Chicken Soup with a Twist…of Lemon!

I have been making this soup for some time now and it is one of those comforting recipes that my husband and I never seem to tire of.  I found the initial recipe for kale chicken soup on Pinterest and have revised it to the point that it is an almost entirely different recipe than what I started with.  I was delighted to recently discover that it is Whole 30 compliant!  It is a delicious twist on chicken soup and is loaded with ingredients to assist with detoxification, boost your immune system and keep you feeling warm, healthy and wholesome.

Coconut milk is considered by many experts to be a “miracle liquid”.  There are numerous benefits to incorporating coconut milk in your diet.  I recommend using full-fat coconut milk, as it contains all of its natural fatty acids, while “light” coconut milks are strained to remove some of the fat, reducing the amount of beneficial fats which assist in lowering inflammation, providing electrolytes, preventing fatigue, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding the immune system and fighting disease.  To learn more about the nutritional facts & benefits of coconut milk, read here.

At this point we have all heard the countless virtues of everyone’s favorite “superfood” – Kale – an anti-inflammatory vegetable that is filled with powerful anti-oxidants.  I am a spinach girl myself, but kale works well with this recipe, as it holds up really well to the extended cooking time.  To learn more about the nutritional facts & benefits of kale, read here.

Lemons are acidic to begin with, which gives this soup it’s smooth yet tangy “punch”, but they are alkaline-forming on body fluids, helping to restore balance to the body’s pH.  Lemons are also rich in Vitamin C, which helps to work against infections like the flu and colds, and vitamin c also helps to neutralize free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease.

Bone Broth is a staple in our household.  Once I realized I could throw the remnants (carcass) from cooking a whole chicken into the crockpot to simmer while I went on with my life, I was hooked.  I love that a) I feel thrifty because I am utilizing every last bit of the organic free-range chicken that I buy, 2) I never run out of bone broth because there is always a mason jar or two in the freezer, and 3) bone broth is not only an ingredient, it can also stand alone as a health supplement!  Bone broth aids in healing a leaky gut and regulating digestion, muscle repair and growth, and reducing arthritis, inflammation and joint pain.  If you’re thinking of making your own bone broth, which I highly recommend, the animals need to be as healthy as possible to impart the maximum health benefit.  Consider your source.  To learn more about the nutritional facts & benefits of bone broth, click here.

Sea Salt contains beneficial minerals which are present in a form that is easily utilized and absorbed by the human body.  Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from salt deposits and then processed to give it a fine texture so it’s easier to mix and use in recipes.  Processing strips table salt of any minerals it may have contained, and additives are also usually added to prevent clumping or caking.  No bueno.


Recipe: Chicken Soup with a Twist


  • 2 organic boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 Cups chicken bone broth (I make my own but organic broth would work fine, too!)
  • 1 can Coconut milk (whole fat)
  • Kale (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Tuscan Kale, which rinsed, chopped, and ready to go)
  • Zest of 3 lemons (I use Meyer lemons)
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 C onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flake


  1. Add 2 cups of stock, the chopped onion, olive oil and coconut milk to a blender and blend for a minute or so, until the consistency is smooth
  2. Add the blended liquid to the crock pot and add the remaining broth, kale, chicken breasts, lemon juice, lemon zest and spices
  3. Cook on low setting for 6 hours, stirring once or twice.
  4. Remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred with fork, then return to the crockpot and let simmer for about 15 minutes or so.  You really can’t mess this one up!






My New Year Edit

I know, I know – I went underground for a while there.  Quite frankly, I had given up.  Since, oh, Harper was born (three years ago!) I have been winging it and making it happen – but it was a struggle to take the time to photograph, document, and write about everything I was juggling.  Something had to give, and the first thing to go was this journal (blog).

A rare tender moment...I spend a lot of time playing referee.

A rare tender moment…I spend a lot of my time playing referee.  It’s exhausting.

But you can expect to find me here in 2017, sharing my attempts to create a simple, beautiful life.  Which brings me to the subject of this blog post – an overview of my personal edit for the year ahead.  My goals include a little business, a little beauty, and a little health & lifestyle.  Here goes!


Document the Process.  I have been working behind the scenes on some wonderful interiors projects for some fabulous “Edit by Virginia” clients over the course of the past few years, and I also started working for Beautycounter in May of 2016.  I love to make everything in life as beautiful as possible, so it makes perfect sense for me to alternate between decor and beauty!  Going forward you will see my journal entries will reflect both “jobs”, incorporating more beauty, health & wellness.

Ali & I at the Beautycounter Incentive trip - Santa Barbara, California

Ali & I on the Beautycounter Incentive trip – Santa Barbara, California


Designed Clinical Nutrition“.  In the fall of 2016 I began a nutrition program where through “Autonomic Response Testing,” a very precise and scientific analysis of the body’s reflexes, experts can determine the exact nutrients you need to supplement your diet in order to bring about balance and better health.  The point is to discover and correct the cause of health problems so the body can regain the ability to correct itself and attain the ultimate goal: optimal health for life.  I have seen tremendous results and look forward to sharing more about my experience with this program down the road!

Whole 30.  The premise of Whole 30 is that certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. So, for 30 days, you eliminate all of these things in order to push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and change the way you think about food.  Today marks Day 13 of my 30-day journey and I can tell you that my energy levels are up, I am getting a great night’s sleep, and have WAY more patience with my small children.  All good things.

Seaside School 1/2 Marathon on 30A.  As in, I am “running” it.  I ran a 1/2 Marathon in November of 2014 and almost immediately after crossing the finish line I swore I’d never do it again.  Well, I lied.  I needed a fitness goal (see sentence above that begins with “something had to give…”) so here I am, trying to get my miles in.  The mental hurdle has been cleared since I have already run one before, in the most horrid conditions ever, I might add.  So I am putting much less pressure on myself this go ’round.  My goal is to finish, however that has to happen, outside of getting scooped up by the golf cart at the 3 hour mark!


I have always taken pretty good care of my skin, but I am looking to up the ante in 2017…40 will be here soon and I plan to fight this battle with all I’ve got!

Dry Brushing. My goal is to dry brush before showering/bathing every day for at least 21 days.  I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit, and dry brushing is a great one to have!  It improves circulation, assists the lymph nodes with detoxification, reduces the appearance of cellulite, AND give you silky soft skin.  Good habit, right?  I use the Tampico Skin Brush which is made from tampico fiber – the unbleached stem of the agave plant.

Detoxing.  I have long been a fan of a nice, long Epsom Salt bath.  I take them almost daily!  I recently discovered some detox bath recipes that I am going to give a try and report back.  I am also going to commit to a weekly charcoal mask ritual, such as Beautycounter’s Purifying Charcoal Mask, which not only detoxes but also soothes and exfoliates the skin.  This mask is one of the best I’ve ever tried – whenever I use it I see immediate results.  Glowing, smooth skin.  And every time, I think to myself “I should do this more”.

Collagen Peptides.  A friend turned me on to “Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides” and now I seem to be reading about the benefits of collagen everywhere – one of the best kept beauty secrets in the world!  Collagen promotes youthful skin, healthier hair, and stronger nails while  also supporting joint health, the immune system, and improves skin smoothness.  I’m in!  Vital Proteins is a wonderful company that makes clean and sustainable collagen and I’ve been adding a serving to my coffee or tea (almost) every day and I really can tell a difference in the strength of my nails!

Probably one of the best masks I've ever tried. For realz.

Probably one of the best masks I’ve ever tried. For realz.


In closing, I wish you all the best for 2017, and I hope that you’ll check back in for updates on my 2017 edit.  I promise to share!  Okay, gotta go – lots of work to do!





A Very Spooky Birthday Party

Each year since we’ve had the girls we have been revving up the enthusiasm for Halloween over here at the Bell house (it helps that Halloween is a big deal in our neighborhood – people have corn mazes and grave yards in their yards.  Seriously!).  Before having kids I couldn’t have cared less about Halloween, but now that the girls are old enough to appreciate what is going on (lots of treats, watching fun Halloween movies, after-dark trips on the golf cart to look at the awesome neighborhood Halloween decorations, and of course trick-or-treating for candy) I find myself getting more and more into the “spirit” and enjoying looking at everything through their eyes.

Another perk to my newfound enthusiasm for Halloween is that hosting Avery’s 4th birthday party at our house was a no brainer.  I love a theme so I decided to throw a mother-daughter costume party complete with a face painter and balloon artist. Everyone had a wonderful time and the best part was that the prep work was really easy – all I needed to do was prepare and set out the food.  The house was already decorated, and having a smaller group kept things intimate and simple.

I kept the food for the kids table as simple and healthy as possible.  I found some easy ideas on Pinterest for “ghost bananas”, “witch broomsticks” and “pumpkin oranges”.  I also made PB&J sandwiches because they are usually a crowd pleaser.  For the birthday cupcakes I ordered chocolate cupcakes from Publix with purple icing and placed Halloween “Peeps” on top.  Done!  Super easy (not to mention cheap).

Kids Table

The birthday girl enjoying her cupcake!

The Birthday Girl!

The feather boas were for the dance party and we had feathers everywhere for days.  The Halloween cookies I found at Target and wrapped in cellophane with some cute Halloween ribbon I found at Hobby Lobby.

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I always like to offer a little something special for the adults at the party – after all, it is their weekend too!  The mommies enjoyed fresh apple cider champagne cocktails and a rather decadent cheese board (I got almost everything for the cheese board at Trader Joe’s – very affordable and straight-forward).  I don’t have cheese markers (which, if you know me, is quite surprising) so I found these cute little chalkboard signs at Hobby Lobby and made them.  It was rather nice to be able to customize the detail for each type of cheese.

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Little sis Harper (aka Minnie Mouse) had a blast getting her face painted and sneaking in treats whenever no one was looking.


Avery, her “bestie” Anna Pace, and my good friend Allison and I with our little “Ariels”.  We are trick-or-treating together tonight and Avery & AP are excited to be “twins”.  Side note – this was a total coincidence.

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And, finally, the group photo.  I think that this picture says a thousand words and requires no further explanation.

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Happy Halloween everyone!





Style Edit: Cuyana

A little over a year ago I received a catalog from a new company, “Cuyana”.  In a sea of daily catalog deliveries, Cuyana’s managed to catch my eye.  I was intrigued by their minimal offerings and tagline of “Fewer, better things”, and set out to learn more about the brand and their highly edited, beautifully curated essential pieces.  The San Francisco based company is part of a growing scene of e-tailers focused on the idea of conscious consumerism.  “We believe in style over trends, in quality over quantity, in loving your closet. We believe that fewer, better things lead to a fuller, better life.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Eager to test the merchandise, I decided to order the Shopper Tote in hand-finished Italian Napa leather.  I selected the off white leather and opted for the triple letter monogram with classic block letters in embossed gold foil (they also have symbols, in addition to letters – I almost chose the four-leaf clover…maybe next time). The bag is spacious, sleek, and sophisticated.  I love that the smooth leather and gold monogram helps me look polished, but the bag manages to be unstructured and casual enough for my daily needs (diapers, sippy cups, etc).  I’m a fan.

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Next up is a vest from the Cuyana Fall 2015 collection that I have been eyeing for some time now.  This vest is special, people.  Transitional wardrobing here in North Florida can be very tricky – the slightly over-sized silhouette, angled sleeveless lines, and hand sewn leather trim details on premium Italian wool make this piece a versatile style solution.  Just look at the totally chic yet very different ways they have styled this vest!  This is a classic piece with major staying power.  Now, if only we could get consistent temps below 75….

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One final note in this “Style Edit”: Cuyana has a very cool “Lean Closet Movement” which challenges customers to collect fewer, better things, and to donate the pieces in their wardrobes that are merely taking up space to those who need them.  At checkout you can select “lean shipping” and they will send a reusable bag to fill up with items to donate.  Mail the bag back to Cuyana (with the included shipping label) and their non-profit partners will get your cast-offs into the hands of those who need them.  And you will receive a $10 credit on your next order.  Hey – that’s a free monogram!  Music to a Southern gal’s ears…




Addicted to Herb – Salt

With the cooler fall weather approaching (very slowly approaching), I recently decided it was time to harvest my herb garden. I never have a problem using all of my basil. The girls LOVE their “green pasta” which is a basil & spinach pesto that I make from scratch and serve with penne.  Avery (almost 4) requests it “on the reg”.

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The Bell Girls Favorite – “Green Pasta”

However, I was kind of scratching my head about how to utilize the bounty of oregano and sage that my garden produced. I hate wasting food (I get a tad neurotic about it at times – you should see my freezer) so I turned to Pinterest (where else!) to get some ideas.

Here’s the thing about me & Pinterest  – I will do a specific search, and whatever comes back gets manipulated to accommodate what I have on hand. In this case, I found a basic recipe for “herb salt” which listed garlic, kosher salt, and fresh herbs as the sole ingredients. That’s it, nice and simple. Except I didn’t have garlic (gasp!) so I used shallots, and I used Trader Joe’s organic sea salt instead of Kosher salt. So, basically, an entirely new recipe which you will find below.
Virginia’s “Famous” Herb Salt (I exaggerate, slightly…)

Herb Salts

My “Famous” Herb Salt 😉

This is delicious sprinkled on meat, fish, vegetables or eggs. Packed in small jars, the salts make great gifts (see below testimony!).


4 cups loosely-packed fresh herbs (I used sage, rosemary, and oregano)
3/4 cup sea salt
3 shallots (garlic is a great substitute)
pinch of crushed red pepper flake


In a Vitamix (or food processor) combine ingredients. Pulse until mixture forms a moist granular consistency. Spread on parchment lined baking sheets and let dry at room temperature in a cool dry place for 3 to 5 days or until dry. Once dry, transfer to an airtight storage container and store at room temperature for up to 1 month or freeze.

The other day my friend Megan over at “My Tasteful Life” posted a Facebook update crediting my herb salt for her fabulous roasted chicken dinner. She used this recipe, but substituted my homemade herb salt for the herbs in the butter. I am flattered, to say the least!  If you have a moment take a look at her website, she has lots of great meal plans and tips to simplify cooking for your family.

Check back in soon to see my upcoming post with pictures and details on my new fall plantings!


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Anatomy of a Front Porch

As the weather turns warm and afternoons stretch into long, lovely evenings, the porch becomes the new living room.  We gravitate toward them to enjoy simple, beautiful things like a cool breeze on our face, the smell of jasmine wafting through the air, the sound of children laughing and playing, and to watch a beautiful sunset (or sunrise, whatever floats your boat).

I love a well-designed, comfortable porch, and that’s one reason I was so excited when a client asked me to give her front porch an update.  Makeover!!  I enjoyed this project because it involved a little bit of everything I love – I got my hands dirty (potting the urn), tapped into my inner Martha (creating the wreath), and did a little shopping (selecting the accessories).  As an added bonus, her jasmine was in full bloom and it was just heavenly to be working outside enjoying the fragrant blooms and humidity-free weather.

Here’s how I took this southern charmer to the next level – and five ideas you can try at home:

Upgrade your entrance mat to an area rug.  Who says your front porch entry has to have a standard floor mat – or be square or rectangular, for that matter?  Live on the edge and choose something unexpected like this navy & beige chevron stripe circular area rug.


Garden stools.  I can’t say enough about them, and I think that every household should have at least two of them.  They are classic and versatile, and beat the hell out of your standard wicker outdoor occasional table in the looks department!


Bright, colorful throw pillows.  This is your opportunity to take a risk!  Trust me, any fabric that seems a little too powerful compared to what you might normally choose will look toned down immediately when out in the open space and natural light.


A playful, celebratory wreath makes for an inviting front door.  My plan for this wreath is to keep the circular chartreuse reindeer moss wreath as a year-round base and simply change out the ribbon & accessories seasonally.  This combination of rattan stars, a sparkler, and red white, and blue ribbon is perfect for Memorial through Labor Day.


Last, but not least, live, vibrant plantings are a must.  I potted her gorgeous existing terracotta urn with aztec grass for height, white kalancho and impatiens for crisp, clean color, varieted mondo grass and hypoestes to balance out the center, and variegated english ivy as the trailing plant.


Okay, now it’s your turn!  What do you think?  I would love to hear your feedback!



Virginia’s Edited Gift Guide

Gift guides tend to start popping up as the holidays approach but I find myself giving gifts all year – the holidays are just fraction of my annual gifting.  I guess that means I am blessed to have many occasions to celebrate!  Here is a list of my go-to gift options, for everyone from the impossible to shop for mother-in-law all the way down to the indispensable babysitter.  These gift ideas aren’t incredibly original but they are all $50 or less and I have had success with all of them.  Most importantly, I would like to receive any of them, which I think is the golden rule of gift-giving.  If you would buy a gift for yourself, the chances are your “giftee” will want it, too.  Here goes:

The impossible to shop for Mother-in-Law:
Anything from the Stephanie Johnson travel collection – her patterns are so fresh and fun!  My personal favorite at the moment is the Riviera Maya collection.  I adore the festive cotton knit pattern, the natural wood zip, the mandarin liner, and the pink leather trim combo.  This gift comes with a plan too- you can start her off with a cosmetic bag for Mother’s Day, followed by an iPad case for Christmas and so on until complete!  (Pieces start at $35, StephanieJohnson.com)

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Image via Stephanie Johnson

The Sister with whom you just had a spat:
Perhaps you should extend the proverbial “olive branch” with an adorable little topiary!  Perfect for a sunny spot inside the home or on the patio, this fruit-bearing miniature topiary with gorgeous sliver-green leaves comes complete and planted in its own terracotta pot.  A grouping also makes a unique centerpiece!   ($49, includes 3-day shipping upgrade, Viva Terra)

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Image via Viva Terra

The Friend who just had another baby:
I am of the opinion that by the time another baby rolls around, Mom probably has more Sophie a la Giraffes than she’d like to keep up with and what she’d really appreciate is some easy to heat comfort food (not that I have anything against Sophie.  We LOVE Sophie!).  Grandma’s Chicken Soup – complete with noodles and/or matzo balls – is delicious and arrives fresh-frozen ready to heat, eat and enjoy.  Other yummy-looking options include the mac-and-cheese, which I have not yet tried…(1/2 gallon, $29.95, GrandmasChickenSoup.com)

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Photo via Grandma’s Chicken Soup


The Hostess with the Mostess:
I am obsessed with these fabulous shot glasses, which look just like rose quartz but are actually carved from food grade Himalayan pink salt.  These salty shooters can be kept at-the-ready in the freezer and are a perfect match for the impromptu tequila shot, which is something everyone (I think?) loves from time to time!…(Set of 4, $30, Uncommon Goods)

Image via Uncommon Goods

The painfully chic college-age Babysitter:
I can’t help but like anything from this iconic Palm Beach design maven – it’s the Floridian in me.  This decorative acrylic tumbler from Lilly Pulitzer is the perfect size – 20oz – and comes with a straw and lid, which is great for the classroom or the pool.  ($15, LillyPulitzer.com)

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Image via Lilly Pulitzer

The Mom who pretty much buys herself what she wants…when she wants:
I am talking about myself here and I hope that my husband is reading this!  I am in love with this Geisha Flower Silk Robe – the bright color palette makes me happy, which is good because I’ll probably be living in it come September (baby Bell #2)!  I have always wanted a silk robe but could never bring myself to splurge on such extravagance.  My fingers are crossed I’ll get one for Mother’s Day!  ($219, Viva Terra)

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Image via Viva Terra

And finally…

The Gift Closet Essentials:
Delicious-smelling candles, crisp hand towels, pretty bath soaps, high-quality stationary & papers – I like to keep a few of each in a bin in the top of our spare closet.  This way I am never caught empty-handed when I remember I need a gift, which usually happens as I am supposed to walk out the door.  When shopping for items such as these, don’t forget your local gift shop, which may carry more obscure and unique items than you might typically find in your average big-box retailer.


My Italian Homework

There’s nothing like a week’s vacation to help you hit the refresh button.  La Dolce Vita, or The Sweet Life, is a phrase that, to me, describes the Italian mindset.  Italians treasure all of the simple things that make life beautiful – food, family, friends, music, nature, etc.  This approach is in perfect harmony with my mission to create a simple, beautiful life.

On the plane ride back from Italy, I spent some time reflecting and jotted down some take-away thoughts.  Here are a few “homework” items to get me back on track, treating every day with the respect it deserves:

1)   Fresh ingredients.  I have veered into some dangerous culinary territory during this pregnancy (shortcuts – I’m tired!), and it is time to tighten up and get back to the good stuff.  Cooking with fresh herbs, using oil & vinegar instead of packaged salad dressing, enjoying anything in moderation, you get the picture.  Planting a huge herb garden in a beautiful container is on my list!

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Mixed Herb Container Garden. Photo via BH&G.

2)   Acqua Frizzante.  I am a big fan of water “with gas” and drank the stuff morning, noon, and night on our trip.  I don’t think I had flat water the entire time I was in Rome.  I love the idea of keeping a carafe in the fridge at all times.  I also love the idea of not having to buy cases of La Croix every time I go to the grocery store.  So I think that a Soda Stream might be in my future.  When is Mother’s Day, again?

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Photo via Soda Stream Source.

3)   Getting dressed – for me.  I know this sounds ridiculous…but since I have become a mom, and most of my work is done from the comfort of my home, it is WAY too easy to wear what I like to refer to as my “weekend clothes”.  Which really means pajamas/workout clothes.  Our trip reminded me how nice it is to dress every morning and put on a little lipstick, some tinted moisturizer.  Brush the hair.  Just the basics – but super important.  And to help me pull off the look I will count on my old pal Laura (Mercier) to create a “flawless face”.

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Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer – a Mom’s Best Friend! Photo via Sephora.com.

Wish me luck!


Roman Holiday

We leave for our long-awaited Rome, Italy trip ONE WEEK FROM TODAY.  I have realized that vacation planning is vastly different when you are a parent.  In my pre-mom days I would have spent time here and there researching Rome, gathering recommendations from friends, and maybe even learning some conversational Italian from the moment I booked the flight & hotel (months ago). I have just begun to give this trip some dedicated thought.  Today!  One week out.  And I’m getting very excited. Here are a few things I am getting very excited about:

Eating my way through Italy.  Did I mention I’m pregnant?  I am.  And I’ve never been to Italy without some level of consideration for my waistline.  Let the culinary adventures begin. I think they’ve banned eating near monuments, but only a very, very brave man would come between a pregnant woman and gelato!

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Photo via Roman Holiday.

We are taking an “early bird” private tour of the Vatican.  I always hesitate to book anything early in the morning…but we get in to the attractions 1 hour before the general public.  Well worth it, in my opinion.  I have been to the Vatican once, during a Rome stopover after a college study-abroad, and all I really remember is heat, crowds, lines, and briefly seeing the Sistine Chapel, so this tour should allow for a more special, memorable experience.

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The Creation of Adam. Photo via Web Gallery of Art.

Our Caravaggio “mean streets” walking tour exploring the nature of Caravaggio’s (Michelangelo Merisi, 1573-1610) art in the context of its time, in order to fully understand his innovation and the controversy surrounding him (he fled the city after committing murder).  What’s cool is we’ll get to explore many sights we wouldn’t normally venture to – lots of back streets, tiny churches, and chapels, where his work lies “in situ”, or in the places that they were originally created for.

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David with the Head of Goliath, by Caravaggio. Photo via Wikipedia.

Our hotel – located on Via Nazionale.  Minutes from the Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, and all other major sights.  This location is also a fabulous shopping street loaded with designer clothing stores…including one of my all-time favorites – Max Mara.  Sigh.

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Photo via Hotel Artemide.

One night in Naples.  The beautiful Bay of Naples, the National Archeological Museum (husband!), a scenic train ride through the southern Italian countryside.  Let’s be real here – I am going to Naples because it’s the birthplace of pizza.  End of story.

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Photo of Naples via Travel Destination Info.

I am a little concerned about how much I am going to miss this little munchkin…but she’ll be in Disney World with my parents, and two of my aunts.  She should be thoroughly entertained and smothered with love, so I am going to do my best to relax and enjoy myself.

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Me & Avery-bug.

Arrivederci for now!



Avery’s Big Girl Room = Man Cave Upgrade

My husband is an avid reader (strictly non-fiction….yeah, I know).  I am “stealing” his bookcase for Avery’s new big-girl room, so his cherished books will be replaced with vintage Madame Alexander dolls, an heirloom Nippon tea set, and other miscellaneous girly collectibles that I am so excited to finally put on display where they belong.   However, I digress – I HAVE A PLAN for said books.  And this plan involves an upgrade for the “man cave”.  Custom bookcases!  With a built-in bar!   We have the perfect wall for it – complete with a centered window.  Wouldn’t a perch like this be perfect for his assortment of bourbons on a silver tray? Can you see it?

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Photo via Everything LEB

I think I’ll go ahead and include the wine fridge.  Maybe even throw in the fish tank he’s always wanted in one of the shelves on either side of the window.  Here I go again!  Always have to push it just a little over the top.  My main concern is whether I will ever see my husband again if I trick out his man cave with refrigeration?  If he doesn’t even have to leave the room to get a fresh, cold beer…..hmmmm.  Maybe I’ll nix the fridge.  He can deal.  Thoughts?


Obsession: Bubble Glass Chandelier

So.  I am dying to replace the overhead fixture in our dining room.  The existing one is okay, and fulfills it’s perfunctory role of illuminating the table, but I’d really like to get something spectacular.  I’ve been fantasizing about this chandelier since we moved in a year ago…which coincidentally, was featured in the February 2012 issue of House Beautiful.

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Image by Lindsay Coral Harper, via House Beautiful February 2012.

Well, after much searching I did end up finding this exact chandelier for sale on 1stdibs.com.  FOR $5800!!!  If I had $5800 laying around I would buy it in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, I don’t, so I must continue on my search because this is sadly out of my price range.

I’ve come across some other options that are very similar, like the Muriel Chandelier from Oly Studio (Around $3200 list…still a tad high)…

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Photo via OlyStudio.com

And the Clarissa Glass Drop Chandelier from Pottery Barn, but the dimensions are way too small for  my dining room.  Too bad, because the price is right ($399)!

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Photo via PotteryBarn.com

And, finally, Z Galleries’ Links Chandelier – an updated spin on the classic Italian design from 1967.  Again, price is right ($299) but too small.

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Photo via ZGalleries.com

Nothing I have found thus far is the “perfect fit” so for now I’ll keep looking, and when I see it, I’ll know!  And so will you.  Stay tuned…


10 Random Things About Me


Our Christmas card photo, 2012


1)   My husband’s name is Keith, we met when I was home from NYC visiting my family for Christmas in 2004.  We were engaged 6 months later!  And, NO, I wasn’t knocked up.

2)   We have a 17-month old daughter, Avery, and are thrilled to announce that Baby Bell #2 is on the way, due the first of September.

3)   Our dog Bullet, a 7-year-old Brittany, has (finally!) gracefully accepted that he is no longer the center of our universe.  Things really took a positive turn when Avery started feeding him directly from her plate.  I don’t fight this.

4)   My favorite color is (and always has been) orange….way before “Tangerine Tango” was the 2012 Pantone color of the year!

5)   I love to play tennis and I am super-competitive.  Someone recently used the word “scary”…I think what she really meant was “awesome”.

6)   I love nothing more than a glass of red wine (or two…) at the end of the day.  Every day.

7)   I can’t whistle, and I really wish that I could.  It would just kind of “go” with my personality.

8)  I have my DVR set to record the Golden Girls and I watch them whenever I need a little comfort or a good, wholesome laugh.  My sister put it perfectly when she said “they were the original “It Girls” – way before Sex & The City”.  So true!

9)  I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, raised in Pensacola, Florida, and I now live in Tallahassee, Florida.

10) I am super excited to be embarking on this journey – and I truly appreciate you coming along for the ride!  I will do my best to “keep it real”.  Bible.