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 destination 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

Audrey Hepburn’s Swiss Village


Last summer, on route to Lausanne, I drove through Audrey Hepburn’s beloved Swiss village, Tolochenaz. My husband and I had spent a few days in Annecy, France, and shortly before we left town, I remembered Audrey lived somewhere near the area. My love of Audrey Hepburn runs deep. 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

Visiting Castello di Sinio

Castello di Sinio is a 12th-century-castle-turned-hotel in Italy’s Langhe Valley. This summer, I planned a last-minute trip to the Barolo wine zone, where I serendipitously stumbled upon this special property. By the end of my visit, I left not only grateful for the experience but plotting a plan for my return.

Vines on vines on vines.

As a writer, it’s always fun when assignments form from spontaneous adventure and this was no exception. I wrote about my experience traveling to the Castello in the September 2018 issue of VIE Magazine, which you can read online here.

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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

A Guide To 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

Vintner’s Daughter: A Q&A With April Gargiulo

April Gargiulo, Founder of Vintner’s Daughter

In today’s saturated beauty market, false advertising has made it harder and harder to find genuine, quality products. As a beauty junkie myself, I’ve fallen pray countless times to brands who over promise and under deliver. In skincare, as in life, talk is cheap but when it comes to real quality, you know it when you see it. About two years ago, I began noticing some big changes in my skin. While I’ve always been fair complected, there was a sudden and palpable shift wrought with rosacea, hypersensitivity, and sporadic blemishes. To try and hide — and more importantly remedy — the aforementioned issues, I sampled a bunch of products hoping for the best. What I found at the end of the trial and error rainbow was quite literally a pot of skin-nourishing gold: Vintner’s Daughter. It is so special, in fact, that I felt compelled to reach out to the founder, ask a bunch of questions, and share her story with you. I’ve only been using the serum for about a month now but it’s already become my favorite step in my beauty routine. There are so many things I love about this product, from its golden hue to its nourishing efficacy and its all-natural ingredient menu. The moment you apply it (with the recommended push/press method) you feel time turn back a bit. I’m also enamored with its lovely fragrance. Photographer Jamie Beck likened it to “twilight in the garden in June when the fireflies come out and play” – the perfect sensory description, in my opinion. I’ve also recently realized that Vintner’s Daughter combines two of my favorite things in life: wine and stories. Founder April Gargiulo is the daughter of a vintner (hence the name) and has used her detail-oriented, grape growing heritage and love of wine-making to create a product that is quality at its core. In essence, the serum is also a rich and well-crafted story made up of 22 characters, each rife with its own history. Take for example the the marigold flower, which has been coveted for centuries for its healing powers, or the rose oil sourced from a generations-old family farm in Bulgaria’s Valley of the Roses. Luckily, when you buy your own bottle, a little black book gives sweet insight into these character-rich ingredients, their history, and their skin-beautifying benefit. Read on to learn more about this special serum called Vintner’s Daughter – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Posted In: Living

Ode To The Blueberry: A Pie & A Poem

Photograph by Clive Nichols

When the weather warms every spring and summer looms on the horizon, I find myself anxiously awaiting the bounty of the season. Since I was a little girl, blueberries have been my favorite fruit (whether that opinion stemmed from my obsession with Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott-awarded, Blueberries for Sal, or my genuine love for their taste and texture, I’ll never know.) With blueberry season just around the corner, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes for blueberry pie — and a poem as well by Diane Lockward. The recipe was given to me by a dear family friend who happens to be a fabulous baker, among other things. Aside from being an antioxidant-rich dessert and a major crowd pleaser, it’s also super simple to prepare. For this reason, I often make it for last minute dinner parties after long days in the sun around our pool. My dad loves this pie so much that it’s become a birthday cake of sorts for him as we celebrate his anniversaire every July. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Posted In: Food & Drink