Summer snack: ricotta crostini

We're finally getting around to working on the landscaping in the front yard so hopefully I'll have an update on those goings-on sooner rather than later.  I'm also realizing I never blogged about the new stoop's stain color so once I can find a shade plant that will be happy living on the stoop, maybe I can show some decent photos of that.  

Meanwhile we're doing what you all are probably doing....squeezing every last ounce of fun out of this all too fleeting summer.  I'm trying to ignore the back-to-school supplies & fall decor that have cropped up in stores.  We've been to the pool regularly, slurping popsicles & ice cream cones, chomping on watermelon, riding bikes downtown for dinner, & listening to live music in the park.  Spending so much time outdoors that we're no longer fazed by the mosquitoes & once-pressing matters like home improvements have been pushed further down the list.

What is it about summer that makes me want to throw quick dishes together with minimal stove time involved?  I mean, we're fortunate to have central air conditioning so it's not like I'm suffering in the kitchen ;-)  Recently, I threw together an appetizer platter of crostini, ricotta, & various accoutrements for a 'happy hour' when friends dropped by for an afternoon visit.  Everyone just grabbed a crostini, topped it with ricotta, & adorned it with whatever he/she pleased.  I've since stocked the fridge with these 'staples' for a quick lunch or snack that doesn't involve heat.  Bonus points for the easy prep since my little firecracker lady has been keeping me on my toes even more so lately.

I'm not a food snob nor have I ever done a Whole30 Challenge, but for the past 5 years we've tried to eat whole/organic/non GMO when possible because honestly?  It just tastes better & we feel better.  So it's why I suggest using the good organic ricotta that's most affordable (oxymoron).  Ricotta is a mild Italian cheese, slightly sweet & creamy, that complements practically every topping. 

{L to R crostinis}
ricotta, tomato trio, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, sea salt
ricotta, extra virgin olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, sea salt
ricotta, arugula, prosciutto, freshly cracked black pepper
You know how there are rules like drink certain white wines with seafood & certain reds with meats/pasta dishes?  I have one rule: if you have a favorite wine who cares about food pair it with whatever you like.  We discovered Dreaming Tree cabernet sauvignon a couple years ago & it's an all-around favorite, affordable red.  One that we're not embarrassed to bring as a hostess gift or for occasions.  It's robust & fruity, with notes of vanilla (& epic-ness).  And yes, that Dave Matthews is the co-winemaker.  A sip might take one back to those halcyon college days of rocking/swaying to his music, singing every word to his songs because omg you totally have every CD & went to see him live at Red Rocks.  I'm just saying this might've happened to a friend...

I obviously cracked into this bottle before remembering I needed to snap a pic:
If you're a wine drinker, I hope you try it!  My guess is a lot of people already have.  Linking up to my favorite wine blog buddy Amanda & her fun series Wino Wednesday.  Hop over for more delicious & unpretentious wine recs ;-) Link up to your own wine-related post to share the wine love! 

Kids and Cabernet

Stuff I saw

Happy Friday!  Many, many thank you's for your kind words on our family & SoCal trip recap.  I'm behind on replying to comments but I truly appreciate you taking the time to read & leave such fun comments, friends!

Stuff I saw, links I'm lovin':

I adore dressing Quinn in clothes that I'd wear myself.  I know it won't be too long before she has very specific opinions on what she wears (actually she's already dressing herself in the funniest getups so here we go).  If I had a million dollars (ahem, Harper Beckham), I'd take Bonpoint by storm.

I cannot get this DIY faux bone inlay mirror out of my head!  I meant to link to it months ago & stumbled upon it again recently.  Shelley is incredibly inspiring & the gal makes me constantly laugh out loud on Instagram.

I could get used to this living room.
Kristin's glorious garden party for her darling daughter is the sweetest thing. There's nothing this gal can't do.

Did you see Holly's fabulous house tour on Style Me Pretty?  I've followed her renovations for years & she's segued into flipping houses beautifully.  She's the flippin' queen ;-)  So genuine, too.

I've been loving digging into the archives of Mimi's blog, getting deliciously lost in her fairy tale lifestyle in the French countryside.
Last year, it was the J Crew bubble necklace, this year it's the tassel necklace....neither of which I own.  But what I'm really digging is one of these.

Have a wonderful weekend! We've got a fun-filled one with friends, kiddos, & frolicking in nature. 
And wine (no kidding).

So long, SoCal

It's been a while since my last trip recap because,'s been a while since we've gone anywhere noteworthy.  We just got back from seven glorious days in Encinitas, California.  Why Encinitas?  The Mr. used to spend summers there, where his best friend's dad had a sprawling house overlooking the coast.  I was obviously friends with the wrong people ;-)  A few years ago, the dudes started their own tradition of taking a dude-bro surf trip out to Encinitas.  This year, the Mr. wanted to bring us crazy gals along & so we decided to make it a family vacation.  

It was a great trip, albeit a little less relaxing than vacations used to be (side-eyeing Quinn).  The SoCal weather was perfect, the waves were epic, & above all else we LOVED experiencing everything thru Quinn's eyes.  Parenting a toddler has its moments, but I'm being honest when I say that it's truly a pleasure & privilege to be raising this spunky little gal (minus the meltdowns).

We rented a cottage just a couple blocks from one of the beautiful beaches.  In between, we explored La Jolla/the Cove, Carlsbad & Solana Beach.  We took Quinn to the Aquarium and a gorgeous Botanic Garden (where there was an amazing tree house for kids that Quinn was obsessed with; we had to literally throw her over our shoulders to carry her kicking & screaming out of there).

We ate our weight in fresh-caught seafood, dining al fresco 95% of the time.  Quinn developed a love for salmon sashimi (raw) & shrimp.  And of course, we clocked in plenty of beach time.  

By far my favorite time of each day was after dinner when we'd gather up a couple towels, a bucket of beach toys, the Mr.'s surfboard & trot down to the beach to watch the sunset.  There were only a handful of us, all spread out, each winding down from our respective days.  Seeking the calming energy of the ocean washing ashore & the invigorating salty evening breeze.

{Some of these are from my Instagram}

The perils of wearing anything strapless around a toddler 
(I forgot my halter strap back at the cottage) ;-)

I had the pleasure of popping into Bixby & Ball, a chic lifestyle boutique with the coolest storefront, while we were in Solana Beach's Design District.  Co-owner/interior designer Melissa & I have been Instagram friends for a while & I'm so thrilled that I had a chance to meet her.  Instagram worlds colliding!  She is just as fabulous/hilarious in person; there was a bit of poking fun at ourselves & our InstaWorld ;-)  Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to welcome us, chat & laugh with us, M!! (We couldn't resist buying a rad mirror for the mudroom from Bixby & Ball.  This design addict could've have spent many hours/moola there.)
Steps away is SoLo, another must-go for the design/vintage-obsessed (moi).

There were even a couple of urgent care visits sprinkled in.  Aside from me spraining my ankle on Day 5 & the Mr. gashing his forehead (requiring 5 stitches) on Day 7 when his surfboard fell on him after riding a phenomenal wave, it was a pretty perfect vacation ;-)

Hope your summer is swell so far!

A sparkling sip

My lovely friend Kayla of A Delightful Place to Dwell & KR Dixon Designs invited me over to partake in her inspiring Blogger Style Files series.  I chat about my design style, my faves, & why I blog--too much fun!  Thanks so much for having me, my friend :-)  Now, how do we get together for an epic playdate?!?

One might infer by now that I like wine.  I like it a lawt.  If this is surprising, Hello there, you must be new. Pleased to meet you.

While I'm no wine connoisseur, I do know that I prefer robust red wines.  Though when summer rolls around with its sultry temps, I find myself craving something a bit frostier.  I've tried so many white wines all across the budget but was never a fan of any.  Then a few years ago, I had Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine, bubbly & somewhat dry) at a friend's bridal shower & well, YES.  Like bubbly little stars dancing on the tongue. There's just something celebratory about it and I love breaking it out for festive occasions.  

Or you know, at 5:00 4:30 3:00 pm on any random summer day.

I usually prefer Prosecco as is or I'll drop some frozen berries in (to keep it chilled without watering it down, a trick I learned from my sister-in-law).  At a recent gathering, I set out some berry hibiscus lemonade for the non-drinkers & a friend added a splash to her glass of Prosecco.  

It was such a refreshing, simple cocktail that I thought would be a fun addition to any celebration.  It's fitting for July Fourth, sort of a sparkler of a cocktail; an abstract of red, white & blue thanks to the berries (especially if you leave out the pink lemonade).  There's even unexpected fizzy 'fireworks' when the frozen berries plop in.  (I need to buy proper glasses for bubbly.)

Frozen fruit.  I cut the stars from a pluot which is a hybrid of a plum & apricot.
They're delicious.  Quinn devours two a day sometimes.  She's quite uh, regular ;-)

Really, I just need any excuse to pop open a Prosecco.  The bubbles give the Mr. a more for me, I guess?  I made a shaky 5-second video of the sparkley-fizzy 'fireworks' that ensue upon dropping the frozen berries in because I was obviously wasted not busy.


If you have a favorite summer time drink, do share.  Happy Summer!
To my American friends, I hope you have a safe & joyful Independence Day!
To my Canadian friends, Happy Canada Day!