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Extra Curricular Activities

This summer was a busy one: newish baby, going back to work, packing, renovating, moving, unpacking, not sleeping. :) Even so, I forced myself to also do some fun things so I didn’t get burned out. I managed to get to the beach once (yay!) and celebrated two of my best friends getting married. I also explored our new town by taking walks in the local park, joined a local women’s group, started a play group with some lovely women I met after having Cole, and took some cooking classes.

I’m pretty confident in the kitchen but seeing other techniques is fun for me. (A perfectly relaxing day to me is reading design magazines while binge watching The Barefoot Contessa.) Last month I took a pasta making class and an Italian sauce making class and learned so much. I just have to find my kitchenaid mixer in the pile of boxes in the basement and buy this attachment and I’ll be making my own pasta in no time!

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Here is a delicious and fresh tomato sauce recipe we learned:

Prep time: 15 minuets
Cooking time: 75 minutes


  • Can whole peeled italian plum tomatoes (2 p0unds)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 table spoons olive oil (not EVOO. I just realized I love this taste so much better)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • fresh basil



Warm the olive oil and add bay leaves. Add the sliced onions and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Bring the onion to caramel color then add the tomato, sugar, and simmer for 60 minutes. For best results cook at least 60 minutes. Let the sauce cool for 20 minutes and blend the sauce in a blender or run through food mill. Ass salt and fresh chopped basil and refrigerate for 24 hours. Enjoy!

Did you know there’s a difference between tomato and marinara sauce? The base of tomato sauce is sauteed onions, where marinara sauce is a based of sauteed garlic. Interesting, right?

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms with Spinach

I hope you all had a nice holiday! I had a wonderful Christmas and have been taking advantage of my down time since this pregnancy is catching up to me. I had intentions of posting this recipe before Christmas, but life often gets in the way. Better late than never, right? If you’re hosting a party for New Year’s Eve these mushrooms are the perfect appetizer! My nephews literally beg me to make them which secretly makes me feel like the Barefoot Contessa. Those kids know how to butter me up!

This week I hosted my first Christmas Eve dinner with both of our families which was really fun, and if I’m being totally honest… really crazy. :) (I posted a few pictures on instagram, if you’d like to see.) We had 27 people total which is by far the biggest dinner party I’ve hosted so far. It went really smoothly and I was joking that every party I’ve had previously was just training for that night! In addition to other finger foods, I made my go-to appetizer which was a hit. I definitely recommend this recipe if you’re looking for something quick and easy to impress your guests.








San Francisco

The last four days were spent in a city we fell in love with instantly… San Francisco. Unfortunately Ryan and I both caught a nasty cold the entire time we were here, but we made the best out of it. We stayed at this swanky hotel called The Clift designed by Philippe Stark. It was really minimal, but probably the most homey hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The ceilings were probably 12′ in the rooms, and the window treatments made it feel less like a hotel but more like your master bedroom.

We checked out each neighborhood and we were surprised how much like Manhattan the city felt like. Although it was more beautiful, clean, and friendly. ;) And all the food was so fresh! We loved walking on Pier 39, which felt like home because we always love going to boardwalks at the Jersey Shore. I also really loved Sausolito, a quaint little city right across from the Golden Gate Bridge. Ryan’s number one thing he wanted to do was see the Redwood trees. (There’s a reason why his friend calls him “Ry Dry the nature guy”..) It was unbelievable to see how BIG they are!
The last night we were there, we went to an outdoor food festival called Off the Grid. There were about 30 food trucks, a few wine trucks, and a few local brewery trucks. We ate the best tacos ever (seriously) listening to live music and drinking cocktails. The entire trip was huge inspiration for my cooking, and I can’t wait to try their pulled pork tacos. I had chipotle shrimp tacos with pico de gaillo but scarfed it down before I could take a picture. It was that good!

All in all, our trip to California was really fun. It was the perfect mix of adventure, relaxation, and romance. :)



slate board ws

gift guide for the fabulous lady in your life

Below is a list of goodies for the lady in your life who enjoys throwing parties, enjoys the simple beautiful things in life… or for your wife named Lisa. Subtle, right? :)



slate cheese board

CB2 Cheese Cutters

A slate cheese board and cheese knives for wine and cheese parties.


CB2 Mini Cocktail Spreaders

Mini knives for dips and spreads.

Crate & Barrel Large Emery Taper Candleholders

Modern black and brass candle sticks for romantic dinners for two.

Casserole CarrierA casserole carrier (It’s one of those things you feel like you’ll never need, but I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve had hot plates wrapped in towels in my back seat going to friends)


Shrimp Scampi

Cooking lessons for two.




Oasis Beige Textured Drape Sweater

A belted sweater to keep toasty this winter.


Delicate Stacking Rings on Etsy

 Simple delicate stacking rings.

Marc Jacobs Classic Q Fran Bag

 Shoulder bag in the most beautiful buttery caramel leather.


Steve Madden Women's Vegasss Suede Flat







Suede flats for running around the city.


Large Diamond Stud Earrings

Classic diamond stud earrings.

Thanksgiving buffet, wide shot of all menu items

thanksgiving donation

Thanksgiving is a pretty big deal in our family. Every year Ryan and I go to his aunt’s house in the Poconos with about 20 other family members and spend the entire weekend together. To most people spending a weekend with their in-laws sounds like a nightmare, but to me it’s my favorite weekend throughout the entire year. Ryan’s uncle makes the most amazing breakfasts and Thanksgiving dinner is absolutely amazing! We usually just sit around all day snuggled by the fire catching up and play board games at night while drinking my Sangria. (Mental note: Share sangria recipe.) We eat leftover turkey and stuffing every day and take time to really enjoy each other’s company without life getting in the way.

Why am I going off on a rant? Well, because this is my favorite holiday I want everyone to donate $10 to help feed hungry New Yorkers through Groupon. Why shouldn’t everyone love Thanksgiving like I do?!

Rustic Thanksgiving buffet by Camille Styles


french onion soup

Homemade French Onion Soup Recipe

I had such a great weekend and not only because we won a vacation! (I still can’t believe it!) Ryan’s sister and her hubby went away for the weekend to celebrate their 10 year anniversary so our nephews stayed with us for the weekend. On Saturday we took them to Union Beach to volunteer and they were such good sports! I felt like it was a really great opportunity to teach them a lesson and to give  back to the community. I wasn’t sure how they’d react, but my oldest nephew came up to me at the end and said how good it felt to help others. How sweet is that?!

I’ve been meaning to try making french onion soup for a long time now and figured this was the perfect Autumn lunch since our family would be over! This recipe is based off of several different recipes I pulled from books or magazines and was delicious and filling!


French Onion Soup Recipe
6 Servings, 15 minutes prep and 30 minutes cooking time


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1.5 pounds onions
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1.5-2 large boxes of low sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 6 slices french bread
  • 6 ounces sliced Gruyere cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded Parmesan
  • 6 beef bullion cubes


1. Melt butter in a very large, deep pot over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are very soft and begin to turn a golden brown color. (Yum!)

2. Uncover and increase heat to medium/high heat. Add sugar and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle onions with flour and cook for another minute. Stir in broth, wine, 1 cup water, and beef bullion cubes. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.

3. Toast slices of bread in the broiler until lightly toasted, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Place six ovenproof bowls (I love these) on a baking sheet and divide soup equally.

4. Place a piece of toast on the top of each serving of soup and top with Gruyere slices, followed by a generous sprinkling of shredded Parmesan. (The cheesier the better!) Heat under broiler for about 3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and deliciously melted. Carefully remove from oven and enjoy while warm!