l o v e l y t h i n g s


orange dreamsicle shake

We've been just a tad obsessed around here with what we are calling a dreamsicle shake.  I may be dating myself, but does anyone else remember Orange Julius?  Oh my gosh, they were so good.  There was one at our local mall growing up and I can still hear the whirring noises of all the blenders going in unison.   I looked up the recipe...well no wonder they were so darn tasty...sugar...and lots of it.  We make ours with frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream and fresh squeezed orange juice.  YUM!
There are so many different kinds of oranges.  I'm definitely going to make this salad.
Orange is everywhere right now...the California weather has been really warm and the sunsets have been amazing!


* Dinner *

Yesterday everyone had a huge day...well everyone except me.  The temperature was well into the 70's with a warm off shore breeze.  So I made a hearty beef stew.  I cook according to the calendar...and it's January.
Caramelized shallots are the secret ingredient to delicious stew.  I mean everything is better with shallots.  Would you agree?
Beef stew served along side mashed potatoes...
...and hunk of bread.  At the end of a long day I couldn't be happier than sitting down with my family and talking about the days events.  We ate and talked for an hour before watching the Women's Final of The Australian Open which we had recorded.  It was a perfect night.  How is your weekend going?
Beef Stew with Caramelized Shallots

1 pound boneless short ribs, trimmed and cut into cubes
4-5 thin carrots, peeled and cut 
6-8  medium mushrooms, quartered
a pinch or two of mixed herbs (I use Dean & Deluca)
a glug or two of red wine
a tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste
one 14.5 ounce can beef broth
2 tablespoons flour
10 to 12 small shallots, peeled, leaving roots
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced thin
one tablespoon sugar
one tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Season the meat with salt and pepper and then coat with the flour.  Using a little butter and olive oil, saute the large shallot that has been thinly sliced and caramelize.  Remove from the pan and save for another dish.  Add the prepared meat and brown on all sides.  Add to the slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients, except the 10-12 small shallots, sugar, butter and red wine vinegar.

Caramelized Shallots
Inspired by Ina Garten...see her recipe here.

Melt about 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter.  Add the peeled shallots to a saute pan that can go into a 400ยบ oven.  Add the sugar.  Toss and cover and cook on medium heat for about ten minutes, checking and tossing occasionally.  Add the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper and bake uncovered for about 15 or 20 minutes.  Add to the stew, scraping all the brown bits into the slow cooker.

Cook the stew in a slow cooker for at least 5 hours, serve with mashed potatoes.


Uber Chic Home

A few weeks ago we went to the Long Beach Antique Market and discovered the business venture of Chris Brady and Dustin Rowser.  They have been importing antiques and grain sacks, linens and all kinds of great stuff from Europe since they began Uber Chic Home in 2009.  The have a small brick and mortar shop in Salt Lake City. 
Chris writing down the 411...I'm so glad we asked because I walked away with only two purchases.  How did I let that happen?  They just had a container sale that ended last weekend in Brentwood, CA.  Their next container will be at High Point Market, April 21-26. 
This is one of my purchases.  Chris said the herringbone pattern means it is from Germany.  I love the pink.  He suggested using it as a runner and the size is perfect for my dining room table once I deconstruct it.  It had a brownish stain down the middle of the pink strip, but said to launder it with Oxiclean...and it came out beautifully.
I saw this on Lisa Roy's blog.   She did an internet search for free antique alphabets, made a pattern, traced it onto her linen and embroidered her initial.  It's so pretty.


Casa de Dye * Scottsdale, Arizona

My reason for a recent trip to the Phoenix area was simple...I had a generous invitation to the home of Sydney Dye.  She is a dear friend of my sister's and they have this little group of friends...they call themselves the BDC or BirthDay Club.  These ladies have been celebrating way more than birthdays for almost two decades.  Sydney is a woman of many many talents.  She has a degree in law,  interior design and a few years ago she completed a program at Arizona Culinary Institute and teaches cooking classes in her home.  You can find her at First Fig.com.
As soon as you drive through the gates, you know you are in for a treat.  This vignette is just as you arrive at the front door.  The lanterns and religious candles illuminate the entry at night.
There are wonderful surprises in every corner of the house.  These beautiful vintage crystal bowls sit on cantera stone bases filled with oranges from her property.

Throughout the property there are many comfortable areas to relax and entertain.

Both inside and out, there are little treasures around every corner.
Winter lettuces and tomato trellises made and designed by her husband. 
In addition to an olive grove and orchard, they have oranges, kumquats, Myer lemons and the tree with pink blossoms and beautiful variegated leaves. . . a lemon tree for pink lemonade...of course.
Sydney said they are waiting to sheer the sheep for their annual upcoming Children's Day they host each year for their neighborhood elementary school.
A separate building on the property houses a beautiful workshop with a full bath and complete kitchen.  A dumbwaiter in the kitchen delivers food and beverages to the screening room and wine cellar.  A spiral staircase takes you downstairs and is lined with sconces made from antique garden tiles from England.

One of my favorite things is a sign she has in her potting room/office.  Labor Omnia Vincit, a Latin phrase meaning "hard work conquers all."  A lot of planning and work has gone into this home and property and it was truly a wonderful day to be able to visit with Sydney and her friends while taking in all the beauty she has worked so hard to create.  Sydney served a delicious lunch in this room.  We had a green salad with three varieties of beets, a frittata and warm breads.  The drink she served was  made with simple syrup, fresh ginger and mint, fresh pink grapefruit juice and a bottle of Pellegrino. The table was set using her collection of vintage silver napkin rings.  I also took home a bag of her potpourri.  She just happens to have a tray of rose petals from her rose garden.  She scooped them into a cellophane bag and said to add orange peel and fresh herbs when I got home.  To see more of Sydney's work, take a look at Phoenix Home & Gardens Thank you Sydney for a beautiful afternoon!


a new book and a winner!

In Saturday's mail I received this beautiful new book.  I was the lucky winner of a give away on Stephanie's blog, La Dolce Vita.  She was so generous that she actually let the winner choose from a very well edited selection.  I'm so happy that I chose "The Perfectly Imperfect Home" by Deborah Needleman, the founding editor of Domino Magazine.  It's filled with charming illustrations by Virginia Johnson and quotes by famous decorators/designers.  This is a book I will read cover to cover and study the illustrations over and over.  It makes me so excited to start making our new (old) little house a home in Connecticut.  This book is going to be my road map.  Thank you Stephanie!

and the winner of my little collection of black & white things is:  Jane!  Funny how this worked out today.  Jane is having a link party called "Flowers in the Wintery House."  I was thinking I wouldn't link up, because my flowers are looking a little sad...I always have in the past, but I was feeling a little out of sorts shall we say with my Trader Joe's roses. Jane is an amazing floral designer and has the most imaginative arrangements all over house.  She says things like, "so if you have a stem of black raspberry, add that to the mix." All things considered, I don't think Jane will mind if I link up to her blog, Small But Charming.  Check it out...it's fun to see how everyone uses flowers in their pretty homes.


Postino & La Grande Orange, Phoenix, AZ

Postino is in the old Arcadia Post office building. The entire restaurant and bar has an inside out feel with huge commercial garage doors that are rolled up when the weather is not too hot.  Postino is known for their bruschetta.  You choose four from a menu of 11.  Our favorite was the ricotta cheese with dates and pistachios.  Next door from Postino is La Grande Orange, same owners and I just found out they have locations in Pasadena and Santa Monica. 
La Grande Orange is known for their English Muffins...and they are so good.
Don't forget to enter my give away. 


Lunch at Arcadia Farms, Scottsdale, Arizona

I arrived just in time for lunch at Arcadia Farms in Scottsdale, Arizona.  it is the quintessential  place to have lunch if you are in the area.  When we first walked in they asked us if we had a reservation.  I looked around at all the empty tables while my sister said that yes we did have a reservation, but we were a little early.  Within 15 minutes the place was buzzing and nearly every seat was filled.  
The restaurant takes up the entire block of First Avenue, just off Goldwater Boulevard and Marshall Way in Old Scottsdale.  There is a restaurant, a separate building across the street for take-out and sweets and it also houses their catering division.  Next door is where the owner resides behind a gated courtyard.
Since the restaurant was originally an old house, there are several rooms, courtyards and the entire interior is in black and white...of course I loved it!
The food was delicious.  We shared warm chopped vegetable salad and seared salmon over greens.
Phoenix has so many innovative restaurants with wonderful menus and many are in buildings that have been renovated from an old car wash or a post office.  Tomorrow...Postino!


black, white & a giveaway

 Over the holidays I saw this photo and much like Amy...I can't stop thinking about it.  If you haven't spent a lot of time in Connecticut...trust me when I tell you this IS Connecticut.  The architecture, the stone wall, the driveway lined with Belgian block...there's no mistaken that this photo was taken somewhere in CT.  So last summer we bought another little house in an adorable little town with a village and a train station that delivers you to Grand Central in an hour.  It's perfect...or so my imagination tells me.  Here's the thing...my daughter and I went to look for a house as soon as school was out for the summer, could not find one we liked that met our requirements.  And the requirements were not that stringent.  First,  The house needed at least three bedrooms, located in the village, walkable to the train, at least 2 full bathrooms,  and a garage (or variance to be able to build a one).  A few weeks later my husband and son were in NY on the way to Cooperstown and our realtor called to say that the perfect house came on the market and that we could see it that afternoon.  Of course I called my husband and said you have to change your plans and go look at a house.  Many photos were emailed, lots of phone calls and then that was it.  We bought a house and my daughter and I have yet to see it.  As a family we do not normally divide travel time, but there comes a point with kids at different ages, that sometimes you have to.  So now I can't stop thinking about this house.  I'm making lots of plans...with the help of Pinterest.
The first thing I want to do is paint it all white and maybe some rooms black.  On my Pinterest I have a board titled "B  L A C K  R O O M S."  Once I dedicated an entire board to black or dark rooms I was amazed at how many I came across.  I fell in Love with photos of Jenna Lyons' Brooklyn townhouse that I saw here and here, so I have been pretty much dreaming in black and white ever since.   This leads me to the GIVE AWAY part.  I'm doing a give away of a few of my favorite things that are ...yes...black and white.
For a chance to win my little "Black & White Give Away" all you have to do is be a follower of Lovely Things,  leave a comment and check back to see if you've won.  I will choose a winner on Monday!
My favorite things include two strands of beads (if you choose to wear them, they will need to be re-strung.  I leave mine and drape them over the corner of mirrors or around a lamp base).  A box of Dixon Ticonderoga black #2 pencils,  a package of black and white stripy straws from Sweet Lulu and my favorite, a black and white plaid scarf made by W byWorth.  It's 100% wool and gorgeous...I wear mine all the time.  Good luck and remember to check back next week!