The Holiday Kitchen: Must Haves from Sur La Table & Nespresso

We are approaching a VERY busy time in most kitchens- even if you aren’t hosting a holiday gathering, my guess is you still are doing a good bit of cooking and baking.  I love all the nesting that goes on this time of year- from the decorating to cookie making, and so to kick off the season I partnered with Sur La Table to gather up some of my must have items and got pretty crafty with a Christmas cookie project (I’m still wiping up icing)….
IMG_0863

I Want to Go To There: Babylonstoren

I’ve been dreaming of a getaway ever since returning from the book tour and came across the most MAGICAL place in South Africa that made me think that a stay there would change my life (granted, I also get that feeling sometimes at Whole Foods when loading up my cart with kale and organic face cream- a NEW LIFE!)
Babylonstoren is an one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms close to Cape Town. Renovated and made into a simply beautiful hotel, spa and working farm (not to mention the lauded restaurant and winery) it looks like a little slice of heaven.  Be prepared for some SERIOUS eye candy!
10.DELFT-MOSAIC-PLATE-UNDER-A-PERSIMMON-TREE

Fashion Friday: The Sweater I Won’t Take Off

Last weekend I was at Anthropologie with my sister-in-law and picked up this patterned sweater “coat”.  As I do often when in Anthro, I asked her if it was totally awesome or some kind of weird daytime bathrobe.  After trying it on I decided it was the former.  And since then I’ve worn it three times (yes, in one week- gross).  It’s just SO warm, so comfy and totally stylish.  Not to mention EASY. Add skinny jeans or leggings, boots (or heeled booties like these for a little dressier effect) and a tank underneath and you are ready to head out the door feeling so comfortable but looking together!  I adore pieces like this!

4114312538058_008_b

(not belted it can function as a jacket!)

Have Yourself A Simple Little Holiday.

Andrew has been playing Christmas music on repeat for the last few weeks (as you may recall, I am married to the real Buddy the Elf) while I’ve been ranting about how early all the holiday decor has been put out (before Halloween I saw stuff out! WHAT!?) But now that we have snow in our forecast and Thanksgiving is looming I realize that it IS that time of year. I do love holiday time, it’s the only part of winter I can tolerate snow and cold temperatures.  I’ve had such a crazy fall that I’m hoping to have a SUPER low key holiday this year. Simple, cozy and streamlined.  So here’s some inspiration I am loving:
e39272ac94c44abf7d344afda47b6f1c

15 Great Reads.

Reading is one of the few activities that really allows my brain to take a break from over-thinking (ok, other than Angry Birds).  I’ve been a voracious reader almost as long as I can remember and probably plow through a book a week even at my busiest times.  I always make time to read before I go to bed at night- sometimes for 10 minutes, other times for two hours (when I’m reading something REALLY amazing).  Nothing is more relaxing to me.  So I thought I’d pull together some of my most favorite reads from over the years for you in case you are looking for a good book.  I omitted some of the obvious ones ( Eat, Pray, Love and Unbroken, the two biggies that I’ve talked about many times) and some most recent reads I really enjoyed (like Amy Poehler’s awesomely funny book and the new Jodi Picoult that was really quite good!)  This is a mix of really deep, sad, funny, scary, light and introspective reads that I think stand the test of time.  What are some of your all time favorite books?

books

The Kitchen House- A fantastic book about slavery and the power of taking risks and standing up for what you believe in.

The Language of Flowers- Phenomenally lovely. A must for any woman.

She’s Come Undone- The first book I remember being totally bowled over by. I haven;t read it in 20 years and will re-read it again soon.

Sharp Objects- I loved Gone Girl, but I loved this one MORE. So messed up, creepy and will keep you up reading all night to finish it.

Room- Tough to read if you are a mother (I assume) but a truly awesome book. Wow.

Girl With A Pearl Earring- I didn’t read this for years assuming it was boring. It was NOT.  Wonderfully nuanced and very interesting.

The Light Between Oceans- I talk about this book ALL THE TIME. Amazing. Fascinating. A tale that leaves you wondering what YOU would do and the difference between right and wrong. I pray this becomes a movie.

Cutting For Stone- A heavy, dense read that takes a little time to get into but then it swallows you whole. Patience pays off with this one. Incredible.

The Orphan Train- I just read this recently and LOVED it. An interesting and trying story about children, family and bravery.

Bossypants- Do I even need to go into this one? :)

The Prince of Tides- A classic… for a reason! I just read it last year and LOVED Conroy’s writing.

Me Talk Pretty One Day- My favorite from one of my favorite writers.  The book that made me fall in love with humorous short story writing.

Little Bee- Brutally moving and phenomenally written. Beats your heart up, but SO incredible.

A Girl Named Zippy- A little book that gave me HUGE laughs. Not many other people have read this, and I can’t remember who told me to read it but I’m glad they did.

The Good House- A really engaging tale of alcoholism and family… I know that doesn’t sound awesome, but it really is!