Providence has an important industrial history that dates back to the very beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in America. Nineteenth century factories and warehouses can be seen all around where I grew up throughout the Blackstone River Valley. On each visit, James and I make a point to photograph some of the architecture, for we never know how long each structure will be around. Centuries of exposure to the elements have made them into works of natural art, exhibiting rich textures that reel us in with generations of stories.
The interplay of different materials such as brick, stone, wood, metal, and paint, combine to create such interesting forms.
Some of the factories incorporate Romanesque elements into their design, making for some very unique buildings.
On a recent trip, we wandered past a hauntingly beautiful demolition site.
Many of the historic structures have been adapted into other uses, such as these lofts. It’s wonderful to see them given a new life instead of being destined for the wrecking ball.
When I think of spring cocktails, floral notes and hints of sweetness come to mind. Here are three of my favorite springtime cocktails that are great for sipping on warm days outdoors while soaking in the new season.
Lillet Blanc Cocktail: This cocktail is a rather recent discovery that has quickly become a staple in our home. Lillet Blanc combined with grapefruit make this drink soft and subtly sweet. Adding a flower to the drink not only gives it a pretty garnish, but the scent of the flower is present as you drink.
Ingredients: 2 oz Lillet Blanc, 2 oz fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, 1 oz Hendrick’s gin, 2 dashes simple syrup. Add all ingredients to a chilled shaker, shake well then add to saucer with flower for garnish.
French 75: We first tried this take on a French 75 on our trip to Austin a couple of years ago. The muddled strawberries give the drink an extra touch of sweetness and a punch of spring color. We enjoyed it so much that it has become one of our all time favorite cocktails, and was one of our two specialty cocktails on our wedding day.
Ingredients: 2 oz gin (I like to use Hendrick’s gin for the added rose petal flavor), 2 dashes simple syrup, 4 oz Brut champagne, 1 tbsp muddled strawberries, squirt of lemon juice. Add all ingredients (except champagne) to shaker, add to flute and top with champagne.
St. Germain Sparkling Limeade: I associate limeade more with summertime rather than spring, but adding the St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur) makes this cocktail feel light and flowery, making it a perfectly crisp spring cocktail.
Ingredients: 2 oz Hendrick’s gin, 1 oz St. Germain, 6 oz sparkling limeade, lemon & lime slices for garnish. Add gin, St. Germain, and lemon wedges to a glass filled with ice and top with sparkling limeade.
James’ first apartment in Los Angeles was in the neighborhood of Los Feliz, at the foot of Griffith Park. When we first started dating, he spent a lot of time showing me the area and exploring some of his favorite spots. We love going back to visit some of the restaurants there, or to stroll around nearby Barnsdall Park.
When James first moved here, he was awe struck by the views of the Griffith Observatory.
Many local businesses contribute to the area’s charm.
There are quite a few delightful dingbats with names such as “Los Feliz Capri.”
Here is James on the street where he first lived in Los Angeles.
Some of the homes in the neighborhood are quite spectacular, such as this one designed by Lloyd Wright.
At the foot of the hills is the beautiful Art Deco Los Feliz Manor.
As you approach Hollywood, you can see another unexpected apartment building, the Trianon.
John Marshall High School would look right at home on any Ivy League college campus.
Hidden amongst winding roads, you can walk along the narrow Shakespeare Bridge.
Even though James hasn’t lived there for years, walking through the hills of Los Feliz and admiring the views will always bring back fond memories and have a special place in our hearts.
I have always loved spending time outdoors, and James and I are lucky to have our own little patio to lounge in when the weather is warmer. It’s a pleasant little escape for relaxing, dining, or gardening. It isn’t a very large patio, but has just enough space for a little table, wicker chairs, a grill, and a few plants.
For decor we like to use rustic pieces that incorporate a good amount of detail and design. These clay pitchers were a gift from family that instantly felt at home in the little outdoor space.
Because the patio is squeezed in between two buildings, it doesn’t get a tremendous amount of sunshine, but just enough to keep some small fresh herbs planted. The herbs give the space some extra greenery and are incredibly helpful for cooking fresh meals at home.
We’ve allowed some of the natural vines in the area to spread around, trimming away the dead leaves when needed.
During the spring and summer months we sometimes take our dinner outside and enjoy it under the soft lights. Even when I cook indoors, having the patio is a refreshing way to be outside in the cool air and talk away our evenings. We couldn’t imagine not having this little outdoor private spot as part of our home.
Because one of us is always behind the camera, we rarely get a chance to take photos together. When we heard of the opportunity to have photos taken of us on film through a colleague, we jumped at the chance. We had the photographer shoot us at our favorite beach in Malibu (El Matador) while the sun was setting.
This was our first time ever being photographed on film together, and we’re happy to finally have a set of photos at one of our favorite places showing us both having fun on the beach.
For a recent book club meeting with some friends, I decided to make tea sandwiches while we discussed Alice in Wonderland. I made two vegetarian friendly versions and two with meat to give everyone options. For the bread I purchased a couple loaves of pain de mie from our local bakery, which was the perfect density and softness (plus, slicing the bread yourself gives you control over how thick you want the slices).
Steak Au Poivre: 4 oz steak, 2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns, 1 stick butter, fresh herbs of your choice. I made a simple herb butter by adding minced parsley, dill, and chives to softened butter (about 1 tablespoon of each herb). Season steak with salt then press the steak into the peppercorns to lightly coat each side. In a small pan heat 1 teaspoon olive oil with 2 teaspoons butter until lightly browned. Add steak and cook (about 4 minutes each side for a medium-rare). Slice steak into thin strips once it has cooled and add to sandwiches with herb butter spread.
Fig and prosciutto: This was the easiest of the four sandwich types to make. Spread fig jam (I was lucky enough to have a whole jar of homemade fig jam from a friend) and add a few slices of sliced prosciutto.
Egg salad with toasted almonds: 5 hard boiled eggs (cut into cubes), two medium sized red spring onions finely minced, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup sliced almonds, salt and pepper to taste. To toast the almonds add to a pan and toast stovetop over medium high heat. Once almonds are slightly browned, grind in food processor. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Cucumber: I kept this one pretty traditional and used only three simple ingredients: 4 sliced persian cucumbers (they’re really crunchy and you don’t have to peel off skin), 4 oz softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon minced dill. Mix the dill and cream cheese and spread on sliced bread, then add a few slices of cucumber to each sandwich.