Good morning. Wow this week is flying by! We have been so busy with little spurts of getaways to the beach, bigger getaways for my sons games and mostly lots of house business. The good news is I really do see and feel like we have alas, reached the “final stretch”. Granted it might be a loooong stretch but its in the finishing stages, and that is a big deal to me! Most of what I am loving this week is house related (it totally consumes my every waking hour) but I always try to find some time and attention to enjoy the other things in life too. So first we start with the house updates which are coming fast and furious……..and then on to some fun things!HOUSE UPDATES. Beams went up in the kitchen and yes, my husband really is beaming at the new beams:) Plaster moldings went up in living, dining room and tower above main stairs. They did a beautiful job. Limestone nearing completion for covered porch, loving how its coming out. Beams installed in family room and paneling wrapping up. Got samples for breakfast room stain and we just about have selected one! Best thing was seeing my kitchen! Went yesterday, its really conning together. Its hard to understand the finished product but the finish is beautiful, our finisher is very fussy and a perfectionist. All good things come to those who wait, right? They will begin installing mid next week…….cannot wait! Paint samples have been put up, going hte neutral route, can’t think about colors right now. Plumbing continues to be installed, so things as you can see, are really moving forward at warp speed. Here we go……. Secondary beams got put up in family room! Paint samples are everywhere! Kitchen beams (they look darker than they are) Family room Kitchen beams Dining room Close up of dining room molding Living room Living room molding Living room Love how they distressed the wood surround around the garage doors The limestone porch well under way…… Limestone above walk out basement Close up of one of the cabinet fronts Some of the molding for kitchen drying More kitchen! More kitchen getting first coat of paint then will come the glaze Bathroom vanity Guest bath vanity The doors drying The kitchen beams The various finishes, many with a “limed finish” that we are after This is the one we think we are going with……love it They started to put up the other beams in the family room (the curved beams) A GREAT FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL. I have always wanted to attend the annual Aspen food and wine festival. Held every June, it brings together the who’s who in the restaurant and wine biz. I know a few people who go every year and they promise me if I go once, I too will want and need to make it an annual pilgrimage. She was able to meet and attend demonstrations by the famous Jacque Pepin,shared a few words with Eric Ripert, enjoy a cocktail with Danny Meyer and Mario Batali amongst other “foodie” notables. She met many James Beard winners and said she was in food heaven being surrounded by all the greats. What could be more fun than having an excuse to eat, nibble and drink all day (and night)? Now that’s my kind of trip! Just one look at these highlights and I bet they will have you wanting to plan a trip there, plus its held in gorgeous picturesque Aspen..whats not to love! Click here to get more information. One hitch- If you go you have to include me:) Getting taught by the famous Jacque Pepin…wow! This right is reason alone to attend! Tom Collechio A PRETTY PAIR OF EARRINGS. I like to wear pretty earrings with maybe a great cuff, bracelet or chunk link bracelet, nothing more. I think these are so pretty! They were designed by Migel Ases, who I had never heard of. Love the quatrefoil design. So, I wanted to find out more about this designer and well, two earrings later, here is his link and a few more gorgeous reasons why I had to take the plunge! Miguel who is Madrid born, creates his beautiful pieces out of fresh water pearls, 14 kt gold fill, sterling silver and semi precious stones. I love these pieces………Click here to visit his site. NAVY MONOGRAMS FOR MY SON. As I am starting to plan out rooms, I am concentrating on the rooms that I know will be ready when we move, namely the kitchen, breakfast room, a guest room and my sons bedroom. For my sons room we already ordered this classic pale tan plaid carpet and I want to use accents of navy and cream. Have gotten some inspiration from the pictures below. I see two large pillows with a navy monogram but keeping the rest of the bedding simple. Mostly cream bedding (thats what he wants) with tan and navy accents. What do you think? First is his carpeting…….. BRASS LANTERNS FOR ABOVE MY ISLAND. Now my search is officially on, I would love to find something old/antique otherwise will get something new and will antique it myself. I need a pair as the island is long, a pair will look more balanced than a single fixture. I am sure if I search hard enough in blogworld I will find an abundance of “how to’s’ as I know people do that all the time- I have seen people take a new fixture and make it look old…….any thoughts? INA GARTEN. Am a big fan of Inas, her recipes are as friendly and wonderful as she seems to be. I know if we meet we are destinted to become great friends who will hang out in her Hamptons kitchen, have cooking fests and who knows maybe we will have our own show aptly named “Ina and company”. LOL….OK I know I am getting ahead of myself and in the meantime will continue to enjoy and try her wonderful recipes, two of which are here and are fantastic summer staples. I promise you they will be big hits! Bon Appetit! Summer Garden Pasta ( Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home) Ingredients: 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halvedgood olive oil1 TB minced garlic (6 cloves)9 large basil leaves, julienned, plus more for serving1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakeskosher salt1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper1/2 pound dried angel hair pasta3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving (shesuggests grinding cheese in a food processor fitted with a metalblade, instead of grating ? gives it a nice texture) Directions: Combine cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, redpepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Coverwith plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4hours. Just before you?re ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with asplash of olive oil and 2 TB salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook aldente according to package directions (about 2-3 minutes). Drain pastawell and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese andsome extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve in big bowls withextra cheese on each serving. GREEK PANZANELLA SALAD Good olive oil6 cups (1-inch cubes) French or Italian bread, fresh or day oldKosher salt1 hothouse cucumber (unpeeled)1 red pepper, large-diced1 yellow pepper, large-diced1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved1/2 small red onion, sliced in half-rounds1/2 pound feta cheese, cubed (if you don’t like feta substitute with mozzarella)1/2 cup Calamata olives, pitted FOR THE VINAIGRETTE: 2 cloves garlic, minced1 teaspoon dried oregano1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard1/4 cup good red wine vinegar1/2 cup good olive oil1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saut? pan. Add the bread and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. 2. Meanwhile, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Discard the seeds and slice the cucumber 1/4 inch thick and place in a large bowl. Add the red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes, and red onion. 3. Next, make the vinaigrette: Place the garlic, oregano, mustard, and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk together. Whisking constantly, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper and taste for seasoning. 4. Add the feta, olives, and cooked bread cubes to the bowl with the salad and add the vinaigrette and toss lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature Enjoy! Well, that’s as much sensory overload as I can handle for now. How about you…anything exciting you this week that you care to share? Would love to know about it! Hope you have an enchanted day!