Thursday, May 31, 2012

Inspiration Piece: Beautiful Agate

When it comes to valid sources of inspiration, nothing is really off limits.  In fact, our parent company has designed entire rooms around something as obscure as a cake or plate (both true examples, actually).  With that in mind, I've been setting aside fascinating pictures for the last few weeks and pulling together pieces that highlight the style, textures and colors that make them so interesting.  Accordingly, I've dubbed this new series "Inspiration Piece".  First up is this spectacular agate...the color palate is something only God Himself could (and did) come up with.  It's almost too pretty for words.  And I'm pretty psyched about the goodies I found to coordinate with it.  Pretty psyched, indeed.

1. Caleigh Nail Polish, Scotch Naturals, $15  2. Gold Velvet Pillow, Pier 1 $23.96  3. Aaliyah Printed Kaftan, Diane Von Furstenberg $212.50  4. Hillary Druzy Ring, Metro Park  5. Steel Caviar Eye Stick, Laura Mercier $24  6. Moroccan Kurkuma, The House of Kami £132  Photo Via Flickr

The Foodie Files

After- literally- years of Googling, generally considering, and wondering what it might taste like, I finally went ahead and made Oprah's favorite turkey burgers last night.  Though I was never a devoted follower of hers, I do have a healthy respect for her least as far as it relates to the turkey burger arena.  I mean, it's Oprah...if she says something tastes good it's gotta be pretty legit.  Even though my expectations were absolutely through the roof, the burger measured up pretty well!  It was quite delightful, really.  And now if I ever meet Oprah we'll have something to talk about, so that's a plus too.  

1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1/8 cup canola oil
3 lbs ground turkey breast
1 lemon, juice and zest of
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté scallions, celery and apples in canola oil over medium heat until tender (about 5-7 minutes).   Let cool.

Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl.  Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. 

Shape into eight burgers.  Cover and refrigerate for about half an hour.

Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill...I'm not gonna lie, we used a George Forman and it worked great.  Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked (or between 10-15 minutes total for a George Forman).

I topped my burger with goat cheese and avocado and served it alongside a host of summer vegetables (including but not limited to: corn on the cob, steamed edamame, and two delicious treats my cousin, Nikki, whipped up...broccoli slaw and jicima and cucumber salad).  Summer was made for meals like this.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

Mixing pastels typically results in one of a few basic outcomes.  Outcome 1) Human Easter egg,  Outcome 2) Great Aunt Edna's long lost twin...and then of course there's the often evasive but not altogether impossible Outcome 3) incredibly chic.  I think this particular outfit works because it's fairly simple and the specific pastels I chose are extremely on trend.  All you really need to pull off a look like this, however, is the same thing necessary for any fashion statement...a bit of confidence.  

1. Peach Net Halter Cover Up, Topshop $40  2. Lilac Scarf, H&M $9.95  3. Butterfly Cat Eye Sunglasses, ASOS $26.09  4. Lilac Ring, Bauble Bar  5. Marano Stingray Shagreen Box Clutch, Net-A-Porter $1,595  6. Vermeil Shard Bracelet, Net-A-Porter $270  7. Gold Necklace, H&M $12.95  8. Metallic Leather Friendship Bracelet, ASOS $10.44  9. Metallic Thong Sandals, Forever21 $7.50
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

White Horse Home

There's a blank space on the wall in my living room that's been really bugging me lately.  I'm alternately typing and staring at it right this moment, actually.  I think I'd kind of like to fill it with this "Today Is A Good Day" piece.  Not only is it really sharp looking, it seems like it would serve as a pretty great reminder.  I pulled a couple other neat things from the store I found it in, White Horse Home...their whole vibe is just way too cool.  So what do you think?  Should I pull the trigger?  

Get It Together: Lucite & Gold

1. Allusion Chandelier, Cottage & Bungalow $970  2. Hammered Gold Pillow, ABC Carpet & Home $575  3. Metallic Divide Pillow, Anthropologie  4. Brass Candlesticks, Eva Zeisel $225  5. Lucite Box with Crystals, Vivre $2,250  6. Chrome & Lucite Club Chair, Habite LA $2,950
Monday, May 28, 2012

Design Musings

Send Something Good Project: The Big Reveal!

Remember awhile back when I told you about the Send Something Good project I signed up for?  The one with the round robin secret-pal-esque packages?  Well today is the big reveal where everyone posts what they sent and received!  Kind of exciting, huh?  I've been counting down the days 'til I can say a big, official thank you to Jenn from Girl Defying Gravity who sent me the loveliest package of goodies.  My very favorite item was the chocolate raspberry cabernet hot fudge (I mean, how does anything really compete with that?) but the lemon and chamomile lip balm, oatmeal milk and honey soap and super adorable coasters came in a close second.  Honestly, it was all great and I so appreciate every bit of effort that went into the project.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Jenn!  You're wonderful.  I tried my best to tailor the package I sent to the likes and interests of the oh so sweet Beverly from La La Love Learn & Laugh.  I ended up including a few office supply doo-dads to help her finish her dissertation, some nail polish, an "arm party", a Dinner and a Suit cd (my favorite) and a couple other odds and ends.  She was a real doll and posted all about it the other day (a post you can read here, for the record).  I loved putting her package together in general, but I think my favorite part was wrapping it...any day I get to use kraft paper, neons and metallics is a good day.  The project in general was a blast thanks to the organizational skills and hard work of Gentri, Kaitlyn and Kristy.  You did a fabulous job ladies...thanks so much for orchestrating everything.  So what does everything think about all our loot?  Pretty fantastic, huh?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Working For The Weekend

Ah Memorial Day weekend, you're here at last.  Boy are we ever thrilled.  I'm not gonna lie, I love my job and so enjoy my day to day work but I'm just so excited to not have to look at a computer tomorrow!  Do you ever feel like that?  My wish for you on this holiday weekend is some family time, a good amount of sunlight and perhaps a bit of grilled food.  Coincidently, that's also my wish for me.  Enjoy every moment (and the links) and I'll see you Monday!

This is fantastic.

Anyone else obsessed with Downton Abbey?

Cute little idea...I'm digging it.

Hmm...may need to do this.  Sounds heavenly.

Countdown starts now.

Well isn't this handy.

Inspiration for your Memorial Day picnic...

Hey single gals, this is good stuff.

Kind of genius!

He did it again, ladies and gents (golly, it's good).
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ready, Set, Memorial Day

Not only have we nearly reached the weekend, we've come to the unofficial official start of summer...which is pretty much the greatest news ever.  My Tennessee family and I are toying with a few different Memorial Day options and if any of them come to fruition I'm pretty confident this weekend is gonna be a blast.  Come to think of it, even if none of them work out we'll still have fun together.  We always do.  In the spirit of Memorial Day, I grabbed a bit of picnic gear and a few subtly patriotic pieces for the round up below.  It's gonna be a scorcher so break out the sunscreen! 

1. Picnic 1 by John Bucklin, Serena and Lily $850  2. Tibi Striped Crepe Tank, Net-A-Porter $200  3. Elizabeth and James Burke Drawstripng Chambray Shorts, Net-A-Porter $245  4. Washi Tape, Etsy $4 per roll  5. Between Lines Maxi Dress, Anthropologie $168  6. Vintage Style Tin, Amazon £10  7. Red Gingham Plate, Zazzle $27  8. Kain Classic Modal Tank, Net-A-Porter $85  9. Beach Celeb Bag, ModCloth $44.99  10. Striped Metal Water Tank Dispenser, World Market $29.99

The Foodie Files

Picnic season is upon us (and thank heavens for that), so what could possibly be more appropriate than a delicious fresh squeezed lemonade recipe?  Maybe a delicious fresh squeezed blackberry mint lemonade recipe!  How's that sound?  Cause it sure tastes incredible.  Oh and bonus, it's seriously easy to make.  I think your Memorial Day guests would agree there's no time like the present to give it a try.

3 cups water
1/2 cup simple syrup

1 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
2/3 cup blackberries
2 TBS mint (about 15 leaves), chopped

Mix water and simple syrup and set aside.

Juice lemons and add to water mixture, watching for seeds as you pour.

Muddle the daylights out of the blackberries and mint. 

Add to lemonade, stir, pour and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

Well, my inner prepster appears to be awake for the summer.  How else do you explain how delighted I was to pair blue gingham with pink shorts?  In an attempt to keep from going too Carlton Banks, I threw in the quirky (and by quirky I mean awesome) necklace.  It gives the outfit some necessary edge, which I'm feeling pretty good about.  Overall I think it's a pretty awesome look...what are your thoughts?

1. Lightweight Gingham Button down, Old Navy $24.94  2. Shiprock Multi Chain Necklace, Net-A-Porter $430  3. Adia Kibur Resin Bangle, Metropark $32  4. Pink Agate Ring, Alanna Bess  5. Prismatic Post Earrings, Urban Outfitters $18  6. DV by Dolce Vita 'Archer' Sandal, Nordstrom $68.95  7. Chino & Cotton Shorts, J. Crew $45  8. Kate Spade Crackled Metallic Crossbody Bag, Nordstrom $178

Match Game

Are these guys twins or what?  Okay, maybe more like fraternal twins...or siblings in general...or at the very least first cousins.  Regardless, they're lovely.

1. Light Pink Happy Throw Pillow, Pure Home $420  2. Defined Shasta Scarf, Anthropologie $99.95
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Get It Together: Night On The Patio

1. Globe Lights, Terrain $35  2. Edward Van Vliet Swing, Paola Lenti  3. Medium Blanket, Amber Interior Design $170  4. Galvanized Plant Makers, Anthropologie $38  5. Glass Beverage Dispenser, CB2 $49.95  6. Honolulu deck furniture, ILVA
Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to Joey (& Eli)

As promised, here's a short re-cap of my brother's birthday extravaganza.  Since I'm all but incapable of throwing a themeless party, I decided to use a bit of eavesdropping and some fortuitous timing to my advantage.  Over the last few weeks I'd heard the guys mention that they wanted to have a Men in Black movie marathon before MIBIII comes out this, I took it upon myself to bring their idea to life.  I kept things as simple as I, wings, salad, fruit, popcorn and birthday sweets (including but not limited to the biggest doughnut ever in lieu of a traditional cake).  Of course, I had to throw in a few ridiculous things as well, though they didn't all pan out as planned.  Case in point: I found a recipe for gin and tonic jello shots that supposedly glowed under a black light (a claim that turned out to be 100% false, though I guess that's what I get for trying to incorporate jello shots into my menu).  I also learned that no matter how neat they are in theory, sparkler candles are not a great indoor choice (they're kind of scary, they don't blow out and they will make your smoke detector go bananas).  Other than that, everything worked out quite nicely.  Perhaps my favorite part of the night was watching the guys play with the hilarious yet ridiculous 3ft inflatable tentacle arm my roommate brought into their lives (you can't make this stuff up, right?).  More than anything, I'm just so thankful we got a chance to celebrate my wonderful brother (and my might-as-well-be-brother Elijah who's birthday is today).  They're terrific in every way.  Here's to their best year yet!

Design Musings

Friday, May 18, 2012

Working For The Weekend

For whatever reason, I thought it was Thursday pretty much every day this week.  I'm not sure why that was the case, but I do know I'm more relieved than usual that today is's as though the Groundhog day curse is broken or something.  But I digress.  I'm excited about this weekend cause it's my brother's birthday!  Funny story about that, actually.  My roomie, Courtney, said to me the other day, "Joey's birthday is coming up soon isn't it?  Did he ask for anything specific?" to which I replied, "He did, actually.  He asked for no party and no presents.  And I decided to deny his requests."  So we will be celebrating my brother this weekend.  Whether he likes it or not.  I'll let you know how it goes come Monday...the sooner he realizes resistance is futile, the better.  Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the links!

Just try and tell me this doesn't sound incredible.  Wait, don't.  It would ruin our friendship.

What an interesting little kitchen tool....

So, these are amazing.

Is this real?  How do we find out?  Regardless, it's pretty cool.

The prettiest of the pretty.

I want to laugh at this but I also kind of want to own it.

Very neat.

I'm going to this.  Can't wait.  You should come!

I've had this song stuck in my head for days.  Now you can have it stuck in your head.

Why are the Brits so much cooler than us?  It's maddening.
Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Foodie Files

Today's Foodie Files was born, as so many of them are, from a craving.  An Italian wedding soup craving, to be exact.  I switched out a few things to accommodate my grocery store's shortcomings (swiss chard for escarole) and my own just-cause-I-feel-like-it-in-the-moment preference (ditalini for orzo).  While the timing is a tad bit tricky, the recipe itself is quite simple.  It took me a few minutes to feel comfortable with the idea of throwing the meatballs into the soup uncooked, but they cooked all the way through without an issue and didn't appear to add any fat to the broth at all (my two main concerns).  It definitely earned it's place on my "make this again" list.  Very tasty.

1 lb 90/10 ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 TBS fresh, chopped parsley
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1 head of swiss chard, chopped
1/2 cup ditalini pasta
6 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium bowl combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley, then shape into 3/4" balls.

In a large pot, saute shallots and carrots in oil.  Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until tender.  Add broth and heat until boiling.  Add meatballs and let cook for 8-10 minutes.  Add ditalini and cook for 8 additional minutes.

Remove from heat and add swiss chard. (I used rainbow swiss chard...isn't it pretty?)  Stir until greens are tender and serve.

Penguin Classics

Come to find out, the good people at Penguin Books are tricksters.  Not only do they keep re-releasing classic titles bound in the prettiest covers you ever did see (all the while convincing me I need every last one), now they're branching out into making me want all kinds of random stuff.  You can't put Pride and Prejudice on a coffee mug and expect me not to want it, Penguin.  And you knew that.  How do you sleep at night? 

1. Penguin Deckchair, Art Meets Matter £62  2. Penguin Pencils, Art Meets Matter 4.96  3. Penguin Spine Notebook, John Lewis 7  4. Bookbag, Art Meets Matter 16.63  5. Penguin Tea Towel, Art Meets matter 7.46  6. The Lost Girl Makeup Pouch, Girls Travel Club 12.95  7. Lost Girl Luggage Tag, Penguin Books  8. Book Cover Postcards, Amazon $16.50  9. Pride and Prejudice Mug, Art Meets Matter 7.46  10. On The Road Water Bottle, Le Travel Store $14.95
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Iron Curtain Press

You know when you get to that point in your day when you just need a second to decompress and let your brain rest for a second?  You might pull up Facebook or Pinterest to enjoy the fact that, just for a moment, you don't have to think one bit.  That's what I do, at least.  But then you think anyway.  About people you love and the ones that get on your nerves and about things you need to do and how everyone looks like they have it all together.  And it gets to a point where it's just not healthy.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not at all anti-social media.  I'm a blogger!  You don't bite the hand that feeds you.  I'm just saying, when I'm looking for a moment of rest, I've learned that Facebook and Pinterest aren't always the best places to go.  They're, at best, aspirational and, at worst, total works of fiction.  Recently, I've been spending a bit of downtime on Etsy...specifically, checking out any and every letterpress item on the site.  I don't know what it is about letterpress but it always puts me in a good mood.  Apparently I'm easy to please.  All that to say, I found this adorable little shop called Iron Curtain Press (gee did I ever take the long route).  Their cards are simple and well they're at that perfect price point where anyone can afford one or a few as a little indulgence (alongside other culprits like Starbucks and artisan ice cream).  It's good stuff.  Good stuff, indeed.

Mirror, Mirror

Despite the fact that they're all the rage this season, I've hesitated to jump on the peplum bandwagon.  I think they're darling- and very lady like for that matter, which I love- but to be honest they make me a little nervous!  For starters, it's a look that doesn't work for everyone.  In fact, I'm not totally convinced it's flattering on my body type (which is sounding more and more like the root of the issue I suppose).  If the fit and cut isn't phenomenal my best advice is to run, not walk, in the opposite direction.  All that being said, this peplum-esque top single handedly forced me to put all that aside for the moment.  It's adorable.  Love the colors, the patterns, the whole kit and caboodle.  There's something different about it and I like it!  What are your thoughts?  Pro or anti-Peplum?    

1. Finely Feathered Tank, Anthropologie $88  2. Mawi Teardrop Crystal and Tube Necklace, Moda Operandi $1,018  3. Ettika Vintage Ribbon Tennis Bracelet, Endless $90  4. Fringed Pashmina, John Lewis £29  5. Candy Store Purse, ASOS $34.97  6. Silk Organza Shorts, Net-A-Porter $160
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Get It Together: Spanish Olive

1. Tray with Base, Architonic  2. Black Dog Table Lamp, Debenhams £40  3. Granat Cushion, Ikea $3.99 4. Cut Flowers Dinner Plate, Terrain $20  5. Jubilee Yellow Throw Blanket, Pure Home $67  6. Jasper Bolster Pillow, John Robshaw $190  7. The Crillon Chair, Dering Hall
Monday, May 14, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012

Working For The Weekend

Happy Mother's Day weekend!  To all the moms, some-day moms and everyone else who has a Mom (that about covers it, right?), I hope you get a chance to have a big 'ol celebration this Sunday.  I'm super bummed to have to spend Mother's Day away from my fabulous mom, but I'll be cherishing her from a far.  I know I say it a lot, but she's seriously the best (love you, Mommy).  Have a wonderful weekend, ladies and gents!  Can't wait to catch up on Monday.

The best Mother's Day idea roundup I could find (and believe me, I looked).

Highlights from the fashion event of the year.


Not sure exactly what this is or where it's at but I sure would like to find out!

Cue flashbacks in 3...2...1....

This takes peer pressure to a whole new level.

My favorite issue yet!

The most expensive book I never knew I always wanted.

Hmm.  I like it.

Fan-freaking-tastic idea.  For real.

All Set: Mother's Day

I'm super excited to announce a brand new, extra awesome, lovely and fun monthly series!  It's called 'All Set' and the premise is simple: beautiful place settings, centerpieces and atmosphere styled by us!  For our inaugural post, we wanted to tackle what I believe should be the most glamourous holiday of the year...Mother's Day.  Who deserves to be wowed more than your Mom?  No one, that's who.  Accordingly, we set this table for an extra fancy tea for two.  

We used a few pieces of fine china, some antiques, a couple items that looked far more expensive than they actually are (jackpot), beautiful fabrics (that we fashioned into a table cloth and napkins) and a few personal touches.  The centerpiece, for example, was made up of greens from one of my favorite parts of my parents back yard.  I had our sweet photographer, Stephanie (who's band you should definitely check out, by the way) take a few snapshots of the clematis covered arbor and (my all time favorite) the willow tree.  As you can see, inspiration is pretty easy to come by at La Casa Di Beretta.  Can't wait to show you more tables in the months to come!  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Allow me to incomplete list of things I'm smiling about today: 

1) The week is more than half over.  Bravo, everyone.
2) I'm smack dab in the middle of a couple different projects and I'm Pumped (capital P) about every last one of them.
and 3) Look at all these bright colors!  How can you not smile about that?

1. Serape Striped Rectangle Throw Pillow, Pure Home $330  2. Rainbow Striped Bracelet, Lindex Online Shop 7,95€  3. Large Blanket, Shoppe by Amber Interior Design $270  4. Mid Century Ottoman, Irwin Feld Design $1,200  5. Striped Runner, Shoppe by Amber Interior Design $460

The Foodie Files

Looking for a special Mother's Day brunch treat for this weekend?  What about a sweet something to send into school for Teacher Appreciation Week?  Or a surprise for the nurse in your life for Nurses Appreciation Week?  (For those of you wondering why I'm all of a sudden so aware of appreciation weeks, let the record show that 2/3rd's of my best friends are nurses or's my job to know this stuff.)  You know the saying 'kill two birds with one stone'?  Well this recipe could kill a whole flock of birds (although I probably should've looked for a more appetizing way to express that be clear, this caramel apple bread pudding will neither kill you nor your birds).  It's brunch appropriate (hello Mother's Day) and has apple as a main ingredient (that's a teacher reference right there...and if you fudge the lines a little, it counts for nurses know...the whole 'apple a day keeps the doctor away' and what not).  Okay, okay, it's a reach, but it's the most inclusive dish I could think of!  Although I changed a few things, I based the recipe on this one by Aunt Martha (or as she sometimes goes by, Martha Stewart).  Regardless of what you're celebrating this week, you should give this a go.  I tried it earlier this week and the rave reviews abounded!

2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cut into matchsticks
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
6 croissants
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Caramel Sauce
6 8oz ramekins 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside.  Cut croissants into medium pieces, like so...

Butter ramekins and place in a roasting pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Add croissants and toss to coat.  Place 1 tablespoon caramel sauce into each ramekin, then add approximately 1/3 cup apple mixture, then 1/3 cup bread mixture.  Add a second layer of sauce, apple, and bread.

Carefully place the roasting pan on the center oven rack.  Fill roasting pan with hot water to within 1/2 inch of ramekin tops.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook 20 minutes.  Remove foil, then cook 20 minutes more. Remove roasting pan from the oven, and transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes.  Invert ramekins onto serving platter. Serve warm and drizzled with caramel sauce.  We added vanilla ice cream for a special treat!