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BOOK | The Cook's Atelier

Thursday, August 22


"A meaningful life, no matter where you live, is all in the details."

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I am smitten my friends!!
This book has been speaking my inspirational love language ever since I opened it.


The Cook's Atelier is filled with pages spilling over with beautiful stories, gorgeous imagery and multi-faceted inspiration. And I haven't even gotten to the recipe section yet.

I'm learning so much more about joie de vivre, the beauty and wisdom of a kitchen potager, how to properly care for and maintain wooden cutting boards, French and European kitchen tools, high-quality provisions and staples of a French kitchen - including a bouquet garni like this one, and the lovely story of how The Cook's Atelier Cooking School came to be. (hint: a mother and daughter duo from Arizona...now living out their cooking dreams in Beaune, France). Amazing!

Technically, I guess you would say this is a cookbook...
but it's soooo much more than that.

I've always felt drawn to European lifestyle, (architecture, design, food, countryside, style), and as I've gotten older, I'm starting to realize it could very well stem from the fact that it's in my blood. My grandmother was French and my maiden name is French...so...well...since I've got French coming from both sides...I think I just can't help myself. It may also explain why I love listening to Pandora's French Cooking Station  - on any given day. *wink*

It only makes sense then, as to why this book has inspired me on so many levels.
If any of the things I've mentioned, so far, elevate your heart rate a little like they do mine...this might be the book for you too.

And if you need some more convincing...here are a few images from inside The Cook's Atelier...as well as some excerpts that resonated with me...


"As the world gets more and more homogenized, we feel that traditions 
such as kitchen gardens, small farms, and charcuterie and cheese-making, 
as well as artisanal baking, should be protected."


"We are big believers that less is more when it comes to good cooking, 
and when you use best-quality ingredients, even the simplest dish will shine."


"...the intention of our gatherings is to create an experience and to 
have all of the elements work together to evoke a certain feeling."


"We strive to create a beautiful ambiance, and so that means putting thought into
 the menu and using things we've collected over the years to create an inviting table. 
(no matter if the meal is intended to be casual or formal)."


As I said, I'm still at the beginning of the book and look forward to the delicious recipes to come.
This book has me dreaming of attending The Cook's Atelier Cooking School in France one day - they welcome a variety of cooks - novices on up to restaurant chefs. 

In the meantime, I'm currently on the hunt for a mezzaluna and other essential kitchen tools and you better believe I'll be adding some things from The Cook's Atelier online shop to my birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas wish lists. *wink*

You can find the book on Amazon or any local bookstore but here's the direct link for you: The Cook's Atelier Book

Does this sort of thing excite you too?
Or is it just me over here feeling giddy about all things "European kitchen"?

Au revoir pour l'instant mes amis... (goodbye for now my friends...)





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KEEPiNG iT REAL
Anyone else listen to the French Cooking Station on Pandora? (that obsession for me started way before this book.) Ha!!

But seriously...I specifically get up earlier than normal just to be able to read some pages from this book before my day gets started.

SUMMER | Front Porch Refresh

Thursday, July 25



Earlier this Summer, I was inspired to spruce up the front porch while we were trimming up some of the landscape plants as a family. I sat on the front steps, pausing for a breather and wiping the sweat from my brow, when my eyes were drawn to a pretty pile of clementine peels left behind from an earlier snack. I loved the beautiful color contrast of the soft orange peels against the minty blue exterior of our home and new right then and there I had to somehow recreate the color scheme throughout the front porch. But how?

Kumquats. Perfect...small enough to add pops of color without overwhelming the space. 
Sure...oranges or clementines would've been the obvious choice...but a memory from my childhood pushed me in a different direction; Cheering in the Kumquat Bowl - the "Super Bowl" of middle school football way back when in my hometown of Apopka. 

Along with adding a delightful Kumquat tree to the front porch, I also added some faux kumquats to the front door wreath. A few new pots for the three existing olive trees, swapping my alyssums for some portulaca and adding a sensible solution for watering all of my pretties - the addition of a gorgeous new copper hose pot...well...it finally feels finished.

I hope you enjoy how it all turned out...sources at the bottom of the post.



















I really love how it turned out and I'm so happy we get to enjoy this pretty space.
As summer is winding down and with just weeks away from school starting...I think it's going to transition into the Fall and winter months quite nicely.


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
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LINKED SOURCES - simply click
Copper Hose Pot <--- easy link but found mine HERE for less
Copper Lantern next to Rosemary - mine was given to me as a gift.
Tall Lantern - found at my local Goodwill
White Bench - from a vintage market years ago
Wood Front Door Mat <--- linked something similar (mine was Smith+ Hawken from Target)
Olive Trees - I ordered mine online and the experience wasn't awesome. Plus, I realized I paid way too much after seeing them at Walmart for $15.

FUN ADDITIONAL LINKED SOURCES - just click
4. When the large olive tree was in my house - before I realized it wasn't thriving + moved it.

KEEPiNG it REAL
The kumquat tree is real. The kumquats are not.
Since the tree won't start producing fruit until winter and I'm not that patient, I decided to add my own for visual interest. Ha!!

This kumquat tree is a Centennial Variegated Kumquat tree.
The fruit it produces will be sweet + tangy - unlike the classic sour kumquat.
I can't wait to pick them off the tree and eat them...peel and all.

FRIENDS | August + May Design Co.

Thursday, June 27


One of the greatest gifts I've been given from having started this blog years + years ago has been the opportunity to discover, find, meet and even befriend some incredibly talented, creative + kind people.

Pam of August + May Design Co. is one of those people.
We actually met on Instagram but this blog is ultimately the crux of how my IG account was started, thus allowing Pam and I to discover each other on that platform.

Earlier this week I received this surprise box of beautiful things she created and I am just so grateful for her friendship and her creative gifts.


Pam creates beautiful things. Among her many talents, she teaches watercolor classes and if she didn't live all the way in Austin, Texas I would attend on a regular basis. I love these simple, gorgeous botanicals she created and can't wait to have them framed and hanging in my home.

Speaking of Texas, those of you who've been following me on Instagram know I was able to meet Pam in real life when my cousin and I travelled to Waco, Texas last December. Pam drove from Austin to Waco to meet up with us and she was wonderful. She took us to her favorite little shoppes and a delicious Taco spot for lunch in Waco. And you may also remember I purchased some of her pretty things at the Linen + Cake shoppe in Waco too ...including some of her pretty tassels. (see my "Magnolia" highlights bubble on IG).


I was so excited to see she included two more of her beautiful tassels in the surprise box she sent. I just love the combination of the raw wood beads and the different yarn selections she uses.


So yes...I've been crushing on her pretty things for some time and now these sweet + simple gift tags she sent may be a new obsession for me. I'm not sure how I'll ever be able to use them...they're just so pretty.


These two pretties absolutely stole my heart. The fact that Pam hand-lettered Ella's name on one and then signed the back of the other with a sweet note makes these both so super special. In fact, when Ella saw the one with her name on it she's been begging to have it - and I keep putting her off. *wink*


Everything is just so lovesome...I'm smitten with it all!
Thank you for your generosity Pam...and for the sweet friendship I now cherish.

You can find all of Pam's pretty things right here...

August + May Co. on:
Instagram 
Etsy Shoppe
Pinterest
Facebook

And while you are on Instagram...you should SO check out the video I created of when I opened the surprise box Pam sent!! CLICK HERE - and if you don't hear any music using this link, just go straight to my Instagram to watch it. *wink*

Love you friends!!


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
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KEEPiNG iT REAL
I had Pam's box for almost 5 days before I could open it because I knew I wanted to create
THIS VIDEO to document and share everything and my summer schedule didn't allow for it right away. It was driving me nuts because I had no idea as to what was inside but I just knew I'd love everything! And I did.

FOUND | The Dani Bench

Thursday, June 20


I found a treasure recently that has stolen my heart and I just had to share it with you. 
Introducing the Dani Bench...by Sugarboo + Co.


This bench is such a charming, skinny little piece of goodness - reminiscent of the antique, primitive chinese benches I've been crushing on in the home decor world  - but this one doesn't cost a small fortune. 

  
How or where did I find this treasure? 

I started following @withlovedani on Instagram - cannot remember how or why or who tagged her, but when I discovered her IG account, she was in the middle of moving from Celebration, Florida - a charming town I've always been in love with back in Orlando.  

I was immediately intrigued + connected to her because of the Celebration community and then she hooked me in for good when I realized she and her hubs, (and their two dogs), were heading to Georgia to create a new life and were diving into the renovation of a newly purchased beautiful, historical home. 

Fast forward a little bit and one day on her IG stories she mentions "the dani bench",  shows a picture of it and references how to get one.

BOOM! It was love at first sight.


Here's what I love about the bench.
I love it's simplistic, primitive charm.
I love how skinny it is and that it doesn't take up a whole lot of space but is still a statement piece.
I love that there are only a handful of benches available at a time.
I love the texture and imperfections.
And I love that each bench is unique in color, size, leg style, wood grain, etc.

I also love that the buying process took on an almost underground, black market vibe...lol...with nothing but Instagram conversations, less-than-detailed images to choose the bench I wanted and a final phone call for making the purchase. It was exciting to say the least.

And I LOVED the surprise of unpacking the bench on the day it arrived on my front porch to see what it actually looked like. (see the video here).




Now...I just need to decide on the perfect spot in the house to put it. 
Or maybe I actually need another one... *wink*

If you love it, come see me on Instagram and message me there: @pnpflowers
I'll put you in touch with the right people.

xoxo,
Jess

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
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PSS- the bench was nicknamed the "Dani Bench" because @withlovedani keeps referring more and more people from Instagram over to Sugarboo for purchasing their own benches when she shares/posts all about the one she personally purchased and loves. (love how supportive she is of small businesses). 

PSSS - Check out all of the other fun things at Sugarboo...soooo many pretties to fall for.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I was a bit nervous giving my credit card info over the phone to a complete stranger, but I trusted Dani so much I took a deep breath, said a little prayer and went for it. I'm so happy I did.

STYLE | Spring Confectionery Boards

Saturday, April 6


Look at this gorgeous "Fresh Spring Confectionery Board" you guys!!
Remember the Valentine's Day confectionery board (aka charcuterie-style sweets board) I did?
And remember how easy I said it was? And how I mentioned it was really fun to create?

Well what I didn't tell you is that I love them soooo much...I was already scheming + dreaming of ways to create one for the Spring + Easter season. And this week I finally made it happen!!

I spent one afternoon creating 5 different variations of the same Confectionery Board - using the same sweets - just swapping out the floral details and little add-ins.

It's amazing how different each one of them look with such simple changes.

These boards are perfect for intimate gatherings, family celebrations, baby showers, wedding showers, and there's even one I created to be work environment-friendly.

I even named each of the spring confectionery boards based on the vibe they were giving.

So...sit back...enjoy...and let's get this "sweets board" inspiration party started...

FRESH SPRING • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
Simplicity at its best with the use of greenery and a subtle touch of white florals.

SWEET SPRING • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
A whisper of blush pinks adds simple + sweet charm through the thoughtfully placed florals and treats.



SPRING GARDEN • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
The addition of mini clay pots instantly gives this one a spring garden vibe! 



SPRING FAVORITES • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
Foiled Easter candy favorites makes this board fun for the kids + is office environment-friendly

 PLAYFUL SPRING • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
No foil-wrapped candies here...just pretty colors of spring using pastel grab-and-go candies + treats.

So there you go...
5 different Spring inspired confectionery boards...
all using essentially the same sweets + treats.

They are so easy to put together but really do have a "wow" factor to them.
I'd love to know which one was your favorite?
I'm not sure I can decide on a favorite...
BUT...if you twisted my arm and made me pick one...I'd go with the "Fresh Spring"...and then the "Sweet Spring"...and then... *wink*

I'm so hoping today's post proves to you just how easy they are to assemble and then ultimately inspires you to try one of your own!

Happy Spring everyone!
Love you guys!
PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
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SWEETS + TREATS I USED:
Reese's Peanut Butter Creme 3D Eggs
Cadbury Classic Eggs
Cadbury Caramel Eggs
Macarons 
Cadbury Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs
Cadbury Milk Chocolate Shimmer Mini Eggs
Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
Reese's Pieces PB cup minis
Gourmet Jelly Beans
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Eggs - foiled
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Eggs - pastel candy coating
Almond Joy + Mounds Easter Snack Size Assortment (could not find the Easter ones to link them)
Reese's foiled PB Eggs
Walkers Shortbread Cookies
Crispy Cookies filled with Belgian Chocolate
Butter Waffle Cookies
Florals + Greenery were all from Trader Joe's

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I really think this whole "confectionery boards" thing could take off you guys!
I can see these at weddings and all sorts of celebrations.
If we can come up with a way to ship or deliver these...how fun would that business be? *wink*
And if you start seeing these all over the place...remember where you saw them first. *grin*
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