Henri Cartier-Bresson at the MoMA

• 31 March 2010

Henri Cartier-Bresson, "Brie" 1968

I first spotted Henri Cartier-Bresson's photographs at an exhibition in Florence, Italy. I was a student at the time, studying Art History, and experiencing cathedral/stained glass/fresco overload. I craved something more modern for a change, and after spotting a poster around town advertising a Cartier-Bresson exhibition, I knew I needed to stop by. When I walked into the gallery, I remember immediately falling in love with his images.

So lucky New Yorkers (or visitors!) listen up...Henri Cartier-Bresson will be featured in an exhibition at the MoMA in just under two weeks. I hope you have the chance to attend! You can find more details here.

Henri Cartier-Bresson. "Juvisy, France". 1938


A 5-Year-Old's Apology

My son presented me with these two drawings today after being in time out :)

1. Our home...and yes he's accurate in showing smoke coming from the chimney. We are experiencing a total snowfall today and have our fireplace going periodically. Welcome Spring! ha.

2. And my favorite...me and him in a hike. He even sketched in our backpacks. This one totally melted my heart and I almost forgot why I gave him a TO in the first place :)

p.s. more art on the way...the grownup kind. It's an art-themed today it appears...


Triple Layer Coconut Cake with Lemon Curd

• 30 March 2010

Recently a follower on Twitter recommended this recipe to a fellow baker; and when I spotted that "tweet", I remembered how wonderful a dessert this was to make in the Springtime. I made this for a ladies luncheon a long time ago and it was gobbled up in minutes. It looks good, tastes good, and I think people really enjoy new, unexpected flavors. And Heavens to Betsy if I can't stop talking about all the yummy ways to use lemon curd :)

Find the recipe over at Zupas today.


Fourth + Final

• 29 March 2010

I told myself that the moment I started feeling "better" (as in medicated, nauseated, tired, but keeping down real food!), I would share with you some big news. Yup, that kind of news. Crazy, right?

When pregnant with my third, and PICC-lined (HG was in full swing), I swore I would never become pregnant again. I didn't feel I could emotionally or physically sustain another pregnancy (if I could even conceive). But inside my heart I knew I wasn't done with having children. I've heard seasoned mothers repeatedly say 'you just know when you're done having kids' and I've often reflected on these words as I looked around at my own little family. I believe everyone has a different plan in life; and if that plan includes children--that we each have a different "magic number". My heart told me four was mine.

p.s. I am just over 15 weeks along, which is about 3 1/2 months along in case you don't feel like doing math today.

image by Rebecca Mudrick of Darling Art


Koo de Ker + Justin Hackworth Glam GIVEAWAY

• 26 March 2010

This is one heckuva giveaway to win...congratulations to our two winners! According to Random.org, the first place winner, who will experience a fabulous photo shoot sponsored by Koo.de.Ker and Justin Hackworth Photography, is:

and the second place winner who will receive a $75 gift certificate to shop at Koo.de.Ker:

Remember being just a leeeeetle bit envious of your friends' glamor shots from the local mall? Although that was never my look, I do remember thinking how much fun it would be to actually play "dress up" for a day. It seemed so glamorous at the time. And admittedly, I am still intrigued with the idea...perhaps you feel the same way? Lovely. Then you'll be happy to know that today's giveaway involves two sponsors combining artistic forces for the ultimate prize package!

Would you love the opportunity to be the next "cover girl" for trendy Salt Lake boutique Koo de Ker (perhaps you saw the mention in Design*Sponge Guide to SLC?). Even if this is a little out-of-the-box for you, I hope you enter anyway. Why not, right? Well-known makeup artist Janelle Corey will be waving her magic wands across your beautiful face (see above look) and hair stylist Emilie Golie from the uber-chic Lunatic Fringe will tackle your lovely locks as well. Oh, and it gets better...you'll get to keep the outfit you don for the shoot!

And it doesn't stop here. Your last glam treatment comes from the splendid Justin Hackworth--portrait extraordinaire (he shot Gabrielle's awesome head shots). Justin is a super relaxed photographer and a genuine "people person". Bottom line: he'll keep it chill so relax...and have fun! Justin will not only photograph your new look but is generously offering the winner a $100 print credit. You'll want to make sure you snag more than a few hard copies for memory sake. Trust me.

A second place winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to Koo de Ker. I love second prizes--totally fun and unexpected.

And last, everyone wins with this one! Koo de Ker's Spring Trunk Show starts today, Friday March 26th and runs through tomorrow, Saturday March 27th. During this time the entire shop is being discounted 20%. So take advantage of the fun, colorful frocks Kyong hand-selected for the upcoming season. It'll be a lot of fun! Grab lunch at Pago or Mazza while you're in the area and make it a girls afternoon out.

Giveaway Guidelines:

- You have 5 days to enter this giveaway (closes Tuesday, March 30th at midnight).
- Make a comment on this post to enter.
- One entry per person please.
- Anonymous comments will be ignored so make sure we know who you are!
- The winners will be chosen via random.org and announced on Wednesday, April 31st at the top of this post. In the past the winners have been announced in a separate post so take note of this guideline so you don't miss out!
- Winners, please respond within one week of the winner announcement to secure prize. Thank you for your consideration :)


Things I Am Enjoying + Some Useful Tips

• 25 March 2010

This week I'm finding joy in both things I already have and in things I'd love to try to make (or in one case...have!). I thought I'd share them in case they had the same effect on you :)

Fabric Covered Pots: If you've been to a nursery lately, you've likely noticed how pricey pots can be. I not only like the bright and cheery effect of the colorful fabrics, but the fact that you can buy a cheap pot for this project. View the full tutorial here. {found via Lavendar and Limes via Creature Comforts}

Modern Return Address Stamps: I keep saying I'm going to procure one of these to avoid the following scenario: I create a nice looking package, simple but nice...I consider writing a return address but am lazy and choose not to...I then head to the post office where the postal worker requires me to write my return address on all 7 packages...I am in a hurry so I scribble something that just slightly resembles my address. Just think, if I had one of these all I'd have to do is push down once and click!

Pantry/Closet Organizer: Best $7 I've spent. This organizer creates a tidy place for me to store my feather dusters, mops, dust pan, and broom. I am grateful for it everyday (laugh all you want, but it's true!). Plus, I love that it allows me to utilize an otherwise-unused wall.

Carafes with Wooden Ball Stoppers: Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. I'd love one or two. Hello wishlist. {found via Kirei Nest}

Martha's Kitchen Sink Spruce Up: I blogged about it a long time ago, and coincidentally it still has the same affect on me each day. It's simple, useful, tidy and minimalist. She'll tell you more about it here.

Daffodils in a Brown Paper Bag = an easy and inexpensive DIY giftie. Who wouldn't love one of these on their porch?

Sneak Peek on D*S: It's not lengthy and provides no explanation--but I am drawn to this archived LA Sneak Peek on d*s nonetheless.


Etsy Pick of the Week: Vintage Bloom Shop

• 24 March 2010

You've got to take a peek at the adorable Etsy shop my sister-in-law Caroline recently created...and just in time for Easter thankfully! She creates the cutest t-shirts, headbands (my favorite!) and pins under the label "Vintage Bloom". What is so fun about these lovelies is that both adults and children can enjoy them, which makes them very unique. They remind me of something out of Anthropologie (maybe because Caroline's sister is a buyer there?!) Let it be known though that Vintage Bloom Prices aren't Anthro prices--everything in the Vintage Bloom Shop is priced very reasonably, especially the t-shirts. Seriously, $12 for that awesome tee? I can't believe how much bang for your buck is ready and waiting.

While I find plenty of basics in my kids' closets to pair with these goodies, I do love the idea of a custom headband. I think it would be really fun to have Caroline create hair accessories to match already-purchased Easter dresses. And maybe a coordinating pin for Mom--what a fun addition to a simple cardigan or long sweater. How wonderful that custom services are offered!

You can view the entire Vintage Bloom Shop here. Enjoy~


Welcome Jackie Norris Photography

Today I am happy to present you with the work of local photographer, Jackie Norris--a new sponsor. After growing up in a "camera happy home", delving into photography was a natural move for Jackie. She loves to shoot everything, from landscapes to Etsy shop offerings to homes to weddings. Her prices are extremely reasonable as well making her a great option if you're on a tight budget starting a new business or website.

You can find out more about Jackie's work here.


Sour Cream-Blueberry Waffles

• 23 March 2010

For some reason, I've always been more of an early-riser...especially when younger (if only I'd known how precious sleep was to become later in life!). Despite staying up late with friends on Friday night, I'd always wake up on Saturday morning well before anyone else in my family. I found myself bored...and increasingly hungry for a good breakfast. It was this predicament that motivated me to begin learning how to cook. I took my mom's Betty Crocker cookbook off the shelf and started with basic homemade pancakes. It turns out, they are quite simple to make! I started making breakfast for my family just about every Saturday, experimenting with apple cinnamon pancakes, banana pancakes and blueberry pancakes. Then I'd take a piece of plain white paper and write down the menu for the morning and tape it to the door leading to the kitchen. It was a such a fun tradition for me and I'd assume my sisters and parents enjoyed it too :)

Today I'm sharing my latest favorite breakfast food over at the Zupas foodie blog. If you like what you see in the above picture, jump over for the recipe. They are delicious!

p.s. Just because waffles are traditionally a "breakfast food", they are not limited to only that meal. We've been known to have breakfast for supper quite often around here...


Taking Time

• 22 March 2010

Last night we put the kids down nice and early, after a very, very long Sunday. Taking advantage of the quiet, I sat down at the computer to hoping to find a specific photo--something popped into my mind earlier that day and I wanted to be sure to make note. What ended up happening I did not predict.

As I went through every.single.photo. on my computer I became emotional as I took in how many pictures I used to take (especially of my first child), and all the fun places and activities we've done together as a little family over the years. I realized that as the size of our family increased, the "fun factor" in our family decreased. You know what else decreased? The amount of pictures and video I record. I contemplated this situation for a couple of hours and came up with a few thoughts:

1. There are some days when I just screw up my priorities--i.e. putting more emphasis on my "to-do" list when I should be stopping. recording. playing. talking. and enjoying my children.

2. Being happy is a choice...and how I react to situations is also a choice. Fun Mommy needs to show her face more often.

3. Focusing more on the experience is more important than perfecting logistics.

4. Memories are an important part of a child's self-worth and as a parent I need to do more to create more and record more.

I know Mondays are full of long lists of things to get done. It's a busy day for many of us..but maybe today we should all take the time to create a fun memory and ignore that "to-do" list for a bit. Take a silly picture. Interview your child for 5 minutes on the video recorder. Follow him/her around the yard for 10 minutes looking for signs of Spring together. Because life passes by far too quickly and soon that little person won't be so little anymore.

Just a thought :)



Easy Spring Style

• 18 March 2010

Lately some beautiful Spring collections have been showcased on around the blogosphere...all very much swoon-worthy and inspiring. Some of my favorites include, Built by Wendy, Harvey Faircloth and Kate Spade. But, with the exception of a few stellar or classic pieces, I'm the kind of girl more likely to wear something that I like a lot, but that I found for a good deal. Without the latter, it's usual a "no-go" :)

In the Summertime when we spend more time at the park than anywhere else it seems, I like the idea of wearing a soft, cotton skirt that breathes...and a simple top with maybe a fun detail or two...and a pair of shoes that are not only comfortable but look stylish too. Add in a pair of hammered gold hoops and I'd call that my ideal summer uniform.

Here are some simple, versatile, and seemingly comfortable skirts I've spotted. None of them run over $50 and one is as low as $16. Awesome.

Beginning top left and moving clockwise: skirt 1; skirt 2; skirt 3; skirt 4; skirt 5; skirt 6; skirt 7; skirt 8

And of course we can't forget our feet...a very important part of our daily comfort! Below I've presented some choices that hopefully fit every personal style and/or lifestyle. Some are slightly "rugged", some more sophisticated, others bohemian, most pretty classic. Shopping links are included below the images in case you're interested in seeing more. Enjoy!

Beginning top left (read like a book): black sandal*; peep toe croc; mauve lace-up; bronze wrap; bronze rugged; red ankle-wrap*; chocolate brown; blue; cognac w/studs

p.s. did you know that I found every single one of these sandals in the "comfort" section? Yup. It's not just the section where your grandma shops anymore :)

* my favorites


Gorgeous Home Offices + Craft Spaces

Today I present you with a plethora of home office and craft spaces for your viewing pleasure. I intentionally posted several different types of spaces hoping that each of you could find one you could personally relate to. I don't know about you, but I would love (with a capital "L) to have a space like any of these to call my very own. It seems that all you really need is a little corner, a little nook of some sort, to make it all happen.

image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (unknown), 7



• 17 March 2010

With Spring in the air, and a few months of being home bound, these past few days of sunshine have done nothing but get me in the mood for a trip. It's a good thing I've been saving up for one because this girl is desperate to plan a getaway. In the meantime, I am feeling nostalgic for France (as made evident by my previous post), since we've spent most of our vacations there in the past decade together.

Anyone else feeling a little wanderlust too?

1. After spotting wild blackberries flanking the little road we found ourselves on, we pulled over so I could grab a few for the kiddos and I. For some reason the husband found this comical so he took a picture.

2. Gorgeous red currants for 1€ per banquette; even with a horrible exchange rate it's still a great deal. They are almost impossible to find in the States (at least in my experience). I've tried growing them in our yard, but the bush hasn't yielded a single currant sadly...probably due to either my black thumb or the desert climate :(

3. How can I forget this sweet little man with the gorgeous haricots verts and his Medieval scale?

4. Sunflowers are just h-a-p-p-y.

5. The seamless mix of old and new made me rethink decorating as a whole.

6. The time my husband gave each of the 3 kids their own ice cream (the French version of the "push up"), in the car, on a hot day, while I spent 30 minutes in a shop. It was the only time during our month-long stay I was able to shop and based on the state of my children, their clothes, and the rental car upon my return, it was a good thing I didn't head out solo more often (I think we used an entire container of baby wipes). The "after" photo would've been more fun to see than the "before" (above), but some of you may be able to use your imagination here!

7. Blue skies in Paris...what a treat (!!!!)


different versions of the same thing

In honor of hump day and St. Patty's Day, a little something that is sure to evoke a smile, and perhaps even a good, hearty chuckle:

In the US, you'll sometimes spot a brightly-colored car--exaggerated spoiler included--with flames painted all over the sides and rear. It's kind of a "tough guy" thing, right? Well, this my friends, is the French version. No flames here...just a picturesque village, complete with river, arched bridge, pastoral fields and trees. It's how the "tough guys" roll over the Pond.


Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (High Altitude)

• 16 March 2010

Why is it that the seemingly most basic of recipes can be the most difficult to perfect? I feel like it took me at least half a decade to finally get my taste buds on the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I do realize that "perfect" is a relative term, but after sharing this recipe with many-a-fellow baker, they too agree that it is perfection.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (for high altitudes)

1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. good quality sea salt
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.  Beat until creamy just a minute or so longer.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together before slowly adding them to the creamed mixture. When combined, add the chocolate chips and mix for about 30 seconds.  Roll the dough into one-inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, about two inches apart.  Bake for 8 minutes sharp. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes.  Then, carefully place them on a wire rack to cool.  Enjoy!


Blog it Forward Baby

• 15 March 2010

Have you been keeping track of Victoria's "Blog it Forward" series? I hope so! It's been a lot of fun and I'm shocked how quickly time has flown. There was a time when it seemed like forever until my turn :) And now I have the chance to share with you a summary of "what inspires me most"--the theme of the series. Albeit time consuming, it was a lot of fun to capture that in one post, I must admit.

So let's get started! Keep in mind these are in no particular order :)

1. Color...be it bright ribbon, a simple hemstitched cloth napkin, or a cold, fruit soup, I am inspired by it all!

2. My children. They inspire me to be a better person in too many ways to mention here.

3. Green mixed with natural light. This grove inspired me in a small and simple way last year.

4. Simple kitchen tools that are well-crafted, of high quality, and don't cost a fortune. Now that's my kind of gadget! The fact they are made in Europe and not China usually helps too :)

5. Who can resist a gorgeous kitchen complete with Tolix stools and lights from OTC? So far, not me....both my simple kitchen and La Maisonnette have one or both. I'm all about buying a kitchen table from Target just so I can have a couple nice pieces.

6. Brown paper packages tied up with string. No really though, anything simply but thoughtfully packaged goes a long way in my book.

7. Anything from Japan. Anything. The Vapors' one hit wonder, "Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so..." comes to mind :)

8. A stack of good magazines. A few others I'd like to add to this list are Marie Claire Maison, Marie Claire Idées, and House Beautiful.

9. A good French flea market makes me giddy for days. If only I had one of those large containers to fill with lots of vintage goodies.

Tomorrow the following blog picks up the baton in my group: storyboard c. Enjoy!

All images are mine except 2, 6, 7 (oh drat...source unknown)


Displaying Books No.2

More fun and creative ways to display books in any type of space. I personally am grateful to have found pretty ways to display paperbacks. Somehow we end up with many more of those than hardbacks (probably because they are less expensive!).

If you missed Part I, click here.

1. Stacking your books in a manner resembling the shape of the furniture.

2. Towers of paperbacks on a fireplace mantle, spines showing. That's one way of eliminating the "how-to-decorate-my-mantle-tastefully" dilemma!

3. Mixing styles in one space + adding a tchotchke or two for visual interest.

4. Paperback books stacked with spines hidden, showing just the slight variation in page colors.

5. Neutral colored spines + attractive bookends = a surprisingly lovely display!

6. Display children's books on open shelving, covers showing, so your child can see just what he/she is in the mood for. Also adds color and visual interest to an otherwise blank wall. I love this idea! It would fun to incorporate this look in a playroom too (if you are lucky enough to have such a space).

7. Discard the dustcovers (or just store carefully elsewhere in case you change your mind), and arrange books in color combinations that appeal to you and compliment your space. Such a fun look!

8. Live in an apartment where you can't use the fireplace? Well, here's your solution via one of Design*Sponge's many fabulous "sneak peeks". Use it as storage for those larger, more difficult-to-store-in-a-small-space kind of books. Consider it the overflow area from your coffee table.

image 1 (unknown*), 2, 3, 4-5, 6, 7, 8

* the image is from Amy Cooper's southern home, and the page is labeled "Decorating Fall 2008) but it doesn't state the source of the magazine title and I do not recognize the font. If you know the source, please let me know!


Reese Witherspoon Style

If there ever was a celebrity "style" I admired, it would be that of Reese Witherspoon. She always looks fantastic whether it's on the red carpet or grabbing a bite to eat. She epitomizes understated, classic--yet always hip style--to me. In the images you see of her out and about, she often repeats accessories & clothing she wears, which makes her even more human. I could gush about her all day but we'll just leave it at this :)

Happy Monday!

images from here


2 Must Sees + 1 Must Read

• 12 March 2010

Must See no.1:

A friend and I have been plowing through the Masterpiece Theatre version of Emma this past week and I can't help but share how much I love this series. It's incredibly well done on many levels--cinematography, costumes, choice of actors/actresses, etc. It's much better than the condensed Gwyneth Paltrow version, and I am a huge Gwyneth fan so that's saying something. We finish up the last hour on Monday night and I can hardly wait. Just wait until you catch a glimpse of Mr. Knightly :) Grab some friends, host an impromptu tea party, and get ready for a an evening of worthwhile entertainment.

You can rent it on Netflix here or buy the 2 DVD set in the PBS shop here.

Must See no.2:

Ever since I viewed Food, Inc., I find myself constantly thinking about the issues presented in the film and how important they are to each of our lives...and not just in a food-sense. I have a greater desire to be in control of my life, what I feed my family, and who I am supporting monetarily. Awhile back, just shortly after watching the film with my husband, we made some changes in our household and I wrote about them in this post. Basically it sums up how to eat responsibly on a budget. Anyway, regardless of whether or not you make changes, or what changes you make, I believe very person who eats food made here in the US should watch this film.

If you subscribe to Netflix, you can add it to your queue or watch it instantly here.

and a Must Read:

Oh my goodness I finally finished In Defense of Food this week! I've tried to finish the last chapter for months now. Things have been so incredibly hectic upon concluding the renovation of La Maisonnette that I've hardly had any downtime. However, there's nothing like feeling under the weather to create a little downtime :) It's a great excuse to catch up on the books piling up on your nightstand! I enjoyed Michael Pollan's straightforward approach to getting back to basics when it comes to food. While it makes you realize how far we've strayed from simple rules of nutrition, it encourages and motivates you with simple techniques to quickly get back on track. I appreciated ending the book with added knowledge that did not make me feel overwhelmed.

You can find a copy of the book here or likely at your local public library.

What are some of your "Must-Reads" or "Must-Sees"? I've love to know...


Rose Belts

• 11 March 2010

With many-a-summer wedding in the works, it's fun to see one of the beautiful possibilities for bridesmaid ensembles. These pretty rose belts from Emerson Made + the pale blue cotton frocks had me at "hello"! If a wedding is not in your future, something like this might make for the perfect accent to that pastel cardi you already own...


Mini Cocottes

• 10 March 2010

The other day I was perusing a French magazine and I noticed these little dutch ovens--"les cocottes" in French--on one of the pages. I had no idea such a thing existed until then and it was truly love at first sight. Yes, I've already expressed my love for individual bakeware here--gratin dishes, ramekins, cheesecake pans, you name it--but these pretty mini bakers take it to the next level. Look at all those fun colors!

S/4 circular cocottes (pictured top left)

Red circular cocotte

Cobalt blue circular cocotte

Cobalt blue oval cocotte

Black oval cocotte

Chocolate/cassis circular cocotte

Yellow circular cocotte

although not pictured, this Emile Henry mini-cocotte is cute too.

or try your luck on Ebay here! There isn't a lot available, but the prices seem reasonable.


Coconut Cookie Sandwiches with Passion Fruit Curd

• 09 March 2010

Aaahhh...two of my favorite flavors in one glorious, understated, unpretentious dessert. Keep in mind this isn't time consuming to make...it's amazing how just a few special ingredients really gussy up a simple dessert. My neighbor declared them the "mother of all cookies" and my husband wished I'd saved him more than 6...'nuff said.

Click here for the recipes. I am sharing them both over at Zupas today.

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