Garden & Gun Magazine Shoot

My family and I had the pleasure of being featured in Garden & Gun magazine for the August/September 2017 Issue. We gathered around our old water cistern-turned-dining-venue at the family ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas for a proper wine and cheese celebration as the summer sun faded to the west. The magazine is a favorite of both mine and my family so it was a real treat to be featured in its glossy pages. Enjoy the lovely photographs by Kate LeSueur and read the full story in the August/September issue.

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Posted In: Entertaining

Annecy, France

From the grape-heavy vineyards of Burgundy to the caves and castles of the Dordogne Valley, France reveals her beauty with every turn of the compass. Last summer I spent a week in the charming city of Annecy, located in France’s Haute Savoie region (near the French-Swiss border.) This area is famous for its cheeses, which are slow-melted into fondues and raclettes in many of the local restaurants. Annecy is situated on a large, turquoise lake (the cleanest in France!) which makes it a popular tourist attraction for Frenchies leaving on vacay for the weekend. It’s also latticed with charming canals, hence it’s pseudo-name, “Venice of the Alps.” I wrote about my experience on The Hideaway Report and included some of my favorite restaurants and things to do should you find yourself in this picturesque Alpine hideaway.

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Posted In: Travel

An Easter Tablescape


I love having friends over for dinner. Good company and good food are a salve for the soul. One of my favorite things about having dinner parties at home (aside from the cooking) is getting to set the table. I love pairing linens and china with glassware and candles just as I love arranging flowers amidst a mix of decorative objets. We had some good friends over a few weeks before Easter and I used the occasion to bring out some of our seasonal decorations. Every Easter growing up, Carlos’ mother gave him a new porcelain Peter Rabbit collectible with his initials and the year written on the bottom. It’s a very sweet tradition and one I hope to continue – perhaps with my godchildren or future kiddos.

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Posted In: Entertaining

Audrey Hepburn’s Swiss Village


My love of Audrey Hepburn dates back to early childhood. Like so many, I am drawn to her iconic movies and unforgettable performances, not to mention her grace and goodwill off camera. To this day, curling up on the couch and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, or Roman Holiday never fails to brighten my spirits.

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Posted In: Travel

Castello di Sinio

Last summer, I planned a spontaneous trip to Italy’s Langhe Valley. While there, I serendipitously stumbled upon a special property called Castello di Sinio. By the end of my visit, I left not only grateful for the experience but plotting a plan for my return.

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Posted In: Travel

Easy Summertime Gazpacho

Photo by Quentin Bacon

Ina Garten never fails me. Her recipes cover all the basics in terms of classic comfort food (roast chicken, fish en papillote, ratatouille) and her simple approach using the season’s freshest ingredients means anyone can give them a try. In my early days, I could mess up absolutely anything in the kitchen (ramen noodles included – can you imagine?) Her recipes have given me renewed confidence and made me more experimental in my day to day course. Take for example, Ina’s soups. The ones I’ve tried are very easy to make and don’t skimp on flavor. After combining the raw ingredients, a simple pulse or two in the Cuisinart or blender does the trick! I recently made this gazpacho (from Ina’s Foolproof cookbook – a favorite!) for my mother-in-law and it was a success. I love the tangy flavor of good tomatoes (if canned, I use whole San Marzanos) mixed with bell peppers, cucumbers, celery salt, scallions, and garlic. Served chilled, it’s a great go-to for hot summer days.

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Posted In: Food & Drink

Salzburg, Austria

Photo: Eric Chumachenco via Flickr

Salzburg has secured a permanent spot on my list of favorite places. The UNESCO-protected city is located fewer than 100 miles from Munich, yet it feels much more removed to me, like a fairytale village untouched by the modern age. Surrounding Salzburg, snow-peaked purple mountains rise above the rooftops, old clock towers, and patinaed church domes. History pervades this special city, as evidenced by the famed Baroque architecture and the enduring sound of classical music gifted to Salzburg by its most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Indeed, the sounds of music are everywhere here. Mozart aside, the Academy Award winning musical drama, The Sound of Music, helped solidify Salzburg as a city with a momentous musical legacy. Filming for the movie, which was based on the lives of the real Captain and Maria von Trapp, was shot in and around Salzburg. Should you find yourself in the city, don’t miss the popular Sound of Music Tour for its little-known trivia and glimpses into some of the film’s original shooting locations, including the manicured Mirabell Gardens, the Hellbrunn Palace, and the Nonnberg Abbey, the latter of which is the oldest of its kind in Europe. The tour also ventures to the lake district, with stops at the Basilica in Mondsee and the charming town of St. Gilgen.

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Posted In: Travel

Micromosaics: A World In Miniature

Elizabeth Locke

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of profiling jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke for the pages of Virginia Living. Those who know Locke’s jewelry will agree there is something very special about her work, a timeless quality reflected in the hammered gold and a sense of history reimagined in every piece. Many of the central elements in her rings, brooches, bracelets and pendants are collected by Locke herself. Every year, the designer spends a few months on what she calls a “continual treasure hunt” looking for unusual rarities and unconventional pieces that have lost their way in time. Some of these include 17th-century molds of Venetian glass intaglios and 19th-century micromosaics, the latter of which Locke collects personally. Since learning of her micromosaic collection, I’ve become enamored by the lost art form. Read on to learn more about these timeless treasures – and prepare to be inspired.

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Posted In: Inspiration