Time To Say Goodbye

It's been three years, hundreds and hundreds of blog posts, many design projects, lots of laughter, some tears and now a final high-five for Shannon and I.  I'm sad to say this is officially our last Design Serendipity entry but it's with great joy and excitement for the future that we bid you farewell.  Life is moving quickly for each of us and although we treasure our time with each of you, we find fewer and fewer minutes in the day to give you what we feel you deserve and that's quality, well thought out, content-rich posts.  We will deeply miss being a part of your daily rituals and cannot thank you enough for making us feel so special and so appreciated.  All of your feedback (good or bad) was valuable and you made us what we were!!  Thank you!

For those of you looking for extraordinary design work, check out Shannon's new website www.shannonmanchester.com which she is still uploading images to.  She has secured lots of fun new projects for 2014 so check in when you can to see her work.  Not sure if there is an official "wait list" but she loves being busy so maybe your house could be next.  I couldn't be more proud of her strength, her skill and her ability to balance work and life at home. She proves daily that us girls CAN do it all!!  Shannon was the best Partner In Crime EVER and thankfully although we'll no longer be working together, we're "sisters" forever.  For the skeptics who said we'd fail or that going into business with your bestie was a mistake, we say...look who's smiling now and look who did it!!  Not a day of regret, not a moment of hesitation, everything we did got us to where we are now.

We'll miss you all and wish you a happy, healthy, fabulous 2014!!

J & S


Happy Holidays and Big News

Happy Friday...and cheers to the start of a joyous holiday week!  Whether you're spending your time in snowy New York or on a warm beach, please don't forget to relax and enjoy your family.  Jody and I are going to take some time off from blogging for the next week to spend time with our families.  It has been quite the year for both of us.  I am happy (but also sad) to announce that my best friend and business partner has decided to start a new, but familiar journey in the world of fashion.  This is an industry that naturally feels like home to Jody.  They are SO lucky to have her back!  She accepted an incredible job opportunity from Vineyard Vines and will kick off the new year with all her gusto and passion working for this incredible company!  I will miss her to pieces, but am so happy and proud of her!!!  The good news continues...we will continue to blog for Design Serendipity because it is an absolute joy and shared love of ours.  I will continue designing and although I won't have my brilliant partner by my side, I will move forward with the same passion I have always felt for designing homes. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people and opportunities that have blessed my life in 2013 and am looking forward to 2014! 

Happy Holidays!!!

xoxo - S

There's no doubt that the snow covered trees in Central Park are beautiful, 
but it's been cold in this neck of the woods and it's not even technically winter yet!

This would be my preference this holiday season...the sun and the sand would
be absolute heaven for this cold New England girl right now...


Party Shoes

For those of you who plan to ring in the new year in style, have you thought about your outfit yet?  It's the perfect opportunity to pull out that little black dress from the closet or treat yourself to something sparkly and perhaps gold.  My New Year's Eve plans involve three little munchkins having a fun night at home, so I'm planning to wear my comfy clothes while they wear their footie Carter's pajamas.  But...if I had a "grown-up" party to attend, here are some amazing party shoes that would compliment almost any festive party outfit.  

xoxo - S


All this outfit needs is the perfect pair of shoes...

We do not take credit or own any images in this Post.


Noir Ferret Desk

I always style stalk my friend Diane on Pinterest (click to see her pins) because well let's be honest, she has great taste and a very consistent aesthetic which I love.  I was peeking at her "desk" board this morning when I stumbled upon the Noir "Ferret" desk.   I love this piece because the lines feel unique, interesting and it's not just a desk, it's a sculptural sight!  I may have written about this before but it's worth mentioning again because it's rather gender neutral.  Take a look:

Try Google searching this image and see what you can find but I can see this paired with a beautiful wing-back chair and some lovely desk accessories!  It does also come in a few other finishes if the black isn't your favorite.

Song of the day is by Future Islands, "Balance" .



Ridiculous Ragu!

I'm not sure if it's the cold weather or the Mama Bear in me wanting to provide hearty and nutritious meals to my kids, but I have been scouring the internet for recipes that will appeal to all.  This Chicken Ragu recipe is taken from one of my favorite recipe blogs, The Italian Dish.  I was initially scared off by the prep time of but it doesn't require too much attention but rather slow cooking, which is what makes the chicken tender and super flavorful.  It's a hearty meal and perfect for a cold day or even treating a cold.  It's carrot, celery and tomato base is savory and the hint of red wine gives it character.  When all is said and done it's simply divine!  In fact, I made it last week and froze the leftovers which we had tonight...already!!!  You will not be disappointed and if it's too time consuming for a weeknight it's the perfect meal to simmer on a Sunday afternoon!!!  xoxo - S

Get your ingredients lined up and ready to go....
Image and Recipe via The Italian Dish
After sauteing the veggies, tomatoes and chicken thighs 
you get this intensely rich broth that will fill the entire house with yumminess!

  Image via Design Serendipity

After an hour remove the chicken thighs and shred them 
with a fork and return the shredded chicken to the pot.
  Image via Design Serendipity

Let the sauce simmer some more to thicken and now it's time to get your pasta cooking...
  Image via Design Serendipity

When you're ready serve the ragu over pasta and don't forget the parmesan cheese!

 Image via Design Serendipity

This dish was a HUGE success in our house!  I got numerous compliments (which rarely happens at the dinner table), AND there were seconds served all around!

 Image via Design Serendipity

Chicken Ragu Sauce Over Orecchiette
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1/3 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • large pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (or to taste)
  • ground fresh black pepper
  • 12 ounces dried orecchiette pasta (or any kind you like)
  • grated parmesan cheese
In a heavy bottom pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the chicken thighs.  Let them brown for a few minutes and turn when nicely golden.  Let brown on the other side.  Remove and set aside.  Add the carrot, celery and onion and the large pinch of salt.  Stir together and let cook for about 5 minutes.  Do not brown, lower heat a little if you have to.  Add the garlic and saute for one minute.  Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook for another two minutes.  Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon or your hands (I use my hands and crush them).  Add the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and stir.  

Return the thighs to the pot, cover, and let simmer on low for about an hour.  
Remove the thighs from the pot and place on a cutting board.  With two forks, shred the meat off the bones and return the meat to the pot.  Add the salt and pepper.  Cook, uncovered, for about another 15 minutes. Taste the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.  Continue to cook, uncovered, until you like the thickness of the sauce.  
Boil the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente.  Remove the pasta with a strainer and place right into the sauce.  Stir together and serve right away with grated cheese.



Kitchen Lanterns & Day #1

I've become a huge fan of lanterns in the kitchen.  I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's having a bit of traditionalism in the heart of the home but it feels great whatever the overall aesthetic is.  If you lean towards modernism, the classic lines of a lantern can soften the linear feel of the design scheme and if you are more of a traditionalist then the lantern remains consistent and appropriate.  Feeling more transitional in your look?  Then thank goodness lanterns come in all sizes and shapes these days.  Basically, this lighting style can be reflective of any aesthetic and thus makes for a smart investment.  Here are a few of my favorite lanterns or lantern-like pieces I took from my Kitchen board on Pinterest . Try search terms like "kitchen lanterns", "kitchen lighting" and "kitchen island lighting" for more images. So where can you find great pieces like these?  Try Circa Lighting and Urban Electric Company these are two of my favs for lanterns (and sconces)! 

Song of the day is by Lord Huron (the beginning is slow but you just wait), "Mighty" .  Oh if you could see my daughter Gray dance to this!!

A quick, very exciting side note:  Today is my official first day at my new job!!  I am back in fashion and thrilled beyond words to be a part of the vineyard vines team.  It's not only an amazing company but the group of people are extraordinary in the truest sense.  I feel honored, grateful and so elated to be embarking on this new journey.  Not a day will go by where I don't feel blessed for my time with Shannon though.  Starting a design business together was one of the best experiences I've ever had.  It's made me who I am now.  Thanks PIC, you've been the most supportive, kind and encouraging bestie!! 


We do NOT own or take credit for any images used in this post.  All source information can be found via:


Friday Freakouts

I don't about you but by Friday Shannon and I are spent. Fried. Donzo.  Going forward we've decided we're going to do: "(Blank) of the day", at week's end.  It's going to be an image, a song/album or a quote...sometimes you'll get a mash up of all three or just two of the above.  Whatever it is that's helping us get through that last day of the week, that final sprint, the final leg of the race towards the weekend...that's what we'll give you. 

Here's the quote of the day:

Image via behappy.me on Pinterest .

We've got a big week ahead of us.  More to come on this but here are two hints:
Shan's about to (re)launch her passion!
Jody's chasing a whale of a job!
We're smiling, we're excited and we're ready!!

Next line of business.  I am OBSESSED with Mayer Hawthorne.  Have you heard of him?!  OMG!!  He's a smidge bluesy and a whole lot of awesomeness.  I've been jamming to a shuffle of his songs on Spotify for the past few days.  Song of the day is "The Walk"

Happy Friday!