Posted on November 14, 2014

Bon Weekend, Plus a Delicious Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

Lifestyle & Musings/ Recipes & Cocktails

I hope you had a great week and an even better weekend planned!  After a week of being under the weather, I don’t have any plans except staying warm, homework, and repose.  The weather is calling for 1-3″ of snow beginning tomorrow afternoon.  I am not ready for that or the 20 degree temps we’re having either.  What happened to fall?  It was a warm 72 degrees earlier this week. *sigh*  In the meantime, here are some beautiful photos of Paris…

Carousel in Paris
Overlooking Paris France
Woman Crossing the Seine in Paris France
Eclair Bistro in Paris France
Croissants at Leclair Cocktail Bar in Paris France
Acanthe Cafe in Paris France
Hotel de Ville in Paris France
Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate: This hot chocolate recipe proves that dreams do come true. Perk up white hot chocolate with warm pumpkin pie spices and a dash of vanilla. Now that’s what we call a magic combination! (via Tatertots & Jello)

Serves 2

1 cup of heavy cream
2 cups of milk – I use skim milk
1 cup of good quality white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
Whipped cream and additional pumpkin spice to sprinkle on top.

1. Heat cream and milk in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot but not boiling.
2. In a medium sized bowl, pour heated cream and milk over white chocolate chips. Stir until chips are melted.
3. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin spice.
4. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.
A few tips:
Keep a close eye on the milk and cream mixture – once it is hot, turn off the flame. It doesn’t need to come to a boil.
Use good quality white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate. The flavor and sweetness of white chocolate really varies. I have found the Ghirardelli white chocolate chips to have the best taste and have been able to find them at almost every grocery store.


Photos via here, Recipe vie here

Posted on November 13, 2014

Décor Inspiration: A Chic Saint-Germain Apartment

Design & Décor
Apartment in Saint Germain

Thank you for the well wishes on FB and here on the blog while I was under the weather this week.  First, a cold and now, snow flurries outside today.  I’m not ready for winter, are you?
I fell utterly in love with this stylish apartment designed in 2013 for a client in Saint Germain, Paris.  I love every aspect from the floors to the paneling, and the mix of furniture styles.  If I ever move to Paris, my apartment will look like this…

Apartment in Saint Germain
Apartment in Saint Germain
Apartment in Saint Germain
Apartment in Saint Germain
Apartment in Saint Germain
Apartment in Saint Germain

This tiny galley kitchen is one of my favourite rooms, from the pocket doors to cabinetry.
Apartment in Saint Germain

My other favourite room is the bath blow.  Having a lighting fixture over a bath is against code, however, many people do it regardless.  I must admit, I also love a chandelier over a bath.

Apartment in Saint Germain

A short video of the apartment… 

It’s rare that I love every single aspect of an interior, however, I can’t think of one thing that I would change in this apartment.  What are your thoughts?



Via here

Posted on November 12, 2014

Bon Appétit: Truffle Fries and Moët Ice Impérial

Recipes & Cocktails

Still feeling under the weather this week.  I can’t seem to shake this!  Anyone have a secret to fighting colds?

I made these truffle fries recently and I want to share the recipe with you.  They’re the perfect snack!  I took inspiration from this photo and picked up a favourite bottle of champagne to pair them with {Moët Ice Impérial is suggested}.   The combination was Divine!

The Most Decadent Recipe For Truffle Fries
White Hot Truffle Fries Recipe
2 pounds russet potatoes
1 ounce white truffle oil (I prefer Urbani)
2 ounces grated Parmesan reggiano
1 ounce shaved Parmesan reggiano (use a peeler or large sided grated)
3 quarts peanut or soybean oil
Pinch sea salt & pepper


Rinse the potatoes and then cut them into sticks by cutting the potato in 4 or 5 vertical pieces, and then cut each piece into sticks.

Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow them to soak, 2 hours.
When you’re ready to make the fries, drain off the water and lay the potatoes on baking sheets and blot with paper towels.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom handled pot to 300 degrees F. In 3 or 4 batches, cook the potatoes until soft, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. You are not cooking them to be golden brown at this point you are only starting the cooking process. Remove each batch and drain on dry paper towels.

Recipe via here


Posted on November 11, 2014

My Weekend, Plus a Warm ‘Thank You’ to Our Veterans

Lifestyle & Musings

I hope you had a great weekend!  As always, it flew by in the wink of an eye.  We went to a wonderful farm dinner on Saturday evening.  I planned to post photos on Instagram, however, there was no internet reception and they would not upload.  It was dimly lit and all the photos didn’t turn out very well so here are a few of my photos and a couple from the web.  It was a wonderful evening and the food was amazing!  The farm to table concept has become popular and reservations sell out months in advance.  We plan to return soon.
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Thank you
Veteran’s Day was created to honor and respect all men and women who have served in our military.  Originally called “Armistice Day”, it was first celebrated in 1919 on the first anniversary of WWI.    As we express our deepest gratitude, we must never forget their sacrifice.  God bless you.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” –Maya Angelou
Posted on November 7, 2014

Bon Weekend, Plus an Delicious Autumn Cocktail

Lifestyle & Musings/ Recipes & Cocktails

I hope you had a wonderful week!  Do you have big plans for the weekend?  Tony and I have reservations for a farm dinner on Saturday evening that we are really excited about.  Farm dinners seem to be are trend here lately and this place has looks amazing and excellent reviews.  It has a winery on property as well and I look forward to the tasting.   I will be posting photos on Instagram if you would like to come along.

How beautiful would a picnic in this setting be?  A perfect place for a autumn {or anytime} dinner.

La Creuzette - Creuse - France
Couture Cocktails
This cocktails says autumn/winter to me.  I love the creaminess and touch of nutmeg paired with the vodka and coffee.
White Russian
Always a crowd-pleaser for winter cocktail parties! –White Russian Winter #Cocktail Recipe

1 ½ oz. vodka

¾ coffee liqueur

¾ oz. light cream

1 sprinkle nutmeg


Pour the vodka and coffee liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass

Gently top with the cream

Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg

Wishing you a lovely weekend!




Photo via here, and recipe here.

Posted on November 6, 2014

7 Things on My Radar: Nov, Plus 1 More


I rounded up 7 things I’ve been eyeing lately.  With the holidays quickly approaching, there will parties, travel, and fun family outings.

I’m in love with this studded belt and plan to purchase it this week.  I just can’t decide which one to choose 1|| I’ve mentioned how I’m a tad obsessed with cobalt this season.  These boots would be perfect for just about any ensemble 2|| I plan to combat limp hair during the harsh winter months with this thickening mist {plus I love the packaging!} 3|| Leopard is a neutral and is perfect for any season.  How cute are these sunglasses? 4|| I’m smitten with floppy hats and I would wear this one with my Cavalli cape and the cobalt boots 5|| I’m searching for a sequin tank for upcoming holiday parties.  The price is a steal on this one 6|| This parka is fashionable and warm.  It will be perfect for the upcoming trips to Chicago and shopping the Magnificent Mile and fun family outings to the zoo, Christmas tree farm, etc. Last winter, the cold was unbearable and I plan to be prepared this year. 7
Holiday Beauty Kit

I included this wonderful gift set that was in my inbox this morning.  It samples many wonderful products at a good savings, and the SHOW thickening cream that I feature above is in the set also.  It’s the perfect gift for a friend or yourself.

Available here


Posted on November 5, 2014

Design Inspiration: The Difference in Herringbone and Chevron Patterns

Design & Décor

If you want to make a statement with your flooring, the herringbone and chevron patterns are a beautiful choice.  They’re two of my favourite patterns and look great in any room.  Many of my clients do not know the difference but once I educate them, they often giggle and respond that they didn’t notice.
Chevron patterns run point to point and the ends are cut at an angle to create a continuous zigzag design; whereas with herringbone, the tiles finish perpendicular, resulting in a broken zigzag patter.  Can you spot the difference?
Grand living room with crystal chandelier, full body mirror, and herringbone wood flooring.

when it comes to kitchens, go Parisian... sublimely minimal yet (covertly) well equipped...
Interior MA | INT2 architecture
chevron floors
50 Inspirational Workspaces & Offices | Part 20
The Best Cream Bathrooms -Herringbone Ivory Travertine floors and a Crema Marfil countertop are often paired together.

What a beautiful kitchen. Grey really is the in-colour at the moment, and those cabinets and the tiled back-splash create a beautiful finished look.
The pattern also looks beautiful on walls.

Freestanding bath tub with chandelier and chevron tile
Modern Kitchen Bliss - The Zhush
Melanie Turner - Incredible bathroom with gray herringbone tiled accent wall framing gray floating vanity accented with nickel square ring pulls topped with white marble and his and her sinks suspended over herringbone floor.
A wonderful dining room table DIY here.



Photos via Pinterest
Posted on November 4, 2014

Delightful Indulgence: Mont Blanc • Cassis

Recipes & Cocktails


Did you have a nice weekend?  It went by too quickly and I ate way too much candy.  Yesterday morning, my little guy {well, not too little since he is taller than me} told me that his knee was hurting.  When he pulled up his pant leg, I saw his knee was swollen so we spent the day visiting the Dr. and getting x-rays.  It’s nothing serious, a bruised tendon, but he received lots of TLC from Mom.

This is an amazing recipe I want to share.  I know what you’re thinking… the last thing you need after Halloween is more sweets, and I agree, after all I’m kicking up my work-out a notch this week, because a few of those Kit Kats, Dots, and Smarties found their way to me.  My kids know I love them and have always saved some for me.  Those darn kids!  Why are they so thoughtful?  This recipe, however, is worth the extra work-outs, missed meals, whatever you need to do to zip up your jeans tomorrow.  It’s like crack.  Seriously.

One of my favourite ingredients is Cassis.  I love the sweetness but I don’t particularly want a mouthful, just a small bite.  A favourite ingredient during this time of the year is Chestnut.. I add it to everything, and the marriage of these two is nothing less that spectacular.

Mont Blanc • Cassis


I, like the author, am not good at making these, however, that didn’t stop me.  The hardest part is piping the exterior – keeping the rings perfectly uniform and beautiful was a challenge but the fact that they weren’t did not take away from this in the least so don’t worry if yours are not perfect.  Besides, I’ve always felt imperfect is beautiful.

Sans titre-1.jpg


pâte sucrée // which can be found here
almond cream
cassis (blackcurrant) confiture
chestnut mousse
chantilly cream
chestnut cream

Chestnut Mousse:
chestnut paste – 300g
butter (softened) – 120g
milk – 30g
dark rum – 18g
egg whites – 15g
sugar – 26g
water – 9g

Metric conversion calculator here

Combine the chestnut paste and softened butter in the bowl of the standing mixer and using a paddle attachment, mix on medium speed till pale and fluffy.
While the mixer is doing its work, combine the milk and rum together and heat it in the microwave till it is fairly warm, about 40C.
// Note: you do this to control the temperature when you mix the two different mixtures together. Because the butter is still quite cold, and if you add an extremely cold milk/rum mixture into it, the mixture will split. //
Whisk the milk mixture slowly into the whipped chestnut mixture, emulsifying it well after each addition till it is smooth and thick. Set aside at room temperature.
In a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, place the egg whites.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat till 121C. (be careful not to stir the mixture or it will crystallize)
When the temperature is at 115C, begin whisking your egg whites vigorously. You want the egg whites to be at least at white soft peaks before you add in the sugar syrup. (take extreme notice between the two. If the egg whites are not ready yet, simply reduce the heat source for the syrup. Controlling and monitoring is very important at this step)
Once the temperature is at 121C and your egg whites are whipped and at soft peaks, stream the sugar syrup in slow, letting it flow against the side of the bowl. Once all the syrup is in, lift the bowl slightly to allow the whisk attachment to combine the sugar syrup stuck at the bottom of the bowl.
Whip on medium-low speed till cool.
Using a spatula, fold the meringue into the chestnut mixture till smooth and fluffy.
Use immediately.

If you would like help in creating a home you love, please contact me at

Recipe via here

Posted on October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, Plus Spooky Cocktails

Lifestyle & Musings/ Recipes & Cocktails

Happy Halloween!  What are your plans?  I will be handing out candy while my husband takes Isabella trick-or-treating.  The boys will have friends over so it will be crazy {in a fun way} at our house tonight.  I haven’t dressed up for awhile but I’m thinking I may this year.  My favourite part of handing out candy is guessing what everyone is and listening to all of the jokes.  You can tell when the little ones have practiced that one joke all week!

I love this fashion editorial.. it’s festive but still elegant, and I always love a carousel.

Elegant Circus Editorials

Spooky Halloween Spirits
Just for grown-up goblins: Serve up a little black magic -- in the form of cocktails made with vodka that's as dark as night.
Ghost in the Graveyard

Serves 1
2 ounces black vodka
2 ounces creme de cacao or coffee-flavored liqueur
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Pinch of finely grated nutmeg, for garnish
In a glass, combine vodka and creme de cacao, and set aside. Place a scoop of ice cream in a highball glass, and slowly pour vodka mixture over ice cream. Garnish with nutmeg; serve immediately
Screwed-Up Screwdriver
Serves 1
1/4 cup ice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1 1/2 ounces black vodka
1 black licorice twist, for serving
Place ice in a tall glass. Pour juice into glass. Pour vodka over the back of a cocktail spoon into glass so it sits on top of juice and creates a layer of black. Slice 1/4 inch off each end of licorice, and use as a straw. Serve immediately.
Berry Scary Martini
Serves 1
1 cup ice
1 ounce black vodka
2 ounces cherry juice
Fresh raspberries and blueberries, for garnish
Combine ice, vodka, and cherry juice in a cocktail shaker; shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass. Thread raspberries and blueberries onto a cocktail skewer, and place in drink. Serve immediately.
Wishing you a fun and safe Halloween!


If you would like help in creating a home you love, please contact me at
Photos via here, recipe via here
Posted on October 30, 2014

Favourite 5 in Paris: The Best Chocolate Chaud, Plus a Delicious Recipe

Lifestyle & Musings/ Recipes & Cocktails

As temperatures drop, I begin seeking hot chocolate, Parisian style.  I can’t think of a better way to chase away the chills than with a warm, velvety chocolat chaud It’s one of my favourite indulgences and one of the delights of Paris and is served in most cafés.  The question is, who serves the best?  The answer will change depending on who you speak with and has been debated as much as who makes the best macarons and the best baguette.  Below is a list of my favourites of favourites.

№ 01:  Café de Flore, located on Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th arrondissementis the quintessential French café.  The chocolate served here is rich and smooth, but not too sweet, thick, or bitter, and is served steaming along with glasses filled with whipped sweet cream.  It draws quite the crowd and is a perfect spot for a break and watch the world go by.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this café not crowded, however, the chocolate chaud is heaven and worth the wait to get a seat.

Café de Flore

№ 02:  Angelina.  For me, nothing beats this rich, complex chaud served in this charming belle époque salon.  I am absolutely smitten with this place.  Yes, it is packed with tourists and the hot chocolate is close to €7.00, however, in my opinion, it’s worth every penny.  I brought home a canister and a set of the little cups on my last trip to enjoy any time I like.


№ 03:  Known for its delectable ice cream, Berthillon, located at 31 rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile, always has a line wrapped around the corner.  During the winter months, Berthillon offers “chocolate affogato” ~ chocolate with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, frothy milk, hazelnut whipped cream and drizzled melted chocolate.


№ 04:  This salon de thé knows a thing or two about chocolate. Chocolat Ladurée, as the French call it, is rich, smooth, and luxuriously thick and will leave you with a memorable experience.  The chaud is served in a silver teapot with a side of chantilly cream… and best with dessert {wink, wink}.


№ 05:  Chocolate artisan extraordinaire, Jean-Paul Hévin, is dedicated to the art of chocolate making.  His luxurious and indulgent hot chocolate is a must for any chocolate lover.  Whether you order a custom flavoured chocolat chaud or a box of truffles, jean-Paul Hévin never fails to deliver anything short of extraordinary.
Jean-Paul Hévin chocolate bar on rue Saint Honoré

Honorable mention:  If you’re in the US, Vosges drinking chocolate is intoxicating.. all of them but I especially love the Parisienne and the Bianca {pictured below}.  When visiting Chicago, I make it a point to visit the Lincoln Park boutique to stock up on our favourites and order a cup of hot chocolate before shopping the neighborhood.

Vosges’ Bianca: Australian lemon myrtle + lavender flowers + vanilla + white chocolate

If you prefer to make your hot chocolate at home, Dorie Greenspan has generously shared her recipe with us.

Chocolat Chaud: Ladurée, Paris Sweets

3 cups whole milk (750g)
⅓ cup water (80g)
⅓ cup sugar (65g)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely ground (175g)

1. Bring the milk, water, and sugar just to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. The hot chocolate needs to be blended at this point. At Ladurée, this is done with a hand-held blender. If you have this tool, leave the hot chocolate in the saucepan and whip it with the hand-held blender for 1 minute. If you don’t have a hand-held blender, transfer the chocolate to a traditional blender and whip on high speed for 1 minute. The chocolate should be served immediately, while it is still very hot and frothy. Alternatively, you can pour the chocolate into a container to cool; the cooled chocolate can be reheated or served chilled. The chocolate can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator.

* To make frozen hot chocolate: Chill the hot chocolate until very cold, stir in ¾ cup cold milk, ice, and whip for 1-2 minutes in a blender.



If you would like help in creating a home you love, please contact me at
Photos ~ 1, 23, 4, 5, and 8

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