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

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

Bon Weekend, Plus an Delicious Autumn Cocktail

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.

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



Design Inspiration: The Difference in Herringbone and Chevron Patterns

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

Delightful Indulgence: Mont Blanc • Cassis


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.

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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

Happy Halloween, Plus Spooky 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

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

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.



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Photos ~ 1, 23, 4, 5, and 8

Real Estate: Breakfast at Tiffany’s Townhouse For Sale

As the iconic 1961 Audrey Hepburn film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, celebrates it’s 50th anniversary and only two years after the townhouse where Holly lived sold for $5.97 million, it is back on the market for almost double the price.  If I had an extra $10 million, this place would be mine.  The first thing I would do is rearrange the furniture in the living room below, it’s driving me nuts.

The town house featured in the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
This room needs some work too, but that’s not the point.  The problem with being a designer is that bad design literally drives me insane.  Insane.

I would trade the windows below for Parisian casement windows.. and how perfect is that fireplace?  I would place my desk where the one in the photo is and light a fire, sip cocoa, champagne, wine.. and work for hours.  Who can see that TV down there?  Moving on…

The 3,800-square-foot, four story Manhattan brownstone located at 169 East 71st S is currently divided into two duplexes but can be converted into a four-bedroom, five-bathroom single family home.  The 15-foot-wide Upper East Side townhouse, only served as the backdrop for the exterior shots, while most of the interior shots of Miss Golightly’s soirées while living next to the handsome and aspiring writer, Paul Varjak, played by George Peppard, were filmed in a Hollywood studio.  Although, it is said that the party scene where Audrey is wearing a dress fashioned from a bed sheet to her cocktail party were filmed inside the living room of the townhouse. 

The home no longer features the green and white striped window awnings that are spotted in the movie, however, many of the other landmarks remain in place.  I would definitely replace the awnings {barely seen below}.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Breakfast at Tiffany's 6

The upper duplex features two bedrooms with en-suite baths and three fireplaces, while the lower duplex features two bedrooms, two fireplaces, a solarium, and an abundant backyard.

Wouldn’t you love this solarium?  I have so many ideas of the ways I would design it, inside and the courtyard…
I will sleep tonight dreaming of this townhouse and purchase lottery tickets first thing in the morning.  If I win and buy this townhouse, I will throw a soirée that would make Holly Golightly proud and you’re all invited.


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

A Beautiful Collaboration ~ Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton

Christian Louboutin has collaborated with Louis Vuitton for the Celebrating Monogram campaign.

 Louis Vuitton emblem story

Louis Vuitton asked 5 image-makers, Christian Louboutin, Frank Gehry {another favourite}, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson, and Cindy Sherman  to contribute to the Celebrating Monogram project.  Through mediums of photography and moving image, each of the collaborators offered their vision of the iconic Monogram design.  
Canadian film maker and photographer Gordon Von Steiner created this short film featuring Christian Louboutin and Saskia de Braux, and his connection with his native city, Paris, for the 160 years of the House, the trolley.
His inspirations: For me, the bag had to be a combination of two DNAs: my own and Louis Vuitton’s. Then I really began to think about what would be a marriage between the two…”  Louboutin explains there is inspiration of Les Nabis in The Monogram design.  It was greatly influenced by the French artists at the turn of the twentieth century, who, in turn, were influenced and inspired by Japanese art.

The monogram Shopping Bags.  I’m smitten with both…

Shopping Trolley ~ Louboutin’s glamorous take on the market tote.  Louboutin said he pondered about something that would be unmistakably Parisian for him, and this is when the idea of the caddy came about. He said the bag is totally attached to the sight of somebody shopping in the markets of Paris –” I once tried to count the numbers of caddies I met in two hours at a Parisian market: 109!

What are your thoughts on the collection?


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

Bon Weekend, Plus Couture Cocktails

bonjour paris
I hope you had a wonderful week!  My week was quite hectic and with homework on top of it, it was a bit demanding to say the least.  I’m looking forward to catching my breath and enjoying a autumn weekend full of celebrations and fun!
Couture Cocktails
This is a perfect cocktail for chilly nights by the outdoor fire, cuddling under a faux fur blanket… my plans exactly.

Ginger Bourbon Cider

Ginger Bourbon Cider |
1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce Calvados
2-3 ounces apple cider
a few shakes of orange, or classic, bitters
ginger beer
pinch of ground cinnamon
Fill a cocktail glass with ice (I like crushed, but cubes work just fine). Combine the bourbon, Calvados, apple cider, and bitters. Top the drink with ginger beer–more or less depending on how strong of a drink you’d like–stir and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend!  I hope it’s beautiful where you are…
If you would like help in creating a home you love, please contact me at

Recipe via here
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