A Summer in Photos

Everyone’s saying it and I can’t disagree…summer is FLYING by! It’s been a fun (albeit busy) one filled with travel, family, food and many fun projects. In my absence from blogging, here is what I’ve been up to (through the eyes of Instagram):

Taking time to explore our little slice of paradise

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A relaxing trip to Napa for our anniversary (we can call end of May summer, right?!)

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Lake sunsets that leave me in awe…


Full blown remodel planning (kicking off this Fall!)

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Summer cooking with zero formality


A  4th of July for the memory books

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Family celebrations in the California sunshine

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Working on some fun Brass Tacks projects


Two trips to this windy city for quality time with family and friends

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And soaking up every last second of this….

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However you’ve been spending your summer I hope you’ve been enjoying each and every day to it’s fullest! While I cherish these summer days, I’m looking forward to getting back into the blog groove. Stay tuned! xo

Show and Tell- Volume 8

Show and Tell- vol 8


Clockwise from top left: Parsons Wall Mirror / Mon Cher Journal / Embroidered Banner / Sailing Ship Kite / Clara Earrings / Charlotte Street Tablecloths / Linen Duvet Cover Set / Juliska Pet Bowl Anchor Wool Baby Blanket / The Laundress Signature Detergent / Marble Fruit Bowl / Gold Cherry Blossom Washi Tape

Summer summer summer…it’s a fleeting season and I can’t get enough. As we being to near Fall I’m scheming strategies to infuse the delicious energy of summer into my home year round. I’ll start with this amazing stripe linen duvet set from Parachute Home. Soft, beachy and beautiful. Winter will without a doubt call for layers of warm blankets so why not keep things nautical with this gem. Add in a whimsical white ship and an adorable hanging banner and my lakeside guest room is complete. Polka dots will add cheer to the dining table year round, particularly when topped with a pretty marble bowl filled with seasonal fruit. Since laundry is unfortunately not seasonal (I wish!) make it fun by throwing on some fancy baubles and washing with these beautiful detergents from The Laundress. To keep the pup happy, spoil him with a fancy new dog dish that will double as decor. When all else fails and you really need a boost of summer energy, look back on your journal to relish the dog days of summer!

The Beauty of Handwriting

Brown Ink

Clockwise from top right: Foil Wilderness Gift Tags / Bubbly Cheers Tag Set / Mechanical Wood Pencil / Wine Bottles Invitation / Dessert Birthday Card / Thank You Mix Set / Seaweed Hello Set

A blog is a wonderful way to express yourself to a wide audience, and in my case a valuable tool to represent my brand. While social media, blogging and the internet have done wonders for global communication, there is something so pure, simple and rewarding about receiving a handwritten note. In many ways handwriting is a lost art.

No one is more passionate about the handwritten note than the inspiring and fabulous Wendy Brown of Brown Ink Paper Goods. Brown Ink was created in 2011 as a blog to inspire basic longhand. As she states, “There’s never been a more important time to slow down and remember what handwriting feels like; the excitement of receiving a letter in the mail, the beauty of becoming acquainted with a new friend’s writing, or the current and future gifts received through journaling the now.” To spread her passion for handwriting, Wendy and her husband launched Brown Ink Paper Goods in 2013. This beautiful online boutique features a thoughtfully curated collection of stationary, journals and writing related goods. I swoon over this, these, this and this. With new products being added regularly (see above for my favorites), Brown Ink offers so many beautiful ways to make writing truly joyful.

The power of a handwritten note in this day and age should not be underestimated. I received my first job offer out of college because I was the only applicant to send a hand written thank you after the interview process (true story). Now that I work for myself I impart handwriting into as many facets of Brass Tacks as possible. My calendar and to-do lists are hand written. I write personal notes to clients for birthdays, holidays and thank you’s. On a personal level, I take great joy in sending and receiving a lovely letter-pressed card. According to Brown Ink, “When we look back at our writing, words create our history and individuality. Without question, handwriting gives balance and emotion to our lives.”

So next time you sit down to write that email take pause and consider how much more meaningful your message will be coming from your hand. Handwriting is not just a tool, it’s the creation of a keepsake its recipient may cherish forever.

Fourth of July Flavor

Fourth of july

Clockwise from top left: Stars and Stripes Swag/ Jcrew Bikini / Frilloon / M. Carter Canvas Pouch / Faribault Woolen Mill Throw / Kate Spade Sandals / Stripe Beverage Caddy / Gap Stripe Strappy Dress / Men’s Fedora

The Fourth of July is upon us! Festive flags, patriotic outfits and fireworks abound. Our new home is in one of the most Fourth of July focused spots of all time so this year you’ll find me draped head to toe in nothing but red white and blue. From flirty dresses for the day to a cozy throw for fireworks at night, to a fabulous Frilloon to get you in the spirit- I’ve got you covered for Fourth of July fun finds.

Wherever you’re celebrating, Happy Independence Day, be safe and have fun!!

Summer is here! And so is your to-do list…

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Summer is a fabulous time of year. The sun is shining, the bikes are out, the kids are covered in sand and popsicle drippings and parents all over the world are wishing they could kick back with a cocktail and call it a day. While summer symbolizes freedom for our youth, it often leads to exhaustion for parents who are balancing their own life with the new craziness of summer schedules.

Have trips to the beach, mid-week sleepovers, tennis camp and evening BBQ’s left you with a never ending to-do list? Simplify your life by outsourcing the less desirable tasks on your list. Brass Tacks offers comprehensive assistance services- from running errands to full time lifestyle management. So get out, enjoy that summer cocktail and live what you love. Summer is just too short not to.

Contact me today for a quote!

*Virtual personal assistant services are available worldwide.

Going Nautical

going nautical


Clockwise from top left: Anchor Dog Toy / Stripe Boatneck Tee / Hello Throw Pillow / The Ropes Bracelet / Petit Bateau Newborn Bodysuit / Ahoy Bath Mat / Sperry Metallic Boat Shoe / Stripe Gent Tie / Gold Anchor Monogrammed Stationary / Sea Bags Tote


If you follow me on Instagram, you’re already familiar with my love for stripes and my recent move lakeside. Lucky for me the two go together quite nicely, giving me the perfect excuse to embrace my inner sailor this summer. I’m clearly not the only one adding nautical flair to my life. Jcrew currently has a few nice collaborations with fabulous Maine-based companies crafting pretty goods out of nautical ropes and reclaimed sails. These are great additions to classics like the Sperry Topsider which is now available in just about every color and pattern combination you could dream of. I surprised my hubby with these for his birthday and let’s just say anything from the Gold Cup line is THE most comfortable shoe ever. I’m counting the days until their Women’s version of the line comes out this Fall. Nothing goes better with a pair of Sperry’s than a classic striped top. For the real deal, opt for this Saint James version. This company has been turning out nautical inspired wear in Normandy since the 1800’s. More budget friendly options can be found nearly everywhere including here and here. You of course must include your little ones in the stripes frenzy as well. Leave it to another fab french company to turn out this cute getup. Once you’ve finally hit your stripes quota, turn to home decor and personal stationary as mechanisms to add a little seaside love into your life. (and don’t forget Fido in all the fun!).

Wherever you spend your summer I hope you’re able to enjoy the water somewhere!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Fathers day 2014

1 Sugar Paper Card 2 Excelsior Brewing BeerRifle Paper Card 4 Soul Socks 5 Harry’s Father and Son Shave Set 6 Cuyana Canvas Weekender Bag 7 Leather Catchall

I sometimes feel like dads get the short end of the stick. Unable to experience the feeling of carrying a child to birth, often secondary to mom when a child is seeking comfort, and occasionally less celebrated for their role in nurturing children into beautiful, smart and confident adults (despite the often blurred gender roles in todays modern world). So often it’s mom’s that get the credit, leaving dads very deserving of a day that is all about them! Summer is already flying by which means that Father’s Day has crept up rather quickly. While it’s only three days away, there is still time to get something special for your dad that shows him just how much you love him. If your dad is anything like mine, he already has most everything he wants and needs, leaving a thoughtful card as a simple and great gift. I love this Rifle Paper option sold locally at Brown Ink. Perhaps you’re wanting to treat your hubby to a very special father’s day as a new dad. These canvas Cuyana weekenders are perfect for a weekend getaway and will surely get a ton of use over the years (plus you can easily borrow it for yourself!). I’m so charmed by the Harry’s Father and Son Shave Set, allowing dad to teach their kiddos the art of good grooming. If you’re opting for a more “adult” treat, why not pick up a growler of fabulous local beer to be enjoyed under the summer sun. Or help your dad stock up on awesome socks to brighten his work day by giving him a sock subscription from Soul Socks (a cool company started by a friend of mine!). No matter what fun treats you shower your dad with I hope you have a wonderful summer weekend filled with plenty of quality family time!

Now…For Men Only

For Men Only

From Top Left: Room No. 3 / Sugar Paper / Catbird / Veuve Clicquot / Goyard

The men in our lives are our rocks, our best friends, and a shoulder to cry on. They are confidants, travel buddies and the fathers of our children. They make us laugh  (and sometimes cry!) and we love spending quality time with them. While they fill a special need in our lives, our men don’t always shine with their gift giving and planning skills.

To bridge the gap Brass Tacks offers “For Men Only”, an exclusive service just for guys. The possibilities are endless –  planning a romantic getaway, special occasion surprises, lingerie, jewelry and specialty shopping,  gift wrapping and personal delivery. Give your man the confidence of knowing he’s scored the perfect gift while you delight in the fabulous end result!

Is your hubby tasked with organizing the perfect anniversary trip? Brass Tacks will make all the arrangements to ensure a memorable stress-free vacation for both of you! Big birthday coming up? A sparkling custom-made bauble will do the trick!

Drop a hint to your man today and Brass Tacks  will simplify HIS life.

Show and Tell- Napa Edition

Show and Tell- Napa

The hubby and I are just back from an amazing long weekend in Napa. After marrying at The Carneros Inn last May, they gave us a free stay as an anniversary gift so we jumped at the chance to soak up an extra long weekend at our favorite little slice of paradise. While each of our trips to Napa have been different, we always stick to the following guidelines: visit small production wineries (with some exceptions), eat a lot of amazing food (not very hard) and try to relax at the hotel as much as possible (sometimes a challenge with everything else we like to fit in). I’m often asked by clients for tips on what to do and see while visiting Napa Valley. There really is so much to explore,  but without further adieu, here is a very brief overview of just a few personal favorites.


There are so many hidden gems to explore in wine country which means a little upfront research and planning can go a long way. For an amazingly peaceful setting, fabulous modern farmhouse architecture, rich and wonderful wines (and fabulous branding to boot) I adore Larkmead Vineyards. A similar ambiance in a less private setting can be found at the laid back Frog’s Leap (you can find me drinking their Rosé all summer long). For a secluded setting with delicious reds (and if you’re lucky a tasting of their aged Balsamic), make a reservation at The Terraces. Get your fix of bubbly at the beautiful Domaine Carneros and take a tour of a a wonderful vineyard at Gundlach Bundschu for a taste of the Sonoma side of things.


Just like tasty wine, delicious food is not hard to find in Napa Valley. My list of favorite restaurants is long but there are a few we visit on repeat. While I enjoy Redd, their sister restaurant, Redd Wood dishes up fabulous pizzas and pasta in a laid back setting that is perfect after a long day of tasting. Head across the street to Ciccio, a no-reservations local hang that serves some mean rustic italian. I could eat their whole grilled fish ten times over. For fabulous Italian in Napa proper, stop by Oenotri (or Bottega in Yountville)- you won’t be disappointed with either. Once you’re tired of Italian and really craving some pomme frites, Bistro Jeanty is an old favorite. Perfect for a rich lunch particularly during the colder months of the year. When you’re feeling like checking something off the bucket list there’s always French Laundry. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience (tip: come rested (both yourself and your wallet) as you will be there for hours). On the opposite end of the spectrum are my favorite lunch spots- Fremont Diner for casual diner grub, La Luna Tacqueria for authentic Mexican to-go, Addendum for Ad Hoc’s famous fried chicken and Oxbow Public Market for a variety of tasty treats. Lastly, I can’t leave Boon Fly Cafe off the list as their mini-donuts are a Napa staple for us.


If you ask me, there are few places in the world more serene and relaxing than the Hilltop pool at The Carneros Inn. Equally splurge worthy is Bardessono in Yountville, Solage in Calistoga or the classic Auberge du Soleil. If looking for something a little more reasonable, there are  many great options centrally located in Yountville like Villagio and the newer modern boutique, North Block.

Wine Country, you never cease to rejuvenate me. Cheers to another year with the wine cellar stocked!

*For further tips or itinerary planning, contact Brass Tacks today*

Show and Tell- Volume 7

Show and tell vol 7

From Top Left: bkr Water Bottle / Polynesian Stone Earrings / New Balance for Jcrew Sneakers / One Love Organics Cleansing Sponge / Beauty Counter Body Wash / Papillionaire Sommer Bicycle / Hammered Party Bucket 

Summer is upon us and I couldn’t be more pleased! While Brass Tacks has been keeping busy indoors (pardon my lack of blogging!),  I can’t help but think about cruising on a fabulous bike, cocktails on the porch, sun dresses with statement earrings, long walks with the pup, lounging on the beach and finally moisturized skin after a long dry winter. After moving lakeside earlier this month (and being completely inspired by the Dutch Bicycles on my trip to Amsterdam), I’m seriously considering ordering a Public Bike. While cruising around town this summer, I’ll not be leaving home without my beloved bkr water bottle. These things make drinking water pretty delightful. Hydrating will be important this summer as my porch has been regularly begging me to sit outside with a good book and a cocktail. How cute is this party bucket? A must have for summer parties and porch time fun. With the extra sun comes the need for good skin care. I’m loving these new sponges from One Love Organics- a great alternative to my aging Clarisonic. And in case you missed my Beauty Counter test drive last week, you can still shop for fabulous safe products here.

What new things will you be trying this summer? Do share!