Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pull up a chair ...

When we entertain, we generally have anywhere from 12 to 20 guests at one of our soirees. However, we don't have that many matching chairs. So, we pull in a variety of seats to the table.

Image of soiree dining via Alamodeus.

Everything from wood benches, patio chairs and wrought iron seating is incorporated when we dine al fresco under our wisteria-covered pergola.

Image of al fresco soiree seating via Alamodeus.

I've been collecting wood folding chairs and look forward to adding them to the mix, too. To keep those guest tushes happy, I'll be adding some cushions as well.

Image by photographer Christopher Baker.

Mismatched seating provides a casual vibe that is visually interesting indoors, too.

 

Charming, intimate spaces are warmed by the eclectic mix of chairs. Images above via Menossi Fotografo (left) and Wild Thyme Flowers (right).

Image via Apartment Therapy

Even industrial seating takes on a warmer persona when gathered together for dinner.

 

Images above via Country Living (left) and Absolutely Beautiful Things (right).

Image via Little Blue Deer.

Love the Ghost Chair (above) joining the dark wood seating mix. The space is both elegant and hipster cool.

Image by stylist Sibella Court

Sibella Court can style mismatched chairs, a half-covered table and embellished twigs in a welcoming style. I would be happy to add steel chairs to my soirees any day!



On the menu: Fish Tacos

I have spent the summer consuming more fish tacos than I can count. I'm not using the word 'binge,' but I've ordered these yummy darlings in just about every restaurant in town. Thankfully, we live in San Antonio, a haven for tasty tacos.


More than just fresh, pan-seared fish wrapped in a warm corn tortilla, fish tacos have a couple other ingredients that make them absolutely delectable: cilantro lime slaw and (drum roll, please) chipotle mayonnaise.

It's time for me to dive in and feed my own habit!


RECIPE: FISH TACOS WITH CHIPOTLE MAYO

Ingredients:

mild white fish, halibut works well
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups slaw mix in a bag or sliced fresh cabbage
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 green onions (I omitted), chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 corn tortillas

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped

Directions:
To make Chipotle Mayo: In a food processor or blender, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt and chipotle peppers. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make Slaw: In a bowl, mix slaw mix with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To Pan-sear Fish: Add olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Saute fish until done, flipping once. Be careful not to overcook the fish. A good rule of thumb is 5 minutes for each inch of thickness. Keep fish warm.

Break up the cooked fish into large pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in a single layer. Spoon 1/4 of fish pieces onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute or until golden brown. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 1 minute more. Fill tacos with slaw and drizzle with chipotle mayo.

Yum!



Booking agent ...

Okay, say you don't live in a home with a library, or bookshelves for that matter. How do you contain those volumes of bestsellers? Why not stack them (neatly, of course)?

Image via Loft and Cottage.

Randomly stacked books on a table can give a home the look of a 'return' desk at the library. Somewhat wonderful, somewhat teetering on chaos.

Image via Your Decorating Hotline.

Or, books can be creatively stacked and given new life as a table base. (Check out the suspended hutch above. Wow!)

Image via Apartment Therapy.

I'm partial to stacks suspended on a wall. Invisible bookshelf brackets magically keep the books afloat.

Image of Umbra Conceal Wall Shelf via Amazon.

Invisible wall brackets from Umbra (above) are available online.

Image by Ryan Korban.

Then, of course, there's always the floor. Love it!

Stacked bracelets ...

To me, layering is one of the best things about Fall. So, I'm counting the weeks for the arrival of my favorite season and a wardrobe change. In addition to snuggly sweaters and jackets, I'm anxious to layer on the accessories, too.

Image via Holly Recommends.

I love the look of multiple bracelets. So, my recent shopping trips have included a bit more time at the jewelry cases. 

Image via Champagne Showers.

While summer essentials may include a bracelet or two, I still prefer the stacked look with cool weather layers.


Image via Pinterest.

It may just be my personal preference, but it seems that a Fall or Winter wardrobe handles the extra mass far better than bare arms. On bare skin, I envision the mass of chains and bands as wrist weights!


Image via Style.

But, add a great jacket or layered tops and the stacked baubles become the symbol of a well-traveled woman.


Image via A Well Traveled Woman

Okay, Fall. I've got my bangles ready for the first day of chill in the air.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nod to navy blue ...

I recently saw a post with seasonal picks from Zinc Door featuring their favorites for this Fall in navy blue. They do have some stunning offerings on their website, and that inspired me to share my own navy preferences.

Image via Barclay Butera Home.

I'm a sap for velvet sofas in any color! Another of today's posts includes chartreuse sofas, too. But, navy blue is a real standout in velvet - so refined and handsome. Swoon-worthy!

Image via Daily Cup of Couture.

And, then there is wall color. Ooh la la! Rich, bold and dashing. I'm partial to navy blue paired with gold accents.

Image of delicious wall color via Farrow and Ball.
   

Image via Spoonful of Style.
   

With white as a contrast, navy blue is crisp, stunning and forever modern.

Image via Design to the Nines.

While there's no navy to be found in my home decor (yet), there is one staple I always keep in my closet: a navy blue blazer. Just can't live without one. But, this year, there's even more navy to love.


Images of 1) Tunic top by Tory Burch; 2) JS Boutique beaded halter dress via Nordstrom; 3 & 6) From the UK to the USA, we all love a simple navy blazer; 4) Infinity scarf from Style Tryst; and 5) irresistible Wellies from KC Mode.

I can't wait for the arrival of cooler temps and lot's of navy in the Fall forecast!

Read 'em and eat ...

We rarely entertain in our formal dining room, so I'm beginning to think of ways to give it a better and higher use on a regular basis. Adding bookshelves to create a library dining room combination is really beginning to appeal to me.

Image via Eclectic Revisited.

I've collected photos of charming rooms showcasing acquired books that add interest to dining spaces. And, since it's all vertical mass, books have a small footprint that take up little of the room's real estate.


Image via Maison Classique.

For me, a library dining space seems so warm and inviting. Add great friends, lively conversation, a wonderfully prepared meal paired with a good wine, and all that is left to make a perfect evening is some good music and flattering light.

Image above (left) of Carolina Irving's apartment via Habitually Chic. At right, dining-library space designed by Diane Bergeron Interiors


Image of  Suzanne Slesin NYC apartment.

One thing few designers and homeowners take into account is comfortable seating. If I'm spending extended time reading or dining, please give me a comfy seat. I can't think of anything less conducive to tush time than a hard chair. Hey, cushionless chairs may look good in photos, but forget the austerity, please!

Image via The Germinatrix.

I love the way bold paint schemes and colorful art accessorizes a room and adds further interest in a space bound by interesting book covers.


Images above via Acanthus and Acorn (left) and Elle Decor (right).

Natural light is another element that makes reading a pleasure and supplements dinner lighting when guests come to call.

Image by Los Angeles designer Peter Dunham.

Now, wouldn't it be worth it to gather up all those collected tomes and perch them where they can been admired any time? I may be on to something here.

Chartreuse season ...

As Summer gives way to Fall, design gurus are selecting their color preferences for the seasonal transition. Neiman Marcus is showing a green color story, and I like their picks! While I have an affinity for just about any shade of green, chartreuse hues are among my favorites.

Image via House Beautiful.

Chartreuse accent walls create a definite focal point. Whether in high gloss (amazing 'wow' factor) or a more subtle eggshell finish, this color gets rave reviews from me as a year-round stunner.

Image via The Suite Life Designs.

Dear Santa, I know it's early, but please put this killer sofa on my wish list. Magenta velvet makes me weak in the knees! I'll take the boho chic pillows, too. Thank you.

Image via Moxie Q.

Even when painting seems a bit more than many are ready to commit, soft goods can bring splashes of this dynamic color to draperies and pillows. 

Image via Eclectic Revisited.

I've previously shared other posts on my chartreuse cravings here.


Image by photographer Dominique Vorillon.

Chartreuse silks and velvets are my favorites. Above and below velvet is the 'go to' fabric when creating a formal setting.


 

Images above via Houzz (left) and Cote de Texas (right).

Image via Elle Decor.

Oh, Santa, go ahead and throw in everything in chartreuse velvet, too! Sure hope I can be good between now and Christmas.


Hook, line and sinker ...

I don't have too many hangups, but I am fascinated by items used to hang accumulated objects and wearables. While I haven't actually counted, I'm sure there must be a million different ways to hang things. Since space is limited here, I'll just show you some recent hook and hanger ideas I've come across - some novel, others tried and true.

Image of Lodelei Leaning Coat Rack by Nils Holger Moormann.

Fabric and pegs attached to a simple wood frame is somehow transformed into a gorgeous coat rack by the German design firm of Nils Holger Moormann.

Image via Splendid Willow.

Cobbler's vintage shoe forms are a creative way to showcase fun jewelry.



Simple pegs and hooks hold beach-time accessories at the ready. Images above via Brabourne Farm.

Image via Cooked Brains.

A little scary, yet a conversation starter, no doubt. I would love to know how these pots and utensils were attached to the wall. Seems like a great place to hang aprons.

Image via Apartment Therapy.

Antique spoons bent and curled to create delicate hooks and holders for precious objects. 

Image via Brabourne Farm.

An vintage shelf and nails for pegs is the perfect accompaniment for the antique porcelain sink.

Image via Apartment Therapy.

Shower curtain hooks are fabulous for hanging much more than fabric in a bathroom. They are great for scarves, belts, purses, umbrellas and even outerwear. Clothing can be hung from curtain hooks by their label tags. 

Image via MSN Living.

And, shower hooks are a practical idea for frequently worn seasonal items like rainwear and winter coats, too. Really, any 'S' hook will do, and they're easy to find and very inexpensive at the local hardware stores.

Image by Mr. Yen on Etsy.

Then again, what can beat twine and clothespins?



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