The Carneros Inn – FARM

sonoma3

sonoma4

sonoma5

It’s Thursday…which means #tbt… to a recent luxurious meal in wine country.  If you’ve never been to FARM restaurant at The Carneros Inn, I highly recommend it.  I saved the dinner bill for this meal so that I could remember the delicious glass of red wine I had with my meal.  It was that good.  The evening started early (a la 5 pm since we had baby in tow) with some cocktails at the outdoor lounge area.  With a relaxed atmosphere, comfy sofas, and inviting fireplaces, life couldn’t get any better.

For dinner we sat in the patio area continuing to enjoy the warm Napa evening.  We ate the full 3 course menu, starting with salads to whet the appetite, then I had the filet mignon while hubby opted for the lamb.  Both were superb.  We ended the meal with some ice cream (it was still quite hot out at 7 pm) and cappuccinos.  All in all, a great experience and we look forward to going back!

Dress – Adelyn Rae (sold out, love this black one)

Brand New Month

bumble bumble2 bumble3

We are now a few days into a brand new month…March!  There are so many things to look forward to this month: the birth of our baby (yes, we’re still waiting!), March Madness, the arrival of spring, Spring Break for those of you who are lucky enough to have one, and the list goes on.  I look forward to March each year mostly because I can taste spring hanging out right around the corner.

We were back in Los Altos this past weekend and found another great brunch spot, Bumble.  I first heard of the place from Jeanne of Shop Sweet Things, and the moment I went to Bumble’s website, I saw that it was a super cute spot right in the heard of downtown Los Altos.  The food was delicious and healthy and they even have a kids playroom attached to the main restaurant so that you can drop off your kids while you brunch.  Perfect for us as parents-to-be.

I also stumbled across this adorable apartment complex and had to take a few outfit shots…I mean, how perfect is that blue front door?

Hope you’re having a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by!

Dress – Mom’s the Word / Bag – BCBG MaxAzria (old, eyeing this bucket bag) / Shoes – Loeffler Randall (old, love this leopard pair) / Necklace – Tiffany & Co. Atlas Necklace / Sunglasses – Prada

Good Mornings

Croissant

I’ve been pretty good about my what I consume these days, given that I’m growing a baby.  Vitamin-packed cereals, a glass of milk, yogurt, fresh fruit, these are what I normally eat for breakfast on any given day.  Once in a while though, the sweet tooth and sugar craving rush in and I’ll diverge from the healthy stuff.  This past weekend, we went to grab brunch at one of my favorite French cafes in the area, Douce France.  Their croissants are to die for and their cappuccinos are perfection.  Albeit small, it was one of the best breakfasts in a while.  (Note: I have not been drinking caffeine since the beginning of pregnancy, but once in a blue moon, I’ll have a few sips.)  It’s the little things…

Hope you’re having a great week!

 

Morning Espresso’s Fall List

fall leaves

photo

Learn how to make a delicious butternut squash soup

Add a pair of ankle boots to my shoe collection

Throw a cozy informal dinner party for close friends

Try a mulled wine recipe

Make my next gift a DIY one

Go to a pumpkin patch with my love

Stock up on chunky knit sweaters in creme, grey, maroon

Attend a local festival or fair

Go on a crisp morning hike

Experiment with new nail colors

What’s on your to-do list this Fall?

Fall Ready (with Mimi Thorisson)

Mimi_Manger

I recently came across this beautiful food blog, Manger, by Mimi Thorisson.  After living in numerous cities, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Paris (and others), Mimi and her husband (photographer Oddur Thorisson) longed for the French countryside and decided to move there with their children and 14 (!) dogs.  Even if cooking isn’t your cup of tea, the photos on Mimi’s blog are inspirational and mouth-watering.  I am eagerly waiting for fall to arrive (next week!) so the cooler temps will encourage me to make some of her recipes.

Some delicious fall-ready food photos from Manger…

Manger2

Manger3

Have a great weekend!

Happy Weekend + Links!

summer2013

Photo

Happy Friday!  As we’re winding down another whirlwind busy week, who’s ready for the weekend?  (both hands raised here)  Depending on weather, I hope to make it down to Santa Cruz tomorrow for a day trip / quick getaway.  Only a few precious summer weekends left…how are you spending it?  Have a great day and weekend everyone!

Some fun reads and links for your weekend perusal:

1. How are we already mid-way through August?  Celebrate the last few weeks of “official” summer with this colorful dish.

2. Make a summer get-together even more festive with this champagne-inspired dinner party.

3. Great hair and great jeans?  Sign me up!  Make sure to stop by your nearest Madewell and Drybar in the next few weeks to take advantage of this partnership offer.

4. Gal Meets Glam does floral dresses the right way here…gorgeous!

5. After wearing my wedge sneakers running errands this past month, I absolutely love them!  So comfortable, yet stylish.  Good news is Shopbop is having a sale and wedge sneakers are on the list!

Ink. + Top Chef

InkDinner

InkDrinks

As I wrote on Tuesday’s post (here), I had an amazing birthday dinner in LA at Ink.  The restaurant is simple, splashed with gray walls and decorated with eclectic light fixtures and old world lines.  While the décor was understated, the menu was a blend of contemporary cooking with a bit of an Italian and Asian flair. It has been named one of America’s Ten Best New Restaurants as seen in GQ. The restaurant’s main chef is Michael Voltaggio, winner of the sixth season of Top Chef, Bravo‘s cooking competition reality show.

Let’s get to the food…we were able to try a bunch of different dishes such as the hamachi (with asparagus, buttermilk curds, tangerine), egg yolk gnocchi with mushroom brown butter, suckling pig and octopus with fennel and pimenton, to name a few.  Of course, it’s hard to have a great dinner without great cocktails and the ones we had did not disappoint (shown above are the mescal, with celery, lemon, cucumber and a scotch cocktail with crystallized ginger).

I highly recommend a visit to Ink. if you ever find yourself down in Southern California!

Restaurant Details:

Ink.

8360 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Essentials of Throwing a Holiday Party

Having thrown several holiday parties this season, I thought I would share my essentials for holiday entertaining.  Depending on how much (or little) you want to do, you can certainly jazz up (or tone down) any of the five elements.  Have you hosted any parties this month?  Let me know your party essentials in the comments section!

1. Decor: Decorating your apartment or house in a festive way sets the tone for the party.  There’s no need to go all out and turn your house into a winter wonderland.  A little DIY with items you already have in the house will sure to add some sparkle.

  • Place some ornaments (can pick a particular theme/color or just throw in different sizes and shapes) in a bowl and place on your dining table or coffee table:

  • Wrap a garland along your stairs:

  • Use gold accents (the perfect holiday color) in your table setting:

  • Place some wrapped gifts and lights some candles on your shelves or mantle:

2. Food & Drinks: If you’re throwing a cocktail party, have small party bites on hand that span from salty to sweet.  Think crudites, spiced nut mix, sliced meat and cheese selection, chicken skewers in a dipping sauce, dips, crostini, and bar bites.  For dessert, let your guests have some fun with a chocolate fondue.  Use pound cake, strawberries, pretzels, and marshmallows for dipping.  Make one signature cocktail for the night and let plenty of wine and champagne flow.  You can also kick up spiced apple cider to make a hot toddy for your guests.  I love perusing Food & Wine for their delicious and easy holiday and drink recipes.

Images / Cream Puff Image

3. Friends: Invite the whole bunch!  Include the fashionista, the diva, the funny one, the home-baker, the karaoke singer…you get the idea!

4. Music: Have music playing in the background throughout the night and change as the party moves on.  Mix in jazz, Christmas classics, and some modern holiday jingles.

Christmas-music

Image

5. Fun: End the night with some at-home karaoke or story-telling around the fire.  It’s all about having fun at your party with your dearest friends and family.

Minted-Party-Decor-Camille-Styles5-600x400

Image

Jingle, Jingle, Jingle

Image

Image from Lucky Magazine

My holiday soiree is tonight! I have been on a roll as a party hostess this holiday season. This will be the third cocktail party/dinner/get-together I’ll have hosted before Christmas. While I had plenty of planning for the last two (those were during the 4-day long Thanksgiving weekend), for tonight’s, not so much. But with some holiday DIY, easy recipes, and adding some sparkle to a favorite dress, I think I’ll be okay. The best part that I’m looking forward to tonight? Seeing my BFF! She’s coming from Texas with her fiance to attend and hang out. Cannot wait to catch up over some champagne.

Drum roll please…have a look at my inspiration for this soiree:

1. Loving this Madewell emerald dress (Pantone’s 2013 color!) paired with a jewel-toned barrette. Image from Lucky Magazine.

Image

2. Channeling some holiday DIY from Iowa Girl Eats. Spruce and Berry Filled Mason Jars: easy, simple, and a whole lotta fun!

Image

3. Chocolate Fondue! Probably second on my list of what I’m looking forward to tonight. I am a chocolate lover through and through and I can’t wait to dip a strawberry in some luscious, milky soft chocolate. Totally worth skipping dinner for! Here is a recipe I like.

Image

Happy party season!