary); J. Crew ; Harbor Beach Resort (I’m going to be here in a week!); Peter Som (Spring-Summer ’09 Collection); BBB Craft Sisters (crafty blogging site)}

ready made…

So, I am completely obsessed with this new magazine/website: Ready Made.

I stumbled upon it on accident at San Vito’s one night, while waiting for our pizza to come out of the oven. I couldn’t put it down!

First, let me say, I love how Ready Made runs down inspirational ideas and concepts in its pages. It takes potentially complex activities and breaks them down into manageable projects. And, surprise, surprise, nearly everything you read about can be duplicated in your own life, be it going green, crafting, building, traveling, ect. (hence the name Ready Made…). They even tell you exactly what materials you’ll need and how much it will all most likely cost you so you know before you attempt any DIY projects.

Here are some of my most recent favorites:

-Men’s wear button-front mini. Maybe I’m ultra-loving this because I just finished my own version of a seersucker mini and wore it last week (thank you very much!) But, this Wren clothing line inspired mini seems so much simpler and just as cute, here are the step-by-step directions on how to make it.

{Image by Kathryn Gambel for Ready Made}

-Trail-mix bars. Yum. Pretty much sums it up! Recipe found here.

{Image by Kim Cornelison for Ready Made}

-Solar firefly lanterns. Wow. That’s putting it lightly. How adorable are these little lanterns?! Remember when you were a kid and you used to catch fireflies and put them in a jar? This is the grown up version. I’m thinking of making a few for my front porch now. Here’s how.

{Image from Ready Made}

do-it-yourself patio furniture…

It’s been over a week since I last posted, but you’ll forgive me for spending most of my free time outdoors enjoying this AMAZING spring weather!
I’ve been trying to transform our outdoor space into a place we’ll want to (**and be able to**) spend more time this summer. In addition to planting flowers and mulching, raking and blowing, I’ve also been bit by the DIY bug…big time!!
A few weekends ago, my mom helped me build a deck storage bench. We went to Home Depot with nothing more than a picture and walked out with a cart full of lumber, screws and a some mental notes on measurements.
Needless to say, it was a day full of power tools and manual labor.
This is what we ended up with: (I’ll post instructions on how we did it soon!)

Then, still on my patio furniture kick, yesterday I went ahead and built two Adirondack chairs to go with my new bench. Once again, I headed out to the the hardware store and came home a load of lumber sticking out the window of my tiny Elantra. ­čÖé It was quite a feat managing that fit, let me assure you!
Here’s the final product: (I’ll post instructions on how I built them soon!)

she & him…

How cute is Zooey Deschanel? I just love her style and quirk. Adorable.

{image by Peggy Sirota, via Vanity Fair}

Did you know she’s in a band? Not everyone realizes it, but she is the “she” of She & Him (folk-rocker, M. Ward, serves as “him”). And what’s more…she writes a lot of their music. They have a really unique sound that seems to be channeled from sometime years ago. I love that most of all.

They come out with a new record today (Volume Two), which is why Vanity Fair recently did this short piece on them.

Here’s one of the first singles from the new record:

She & Him – In The Sun from Merge Records on Vimeo.