Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Mother's Sugar Cookies

This Thursday at Rosanna Inc. we're having a cookie exchange for the holiday season. In celebration of it, I decided to share my favorite cookie recipe that came from my own mother.

2 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Egg

Sift all dry ingredients together.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well.
Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until well balanced.
Wrap the dough in cloth, pastry paper or aluminum foil and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out 1/3 of the dough with cookie cutters.
Sprinkle the cut out cookies with abundant amounts of colored sugar crystals or decorate with candies.
Put the shapes on buttered baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
Be sure they do not brown.
Remove the cookies from the sheets with a wide spatula and cool on the racks.


Happy Holidays to all,


Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanks for All!

It seems as though November snuck in the back door when I wasn't looking. As we are almost at the end of the month, I'd like to take a moment to talk about an All-American tradition that many of us will be celebrating in just a few short days.

Thanksgiving is truly a holiday for every American. Some think so because it is non-denominational but I disagree. I think Thanksgiving is for everyone because we are, as a country and people, of many different origins, ethnicities, histories, philosophies, and, most importantly for us at Rosanna, traditions. I see this holiday as an opportunity to honor all of these aforementioned ingredients that come together to make a family or a community. I encourage you to celebrate by incorporating any traditions- whether they are national, cultural, religious, or familial- into this year's Thanksgiving dinner.

In my family, this means preparing a meal that reflects our Italian origins. I season the turkey with garlic, rosemary, sage, and other herbs traditionally used in Italian cooking. And to retain the moisture and add extra flavor, I add a few pieces of good-quality prosciutto underneath the turkey's skin. We often invite extended family members and friends from Italy to join us. Their presence here is always an enriching experience for them and us. It's great for them because they become a part of a traditional "American" holiday and for us to be exposed to their culture, answer their questions, and hear about how they live their lives.

Speaking of guests brings me to my next point. For whatever reason, some of us may be unable to spend Thanksgiving with our family, those that we are related to by blood and/or that raised us. However, I think that the definition and conception of family is much more inclusive than that. Family can mean a group of people who love and support each other but may not actually be related. Groups like these can give amazing emotional support and are a great source of love. If you won't be "home" for Thanksgiving this year, find or create your own affectionate community. And if you will be home, do incorporate your heritage into your festivities in some way for an experience as rich and satisfying as your Thanksgiving meal.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thank you Niki Sullivan!

I wanted to say a quick thank you to Niki Sullivan at The News Tribune for her wonderful article on my plate signing appearance that I mentioned earlier this month.

This Saturday, from 10 am to 1 pm, I'll be signing cake pedestals and plates at our Rosanna Destination store, Dwell. For more information on Dwell click here, the store is located at 2716 N 21 St., Tacoma, WA. This will be my only appearance south of Seattle, it would be lovely to meet you!

Thank you again Niki,


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rosanna's Winter Warehouse Sale

It's that time of year again, so mark your calendars, for Rosanna's Winter Sale on December 1st.

We're closing out some of our most fabulous and collectible Rosanna pieces to date. Since the holidays are right around the corner, this is the best time to do all of your shopping for your friends, co-workers, parents, sisters, teachers, and hostesses. There are steals and deals to be had.

With all of our best selling collections reduced to wholesale prices, hand made Deruta ceramics discounted (less expensive than a flight to Italy to pick some out), and plenty of gorgeous antique European furniture to bid on- this is an event not to be missed!

Important information to note:

WHEN: December 1st from 8:30 am to 6 pm.
WHERE: Rosanna Inc. Warehouse
440 S. Holgate St.
Seattle, WA 98134
DETAILS: This is a cash and carry event. Credit cards will be accepted for purchases of $50 or more.

As I've mentioned before, it's best if you arrive early because it can get a little crazy and merchandise tends to disappear very quickly. If there's anything that you've had your eye on- whether it is online or from the last sale, this is a great time to get it.

Good luck!



As I wrote earlier last month, in the beginning of October I found myself on a tour of a selection of amazing cities in Italy, France, and England including Milan, Verona, Paris, and London.

The trip was so eventful that it became a bit of a blur. But, there was one common thread the came through during our experiences in each country- engagement of the senses. Touch, taste, feel, see, smell- we were constantly being stimulated in one of these five ways.

In Paris, we stopped for tea at the famous Ladurre patisserie had a sampling of desserts that tasted like heaven in confectionery form. In Verona, we visited an exquisite cathedral with amazing visuals that indicated the countless eras it had weathered. There were layers and layers of history that gave the place a hallowed air totally separate from the ostensible religious function of the cathedral. I remember being struck by a display of small votives of all different colors. Lit up, they had a stunning effect that caused me to stop and stare in wonder.

Another unique part of our European tour was the emphasis placed on physical connection. Upon meeting, everyone kisses each other on the cheek, clasping arms or hands in a sign of welcome. In America, we have this concept of “personal space” that can't be invaded. When you venture outside of America, it’s clear that this idea is a cultural construct. So much of life revolves around touch and physical interaction in the cities we visited. There is an inexplicable satisfaction that comes from embrace. It dispels loneliness and creates meaningful connections between people.

Finally, I’d like to talk about music. Sometimes, when my 10 year-old Francesca has her music playing, I’ll walk into her room and we’ll just start to dance for no reason. We often forget about the immense release and unadulterated joy that comes from just letting go and dancing. The word “unadulterated” says it all! When we’re adults, we block things out or consider certain activities off limits to us.

But here’s the truth: one is never “too old” to enjoy life and through our eyes, ears, nose mouths, hands, and body.

Engage your senses!


A Trip Across the Universe

Last Wednesday night, I had the most amazing experience. I saw Julie Taymor’s "Across the Universe," a film that revolves around the generationally transcendent music of The Beatles. I came out of the movie theater positively euphoric and profoundly moved. The reason that I was inclined to post about this film is because of how closely it corresponds with our philosophy at Rosanna and with the products we create.

Of course, the most immediately striking thing about the film is the delicious aesthetics. Julie Taymor's recreation of 1960’s America is an intricate visual banquet, equal parts beauty, wonder, and nostalgia. The color palettes are varied and rich as you are swept along on a journey starting in Small Town, USA to the swirling, revolutionary, painful, and chaotic atmosphere of New York City in the throes of the Vietnam War era.

However, Across The Universe is not solely gorgeous imagery. There is a real heart beneath the surface of the film, a presence that's felt right from the opening scene. This film has soul. There is an innate hopefulness for the salvation of the world that runs through it.

The marriage of the soul and the visual in this film reminded me so much of how we think at Rosanna. We create products that are lovely to look at, but there is always more than just the design to each of our collections.

Across the Universe also contains an important message. We must continue to be curious, questioning, and aware of what is happening in the world around us, even when it changes so quickly we feel that we cannot keep up. Human connection, compassion, creativity, self-expression, and protest of unjust, dishonest, and damaging actions are all vital components of a healthy and harmonious global community.

At Rosanna, we strive to do our part in the small ways we can to make the world a better place to live. Our Spring 2008 Collection encourages social awareness with a new line of recycled Mexican glass, as well as with several other collections whose proceeds will be donated to a selection of environmental and human relief projects.

If you haven’t yet seen Across the Universe, take an evening to see this remarkable piece of art. It will remind you that Jon, Paul, George, and Ringo had it right, “All you need is love.”

Click here to see the film’s trailer.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dish Diva Appearances

Since school has started, I've become busier than I have been in months. Between returning from Europe, helping my daughter with school, and running a business- it's been hectic as I'm sure it's been for all of the other working moms out there.

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be featured on Northwest Afternoon, a local tv show focused on life in the Northwest, on October 26th. I will be giving tips on how to set your table, great gift ideas, and sharing the Rosanna story.

I'll also be doing a couple of plate signings. The first plate signing will be on November 17th, at one of our destination stores, Dwell. The event will take place from 10 am-1 pm.

Dwell is a new home decor store located in Tacoma, WA. They carry a vast selection of Rosanna if you are ever in the Tacoma area, please stop in and see a plethora of Rosanna lines in person. Dwell's friendly and very helpful staff is more than happy to special order any pieces from any of our collections.

I will also be appearing at Nordstrom in Bellevue and Downtown Seattle.
December 1st, I will be at the Bellevue store from 1-4 pm and on the 8th of December I'll be at the downtown store from 1-4 pm as well. The plate signing is taking place in the home decor section and it will be featuring a variety of Rosanna holiday dinnerware- a great way to get you in the mood for the season!

I look forward to seeing you there and meeting you personally!


Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Pacific Northwest- A Lifelong Love Affair

As many of you who collect Rosanna already know, I find much of my inspiration for our collections in the rich history and soulfulness of Europe. Paris, London, and a number of locales in Italy provide me with a cornucopia of fresh material to fire the imagination.

However, while the allure of Europe lies in its years of deeply ingrained culture, I will always have a tender spot in my heart for the place I grew up- the Pacific Northwest.

Having just returned from a three week whirlwind Europe trip, that took my husband and I through Milan, Verona, Bath, London, and Paris, I suddently realized how much I missed the landscape of home.

I spent my childhood in Portland, Oregon and was exposed at an early age to the stunning beauty of the Oregon Coast. Then as an adult, I experienced the unique intersection of thriving nature and vibrant city life in Seattle, Washington, where my family and I currently reside.

Having traveled extensively over the years, I've come to appreciate the truly extraordinary intersection of natural beauty and city life that one finds only in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is a remarkable city because it borders the Pacific Ocean, contains a gorgeous lake in the city proper, and is situated practically at the base of Mount Rainier; a mountain every bit as majestic as the famed Mount Olympus.

You would be hard-pressed to find another place in the United States with such a range of breathtaking geographic variation in such close proximity. When the relative youth of the Northwest region and its lack of history comes up in discussion, I like point out that while Rome may have the Pantheon and Paris the Eiffel Tower, we have our national monuments too- the mountains, the ocean, and the beautiful abundant greenery give the Pacific Northwest a mark of distinction that can be found nowhere else.

Here's to the Pacific Northwest!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Halloween Time

Today marked the first day of Fall. September is almost over, and Halloween is just around the corner! It's almost time to buy your pumpkins, stock up on candy, and put up decorations.

Whether visiting the pumpkin patch, making apple cider, or coming up with a fabulous, funny, or creative costume, Halloween is a great holiday for bringing children and parents together.

And, may I add, nothing says Fall better than a carved pumpkin sitting on the doorstep.

In our family, decorating the house is one of best parts of Halloween. Ever since my girls were little, we've been decorating our home for the holiday. Some of our favorite decorations include Mexican sugar skulls and Day of the Dead figurines that we've collected over the years, and lots and lots of candles.

There are so many fun tradtions around Halloween- roasting pumpkin seeds, costume parties, and the opportunity to begin cooking hearty comfort foods to get through the winter.

I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful collections in our line that are perfect enhancing any Halloween traditions you may already have, and for creating new ones.

Our black Dauphine candlesticks and Rococo Noir cake pedestalsare splendidly gothic and spooky, our Napoleon pearlized copper flatware has a rich, goldren hue that is quintessentially autumnal (great for both Halloween and Thanksgiving,) the Parisian wallpaper black and white pattern is elegant and sophisticated, and our black dot collection add a little bit of whimsy to the table (and it's on sale!) Put them all together, and you have a gorgeous Halloween tableau!

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ladies' Night

Until now, many of the entries on this blog that are about leading a well rounded life have mostly touched on special meals, the cultivation of traditions, and moments of reflection. However, there is another very, very important aspect of living well that must be discussed:


Letting off steam, unwinding, loosening up, and laughter especially are all crucial components of a fulfilled and happy life. I'd like to share with you an experience of play that I had earlier this week to demonstrate what I'm speaking of.

On Monday, a dear friend and I decided to go out for a night on the town. It was just the two of us, all dressed up for a night out. We dined at a hip downtown eatery and spent the beginning of our evening sipping wine, laughing, and reminiscing about "old times" before children, high-demand careers, and the stresses of life (the ones that seem to accumulate without our noticing them). After dinner, we strolled through the Pike Place Market as the sun set on what had been a glorious early autumn day. We watched the ferries drift by, stately and regal, on the Puget Sound. It was marvelous.

We then proceeded on to see a show by Bebel Gilberto, an incredible Brazilian Bossa Nova singer. She was kittenish and sexy with that unmistakably sensual Brazilian air. Her pitch was amazing, and her use of her vocal cords was superb; all kinds of unusual sounds came out of her mouth. She was very ethereal, soulful, and mesmerizing.

Freed from the stresses of the day and uplifted by Bebel's music, we left the concert feeling happy and light. We had been renewed.

Spontaneity is a spice of life. Season yours well with it; for a rich and flavorful existence.

Live life and celebrate!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Late Summer Mediterrean Quiche: Rosanna and Francesca's Recipe

This quiche is a culinary treat! The custard is light and delicate. The vegetables and cheeses create a delicious explosion of flavor and the crust is simply ambrosia! The crust melts in your mouth and is the perfect foil for the light custardy, cheese filling. This was so delicious that everyone in my family remained silent as we ate it. No one wanted to ruin the moment of pleasure as it was being eaten.

Ingredients for Late Summer Mediterrean Quiche: Rosanna and Francesca's Recipe

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/4 Sticks Organic Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons Crisco or other vegetable shortening
1/4-1/3 Cup Ice Water
1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Cooking
1 Pint of Locally Fresh Cherry Tomatoes (must be sweet, fresh, and local), cut in halves
1/2 Small Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped finely
1 Small Bunch of Chives, chopped finely (8 leaves of fresh basil chopped coarsely)
3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped finely

Egg Mixture:
6 Organic Eggs
3 Cups of 1% Organic Milk
1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
1 Cup Grated Reggiano Parmiggiano Cheese
8 Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls, cut in fourths

Directions for Filling:
Combine all vegetables in a pan and sautee until wilted and soft; then remove it from the heat and place in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Directions for Pie Crust:
Cut the butter into 2 inch pats and set aside.
Place the flour and salt in the food processor, then add the butter pats and shortening.
Process the mixture until the flour, butter, and shortening are totally incorporated- the mixture will look like coarse sand.
Prepare your ice water and begin processing in the pulse mode and slowly add the ice water.
As soon as the dough forms a rough ball then stop processing.
The dough should be well formed and stay together when gathered from the processor.
Place the dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.

Directions for Egg Mixture:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and add in the milk, salt, grated parmesan, and mozzarella; then whisk together with a fork.
Remove the sauteed vegetables from the refrigerator, make sure that they have cooled down enough to room temperature, and add them to the egg mixture.
Mix with a fork and place it in the refrigerator.

Directions for Quiche:
Place a pastry cloth on a large flat surface.
Place a stocking on your rolling pin.
Scatter flour on the pastry cloth and rolling pin.
Coat the dough with a light dusting of flour.
Flatten the dough with your hand and slowly begin rolling out the dough in a firm even manner.
Be careful not to over handle the dough or add too much flour as it will become tough and not flakey.
Once the dough is rolled out, slip a pie pan under the dough as you gently lift it up by two hands.
Glently form the dough into the pie pan.
Cut off the excess dough and set aside.
Leave at least three inches of extra dough all around the edge.
Remove the egg mixture from the refrigerator and gently pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan.
With the remaining dough that circles the edge gently fold in so it encircles the pie pan as a thick edge of pastry.
Take your thumb and forefinger and gently pinch the excess dough to form a fluted edge.

Place the pie in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
The quiche is done when the mixture has risen and solidified.
When a knife is inserted in the pie and comes out clean it means that the quiche is done.
Let the quiche sit on a wired baking rack about an hour before serving.
It is quite hot when it comes out of the oven, so let it cool and you can enjoy all the flavors and textures.

Leftover Pie Crust
This is a recipe my mother made for us when I was a child. It is a dish that is easy, delicious, and gobbled by children and adults alike. It is flakey, buttery, full of flour, and texture. This is a wonderful tradition to start with your family and children that will be passed on for generations, as it was with my family.

Directions for Leftover Pie Crust:
Roll out the pie crust and place in a pie dish.
There will not be enough dough to make a proper pie but leave the rolled out dough flat in the pan.
Take small pats of organic butter and place them around the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle white and brown sugar and dust with cinnamon.
Fold the edges of the crust over to form a type of three sided envelope, dot the top with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake with your quiche for about 20 minutes or until it turns light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool on the wire baking rack.
Cut in small 3-4 inch squares when you serve it.
It should be eaten within 5 minutes of serving it.

In Boca al Lupo,


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rosanna's First Ever Table Setting Contest Winners

After a month of receiving entry after entry for our First Ever Table Setting Contest, we finally chose some winners. It was a difficult decision to make because every entry touched our hearts.

Our Grand Prize Winner, awarded a $200 Shopping Spree at Rosannainc.com is . . .

Tresa Nicols from Medford, Oregon!!

Tresa Nicols is part of the Lee family and is one of three women that participated in our contest. We loved the use of gold and mixing our two patterns, Kings Road and Gold Parisian Wallpaper together to create an elegant yet modern table. Tresa's use of traditional sterling flatware and simple gold banded dinnerware really set off the Rosanna designs beautifully. She created a table setting that can be used year round and is a feast for the eyes.

Great job Tresa and thank you for setting such a glamorous table.

And here a few beauty shots . . .

Our First Place Prize Winner awarded a $75 Shopping Spree at Rosannainc.com is . . .

Donna Green from Kingwood, Texas!!

Donna used so many different elements in setting her Rosanna table. She hand sewed her tablecloth, used crystal purchased when traveling in Europe, set the table with flatware that was given to her 12 years ago for her wedding, and used a silver tray that was a gift to her parents for their 25th wedding anniversary. Her creative use of the Rosanna gift box in the background was an unexpected surprise. Donna created a charming table with family history. We love the use of of heirlooms and family keepsakes in her table setting of Fleur.

Thank you Donna for bringing the old and new together on your table.

We also have some very special prizes to give away because these women really touched our hearts . . .

Our Family Spirit Award goes to . . .

Toni Wills from Washington D.C.!!

Toni touched us all with creating this sweet tea party for her birthday. We particularly enjoyed seeing men at the table. Toni captured the essence of what we strive to create at Rosanna; tableware that bring people together and create memorable traditions. And she's just started a blog, called My Mommie's Closet.

Great job Toni!

Our Award for the Best Rosanna Table for a Cause goes to . . .

Brenda Thomas from Jamaica, New York!!

Brenda designed a charming table mixing two Rosanna patterns together; Pink Tea and Epicerie. She designed this table for a great cause, the Young Women of Character, a ministry for young girls at her church. Brenda didn't know this when she chose Pink Tea but we donated a percentage of the proceeds of that collection to the Fred Hutchinson Breast Cancer Research Center. Unknowingly, our donation went hand in hand with another one of Brenda's good deeds- she raised $75 for her friend, Diana Wilson (who she dedicated this table to as well) to walk the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.

Congratulations Brenda on a beautiful table and for giving back to the community.

Our Award for Best Garden Design using Rosanna goes to . . .

Gwendolyn Grim Johnson from Edmonds, Washington!!

A fellow Washingtonian, Gwendolyn set a table using fabulous color and imaginative table linens with beautiful vintage accessories. We love the hydranga bush in the background, it complements the yellow in the photo, it's a perfect foil for the stark white polka dot table cloth and the yellow umbrella and stools. She has a great eye for design and color.

It looks gorgeous Gwendolyn, thank you for such a great photo.

Our Award for Creative Use of Rosanna in Bringing People Together goes to . . .

Ashley Nichols-Lee, Mrs. Randal Lee, and Brooke Weldon from Medford, Oregon!!!

The Lee family was given this award for for bringing family and friends together in a fun and imaginative way. Instead of setting their tables individually, they got together to design them for this contest- We loved this idea! Not only did they design outstanding table settings, they joined together to do something creative and had a good time while doing it. We loved their sense of celebration and creativity. Each table is designed with originality and style.

Congrats to all!

As promised here are the comments and pictures of our fabulous Honorable Mentions . . .

Katherine Masci from Winchester, Massachusetts!!

Katherine set a table using our best selling Colored Chandeliers collection. She used a contrasting fabric in black with white chandeliers to make the plates pop. It is a very sweet table setting for two.

Thank you Katherine for capturing the Rosanna spirit.

Jane Wals from New York, New York!!

Jane set a colorful table for an afternoon ladies' tea party. We love her use of color and Victorian antique mirrored pedestal. Jane has limited space in her New York home but she it so well setting this table. She began collecting dishes five years ago and has the spirit of a true Rosanna collector. Jane expressed her love of NYC in her entry and we agree, her city is amazing.

Such a fun and inviting table Jane, thank you.

Michelle Bassett from Ottawa Hills, Ohio!!

Michelle used our Platinum Chandeliers and a lovely Matesse tablecloth as her base to create a sweet and charming table setting. Her use of roses, mirrored tray, and sweet cherub figurine made the table feel very Victorian and feminine. The lovely chandelier hanging over the table echoed the plate design. The precious garden outside was inviting and integrated nicely with the table setting.

Congratulations on displaying the whimsical side of Rosanna.

Susan Masci from Foxboro, Massachusetts!!

Susan chose a feminine shoe design from one of our past collections. She incoporated lovely flowers and vintage candlesticks. We loved the dainty, soft, and very girly feel of her table.

Beautiful job on letting your girly side show Susan.

Christine Lopez from Fort Lauderdale, Florida!!

Christine designed a table using our Marie Antoinette plates. She used many different elements that reflected the style of the court of Versailles; delicious pastries, a few artfully placed roses, a charming candelabra with feathers and birds, and a great bottle of French wine. We appreciate Christine's attention to detail and her desire to capture the essence of 18th century France.

Thank you for taking us to another period in time Christine.

Leslie Wray from Papillion, Nebraska!!

Leslie's unabashedly girly setting using plates from a past collection. We loved the black drinkware- a tabletop trend that is definitely taking off. I, of course, personally love the Effiel Tower.

Thank you for a fun and relaxed table Leslie.


A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and I cannot tell all of you how much each entry touched not only me but our entire office.

This was a truly pleasurable experience and thank you for being a part of it!

Warm regards,


Tablesetting Contest Winners will be . . .

Announced a little later than expected today. Please check back in a couple of hours . . .

Thanks for your patience!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to School!

This week, children all over America will be donning backpacks and heading off to the first day of a new school year. My daughter Francesca has been lamenting the end of her summer vacation since August 1st, while I’ve been equally insistent that 5th grade will be exciting and…fun!

However, I have one small confession to make: I’m as rueful as Francesca is about the shift to the busier, more stressful school year routine. After three months of leisurely summer living, the first day of class can be just as difficult for those of us who aren’t actually going back to school as it is for our children. The start of the school year also marks an emotional transition. The combination of the full school day and after school activities means less time is spent as a family.

One way to make the transition a little smoother can be found in making your child’s lunch box. Packing a lunch ensures that your child or children are eating healthy and wholesome foods at school; and it also fosters a closer connection between the two of you.

When my older daughter Alessandra was in school I would often put a little note in her lunch bag. And even though Alessandra rolled her eyes at this little ritual as she got older, she still has all the notes from her kindergarten lunches.

Especially during the wintertime, the school year can feel like a slog. But think of it this way: if we didn’t have those nine months of work, we wouldn’t enjoy our three months of play nearly as much!

Have a great first day!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fall Favorites

A little known but rather wonderful tidbit about life during the Victorian era was a sensitivity to the changing seasons and a corresponding adjustment of interior decor. For each season, Victorian women had different linens, mantle decorations, vases, flower arrangements, and place settings to match the changes of the natural world.

I like to do the same thing in my home, especially with my dinnerware. I love our Famille a Table collection for the fall. Elegant and unusual, yet understated, Famille a Table is extremely versatile. I've used this collection for simple family meals and more elaborate dinner parties alike.

Rotating your plates with the seasons is a simple way to break the visual monotony of seeing the same dinnerware day in and day out. It adds freshness to everday life.

Live Well!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

So long, Summertime

I hate to say it, and I don't want to admit it but here it is:

There are only 11 days left before September 1st.

Summertime is winding down, and we are on the precipice of a new school year and the long, cold months of winter. As the inevitable change of seasons draws nearer, I've been trying to think of ways to hold on to the glorious langour and ease that's associated with summer for the year ahead.

The answer came to me in a jar of fruit preserves.

I imagined how nice it would be to open up a jar of summer peaches in the middle of the cold, drizzly, and- let's be honest- depressing month of January. The fruit would serve as a reminder of the warmth of vibrance that had graced the earth just five months earlier, although all evidence of that time would be long gone. It was then that I realized that not only can we store up on summer foods to get us through those difficult winter months, but that saving up our summer memories can be just as rewarding. When the weather is nasty and life seems like it's become a bit of a slog, drawing on a reserve of special memories is an instantaneous way to lift the spirits and infuse life with a small surge of vibrancy.

An impromptu summer dinner in the backyard, an afternoon spent making a berry pie with the kids, taking a walk as the sun begins to set, s'mores at a bonfire, sleeping outside in the backyard, nights without bedtimes spent gazing at the stars, an afternoon at the lake or the ocean.

Start storing up now. Remembering experiences like these or any others that are special to your family are like balm for the soul, capable of conjuring warm breezes and mellow sunshine in even the bleakest of winter months.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Adorn Yourself

Another thing I noticed during my month in Italy was the way Italian women, and French women too, wear accessories. Unlike what I usually see in America, these women were decked out in fabulous scarves, bangles, earrings, and necklaces, toting bags in unusual shapes and bold colors. These accents made these women stand out as individuals in a crowd. They were striking, and they were beautiful!

Accessories are fun to shop for. You can find special pieces high and low- either at a chic chic boutique or a Saturday flea market. You never know what will turn up and where.

To get you started, here are some of my favorite accessory lines:

Pot Luck Paris
La Vie Parisienne
Urban Outfitters
Calypso Celle
Rocky Mountain Emporium

Have fun!