Monday, August 27, 2012

Taking A Pause And Saying Thanks

Nicole Alesi - Rocco AAAAAaaand we're back!  I hope everyone had a great weekend! I'm taking a well deserved break this week to celebrate my birthday and finish up some new designs before the school season officially begins.  I'll be wearing my 'illustrator's hat' so if you like to see what I'm working on, stop on by my art blog, Stuff by Nicole and say "hello!"
But before I go, I would like to say Thank you so my Happy Pretty Sponsors for the month of August!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Pretty Links!

Welcome to Friday! We did it! Now let's all breathe and relax and enjoy some links...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Pretty Home: Apartment Makeover

Happy pretty home living
It's that wonderful time of year when I look at everything in my apartment and say...
I do have the give the place some credit - it has come a loooong way from looking like a bachelor pad. But Joe and I are in a stage of our lives where we want the place to feel more like a home and less like a club house.  
For this week, I'm focusing on ideas for our living area. For starters, I'm thinking the green wall has to go back to white.  The orange wall stays because it was a gift to the previous owner by the artist Mark Millene so it has special meaning.  That being said, it's still orange which presents a challenge with redecorating. I'm going to save the nitty gritty of painting for another post.  In the meantime, here are a collection of home accents that I find inspiring. (Feel free to view more item on my Pinterest board.)
Plant and pillow
We definitely need more plants in the home. I think these large hanging air plants by mudpuppyare pretty cool.  Also, I love mirrors.  I think reclaimed barnwood framed mirror by Once Upon A Barn would help make our apartment look more spacious!
West elm
It's no secret that I'm obsessed with West Elm.  Although we're working on a tight budget, I'm not sure that we would be able to swing this beautiful clark sofa - but I pinned it so I won't forget when it's time upgrade! These versatile lacquer trays would be a great solution to controlling the clutter under our our coffee table.
...In the meantime, think these bicycle and birdcage pillow covers by BHDecor would be the perfect accents for our couch!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Calm Morning

Calm morning
I find Wednesday to be the most stressfull day of the week - it's more a slump day than a hump day.  This is probably why I find my mind wandering over to Etsy.  Everytime my eye falls upon a beautiful treasury, I feel so peaceful and serene. The theme of this week's treasury is all about breathing in...taking an exhale...and taking in the items above that make me feel calm and relaxed this Wednesday morning...
  1. Pink Heart Earrings by Misty Aurora
  2. Seahorse Necklace by Modrn
  3. Aromatic Decorative Trinket Box by Modern101
  4. Ship stud earrings by Lepun
  5. Spiral Beach Shell Photo by semi sweet studios
  6. Carnival Balloons Print by Dreamy Photo
  7. Weathered Burlap Butterlies by Farmhouse Mud
  8. Custom Message in a Bottle by Myvera
  9. Three Small Shabby Chic Boxes by Pat Barnes
  10. Minty Mermaid Pendant by Custom Made For All
  11. Fine Art Photography by Colurful Pixels by Life
  12. Vintage 1980s Beige Cotton Sweater by Bottega Vintage
  13. Mint Pink Butterfly Circle Earrings by The Purple Balloon
  14. Calm Morning Print also by Colurful Pixels by Life
  15. Wood Triangle Necklace by branchbound
  16. Vintage Twirling Pencil Set by meynenz

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza

Bbq chicken pizza
Every weekend, Joe and I like to use all the leftovers to a create a new meal from scatch. We call it "cooking out the fridge." One weekend, our challenge was to make a meal with the barbeque sauce we scored from the Big Apple BBQ Block party.  We had, jalepenos, leftover rotisserie chicke and pizza dough - and that's how BBQ Chicken Pizza was born.
This has become our fast favorite. It's yummy, easy to make and combines my love of barbeque and Italian food together. Here's the recipe - I hope you enjoy.
EASY BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA (serves 4 to 6)
Ingredients (for one pie)
  • 1 8oz ballof pizza dough (we found that one ball feeds 2 people, two balls feed 4 or two very hungry people!)
  • 1 cup of shredded chicken (leftover rotisserie works the best!)
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated smoked mozzerella (it adds to the smoky flavor of the pie!)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalepeno, sliced or chopped
  • barbecue sauce to taste. We did a spicy/sweet combination of Jim n' Nick's (for spice) and Guy Fieri's Bourbon Brown Sugar (for sweet)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough and transfer it to an oiled sheet pan. Spread the barbecue sauce on top.  (Be care not to over do it - too much sauce will make the pie soggy.) Top your pie with the shredded chicken, red onions, jalepeno, cheddar and mozzerella cheese and place in the oven. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday - Bikes Me and Joe
Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Now let's get this work week over with so we can go back outside and play again! xo ~ n

The Brooklyn Flea

The Brooklyn Flea! I've always wanted to go but was too lazy to leave my comfy home on a Saturday. (And besides, who wants to deal with weekend trains?) Checking out the flea has been on my summer/autumn bucket list for years so I was delighted when a friend invited me over to her place in Forte Greene and to check out the market that takes place in a school yard.
Now that I went, I'm hooked. I have to go back and find ideas to refurbished my place - and I'm dragging my husband with me too!  I left inspired by so many creative things, nostalgic items, refurbished furniture, and even the food....mmm...the food...
Here were a couple of neat discoveries I came across on my journey...Sheeps head
Beautiful art printed on reclaimed barn wood by Sheeps Head Design...
...Stunning hand printed graphic tees by Bright Beige...
Butter and Love
...delicious cookies by Butter + Love...
...and stunning jewelry by Elma Blint - this is her assistant Samantha, I love her fishtail braid!
The flea pre show...
I also loved the "pre-show" that happens on the way to flea.  They're not part of the flea market, they just a bucn of people selling their own items in front of their homes... well I hope it's their it?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Pretty Links!

The beautiful weekend is finally here! Which can only mean one thing - LINKS!  
  • I'm tall so I'm all over these suede leather ballet flats by thewhiteribbon
  • DIY Bottle Lamp on Lana Red
  • I'm so inspired to recreate this beautiful wall design spotted on PS by Dila
  • Feeing overworked?  Yeah, so am I - I found this episode of Grace Bonney's podcastbe very inspiring.
  • Let's end the week on a sweet note!  Easy ice cream sandwiches by LRF
I hope you enjoy - see you on Monday! xo ~ n

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Streets Part II

4 French Biker
There was so much to take during my Summer Streets bike ride that I felt it would be too much to cram it all into one post. So I've decided to share those extra happy pretty moments with you today. Like this picture above. I loved everything about this man's look, right down to the wine box strapped to his vintage bicycle.
8 Sculptures 2
Beautiful sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle along the Park Ave Mall. Pictured above is called, Le Baigneurs and below is a sample of Le Trois Graces. (I'll admit, this picture doesn't do the entire piece justice, but I loved the details in the design so much I had to capture one of her sculptures up close.)
7 Sculpture 1
Art at Kenmare
Above is The Survival of Serena by Carole A. Feurerman spotted in Soho.  I love how she makes her sculptures of bathers and swimmers so realistic!
This was at a cooling station in Midtown.  They literally opened up a fire hydrant like they do in the movies! Classic New York!  I loved watching these two little girls they were having a blast!
9 Sprinkler Girls
Don't forget! There's one more Saturday left to participate in Summer Streets!  For more info clickhere.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You're Just My Type

Just my type
I guess I'm still on my Back-to-School kick 'cuz this week's Etsy treasury is all about type.  As an illustrator and designer, I love type. I worship type. I respect type.  So whenever I see items splashed with letters or punctuation marks, I geek out all over the place. Why don't you join me in geeking out over these cool items above!
  1. Metal Stamping Letters by Art Girls Tools
  2. Ampersand Coffee Cardigan by ZenThreads
  3. Captial Letter C Cookie Cutter by CookieCutterGuy
  4. Letter B Metal Marquee Light Sign by WLighting
  5. Metal Letter A by VintageSusanFletcher
  6. Scrabble Tile Cufflinks by crimsonking
  7. SansSerif Type Coasters by SawdustInMyCoffee
  8. Vintage Typewriter Keys Messenger Bag by CrawlSpaceStudios
  9. Typography Print by mediumcontrol
  10. Red Typwriter Photograph by MandyLynneDesign
  11. Helvitica Print by Mackenzie Design
  12. Question Mark Earrings by Epheriell
  13. Quotation Marks Print by ESSANEL
  14. Quotation Mark Earrings by Pickle & Ollie
  15. Ampersand Skinny Tie by MartyMay
  16. Academic Planner by PocketSquares

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Union Square Green Market

1. Union Sqaure
Today's post comes from natural foods chef and health consultant Hanna Foster Robinson!  Founder of HFR Living, Hanna transforms the standard American diet into delicious, wholesome, nutrient dense meals. You can learn more about her at You can also follow Hanna via her blogFacebook and Twitter.
3 people at the mart
At the Union Square Greenmarket you will find: just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables, heritage meats, farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup, honey and more. Honestly, everything just tastes better from the Greenmarket. For a great meal that requires virtually no work, buy your favorite fruit and or vegetable, a loaf of bread and cheese and make open-faced sandwiches (tartines) to enjoy with your favorite bottle of wine.
2 Tomatoes 2
Shopping at the Greenmarket can be as simple (or difficult) as picking out an outfit or decorating a room: colors and textures are to very important to keep in mind.
1)     COLOR: You want to incorpate as many different colors into your meal as possible. Colors are appealing! Foods that are rich in color are also rich in nutrients.
2)    TEXTURE: A well thought out meal has a number of different textures: creamy, chewy, etc. Experiment with raw vegetables and toasted nuts and seeds for crunch.
6 blueberries
  • Take your time. Walk through and see what is there before you start to shop. The more you see the more inspired you will be.
  • Smell. If the item you are after doesn’t smell like anything, more likely than not it won’t taste like anything either.
  • Be daring. Pick out something you have never tried before. More times than not, a quick sauté in good olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt and pepper is all you need.
  • Bring cash. It’s typically the only method of payment the vendors take. Items such as local cheeses and meats can be expensive, so make sure you have enough.
  • Bring re-usable bags. You’ll be shocked at how many you will need!
    7 beets
    8 pickerz
    Market Information
    Location: Union Square West from 15 to 17 Streets, 17 Street from Broadway to Park Ave South
    Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8AM-6PM, year round.

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Happy Monday!

    Here's to a great week!  Make it count! xo ~ n

    Summer Streets

    1 Bike to Grand Central copy
    I love it when the city let's loose on the weekends - especially during Summer Streets!  Summer Streets is a three weekend event that happens every August in NYC.  It's when the city shuts down Park Ave from 72nd St all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge -  just so people can run, bike, skate, play, you name it.  
    My husband Joe and I took advantage of the open streets the past two weekends.  It was nice to be surrounded around tons of people who just wanted to have a good time. We rode our bikes to the farmer's market in Union Square, stopped to appreciate the sculptures on Park Ave without getting hit by a car - but more on that later in the week.  If you're in New York, I highly recommend that you check it out - there's only one more Saturday left to join in the fun!  Here are some great pics I took along the way...
    5 Me at Grand Central
    I really believe the best way to see a city like New York is on a bike. You get to see so much more than riding in a car.  Such as riding around Grand Central Station -  I really loved that I could take in all the beautiful architecture up close.
    3 East Village
    Bike Riders pedaling past the Public Theatre.  If you don't have a bike - you can rent one for free! (and you get to keep the helmet!)
    11 Zip Line
    One of the coolest acitivites was the zip line downtown at Foley Square.  We wanted to try it but the spots were all booked up.  And we arrived around 8am - so be sure to get there early! 
    10 Tai Chi
    They also offer free fitness classes, dance lessons, yoga, or even learn to Tai Chi...
    6 Rock Climbing
    ...or even learn to Rock Climb in Soho!

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Happy Pretty Links!

    LinksHappy Friday! Before I head out and enjoy the sun, I leave you with a roundup of weekend links...

    • My dream bedroom completely furnished by West Elm
    • These quirky and clever prints by Rock the Custard always put a smile on my face
    • I am huge fan of these tribal tanks and tees by barkdecor
    • So excited to make my own DIY thread ball lamp inspired By Wilma
    • Can't wait to try out this yummy doughnut recipe spotted over by Cooking is a Pain


    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    The Birdcage Vintage


    The Bird Cage is an online clothing and accessory boutique that carries a large selection of high quality vintage and modern items at an affordable price.  They are also my lovely sponsors for August and...they're having a summer sale! Enter promo code: SUMMER to get free shipping till the end of the season.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Whoo The Hoot Are You!

    Whoo the hoot are you
    Keeping in the spirit of the Back to School season, this week's Etsy treasury is all about Owls.  I'm not sure why owls make me think of school - must be because they are splashed all over classrooms wearing professor's hats carring pencils and apples...and also because they are wise...and like to read with worms...  Anywhoos, I hope you enjoy these feathery fun finds below!
    1. Sihouette Wooden Wall Clock by Klokx
    2. Brian Owl Toy by wassupbrothers
    3. Silver Owl Necklace by PixieDust
    4. Owl Feather Print by moonflowers
    5. Owl Art by amberalexander
    6. Wedding Favor Bag by ShannaMicheleDesigns
    7. Wooden Picture Frame by vicodesign
    8. Urban Owl TShirt by ZenThreads
    9. Cermaic Barn Owls by DesertArtsPottery
    10. Owl Tunic Tank by Tshirt99
    11. Owl Ceramic Cookie/Clay Stamp by distlefunk
    12. Antique Owl Ox Brass by BirdysDesignGallery
    13. Owl Hobo Bag by boygirltees
    14. Flat Notecards by MitzCreations
    15. Owl Nail Transfers by katebroughton
    16. Owl Backpack by miasunique 

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Apricot & Plum Crostatas

    I've gone crostata crazy!  I came across crostatas in last month's issue of Food & Wine and I'm completely hooked.  What's a crostata, you say?  Well, if a pie and tart got together and had a baby, their love child would be the crostata. 
    Plums Cut
    They are so easy to make.  And they are perfect to bring to a summer party - you're friends will be so impressed -  they'll think you baked this rustic summer country dessert - cuz you did!
    Plum DoughApricot Dough
    For the first crostata, my husband and I stuck to the recipe and used plums.  But for our second crostata, we got a little creative and used apricots instead.  Here is the recipe - I hope you enjoy...
    Summer Crostatas (adapated from Food & Wine)
    For the Crust
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 2 tablespoons of sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
    • 1/4 cup ice water
    • 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
    For the Filling 
    Plum Version
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
    • 1 pound firm-but-ripe plums, pitted and cut into eighths
    Apricot Version
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • 1 pound firm-but-ripe apricots, pitted and cut into eighths
    1. In a food processor, add the 1 1/4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse until the dough just barely comes together. Gather the dough and pat it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 425 and position a rack in the lower third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk of dough to a 12-inch round; transfer to the baking sheet. Chill the dough until firm, 15 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cornstarch, cinnamon and orange zest. Add the plums and toss well. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 15 minutes. (If you are making the apricot crostata, do the following except replace the cinnamon and orange zest with lemon zest instead.)
    4. Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the plums. Brush the rim with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
    5. Bake the plum crostata for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender and bubbling. Let the crostata cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. Plum Crostata

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Happy Monday!

    Me and Rocco
    Here's to a wonderful week - make it great! xo ~ n

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Happy Pretty Links!

    LinksHello Glorious Weekend!  
    Check out these happy pretty links I spotted and hearted....

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Love This Look

    Happy Pretty Things Boy. By Band of Outsiders
    Flannel school boy jacket by Boy. By Band of Outsiders - this will be definitely be my look for the fall!

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Too Cool For School

    Too cool for schoolAugust is already here which means the Back to School Season has officially begun - so I'm keepin' it "old school" with this week's Etsy Treasury!

    1. Back to school supplies by greengrass2
    2. Adhesive Gold Stars by LBCpaper
    3. Vintage Metal Office Paper Tray by BirdinHandVTG
    4. Wall Clock by ArtisEverything
    5. Retro Rotary Telephone by TheRetroBottega
    6. Colored Wooden Pencils by ArtGiftStore
    7. Children's Coat Hooks by OldNewAgain
    8. Metal Letter by VintageSusanFletcher
    9. Nerd Glasses Necklace by OonaFay
    10. Mouse Pad by Laa766
    11. Pink Pearl Eraser Painting by kellylasserre
    12. Pinstripe Washi Tape by BahanaSplintsBoutique
    13. 12-piece Math Wooden Blocks by SmilingTreeToys
    14. Library Card Notebooks by crabappledesign
    15. Stainless Steel Curl Book Ends by hammeritout
    16. Vintage Termos by elizabethwrenvintage

    Tea For One

    Tea pots!
    I'm not big coffee drinker - but I love myself some tea!  So this Tea for One Brewing Set by Poketo is right up my ailey - and just in time for my Birthday! (...hint hint... to my dear husband Joe who I know is reading this post! :P)