Motivational Mondays: Valentine’s Day “Tablescape”….

Valentines Quote Shot_Horizontal

One of my favorite times of day is that hazy, peaceful moment between awake and slumber. You are zen.  Your mind is calm.  The world is quiet.  It is during those times where I roll over and look at my Partner’s face, so sweet and peaceful as he sleeps, that I am filled with gratitude for having such a special person to share my life with.

This Valentine’s Day I plan on forgoing some elaborate dinner and night out.  With both our schedules, anything that takes us past 9:30pm finds us struggling to stay awake.  So why not make your special person something truly special for the most important meal of the day….breakfast?  So this Valentine’s I plan on making The Partner breakfast  in bed……

Valentines Angle Close

Valentines Day Close Up Plates

Valentines Day Paperwhites

Valentines Day Flatware 2

Valentines Note

It is not quite my usual tablescape, why not mix it up with something I am calling a “bedscape” — perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It’s quick, it’s easy and honestly, who doesn’t think breakfast in bed is the quintessential romantic gesture?

This Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating that my dreams are my reality and my reality is pretty darn awesome!

Sources: Candlesticks & Tray : CB2 //Bud Vase: vintage//Flatware: Zara Home//Dinner Plates: HomeGoods//Salad Plates: Wedgewood//Napkins: West Elm//Champagne Flutes: Ross Dress For Less//Love Bird Salt & Pepper Shakers: vintage//Bed Linens: Crate & Barrel//Accent Pillow: Courtney Lake Interiors

[Photography: Photos By Adza //Styling & Art Direction: Courtney Lake]

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Valentine Day Table: Animal Magnetism…….

Love is in the air.  And smog, but that is a rant for another day……

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this year I am feeling feisty – like a 90-year-old woman who has just got a new pair of support hose, a sparkly pair of orthopedic shoes and a free bus pass to Atlantic City.  Yes, indeed, Poppa Bear was on the prowl and my creative juices are bubbling.  So I created an imaginary client who was just as saucy as  I was feeling.  Let me introduce you to Maggie, a 55-year divorced mother of 2 teenagers.  She has a full and happy life that keeps her busy.  Between her work as a real estate agent, the boys and her boyfriend of 10 years, Scott, she barely has any time to do anything but eat and sleep.  However, the one day she holds sacred is Valentine Day.  She thinks it may be backlash from the fact that her ex-husband all but ignored the holiday while they were married.  No flowers, no fancy dinners, not even a freakin’ balloon and a stuffed animal.  Since dating Scott, she has made sure that they celebrate the holiday in a special way every year.

This year, she wanted to do something intimate at home for her and Scott.  The boys are at their Dad’s house, so it’s just them.  So she hired a personal chef to cook them dinner and me to create a tablescape that reflected her wants of a setting that was romantic, playful and a bit naughty.  Maggie really wanted the evening to be about showing Scott that she is attracted to him as much as when they met over a decade ago.

Hearing Maggie’s request, I asked her to tell me how she met Scott.  She went on to explain that she actually stalked Scott for several weeks through mutual friends until she had the right opportunity and then pounced on him.  The words “stalked” and “pounced” instantly got me thinking feline.  From there, I just ran with the notion of mixing animal prints; cheetah, leopard and faux snake skin in an unexpected color scheme of peacock, silver, and baby blue with a healthy dose of white to balance everything out.  A low centerpiece of hot pink roses along with purple & white tulips adds in a touch of romance as do the rose petals strewn about the table.   It’s an unexpected Valentine Day palette but I think it reflects the animal magnetism that introduced Scott and Maggie but also the romance that keeps them together.

So what do you think?  Does this design light your fire or put a dampen on your groove?  Tomorrow, I will break down the table and explain how I made the super easy octagon cheetah placemats.

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I Have An “Ace” In My Pocket….

For Valentine’s Day, The Partner and I went to a small Basque restaurant in San Francisco.  I can’t say the dinner was fantastic, but it was nice to get a little dressed up, sit like civilized adults and chat leisurely over a 4-course meal.  The fact that I got to spend time with The Partner outside the house was a nice enough gift, but then my dear sweetheart of a partner upped the ante. 

He pulled an ace out of his pocket literally……

He booked us a weekend in Palm Springs at the ACE Hotel!  That sly dog totally pulled a fast one on me since I thought we were not buying presents this year.  However, I am super excited about the trip since the ACE Hotel is quite cool.  I was your typical mid-century road side motel …. the before pictures remind me of  the Bates Motel.  Fortunately, a multi-million dollar redesign and face lift has gotten rid of the creepy vibe.  The  hotel is now filled with mid-century finds and a kick-ass pool!

I am even more excited for the trip because Palm Spring is mecca of mid-century cast-offs from what I have been reading.  From hotel liquidators to resale shops galore, the area is chocked full of goodies to be discovered.  I am taking out the back seats out from the SUV in anticipation of finding a gem.

I am SO ready for this trip! 

Again, I have to thank The Partner for this unexpected and simply awesome Valentine’s Day present. 

Any recommendations on where to go in Palm Springs?

Weekend DIY: Pin Prick Art

I love art.  However, I don’t think all art needs to be or should be expensive.  I love finding the beauty in items you have around the house and using them in unexpected ways.  That is why I love reading Our Humble A{Bowe}d…

Through using paper and some other imaginative art supplies, Amanda created this adorable art piece:

Her tutorial is super easy and can totally be applied to making your own Valentine’s Day cards.  I imagine using this technique to make place cards for a dinner party or maybe invitations.  Or maybe, I will make invitations AND place cards.  Why do both?  Just because I am crazy like that…just because.

See you on Monday!

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu Suggestions

It’s no secret that I like to cook.  Being the kitchen and preparing a good meal is a way of me to show love.  Cooking is an extension of the love I have for my friends and family and is (for me) an easy way to show how much they mean to me.  With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it would be nice to pull together a menu from the recipes I have highlighted on the blog.  Hopefully these recipes will give you a head start on  creating a fabulous meal,  not spend your entire Valentine’s Day chained to a stove or blow your gift budget ….

First Course Options:

Sweet Potato, Onion & Fontina Tart


Cream of Broccoli Soup 

Main Course Options:


Skate Wing in Orange Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce


Grilled Bluefish


Dessert Options:

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting


Chocolate Vanilla Pound Cake


To complement your meal, I would recommend reviewing the list of delicious budget-friendly wines & spirits that my friend and wine expert Martin Silva reviewed for  the holidays that were all under $30.

So you got the menu, table setting and wine recommendations…..what are you waiting for?  I’ve done the leg work for you, but  you gotta put some effort in!  Get crackin’….shake a leg…..get a movin’!  You got stuff to do my friend so quit reading and start planning!