Wanderlust: Under the The Tuscan Sun

Posted on April 7, 2014

It’s back to the grind for both of us and thoughts of travel and venture are in the forefront of our minds.  We keep stumbling across pictures of far off places that make us want to jump into the image and escape to some place magical.

During recent brainstorming and cooking up some inspiration for (spoiler alert!) our new blog design - we have been thinking about everything we love most.  One of those being Shay’s love for Italy and the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun.  

With my minor detective skills and the world wide web, within minutes we found we could live out our “own Under the Tuscan Sun life” by renting the actual Villa from the movie itself.

Recently restored and ready for occupants, Villa Laura is located in Cortona, Tuscany.  See the beautiful pictures below and be carried off into the Tuscan Sun with us:

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Happy Wanderlustin-ing!




Our Holiday Gift Guide

Posted on December 16, 2013

Are you like me who is a last minute shopper?  I am known for giving exceptional gifts - I am just not exceptional at buying them early!  Thankfully if you happen to shop in a pinch like myself, OUR Annual Gift Guide has arrived!  And this year we made it a bit different :)

Enjoy!

The perfect gifts for that special host or hostess on your party circuit:

Gifts for The Host/Hostess

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  1. Cards Against Humanity - The gift that keeps on giving - We first played this game at a friends and I ordered it the second I got home (mind you there was a 2 month waiting list) - the perfect game to play with a couple cocktails!

  2. Aqua Farm - Kind of cheesy but super cool - a self watering planter and fish tank…either the best gift ever or you will be on the ‘never invite back list’.

  3. Restoration Hardware Slippers - I am a massive slipper fan - and we have them for guests when they come to our house. For the couple or family of four this is a great holiday host gift all tied up in a bow!

  4. Custom (paper) coasters - A personal touch that leaves the personal touch!  And coming in a pack of 100 means they can re-use them at the next party! 

  5. Le Labo Candle - I love Le Labo and especially love how you can personalize their candles!

  6. Real Simple Magazine Subscription - Tie the latest issue up with a nice ribbon and a card for the hostess with the mostess - it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

  7. 2014 Sugar Paper Calendar - Perfect gift to give a hostess to help her ring in the new year. 

  8. Dana’s Bakery Macarons - Tied up in a bow for the hostess with a sweet tooth - what lady doesn’t love a good mac?

  9. Signature Cocktail Kit - Choose a cocktail of choice and create a cute little package with the spirit of choice and additional ingredients with the recipe :)




The perfect gifts for that Martha Stewart in your life:

Gifts for the Self-proclaimed Chef

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  1. Vitamix Blender This is a mega splurge item but something I have had on my list for years - a great investment!

  2. Product of GIR Spatula - I am a sucker for a good spatula - and who doesn’t love a stylish one in EVERY color!

  3. OXO Julienne Peeler - I recently just learned how to make Thai green papaya salad…and this tool is a must for that…great stocking stuffer as well!

  4. Williams-Sonoma Glass Bowl Set - I have given these as a gift several times - the 10 different sizes are super handy…a chef’s must have!

  5. Fifty Shades of Chicken - For the chef in your life who loves chicken and humor - this spin on the uber sexual ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ phenomenon is tongue in chic with chicken…brilliant!

  6. Umbra Sombrero Juicer - The no fail way to get lemon into your water…why didn’t I think of this? Doubles as a Stocking stuffer!

  7. Chicago Metallic Silicone Baking Cups - Improve your baking carbon footprint with these reusable muffin cups! Doubles as a Stocking stuffer!

  8. OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Tongs - So simple - yet so crucial for every meal - stocking stuffer approved!

  9. Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender - I have one of these and I use it a lot more than I thought…and who doesn’t love the cute colors!




The perfect gifts for the person who has everything, needs nothing, or will enjoy a gift from your heart while helping the world:

Gifts for the World

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  1. Love Quotes Scarves - Love Quotes donates 10% of net profits to international children’s charities and aims to make the world a more beautiful place by adding color to our lives!

  2. Be The Light NY Candles - Be the Light New York by Petra Nemcova is a home decór lifestyle brand that will take you on an exciting journey around the world to discover countries and their treasures.

  3. LSTN Headphones - By purchasing a pair of LSTN headphones you help fund hearing restoration and spread awareness for the global problem of hearing loss and hearing impairment.

  4. Free the Children - Buy a Goat! - Education is the first step to helping children break free from the cycle of poverty.  Free the children empower their mothers, improve their schools, outfit their health clinics and build clean water facilities, with an understanding that everyone and everything, in some way, is joined together.  Checkout their catalogue to help a child, their family or their village!

  5. Me to We Ashe Bracelet - Me to We is an innovative social enterprise that provides people with better choices for a better world. They offer socially conscious and environmentally friendly products as well as life-changing experiences.

  6. Somaly Mam Silk Empowerment Necklace - Slavery survivors often create beautiful works of art as part of recovery therapy. The repetitive nature of stringing jewelry, weaving fabric, and embroidery provides these embattled survivors with a sense of comfort and security in structure and routine, engendering a feeling of pride and accomplishment.. These exquisite pieces reflect the strength, beauty, and resilience of each survivor.

  7. MAC Viva Glam - The M·A·C AIDS Fund’s mission is to serve people of all ages, all races and all sexes affected by HIV and AIDS. To partner with the bold, the visionary and the brave who confront the epidemic in countries and communities where people are most neglected, off the radar and at highest risk.  By purchasing an item from the Viva Glam collection you can contribute to this movement!

  8. Tieks -  Kiva and The Gavrieli Foundation are deeply committed to the empowerment of women around the globe as a means for social change in hopes of creating opportunity and alleviating poverty.

  9. Sevenly Shirts - Every week Sevenly (and its customers) teams up with a charity, helping raise funds and awareness for 7 full days.  Each purchase made gives $7 to the charity partner of the week - and the shirts are uber cute an inspiring!

  10. Feed 100 Bag - The FEED 100 bag provides 100 Vitamin A Supplements to children around the world! 




Anyone in your life constantly using trains, planes and automobiles?  Here are the gifts for them:

Gifts for the jet setter 

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  1. Otterbox iPad CaseDon’t get your iPad all banged up in your luggage, in airport security, or on your final adventure with this protective iPad case!


  2. Cleobella Mexicana ClutchComes in multiple color options, the leather wears well, can work as a clutch for going out and is perfect for a boarding pass/passport.


  3. Beats EarbudsDrown out the airplane noise with these earbuds - I guarantee it will take you into your own world…


  4. Travel Scrabble - This is Shay and her manager David’s travel must have…keeps long flights fun.


  5. Mophie Portable iPhone ChargerUnexpected layover? Caught with bad service that drains your battery? Mophie is an iPhone case that doubles as an extra battery! 


  6. Moleskin NotebookJot things down on your travels in one of our fave everyday accessories…a moleskin notebook.


  7. Heads in BedsThis book is what every traveler needs to read. You’ll learn how to game the hospitality system and will pick up a tip or two on what not to do while on the road!


  8. Folding RaybansGreat for guys and gals - compact, classic, and excellent for travel.


  9. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic CameraIf I don’t get one of these I will cry - the coolest instant film camera out there!


  10. Leather Catch All - This is the ideal way to bring a bit of home to a hotel room. Unsnaps to fold flat and makes for easy packing. Great place to throw coins, cufflinks, earrings, or keys in a hotel room. 

Have a safe and successful last minute shopping trip!




Mini Trip to San Diego

Posted on September 9, 2013

With Shay on a week long Hiatus, and me itching to get away for a few days - we decided to take a mini trip somewhere close that we BOTH hadn’t been to.  Her Uncle and Aunt (and two adorable nieces) happen to live in San Diego and the sound of beach, family and relaxation was JUST what we wanted. The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego graciously hosted our little getaway and we were beyond pleased.  Checkout our little adventure and some of our recommendations on where to go and what to do!

The Car Ride there…Dance Parties and Plenty of Laughs!

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Swami’s Beach

We drove straight to the beach to meet Shay’s relatives and it was a PERFECT day! They had surf boards, paddle boards and volleyball.  The ocean was a little choppy so our paddle boarding was less then a success, so we hit the beach for a little volleyball with the fam…We always try to stay as active as we can while having fun (not to mention the 100 stairs to get back up to the car at the end of the day).

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Dinner at Oscar’s Tacos

703 Turquoise Street, Pacific Beach

Our “locals” brought us to their favorite dinner haunt for Fish Tacos - THE BEST WE HAVE EVER HAD!!!  Shay and I did NOT hold back and settled on Spicy Shrimp, Smoked Fish and Skirt Steak…the outdoor laid back atmosphere was the cherry on top…A San Diego MUST!!!

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The “gang” having our Tacos!

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How amazing do these look…

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Barely a crumb left…

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The families “surf and beach mobile”

We were so exhausted from the sand, surf and sun we called it a night with a movie in bed…an early day heading to explore Little Italy!

Lunch at Prep Kitchen

1660 India Street, Little Italy

Another “local” recommendation, we got a pleasant little soup and sandy lunch before we walked around and explored - The atmosphere was laid back and relaxed with a rustic decor…we recommend trying the tuna melt with caramelized onions…yum!

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Always posing…

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Just staring off into the distance…

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Our little soup and sandwich… :)

Exploring Little Italy

As you all know, Shay and I have a love for home decor and visit every  design district in any city we go - luckily San Diego happens to have a rather good one.  Our two local faves were Klassik: Mid-Century (989 W Kalmia Street, San Diego) and VI|Star (2355 India Street, San Diego) we also popped our heads into some cute little antique shops.  During our stroll we happened upon some awesome street art by a local artist named Juan “Tocayo” Marante and couldn’t pass up on a little photo-op.

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Some of the mid-century vintage pieces were unreal at Klassik…

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From candles, to giant vases and amazing one of a kind pieces - there is something for everyone at Six Star.

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Photo-op with our little buddy! This was also on the side of an amazing looking Mexican resto…next time :)

Extraordinary Desserts

1430 Union Street, Little Italy

Another recommendation, we decided to treat ourselves to a little afternoon sweet treat.  Walking into this place was a sweet tooth’s dream…a dessert lovers dream.  We settled on the Mango cheesecake that did NOT disappoint.  It took us awhile to finally take a bite as it was a piece of artwork - thank god we did because it was the best cheesecake we have ever had in our entire lives.

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These make you feel guilty eating them because they are SO beautiful…not because of the calories ;)

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Our mango cheesecake…no words…breathtaking and delicious…

Gaslamp District

Shay’s relatives had their nephew and friend in town so they met us for some pre-dinner cocktails on the Hard Rock rooftop.  Good people and laughter, the perfect start to our evening out.  The Hard Rock hotel is located in the Gaslamp district that has character and charm…let the festivities commence!

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Here we go…!

Dinner at Bang Bang

526 Market Street, Gaslamp District

One of the guys who worked at the hotel bar recommended we try this new place called ‘Bang Bang’…when he mentioned a Ryan Gosling bathroom we were sold!  The food was awesome and the atmosphere was RIGHT up our alley…being only a few weeks ‘new’ we felt a little ahead of the San Diego game! I think our favorite part was the different themed bathrooms though…check these out!!!!

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The fortune cookie washroom…

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The Asian pop-star inspired washroom…

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The Hello Kitty washroom…

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The colorful washroom…

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And drum roll please…the “every woman’s dream” washroom aka the Ryan Gosling one…

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Let’s just say I had to wash my hands several times that night…

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The never ending entrance…and perfect photo-op :)

Bon Voyage!

San Diego was an awesome time and we want to thank Hard Rock again for hosting us - we recommend this hotel to anyone going to San Diego as the atmosphere was relaxed and service was great! ( This is me doing my best Rock’n’Roll pose).  

Are you wondering why we have a full garbage bag?  Shay’s luggage broke the day we got there…oh the glamorous life we lead…hahahahaha definitely laughed the whole way home after that one!

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Other Recommendations:

We only had a couple days there, and ran out of time so we are saving these other spots for next time!

Post by Michaela







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