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A Week In Provence – Part One

Hello friends! I hope you’re all enjoying these first few weeks of fall! Sincere apologies for my extended absence, but good news..I’m alive! And having just returned from our third trip to France, I thought I’d share some photos of this dreamy corner of the world.

I’ve been longing to visit Provence for as long as I can remember. Lavender fields that go on for miles, charming medieval villages with winding cobblestone streets, shutters with chipping paint..the stuff dreams are made of.

And then we booked a flight to Nice. The months that followed were a giddy blur of research, planning, and soaking in anything Provencal I could find (as in reading multiple Peter Mayle books, and a less than successful attempt at aïoli).

Since this is quite a popular tourist destination, visiting in the summer can sometimes be a bit of a headache due to the crowds and traffic, so shoulder season (early fall) seemed like a good bet. Prices are more reasonable, crowds fairly scarce, and weather still perfect! It was sunny and in the low 70’s for most of our trip. It rained twice during our trip, but rain in this region generally tends to be a quick passing shower you can escape by ducking into a cafe for a glass of wine (as opposed to the persistent, nonstop drizzle one experiences in say Ireland).

After spending our first full day in Nice, we rented a car to explore some of the inland villages. Most of the coastal towns are well connected by public transportation, but if you’re looking to venture inland, renting a (compact!) car is definitely the best option!

Tourrettes-sur-Loup is a quick 40-ish minute drive from Nice, but feels worlds away from the bustle of the riviera. It has all the charm of the nearby Saint Paul de Vence, with a fraction of the tourists. We combined Tourrettes-sur-Loup with nearby Valbonne and Biot, which made for an enjoyable day trip from Nice!

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

The medieval town was nothing short of breathtaking! We spent a few hours walking along it’s windy little streets..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Discovering charming little alleys along the way..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Appreciating the local gardening displays!

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

And befriending dogs met along the way.

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Blooming violets give the village an intoxicating scent..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

Sigh. If this doesn’t make you want to pack up and move to France..

A Week In Provence (Part 1) - Tulips & A Terrier

This picturesque village was one of my favorites visited on the trip..and blissfully tourist free!

We had a very nice lunch at Pizzeria des Arts with the friendliest hosts! Parking was relatively straightforward in a large, centrally located lot. There were lots of little shops, restaurants, and cafes in the charming old town, and one could easily spend an afternoon wandering it’s beautiful little streets!

Hopefully you enjoyed this brief glimpse into our recent hop across the pond! Ever had the pleasure of visiting this delightful region? I’d love to hear about it!

— Lusine

Coffee & End Table Makeover

Good news friends, I’m still alive! Just buried under about 18 feet of snow. I really wish that was an exaggeration, but it’s really not. And here we thought we had it so good when it was 50 degrees on Christmas day and mid January showed no sign of snow. Well, looks like mother nature decided to cram 4 months of winter and snowfall into like 3 weeks. Needless to say, it’s a little tough to stay inspired when it takes you 10 minutes to get out of your driveway, and days of grilling out in the yard feel a million miles away.  On a positive note, March is less than two weeks away!

But rest assured, I have tried to spend these days of being barricaded in my house productively! On the day before blizzard # 1,  I bought myself a power sander and decided to put it to good use. And what better way than a quick table makeover!

My coffee table and end table have been on my to do list for a while. Just plain brown tables. Ordinarily, one may not see anything wrong with plain brown tables, but in a room that also has big brown couches, brown curtains…well, you might as well be sitting inside of a tree.

Tulips & A TerrierThis is a before of the end table. Of course, I forgot to get a before of the coffee table.. but they were pretty identical so you are not missing much.

A couple coats of ‘Parisian Taupe’ by Behr, and a new knob later, and voila! Clearly, I am someone who picks paint colors strictly based on the name. Also, ‘Paris White’ is actually pink. In case you have the same problem and any mention of Paris in the name is often your deciding factor.

End Table - Tulips & A Terrier

While I was at it, I thought I’d do the coffee table over as well. Since the table gets a good amount of use,  I wasn’t so sure about painting the entire thing white (in fear of it looking filthy within a couple of weeks). Plus I really hate matchy furniture.

So, I picked up a sample of ‘Grey Morning’ (also by Behr) for the top. It’s more of a duck egg blue than a gray, but I am totally obsessed with the color.

Coffee Table - Tulips & A Terrier

The combination of the two really brighten up the room! The mismatched knobs are unintentional…I happened to have some knobs from Hobby Lobby that I purchased for another project, but I think it looks kind of cool.

Coffee Table - Tulips & A Terrier

What else have I been up to while snowed in every weekend? Cuddling with one handsome Jack as I challenge my abilities at crochet (I made a hat!), while simultaneously rekindling my love of various shows now available to stream (Saved by the Bell is on Netflix!!). Oh, and planning a trip to Ireland next month. More on that over the next couple of weeks!!

Tulips & A Terrier

How is Jack doing, you ask? Oh he’s still his usual pouty self. Longing for the days of sunbathing outside and unobstructed access to his poop spot.

Tulips & A Terrier

How are you spending all this time being snowed in? If you happen to reside somewhere warmer,  I hate you. Just kidding! What are some of the things you’re looking forward to this spring?

Gold Dipped Votives

Hello friends! I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! As much as I love the excitement of the holidays..the presents, the parties, the glitter..I’m a little relieved to see them end. Truthfully, I really missed having a weekend of doing absolutely nothing here and there. Seeing as how it’s January, there’s probably quite a few of those on the way. I like to think I’ll use them constructively and finally organize my closet or something. But realistically speaking, all 10 seasons of Friends are now available on Netflix…so I’m not making any promises.

I finished this project probably about a month ago, but haven’t found the time to put together a post. I have to say, in my opinion, Rub n’ Buff has got to be the most underrated crafting supply there is! This stuff is so great! We used it to update the hardware when we were making over the bathroom last year, and it’s held up relatively well! It’s a great alternative for projects in which using spraypaint would require you to tape off the whole room.

While this isn’t one of those projects, I really like gilded texture it gives. I just think that votive candle holders from the dollar store are a perfect base for any craft experiments. If it doesn’t go as planned, you’re only out a buck! Along with you votive (or vase, bottle, whatever you choose to use), you will need some painter’s tape and some Rub n’ Buff in your choice of color. I used gold leaf, but there are a whole bunch of options available!

Gold Dipped Votives - Tulips and A Terrier

First, you just tape off the area which you plan to stain. I chose to do a stripe at rim, but you can totally get more creative here! I’m not great with taping in straight lines so I thought it be best to refrain from any sort of complicated pattern.

Gold Dipped Votives - Tulips and A TerrierI ended up adding a piece of tape to the inside too, just to prevent me from rubbing the wax into the votive, as you can see in the next photo. Using the Rub n’ Buff is truly as easy as the name suggests. You rub it on. I’ve heard of people doing this with a cloth or a sponge, but I find that I got the best results using my finger. You just apply and rub the product back and forth until it’s blended into the surface.

Gold Dipped Votives - Tulips and A Terrier

Allow it to dry for a few hours, and then you buff with a cloth to give it a shiny gilded finish! Depending on your surface and the look you’re trying to achieve, you might want to do a second coat. Since I knew that lighting a candle in the votive would allow light to shine through any gaps, I tried to go for a very opaque finish and added a second coat.

Gold Dipped Votives - Tulips and A Terrier

And that’s pretty much it! Just allow the Rub ‘n Buff to dry for a couple of hours.

Gold Dipped Votives - Tulips and A Terrier

Oh, and I added some ribbon. Because why not.  What do you guys think? I really like the way they came out! I think these would be so pretty in a black and white tablescape, or mantle!

Gold Dipped Votives - Tulips and A Terrier

I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever used Rub n’ Buff? Have any ideas to share?

– Lusine


Hosting The Perfect Holiday Party!

As you may have picked up from some of my previous posts, I absolutely LOVE this time of year. And although Thanksgiving is right around the corner (any first time hosting tips are welcome), Christmas has always been my hands down favorite. What’s not to love? The music, decorations, presents, lovely smell of pine filling the home! And of course, having an opportunity to spend time with loved ones. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our annual holiday party. And although I may be a newbie when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving, this will be our fifth annual holiday soiree! And I will admit, it’s quite the event. I like to think of it as the Vanity Fair Oscar party of our social circle. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I have been told that people look forward to it all year. Well, I look forward to it all year.

Anyways! I have picked up a thing or two over the years which has made the event both less stressful for myself and more enjoyable for guests! And in case you are planning on hosting a holiday soiree of your own,  I thought you might enjoy a few of my tips!

Festive Atmosphere

This is way easier than you think and really sets the event apart! Adding little festive touches around the house ensures guests are delighted at every turn! And it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Have some ornaments that didn’t make the tree? Put them into a glass bowl, accented with a ribbon!

Holiday Party Planning Tips - Tulips & A Terrier

I was quite proud of this little vignette! The candle holders, candles, and tray are all courtesy of the dollar store. Add in a few ornaments in a variety of shapes, and you have a charming Christmas display! I also like the idea of incorporating some beautifully wrapped presents in in a holiday vignette. After all, why should they have to hide under the tree all season!

Holiday Party Planning Tips - Tulips & A Terrier

The last couple of years, we’ve also been lining the living room and dining room with strings of Christmas lights. Yellow lights only, not multicolored. It creates such a beautiful glow!

Of course, creating a festive atmosphere is more than just decor! An equally festive playlist is essential for an unforgettable party! I stick to upbeat classics that are known crowd pleasers (i.e. All I Want For Christmas is You, Santa Baby), and try to add in some lesser known newer tunes (accented by a few pieces from the Nutcracker,of course). If you’re looking for some ideas, I shared a Spotify playlist last year here! Services like Spotify and Google Play make it super easy to create a playlist right on your phone that you can plug into a portable speaker or TV during the party.

Menu Planning

This is where I think some experience has definitely gone a long way for me. My first overambitious party menu left me exhausted by the time the party started, and the food was cold by the time most of the guests arrived. First off, know that most people will not arrive at the time stated on the invitation (unless you’re having a formal dinner party). And of course, you want people to enjoy the food when it’s fresh out of the oven.

In my opinion, the trick is to find appetizers that can be made ahead and popped into the oven for a few minutes during the party to ensure fresh and warm appetizers throughout the evening. Last year, I found a few appetizers that had similar cooking times and temperatures which I made ahead and put on cookie sheets in sets of 10 or so and popped them in the fridge. Once one batch is gone, you can pop in another sheet of apps and have a fresh batch ready in a few minutes. Slow cooker meatballs are also a life saver. Leave the slow cooker on warm, and replenish the platter as they run out. So much less stressful than trying to have everything ready at the same time and worrying out about food getting cold.

Also, I try to stick to finger foods. No one wants to make a mess of their party outfit or be sitting down and cutting through something with a knife and fork. Try to pick things that can be eaten easily in a couple of bites with minimal mess (or the addition of toothpicks). A roundup of a few favorites from last year..

Garlic Chicken Puffs: While there is no shortage of crescent roll appetizers on Pinterest, I’ve probably made this one probably half a dozen times. The recipe is super versatile and easy! Split the chicken and cream cheese mixture into two, add different seasonings, and you have two different appetizers. I like to give them a little kick with a splash of Sriracha.

Sweet & Sour Crockpot Meatballs: Reading through the ingredients, I was a bit skeptical at first..but these were such a hit! And literally require about 5 minutes of active prep.

Best Ever Sliders: The fact that I didn’t make these last year was probably my biggest hostessing fail ever. They will certainly be on the menu this time around.

Warm Gruyere, Bacon, and Carmelized Onion Dip: One can’t host a Christmas party without a cheese based dish. And this one not only sounds impressive, but is super delicious!

Add A Personal Touch!

In a time where the vast majority of communication takes place electronically through email, text, and an endless array of social media platforms, it’s so refreshing to add something more personal and tangible to the event! I love the idea of sending out invitations! Not an Evite, email, group text, but an actual physical invitation! Imagine just how delighted your guests will be to find a pretty little invitation in the mail that they stick on the fridge to remind themselves of fun times ahead!

There are a ton of adorable options on Tiny Prints, many of which can be customized to match the theme/color of your soiree! I’m torn between these three for this year.

Holiday Party Planning - Tulips & A Terrier


And finally, don’t forget budget the time it will take for you to get ready into your plan for the evening. It seems so simple, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this. And the next thing you know you’re still applying eyeliner as guests are walking in the door.

And most importantly, try not to stress and enjoy yourself! After all, parties are supposed to be fun!

Paris – Part Deux

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! Just in case you didn’t get enough of Paris in my previous post, I thought I’d share a few more photos of our trip to this magical city to brighten up your Saturday!

My absolute favorite thing to do while we were in Paris was to aimlessly wander around it’s charming little streets and stroll along the Seine.

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

It’s like a never ending stream seriously stunning scenery! No shortage of postcard views here..

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

I just couldn’t get enough of the Parisian rooftops and wrought iron balconies. It feels like walking through a movie, a Chanel ad, and a history book all at once!

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

And the flowers in the windows. Sigh.

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

And the doors were a work of art in themselves! Painted in an array of beautiful colors from vibrant blues to muted greens, and adorned with some pretty impressive woodwork!

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

They looked even prettier when viewed from charming cobblestone courtyards.

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

I could (and did) get lost in these adorable streets and alleyways for hours. I mean, they kind of start to look the same after a while.

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

Bustling market streets like Rue Cler below have such an amazing atmosphere! Lined with little specialty shops and cafes, they are truly delightful! I loved sitting back at one of these cafes with a glass of wine (apparently the least expensive beverage option with the exception of tap water) and watch Parisians go about their day, while always looking effortlessly chic and put together.

Paris: Part Deux - Tulips & A Terrier

Hopefully you enjoyed this little glimpse of our trip! I do apologize for the amount of time it’s taking me to turn out these Paris installments. Unfortunately, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks since our return but I do promise not too keep you waiting too long for more Paris goodness.

Au revoir for now!

– Lusine