Grateful Moments

{Fresh flowers in my home office + Instagram}

This past week I was able to take time out from working on the computer for a much needed mental decompression which was way overdue. Sometimes being overloaded with a full schedule can make one lose sight of what's important, like passing time with a dear loved one and cherishing every moment, and that I did! And it was great! I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend catching up on some reading. Hope you take time this weekend to do what you truly love.

These are are some of the things that brought me joy this week...

{Not only did the new sofa come in, but this rug came too... I'm very happy with both of them - the place is slowly shaping up}

{My new favorite mug}

{I Love vintage typewriters (from West Elm). If I could collect them, I so would!}

{Yummy desserts at the local bakery shop}

{Inspirational words on a notebook}

And This read could not have been any more timely for me this week... it's worth taking the time to read it. Happy weekend!



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Time Spent In Capri & Anacapri

Porto di Napoli

They just opened a cool Gelato/cafe around the corner of our building and eating this treat has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Eating Gelato this summer has me missing Capri and Anacapri, Italy. Of course, I have yet to find Gelato that compares with the Gelato I had in Capri {a little place in Little Italy on Mulberry street called Il Gelato... aka La Cremeria, a Kelly Ripa favorite comes very close}.

Oh man, the lifestyle of the Italians is exactly as we imagined it as pictured in movies, and read about. We were in awe the entire time. It is hard to believe the hubby and I were there almost two years ago already! Where does the time go?! I ate so much Gelato... it was obscene really. It's not my fault though because it's a place you can't help but buy Gelatos every step of the way. It's everywhere and everyone from young to old has one in hand while strolling the cute narrow hilly vine-filled scenic streets of Capri.

The hubby guarding my Limoncello bottles that we obtained while in Anacapri. Augusto Gardens is reached from Piazza Umberto by a walk through Vittorio Emanuele III. This garden is an obliged spot for tourists - it is the most magnificent and one of the most beautiful places of the island. While up there, you get a quiet and panoramic view of the beach below overlooking the famous natural structure of 'Siren's Rock' that divides the cove in two different beaches {as seen in the 5th photo below}.
 

 


 

These are lemons! In Capri lemons grow abundantly - thus, the reason why they make Limoncello which is a traditional afternoon cap after lunch...
 
The villa, {now a museum} is furnished with traditional local and Swedish furnishings. The extensive art collection acquired by Alex range from Antiquity to the 20th century. The villa is reached by a pleasant walk along a shopping street {where we stopped to buy our Limoncello bottles} off Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri.

The Villa San Michele in Capri is a breathtaking place that must be experienced. It is undoubtedly an amazingly beautiful locale that has a unique history and when there, you feel like you're in paradise.
 
One of the gardens of Axel Munthe'house {who was a Swedish psychiatrist, but best known as the author of The Story of San Michele, an autobiographical account of his work and life}. The garden is beautiful and has fantastic cliff edge view spots.
 
 
Hmmmmm, gelato!

I lost my waist there eating so many gelatos, but ahhh, it was completely worth it!

 Axel Munthe's courtyard ...now a museum {one of my dream courtyards}

 
Visitors there were filled with excitement that they couldn't even stand still to take a picture! This place was an overload of amazing beauty that most of the pictures people took of us came out as seen above. I Bought one of my favorite purses in Anacapri which is above Capri. Such great memories! If you've been there, what are the most favorite experiences that you had? Please share. 
 
 
 
 

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High & Low

 XXI dress {similar}, red bag {old ..seen here, here}, BR necklace {similar}, Steve Madden shoes, Aviator sunglasses {seen here, herehere, and here}
 
You know how they say "history repeats itself." The same can be said about fashion - "old styles" eventually re-emerge with a fresh face in the world of fashion.
 
Case in point, this dress has been in my possession for over ten years now. I had purchased it because of it's bright color and soft flowy fabric to help break up my usual earth-tone colors that overflow in my closet. Lo'and behold, I just now realized that this dress is a high and low style that has been the trend this year, which shows that you can save the clothing pieces that you truly love as fashion recycles itself apparently every ten years or so. Hence, buying smartly pays off.

 
*pictures aren't as crisp because they were taken with my iPhone.
 
 
 
 

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What Happens In Vegas...


What happens in Vegas does not necessarily stay in Vegas, I'll have you know. Now that We've come back home to NY, many have asked about living in Las Vegas {we never lived in Las Vegas, per se, but lived in Henderson, NV where it's much quieter, cleaner, and more family oriented and it has much "better schools" for those with children.}

Honestly, Nevada was never one of the places on our list to move when we were looking to relocate to get a break from the NY winters. California was always the number one choice, especially San Francisco because for a New Yorker, San Francisco is a close fit. It offers a lifestyle that is comparable to NY when it comes to culture, museums and shopping except with better weather. But as much as we loved San Francisco, it was just as expensive as Long Island and NYC and we really wanted to move to a location with a better cost of living.

One of the reasons why the hubby and I decided on checking out Vegas was because we knew quite a few friends that moved there. We decided to visit our friends in LV and  check it out. And of course, when you're on vacation it always seems exciting and you can get carried away with the idea of living there - which we did.  Our friends were making it sound more appealing {especially with the kind of house you could build at a price way more affordable then in NY...although at the time we were looking house prices in Vegas were at the peak}.  We got excited with the idea of building our dream two-story style house with the Mediterranean flair that we love so much.

After a few months of deliberation we took the plunge and purchased a "perfect" piece of pied-a-terre to build our dream home in a gated community that was up on a hill which reminded us of Italy. {It was lovely when you ignored the brown surrounding mountains and homes}.




However, after 2 years of living in the desert, we quickly realized the dry heat that people rave about isn't really better. 110-120+ degrees was excruciatingly unbearable and I developed migraines. I could not go out without sunglasses and sometimes needed them inside the house as we had 22 windows.  It felt like there was some kind of magnetic field yanking my eyeballs out of their sockets.  My hair quickly started to fall off from the dryness & the alkaline water. Thank goodness we installed a water softener in the house, because without it your hair is left feeling like a Brillo pad. Yes, NY is humid but at least it cools down tremendously in the evening and it keeps your skin from cracking like old leather which happens in the desert.

Also, after a while you start taking note driving around  that you're surrounded by brown or black rocky mountains as your backdrop. You might think: 'how gorgeous' but imagine living with that for years. Definitely something to think about. Getting to know your neighbors is nearly impossible, for everyone is accustomed to pulling into their garage & entering their homes.  The front doors are rarely used.  So you can live next to your neighbor for 15yrs or more and not know who they are. It's a place that takes years to make a friend, but we did eventually meet a couple of nice folks.



{Coyote spotting in bright daylight}

{This was a beautiful Hydrangea plant a friend brought the night before that I put out front, and this is what it looked like by early morning the next day!}

{These are the types of "fresh fruits" you get at the super markets - cut up on the same day of purchase}

Obviously, after a few years, it just wasn't working for us, although we lived in very beautiful spaces. I say all of this in answer to many that have asked us about living there. We realized too late and at great cost to us that more research would have helped. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of beautiful pockets in Henderson as well as in Las Vegas to live in because almost all of the homes are within gated communities and on private golf courses, but you have to prepare to be pretty much a loner and be comfortable living mostly an indoor lifestyle. Also be willing to be enveloped in cigarette smoke when you go out to eat a meal as most of the best restaurants are in Casinos.

{Strip Drive to restaurants}

Las Vegas is definitely a place for a select few. We learned a lot about ourselves living there and have some good memories too. Especially, the ability to just drive to wine country in California a few hours away which we did OFTEN. Don't take it all from me -the next time you visit there ask the locals how do they like living there? I guarantee you from old to young you willl get various answers, but I know for sure one of the things they will say is: " It's Hot!" {granted the extreme heat only lasts about four months but you're couped up inside all that time which can make any sane person go crazy after doing that for years on end}. The weather is beautiful from October to May. I think it's a good place for retirees as the government subsidizes them very well and they can live comfortably. 

Some of the positives about the desert that I will miss: the beautiful sky when the sun sets, your hair doesn't get frizzy since there is no humidity, housing is cheap, and everything is new  {if you're into that}, and clean. There are pretty areas like Lake Las Vegas which has a very little quaint place to eat and sometimes they have movies under the stars, or concerts for free in the evenings. Also you're only a few hours drive to California or if you want snow you can head up to Utah, or Mount Charleston which is beautiful.


{Vegas Strip on a Snowy Day December'08}
{The trees weighed down by snow December'08}
{At a friend's community}

As they say: "The grass always looks greener on the other side." when in fact it's partly brown on that other side. Vegas will be a place we have to visit from time to take care of our clientele that we built there. So it isn't really a complete goodbye.



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Life's Greatest Treasures...My Imagination

Life's greatest treasures are the little things that our loved ones do for us.
The kisses from loved ones, the dinners we share, the discussions of future plans, the unexpected roses and teddy bears. The cards that say: "I love you..." with a romantic scent, that can never be forgotten. The memories of sweet words and gestures. 


Life's greatest treasures are the walks along the beach hand in hand, breathing the clean air as we hold each other so tight, the long drives in the dark places talking about the future that can be had, making lifetime plans of love and laughter. 
It's throwing rocks in the lake as the sun is setting, making amends while staring in each other's eyes, reading the funniest bedtime stories, dispelling each other's worries, the sharing of ice cream, the cries shared, the jealous expressions, the silent moments in a dark car.


These are some of the things {joie de vivre} we should hold forever and never take for granted.


*Images: {1} source {2} source {3} source {4} weheartit{5} source




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Mediterranean Shrimp Couscous


As much I love going out to eat and experiencing the fine dining atmosphere, once in a while I also enjoy re-creating that fine dining ambiance at home too. Of course, during the summer months I stick to seafood dishes as they're the quickest meals to make. And no matter how simple the dish might be, I still love picking out a favorite bottle of wine from our collection, lighting up a couple of candles and putting on some lounge or jazz music in the background to make it special. 

This past week was no exception! This meal takes less than thirty minutes to make. All you do is follow the cooking instructions on the couscous container. Ever since we had Mediterranean Israeli couscous at a restaurant, I've been fixated on the beautiful large pearl-like chewy goodness they become once prepared. What's nice with couscous is that you can doctor it any way you want with any kind of vegetables and fish or meat. 

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Israeli couscous
2lbs large shrimp, peeled deveined
2 large cloves garlic chopped {or as many as you'd like}
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
2tsp sea salt
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
a handful of chopped parsley
1/4 cup of cherry tomatoes {cut in half depending on size... if small, leave whole}




Recipe:
Preheat your toaster oven to 375 degrees. While you're boiling the water for your couscous, combine all your ingredients in an oven-safe pan and bake for 10 minutes. Then when both your couscous and shrimp are done mix it all together and sprinkle top with some chopped parsley alongside a nice tossed green salad and Voila!


A beautiful meal that shows your family how much you love them.



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