Feels Like Fall

Despite our unseasonably warm weather (we’ve been in the lower 80’s this week – YUCK!) I’ve been getting in the Fall mood this week and thought I’d share a few scenes from our house last weekend.

Have you ever noticed the amazing smell that permeates all of the William Sonoma stores?  A little while back, I stumbled upon the recipe for their secret weapon.  It couldn’t be easier and makes your house smell heavenly.


The ingredients are basic and simple with lemon, fresh rosemary, vanilla and water.  I added additional vanilla to make it smell more sweet than savory but either way smells wonderful.  I put the extra ingredients in jars for a quick save for un-expected house guests.

I love any excuse to bake (especially when I can give it away!)  A dear friend moved into her new house a few weeks ago and it gave me the perfect excuse to try out a new recipe.


Chai Spice Bread

The recipe calls for a glaze drizzle – but since I was going to be wrapping it up I left the glaze off.  I actually liked that it wasn’t overly sweet.  It would be perfect with a little afternoon tea!


Prep time: 15 min. Total time: 3 hrs. 55 min (includes cooling time)
Makes 1 loaf or 4 mini loaves (as pictured above)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup prepared tea (I like to use Pumpkin Chai from David’s Tea)
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3-5 tsp. milk
additional ground cinnamon

1) Heat oven to 350 F. Grease loaf pan with cooking spray.

2) In large bowl, beat sugar & butter with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in eggs, tea, milk, & vanilla on low speed until ingredients are well combined (will appear curdled) . Stir in remaining bread ingredients just until moistened. Spread in pan.

3) Bake 50-60 minutes for a full loaf (35 minutes for mini loaves) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean & slightly golden (do not under bake). Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool 30 minutes.

4) In small bowl, stir powdered sugar, vanilla, & 3 tsp. of the milk, adding more milk by the teaspoonfuls, until spreadable. Spread glaze over bread. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly & store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.


My Fall weekend wouldn’t be complete unless I had a Linnea’s Lights Pumpkin candle burning.  I feel like Fall has officially arrived the day these arrive at the store.  I am extremely picky when it comes to scents – I can’t stand anything that has a fake, sweet smell.  My husband even loves the scent, and he’s even pickier than I am!

Linnea’s Lights Pumpkin Candle


Happy Fall everyone!


Room of the Week: Warm & Cozy

I don’t know what kind of weather the rest of the country is having right now, but in San Diego we’re having some crazy, gusty rain!  Fittingly, this room is warm and cozy and makes me want to curl up with a bowl of soup and a fire.  This room has been floating around the blogosphere for a bit now, but it’s always been a favorite.

Steven Gambrel

LA Day Part II

Last week, I shared the first part of our trip to LA.  Our day was a little bit longer than just stopping at Hollywood at Home.  We stopped at our absolute favorite spot for a treat and a little star-siting.  Have any of you been to Joan’s on Third??  If you haven’t you MUST go.  It’s a slice of heaven on Third Street in LA close to La Cienega.  It always reminds me of  Meryl Streep’s bakery in It’s Complicated.  Whenever Betsy and I are making a trip to LA we always, always stop at Joan’s.  At first we would make excuses like, “there’s traffic – maybe we should just stop at Joan’s and wait until it die’s down a little bit.”  OR “I’m wiped from a whole day of buying – should we stop at Joan’s for a cup of coffee?”  Now we know, it’s just a tradition and no trip to LA would be complete without stopping there.


Joan’s is a marketplace, cafe combination.  Gourmet foods fill one side of the space, while the other side is a counter order cafe.  Joan opened her business in 1995 as a catering business.  She became wildly popular and soon opened her marketplace with her daughter’s help.


Every square inch is beautifully decorated.  It has a charming, cozy, family feel to it.  Chippy-paint tables, serve as display counters.  Old rain barrels hold fresh baguettes and crackers.  However, my absolute favorite is the warn pine, family style table.


Even the bathroom is charming.


Love the black & white hexagon tiles!


Every time we visit, I’m mesmerized by these vintage pendants.


The minute we step foot in Joan’s my willpower stays outside on the sidewalk.  It is SO worth it though.  This strawberry shortcake cake was honestly the best I’ve ever had.


I hope you enjoyed our tour of Joan’s on Third and I definitely hope you visit the next time you’re in the LA area.  Or even if you’re remotely close – it’s worth the drive!

*Side Note: We have spotted someone famous just about every time we go.  This particular trip we saw Rachel Zoe’s assistant (Taylor) from The Rachel Zoe Project.  It’s a stretch, but it counts – no?

Getting Ready

I can’t believe it’s that time again!  When we finally turned the calendar page for July 1st, it officially started to feel like Summer is really here.  With 4th of July right around the corner we’ve been getting ready…


Every year we deck our house out in bunting under our windows…..


…and raise the flag. (Excuse our mess on the table!)

We’ve been patriotic at the shop too with our canvas American Flags on reclaimed wood!


Aside from Christmas, I really think the 4th is my next favorite holiday.  Growing up we would always have a huge 4th of July backyard party.  There would usually be close to 100 people there.  We would have kids, grandparents, and everyone in between.  The celebration would be complete with gunny sack races, bubble gum blowing contests, and intense volley ball competitions!  This year we’re keeping things a little more low-key with a small bar-b-q on the deck, but still a ton of fun.  Our street always has a neighborhood parade, where everyone decks out their bikes in streamers and flags.

I’m off to the farmer’s market to pick up some ingredients for this pasta salad for tomorrow:

via Martha Stewart

How delicious does this look!

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto cut into strips
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup pitted Cerignola olives (or your favorite olives) sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

I’m thinking of swapping out the goat cheese for cubed mozzarella.  Even though I absolutely love goat cheese, I think there are fewer of us that do.

We’d love to hear how everyone else is celebrating! Please share!