Monday, October 31, 2016

the witch's house in beverly hills

When I was in 8th grade, I would walk past this house everyday on my way to school. It’s always been known as the “Witch’s House” in Beverly Hills, and on Halloween night, this was the first house my friends and I wanted to trick-or-treat at! The crowds gathered on the corner, and a thick fog enveloped the house. Such memories! Today, this iconic house has been lovingly preserved to maintain its historic charm and quirky curb appeal. It’s now actually owned by a guy I went to high school with, Michael Libow. Originally known as the Spadena house, it was moved to this location on Walden Drive in 1924 from the Willat Studios lot in Culver City, which had previously used it as an office and dressing room. Michael has updated the home but maintained its storybook quality. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, be sure to drive by, especially on Halloween night!    

ciao! fabiana

photo credits 1 | 2 | 3  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

my black and white halloween table

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year, so why not go all out and throw an elegant dinner party for a few of my friends? Setting the table is so fun for me. It’s like playing dress-up! The first thing I wanted were a few foundation pieces for the table. I knew I wanted a black and white color scheme with no scary elements and no orange. From there, I was inspired by a few products from Oriental Trading. Black and white stripes are so elegant, and I found a really nice long cotton Striped Runner set at Oriental Trading, perfect! I also got a set of Spooky Bird SpindlesFeather Place Card Holders, and Black Patterned Wine Glasses to get me started with my table. I was inspired by nature for my table, so spooky birds, white pumpkins and a little greenery set the tone for this tablescape. 
My black and white transferware plates, raffia place mats, and black chalk-painted chargers look great together for each place setting. I used vintage silver and white damask napkins to add another elegant touch. The silver-toned feather place card holders have whimsical bat-shaped place cards. And the black wine glasses pull the whole look together! 
To change things up a little, I set the heads of the table with a fun little white pumpkin and the others get a pretty ivory and gold pumpkin-shaped dish, as an accent. 
For the center of the table, I gathered some subtly colored pumpkins on a glass cake stand, and added votives, greenery from my garden and a baby owl and baby crow.   

I set up a little drink station on my sideboard with the 3 Spooky Birds that I got from Oriental Trading as the anchors of the space and to add a little drama. A feather wreath I usually hang on the front door gets a new home here over the vintage mirror.    

I love this little “Bone Appetit” trinket dish! It fits in nicely with the décor.  
 Close-up of the center-piece, above.
Here are the four anchor pieces I started with. 
It's soooo easy to pull this look together when you start 
with a few foundation pieces and add your own twist to it. 
Source info: 1 | 2 | 3 4. 

More fun is on its way…

planning the menu starts tomorrow!

ciao! fabiana

Thank you to Oriental Trading for sending me these products to review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

thanksgiving table by candlelight

I'm working on a really fun collaboration with Oriental Trading Company for setting a beautiful Thanksgiving table. My starting point were these textural burlap chargers. Next, I wanted something personal for each guest, so the idea of the gorgeous pheasant feathers and "Be Thankful" charms wrapped up together for each place setting was perfect! A set of Silver Metal Lanterns and a scattering of Orange Votives create a cozy warm glow in the room. Sprays of eucalyptus and olive branches ground the table and sweet little kumquats add a little color. The aroma is amazing! I love how all the textures tie in together, and the fact that this tablescape was so easy to put together!     

ciao! fabiana

Thank you to Oriental Trading for sending me these products to review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

rustic chic thanksgiving tablescape

My thanksgiving table came together as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Five inspiring items created my dream tablescape for this Thanksgiving. It all started when I spotted these Burlap Charger Plates (3) from Oriental Trading. I knew they’d set the perfect tone for a rustic but chic dinner table. And I couldn’t resist the beautiful Thanksgiving Silver Charms (4) that I wrap around each napkin. They read “Be Thankful” and add an elegant touch to the place setting. Gorgeous Pheasant Feathers (5) add an organic look and I love their leopard type pattern! I just slipped those in under the silver charm for a beautiful juxtaposition of textures. A set of Silver Lanterns (1) add height, drama, and ambiance to the table, while the Orange Glass Votives (2) add color and fun to the whole look. To unify the whole tablescape, I nestled a few olive branches around the center of the table. I just clipped those from my yard. I bought a few fragrant round-leafed eucalyptus branches at our local flower store and my neighbor Susan let me take some of her yummy kumquats to finish off the look around all the candlelight. I love how it all turned out and this whole look was very budget friendly
The fragrance of the fresh greens and citrus is amazing!
I used vintage ivory Wedgwood china and heirloom flatware.
Just a hint of orange is perfect!
Two burlap runners laid across the table add more texture. 
The kumquats add a festive touch. 
These "Be Thankful" are my new Thanksgiving
 heirlooms that I will use every year from now on!
The burlap on burlap look works.
A table always needs a little fresh accent or two.
I love the effect when the candles are lit!  

ciao! fabiana

Thank you to Oriental Trading for sending me these products to review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

thanksgiving table sneak peek

I'm working on a collaboration with Oriental Trading Company for a beautiful Thanksgiving table setting. I am starting off with textural burlap chargers, gorgeous pheasant feathers and "Be Thankful" charms. Stay tuned for the rest of the table!

ciao! fabiana

Monday, October 3, 2016

sophia loren's stuffed mushrooms

Sophia Loren, the icon of Italian beauty and culture, can cook too! There are lots of Sophia cookbooks out there, but this recipe (found from an old newspaper clipping) caught my attention this weekend. This is an elegant recipe for mushrooms stuffed with chopped shrimp and other fresh ingredients. I use freshly made bread crumbs, the way the Italians do, and it makes a huge difference! I remember helping my Nonna make stuffed artichokes and stuffed peppers, and we always crumbled our own bread crumbs from fresh Italian bread. Slice the bread, trim off crust, and crumble with your hands. I was her sous chef when we were together, and I learned a lot from her. The stuffing turns out crispy, but not dry. Once you add all the ingredients together for the stuffing mixture, use your hands to gently incorporate the filling. (I couldn’t help adding a drizzle of olive oil to the mixture.) When filling the mushrooms do not pack them tightly. Keep it light. Bake and enjoy and let me know if you try the recipe! It’s perfect for the family, or a gathering with friends.          

Here’s how I prepared them:

Sophia Loren’s Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb.      mushrooms , stems removed
½ cup   fresh breadcrumbs (2-3 slices Italian bread)
½ lb.     chopped raw shrimp (cleaned & deveined)
2 tbsp.  chopped green onions
3 tbsp.  chopped  pimientos (or fresh red pepper)
3 tbsp.  minced celery
1                     clove minced garlic (or 2)
2 tbsp   chopped parsley (plus a little extra for topping)
1 dash   Worchestershire sauce (1 dash or two)
add        salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and prepare mushroom caps. I used medium – large cremini mushrooms. When you remove stems scoop out enough room to hold the filling. To make fresh bread crumbs, like my grandmother used to, use fresh Italian bread. Use a few slices, remove crusts and crumble in a bowl. Rub between hands to get a fine texture. Mix all ingredients, except mushrooms, in a bowl. Fill caps with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until tops are crispy. Top with fresh chopped parsley.
Serves 4-6.

Next time, I will share Sophia’s recipe for Pizza all Napoletana!       

ciao! fabiana