Saturday, December 4, 2010

designed: a Christmas-y Thanksgiving

We had Thanksgiving at our apartment again this year. I also used folks coming over as an excuse to get a head start on the Christmas decorating! Here are some pictures of the table all set and the tree a' glowing. I love to use my Grandmother's china, the pattern is Wedgwood Florentine, the linens were bought during a trip to Brussels and the glassware is Ikea ;) Also on the drop leaf claw foot table from my other Grandmother are citron votives from Anthropologie, a pewter leaf platter from Southern Homes & Gardens and extra greenery from our giant Douglas Fir Christmas tree. My next post will be all about the decorations in more detail!
Oh and I made breakfast casserole to watch during the Thanksgiving Day Parade and to tide us over until dinner. It is dee-lish! And oh so very simple. I make it every time I'm having folks over for a big holiday. Its great because you can make it the night before and then when you get up just pop it into the oven while you're making the coffee. I got the original recipe from my Mom but I've tweaked it to be a little bit healthier... So you will need

1 loaf of nutty whole rain bread
1 block cheese - use the good stuff, I like aged Cheddar or Gruyere
1 to 2 packages of apple chicken sausage
8-12 eggs - enough to cover the bread and sausage
1 cup of milk (skim!)
2 good sized tablespoonfuls of spicy Dijon mustard
and salt + pepper
First, spray the casserole dish with cooking spray. Tear the bread into small pieces and cover the bottom of the pan. Cut up the sausage into small pieces and brown in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Add to the bread. In a bowl mix the eggs, milk, mustard and salt + pepper. pour over bread and sausage. Lastly top it all with lots of cheese. Cover and refrigerate. Cook at 350 for approximately 45 minutes, or until the eggs set.
You will be the most popular and adored cooking goddess when you serve this casserole for your loved ones on holiday mornings!

PS- this goes great with mimosas!
xoxo Lea

Thursday, September 23, 2010

entertained: fashion + food

Yesterday was a glorious fall day in NYC (even if it was a bit warm, hello upper 80's?) and I was M's assistant for a fashion shoot at the Javits Center for Fashion Coterie. While he was shooting away I got to stroll the huge space checking out all the latest styles for Spring 2011! How cool! There were lots of buyers and all of the top names showcasing their collections.
So yeah, basically just another Wednesday morning ;)

After M was done with his shoot we decided to just walk around, absorbing the city, to be flâneurs. Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". And so we did, aimlessly walking through the garment district and then down to Madison Square Park. We decided that some coffee would be nice and noticed what seemed to be a small little coffee shop, Eataly. Well, it turns out it is a little bit more than just a coffee shop... it is a foodie paradise! It is a HUGE gourmet food marketplace. It is something of a new concept, there are about 7 different restaurants housed in one space where you can order fresh specialized foods at each counter. After a delicious Iced Cappuccino we explored the cavernous space. Oh and, while we were there I literally ran in to Mario Batali, oops!

We will totally be back! I'm going to find an authentic Italian dish to make and then go food shopping away!
xo y'all,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the Pino Ranch in black + white

itchin' for a good look at where we are going to get married? here is a beautiful black and white series

back to more planning!
xo Lea

Sunday, July 11, 2010

simple suppers: spicy eggs + mixed greens salad

we've been cooking a lot around here these days. for a number of reasons. Its healthy, you have control over all of the ingredients, and its cheap! now, I'm no chef but I like to experiment and I have a willing taste tester which means I've been able to come up with some pretty interesting and suuuper tasty combinations.

On the menu tonight... SPICY EGGS. c'mon who doesn't like breakfast for supper? It is my favorite and this dish is sooooooooooo friggin easy. one pan and like almost no clean up and done in FIVE minutes.
Here is what you will need:

-2 eggs per person ( one egg will do for a light dinner or a quick breakfast but for a proper supper go with 2)
-2 pieces of multigrain bread (the nutty-er and grainy-er the better)

-hot sauce; either a good salsa verde like this one from the Santa Ana Deli or vietnamese chili garlic sauce
-olive oil
-mixed greens
-your favorite vinaigrette

1.put the bread in the toaster, toast it medium to dark 2. put a tablespoon of olive oil in a non stick frying pan, let it heat up for a minute
3. crack eggs right into the heated up pan and fry. once the eggs begin to set, add a little salt and pepper
4. after a minute flip the eggs over (careful not to break the yolks) and salt and pepper - also be careful not to over cook, the eggs must be runny!!! it will be faster than you think :)
5. spread a little bit of mayo on each piece of toast, i only do a little because i want to be as healthy as possible but i think we all know the mo' mayo the better...
6. place eggs on toast and add a dollop of either hot sauce.

I like a simple mixed green salad with vinaigrette with this to round out the meal. and ENJOY!!!

xo Lea Hart

Monday, June 21, 2010

entertained: summer road trips!

I've always ALWAYS wanted to explore more New England like: New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. I love the architecture, scenery, the SEAFOOD! So when M and I realized that we both have 2 days off in a row (!) and a car to take us wherever we want, we went looking for a cool spot to visit.

And the winner is....................
Kennebunkport, Maine! Its famous for lobsters, cute cottages, and home to President Bush Sr. It is a charming town and it was everything I imagined New England to look like, lots of boats, a little fog, gray skies.
We got a little lost and wound up in Cape Porpoise and we stopped at the Cape Porpoise Kitchen where they were nice enough to direct us back and I picked up some wine too! We easily found our hotel, the Village Cove Inn.
It was a cute little inn just outside of town and right near the beach, and every room came with a little porch. Now that is total luxury for a New Yorker! We settled in right away and headed out to explore...
First stop, THE CLAM SHACK mmmmm...

It was AHHHHsome! We had a lobster roll (traditional Maine style with mayo) and a clam strip basket, crinkle fries (my fav-o-rite) and lemonade. We devoured it! Here are the remains of the meal

and me with a goober grin? I dunno... and M totally helped me! I so didn't eat it all by myself...

Next we decided we need some BEER! Yeah! So Federal Jack's, here we come! Here is the view from the balcony, from which we sampled many fine brews. It looked out into the harbor and across to downtown Kennebunkport.

We headed back into town for a little shopping. Usually I don't like to buy touristy crap..., but we decided to get a Christmas ornament from all the places we go to, starting with the first place we went as an engaged couple. I know, sooo cheesy, but when were are putting up our Christmas tree twenty years from now it will bring up great memories and funny stories. Hey, who knows, this might be a tradition y'all want to start, do you have any traditions? I would love to hear about them!

So after an ornament, a coffee, and some FUDGE we headed back to the Inn to rest up and have a glass on vino on the porch. It was so nice and simple and relaxing, I even contemplated relocating to Maine and growing something, and then I remembered I've killed everything I've tried to grow. Everything. Even an aloe plant once!!! OK perhaps I won't move just yet, but I'm already planning my next trip up! So we decided to check out Cape Porpoise for dinner because it is the area's working harbor and there are a bunch of seafood joints there. We went to Pier77 It was great! Super romantic, with live piano music and great seafood. Duh.
Kennebunkport isn't really a nightlife kind of town, so we happily and tiredly headed back to the Village Cove for an early night of peaceful sleep :)

Morning was misty and a little chilly, we enjoyed our breakfast (even more so because it was included with our room, gotta love free bagels) and took some coffee to go for a stroll through the neighborhood and down along the beach. I'm new to this morning person kinda lifestyle, hence the hair don't...
I absolutely love gray days, especially at the beach. I'm weird. I know ;) After our walk on the beach went walked around some more on Ocean Avenue and I spied a cool looking interiors store, called Spaces, what a GREAT name ;) they had some really cool stuff, I love everything shiny and sparkly, 'cause I'm a ferret... I'm gonna post about Spaces later!
After a little window shopping we walked across the street to Mabel's Lobster Claw, it was recommended by locals and we were told the Pres likes to dine there, so I figured if its good enough for the President of the United States, it would probably do just fine for me too. And all I have to say is, I loves me some chowder! It was perfect after a chilly stroll along the beach.
We had to pack up and head home after lunch. It was way to short of a trip but it was absolutely perfect and I loved every minute! I can't wait to come back.

And I just wanted to say a few things, about having fun everyday and creating memories and dealing with budgets and somehow making it all work. We are totally money crunched, like most of America right now, and we are starting to save for a wedding. So we don't have tons of cash laying around. But M and I are committed to living life to the fullest and if we want to do something or go somewhere, we do. Maybe we don't stay as long as we would like, or we bring healthy snacks from home so we don't get gross junk food, or we adjust plans as needed. I actually really wanted to go to Vermont first, but it was a big weekend in VT and all the hotels were extra pricey so we switch our plans and picked another great state.
So even if our little vacation was just an overnight thing, M and I will cherish that trip forever :)
So just go if ya wanna!!!

Y'all planned any fun trips big or small this summer???

xo Lea

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

designed: Wedding Planning, the beginning...

So M and I have finally started to wrap our brains around the fact that we are engaged. And I picked out my ring! TA DAAA! When M took that picture, he was all, "Hey Babe, do you love your ring?" and then I was all...

I can't quite seem to stop calling him my boyfriend, but I'm working on that...

Anyway, we are in the very beginning stages of this whole wedding extravaganza and right now, all we are doing is talking about what each of us envisions for our wedding. I think M just has some general ideas about the big day, but he is a boy... and that was pretty much as far as he got.
I, on the other hand, am a total girl and a designer who does this kind of stuff for a living, so I've been thinking of my wonderful magical day for years... yeah, I know...
So, well, I had basically already planned out my perfect Southern shindig, I figured it would be at Oakton a beautiful antebellum home that has been my family for generations.

Actually, most of my family has been married there, my mom, my aunts, my cousins, and most recently my sister Margaret

(psst- like the pictures? Carrie took 'em, she is my sister too! check her out here). So that was pretty much a given, or so I thought.
Little did I know that the love of my life would have a family home, in this tiny town in New Mexico, too and that is so much a part of him. Here is a little bit about what he thinks of this beautiful place. His family has been there for SEVEN generations, they actually homesteaded the ranch! How cool is that?!? His family is as big as mine and they all get together each year for family reunions in July. I have been out there twice, it is breathtakingly beautiful. See?

The landscape is so austere and natural, the exact opposite to the concrete jungle of New York City. It has this amazingly calming affect on the soul. So when M quietly suggested a wedding out there, I knew immediately it was the place I never knew that I always wanted (and really, that was the only thing wedding-wise that he had ever wanted)
So Carrizozo, New Mexico it is!

We have decided that while we want a beautiful wedding, we don't want to break the bank. We also don't want to start out our life together in debt. It's just not worth it to us. So our Budget for the whole wedding is...
It's not a lot but I know I can create an amazing atmosphere that will totally be US. Oh did I mention that is for the whole weekend? Yep, welcome party, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception and heck why not a morning after brunch too!
Oh Man, I think I'm in for the ride of my life!

Wedding Blog World, here I come...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

designed: my wedding plans!

Hey Y'all,
I got some exciting news... I'm getting hitched, and I couldn't be happier! We had an engagement photo shoot this past weekend in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and accidentally, Staten Island. We worked with a great emerging photographer, Carrie Anderson (she is my super talented sister!) This is just a sneak peek, but if you want to see more of our engagement shoot, her other work, OR if you want to book her for a session or wedding with her you can check out her website and blog. We had sooo much fun!

I have already started planning all the fun wedding details. We are getting married on my fiance's family's ranch in Carrizozo, New Mexico

We love the natural setting and it is a really special place for us... but I'm not usually a wild west type of girl. I'm from the South and I live on NYC, so what is a designer /bride to do? Lets find out!

I will take y'all along with me as I try to plan this crazy New Mexico meets New York wedding.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

design: textiles

maybe it's because it is snowing, again. or maybe because I'm whipping up a presentation for a serene spa like bedroom... but I can't get blankets, pillows, and snuggly throws off my mind. I came across these today and INSTANTLY fell in love with this Mexican Beadspread

and these Turkish Hamman Towels

from l'aviva home and, I also really like their philosophy - "the collections reflect the belief that the things we surround ourselves with should possess a soul, a history, and a purpose beyond mere decoration: they should help us connect to the world beautiful, right?" RIGHT!

I'm also really crushin' on the textiles from Les Indiennes they have amazing pillows at pretty great prices and I really like their style

don't you want a great book and a free afternoon?
Or perhaps now you are in the mood for a nap, I want to sleep on the delicious bedding from d.u.e by matteo and it come in a ton of AHHHmazing colors...

well, I'm gonna make some tea now and daydream of luxe linens...
xo Lea

Thursday, February 18, 2010

designed: my new job

Mama's got a brand new JOB! It is the most awesome and amazing gig I've ever had. I'm working as a designer in NEW YORK CITY (the most heavenly place to design in the world) woot! woot! I'm floating in cloud 27, as in waaaay more than a measly could 9. I'm also busier than I've ever been. Hence no posts lately. I've decided that until my life settles down I will change my program up a bit. I am still making stationary goodness, and if you are interested in anything custom- send me an email, or give me a call. Right now though my main focus is interior design goodness. I've been on the hunt for the PERFECT pillow, a fabulous lamp, or a beautiful object d'art... y'all know, designer-y stuff. So as I come across cool sh*t, I will share with all who read my lil' ole blog. I'm certainly not reinventing the wheel, but I know I have a unique perspective. I mean really, who else do you know that loves monograms as much as graffiti? Yeah, thought so. And in honor of my aforementioned loves...

here is some fun stuff that can be personalized
- check out Col. Littleton these freaking bracelets are AHHHsome, right?

and really, who doesn't love a tote? I'd like a large brown tote, with style #17 in brown thread, from Ballard Designs, please! Oh yeah, look at that I just got all designer-y again with some tone on tone action...

and here is some funky graffiti
like this fine china from The Future Perfect (check out all their stuff, it's one of my favorite all time places to shop)

and on a side note, if you have an animal and even a hint of a sense of style, you probably realized quite quickly that is NOTHING even remotely chic about food bowls. The only thing I've managed to tolerate is just plain stainless steel bowls.
And then I saw this... oh, hello lovely.
Everything from Doca Pet is gorge, seriously, gorgeous. If super modern isn't your thing, then I often suggest buying a few bowls in a pattern that coordinates with room that the animal's food is in.

Like for a rustic kitchen get some blue and white bowls or wooden ones.
But, please anything is better than the molded plastic bowls from the pet supply store.

xo Lea