do right

This weekend, as we celebrate Martin Luther King, let us all strive to be compassionate towards others and ourselves.  To remember that any time it’s the right time to do what is right.  Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, for your wisdom, passion and courage that are still called upon to the present day.  We need your strength and belief in justice and equality for all mankind now as we did then.



My mother in-law prepared this salad for us a little while back and it was so good that I felt the need to recreate it and blog about it.  The combination of the crunchy iceberg lettuce, the fresh sweet peas and the juice of a Meyer lemon makes for a refreshing end to a hearty winter meal.  Yes, she served this salad after an Italian sausage ravioli and Chateaubriand roast (with a brandied mushroom sauce) dinner.  Did I mention hearty?!

Salad ingredients and instructions below: peas IMG_4625 IMG_4634



Firm avocado, iceberg lettuce, fresh peas, parsley, Meyer lemon, olive oil and sea salt


Cook the peas for a minute and rinse with cold water.  Chop up the iceberg lettuce and place in a bowl.  Add a diced avocado and the cooked peas and toss.  Sprinkle with fresh, finely chopped parsley.  Drizzle the salad with olive oil and the juice of one Meyer lemon.  Salt and pepper to your liking (preferably with sea salt).

I keep lemon slices (and sea salt) on the side so one can season it to his/her liking.





At last, our dining room table is completed.  Using the same material as we did for our counters, Silestone, but in a different color, we were able to blend our two kitchen areas without making them look too ‘matchy-matchy’.   A solid creamy white called Haiku for our counter tops lent a more modern look in the kitchen, while the marbled effect of  Quasar for the table top gave the dining room a more traditional feel.  The combination works perfectly together.  We’re loving the look and the durability of the stone and, in all honesty, we’re finding ourselves sitting around the table longer.  Eating slower, chatting longer and entertaining more often.  The renovated kitchen has become the heart of our home.  Take a look: silestone psd

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It’s hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that we were finalizing the renovation plans for our kitchen and only now do I feel it’s almost done.  It was well worth the time invested and I thank all who’ve been following this [at times] arduous process.  In the future, I will share my art search for the dining area and for fabric to reupholster our comfy chairs.  I will need your help again.

Did you really think we were done?!?


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3 Simple Things For 2015

January 7, 2015

3 things sd

1. This softy hued color palette lends a sense of calm and elegance to apparel or home accessories.

2. Don’t underestimate the beauty and interest of a foliage plant. Big or small, outdoors or in, leaves can add drama and life to a space. Stay tuned for a list of my favorites.

3. A suede handbag, reminiscent of the 70′s is this year’s ‘must have’ accessory and I’m creating one just for YOU!


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Feeling California

January 5, 2015


While in NYC a few months ago, Alex and I had a distinct California moment.  At some point during a random evening, we realized that we were the only ones in a restaurant NOT wearing black.  Me, donning a vintage dress looking more like Janis Joplin than the icon herself and Alex in a cream colored cable knit sweater looking like an ordinary Cali dude shucking oysters in Tomales Bay.  No matter, we had a fabulous evening with our East coast friends while realizing we had become genuine Californians not just by the way we dressed, but in the way we lived.  Speaking to our hosts about how much we love the weather, the landscape and the spirit of the West, a deep feeling of contentment came over us.  It has been two and a half years since our move to the West Coast and in this past year California really began to feel like home.  We’ve made new friends, immersed ourselves in our respective jobs, expanded our networks and explored the many wonders of the Golden State.

I’m proud of my East Coast roots and will always honor them.  I still get excited every time we travel there to reconnect with family and friends and to revisit the many places that have shaped us into whom we have become.

I want to thank our family and friends who have been patient and supportive during our move and for still remaining so close to us across the miles.

Happy New Year!



Two and half years ago (when we first moved to California) we embarked on what has become a brand new Christmas Eve tradition.  With few friends and family members nearby, we felt the need for a new way to mark the holiday for the children and for us as well.  Honing in on my  Italian heritage and our love for pasta, we decided that an early, hearty dinner in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood would do very nicely.  Combined with a Christmas Eve service, some shopping for last minute gifts and yummy regional treats to savor at home while preparing for Santa’s imminent arrival, this new tradition felt just right.  Our return home later in the evening (physically and spiritually fulfilled), still allows for time to tend to unfinished holiday details.  This outing has become something we all look forward to and our very own hallmark for the holiday.  We hope that in years to come both local and visiting friends and family members can join us in our  [fairly] new Christmas tradition.

I hope that all of you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season filled with fond memories of old traditions and/or  fun times creating new ones! IMG_4293 IMG_4294

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Sugar Stick Holiday Wrap

December 22, 2014


The holiday wrapping marathon has begun and this year there’s something a little sweeter about it:  sugar sticks.  Yes, I’m adding sugar sticks to our packages this year.  The secret is out for any of you who are receiving gifts from us.  The rest of the embellishment is quite simple. It is comprised of twine, an oversized cedar sprig and a fern frond.   I especially like when the greens hang over the packages as if they were concealing their contents.  Take a look: IMG_4135 IMG_4143 IMG_4181 Do you have a special motif for this year’s holiday gift wrapping?   Do share if you do.  Together we can start our very own pinterest board!


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I actually enjoy the hustle and bustle of a “last minute” holiday shopping.  There’s something to be said for the spontaneity of finding an item that will make a perfect gift for someone on my list.  I also like the fact that there’s little or no time to hem and haw over decisions to buy or not to buy.  Here’s my last minute holiday gift guide that meets standards of vintage appeal and classic style applied to modern aesthetics.   Maybe one of these gifts will be perfect for someone on YOUR list…

1.  Komono’s Winston Monte Carlo Croc.

2.  Schoolhouse Electric and Supply’s Half Oval Hoop Earrings.

3.  Zara’s Mixed Knit Gloves 

4.  Pendleton’s Chimayo Throw

5.  Lego’s  Architecture Series

6.  William and Sonoma’s Leather Clad Flashlight



When winter is in full throttle, there’s nothing like a fire to warm the soul and body.  A fireplace is not only a focal point in a room, but the heart of a house:  a place to gather, rest and reflect.  I recently started pinning images of my favorite fireplaces.  While some are classic and elegant, others are funky and fun.  If you’re lucky enough to have a hearth in your  home, use it often and invite friends and family to bask in its light and warmth.  We certainly do! concrete glass windows psd holiday psd big mantle book shleves psd 9018cd01a290923818b662592313a2e3 b8456beb996daf1776f794464dd6c775 fireplace psd

Do you have a fireplace in your home?  Send us a picture!



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We’ve had a plethora of persimmons this season thanks to friends who must be farming them.  My usual approach to consuming these beauties is simple:  cut, peel and eat.  I haven’t experimented mixing them with other fruits or vegetables until now.  Inspired by a salad I ate at Pizzaiolo, I combined bitter greens, roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds with this divine fruit.  The combination creates a dish that’s bitter-sweet, a little crunchy and seriously pretty.  A list of ingredients and instructions is provided below.  Take a look:

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IMG_3941 Ingredients:

2 Persimmons, 1 pomegranate, endive, radicchio, chicory, hazelnuts, olive oil, seasoned rice vinegar, honey and sea salt.


Spread a cup or so of hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Peel and thinly slice the persimmons.  Halve a pomegranate and knock out the seeds with a wooden hammer.  Place torn greens in a bowl and top with the fruits and nuts.  For the dressing, combine olive oil and rice vinegar  and then slowly whisk in honey to your liking.  Drizzle it on the salad and sprinkle sea salt on top.


For those who may be new to Cocoon Home’s Blog Off The Counter feature,  I would like to warn you that I’m not one for measuring, especially when comes to a salad and its dressing.  I enjoy adjusting the ingredients to my own taste buds.  So to you I say:  go for it!