Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Tree Compromise...

It's a timeless, age old, never ceasing problem....

Colored lights, white lights....

Colored lights.....

White lights.....

Does your family debate this as much as my family does?  It's a tough problem to solve, your christmas tree can really set the tone for the whole to do??

I've heard some of our friends and family have an "every other year" system in place.  That works too... 

....unless it ain't your year dearie:)

SO.  This is the compromise my hubby came up with this year...and I LOVED IT! It's brilliant AND beautiful!

Check it out...

I mean...I gotta give props to the hubby! He decided to HECK with this indecision on the light bulbs...let's do them BOTH!  

So we wrapped the colored lights very close to the trunk of the tree all the way down.  It only took one strand, and it creates this awesome 3-D look in the end.  The white lights dominate as they wrap around the outside, but the colored lights twinkle and glow prettily from the inside.  I love it.  It may have to become a new staple in the Morreale household:)

There ya have it friends, a quick and fun Holiday How To.

I hope you have a Blessed and Merry Holiday Season... and a Happy New Year too:)

Love and cheer!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Fall Wreath

It's here! It's here! Our favorite holiday of the year! Well, ok, one of them - but it's that most wonderful time of the year, right?  When Fall hits and every month is full of festivities, decorating, cooking, and celebrating.  Thanksgiving is such a great holiday - no pressure, just getting together with family and friends to celebrate all that we are thankful for.

We are all cozied up in Denver, Colorado currently...busily getting ready for Thursday.  We'll have about 20 people gathered around our table this year, so configuring the seating arrangements is challenging - but we're up for it!  A week or 2 ago, Kacey and I made a fun wreath for the door...

Indian Corn Thanksgiving Wreath
you'll need:
*Wreath frame (12 - 14" depending on how big you want 
the wreath to be; we used a cardboard frame)
*burlap ribbon
*approximately 30 small indian corns
*hot glue and gun

1.  Wrap burlap ribbon around wreath frame to hide cardboard. Hot glue ends to frame.
2.  Position corn around wreath first - don't glue yet.
3.  Slowly hot glue the corn to wreath, trying to keep the opening circle in the center as perfectly round as possible.
4.  Hang your wreath!  Once it's up, you can judge if any of the corn needs to be repositioned to make the center circle more perfectly round.  It's very simple to pop off the corn, reposition, and re-glue.

This also makes a gorgeous centerpiece for a table...just lay flat and position candles and food around it!

I'm off to Hobby Lobby - thanksgiving table decor here we come!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weather and Banana Bread

The past week and a half has been really difficult on our beautiful Colorado and its residents.  Unless you have been somewhere without television or internet, you know that we have had historic flooding, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and tragically human lives have been lost.  As always, the people of Colorado will rise above, lend a helping hand and rebuild stronger and better than ever.  But it has been hard for so many, and I feel so fortunate that our home stayed dry and didn't have any damage or loss. 

 While it rained here for days, I decided to do a little baking.  I am not sure why, but baking/cooking always calms my nerves and anxiety.  I think it must be because I am doing something I love and putting that love into everything I make.  It was the perfect fall weather-cool and cloudy with that crisp feeling in the air.....perfect for an afternoon of baking.  I had some really ripe bananas leftover from our two weeks of smoothie fun, so instead of tossing them out I decided to make Banana Bread.  I wanted to make a bread that was a little healthier than the ones in my cookbooks, so a few substitutions were made to my Betty Crocker recipe to achieve just that.

Banana Bread Recipe 
adapted from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook

1 1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup butter-softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Cups mashed ripe bananas-about 3-4 medium bananas
1/2 Cup skim or 1% milk (substitution-original recipe called for buttermilk)
2 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour (subsitution-original reciped called for white flour)
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray 1 loaf pan (9x5x3 in) with cooking spray.  Make sure to place cooking rack in lower position in the oven. 
2. Mix sugar and butter together in your large bowl.  Add eggs and blend. Add bananas, milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly until smooth.  Stir in flour, baking soda and salt until moistened.  
3. Pour into pan and bake bread for about an hour and 15 minutes.
4. Let the bread cool for five minutes or so and then remove from pan.....The recipe suggests waiting until bread is cool to slice.......I just couldn't wait that long.  :)

This bread is delicious for breakfast with a cup of coffee, or for a little sweet treat after lunch or dinner. If you are like my hubby, you prefer the bread warm with a little butter on top.....oh the calories!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday Family Dinner: Savory Southwestern Chicken Chowder and Tasty Turkey Buffalo Balls!

I woke up this morning to the feeling of....

(I know, I know...shocking right? Everyone is chomping at the bit for September 21st to hit!)

 BUT...nevertheless, it's Sunday. It's September.  It's fall y'all!! Football will be on the TV all day, 100 degree days are finally behind us, and pumpkins are piled high at grocery stores.  
Everyone loves this time of year.  You can't help but see the childlike joy that comes over us when we think about hot apple cider, savory soups, changing leaves, and skinny jeans with boots:) I love it. 

 Sunday means... Family Dinner Day: a last minute invitation will go out to great friends, and whomever can make it over to our beach bungalow will.  There will be a tasty meal, some tasty wine…and of course….a tasty game (or 6) on TV.  I wasn't sure what menu I was going to come up with until I woke up.  And then I knew...  

It's not quite time for pasta (another fall family tradition), But it felt like time for soup! So I decided to dominate a fairly simple Southwestern Chicken Chowder, with delicious and healthy buffalo turkey balls to start.  It will hopefully be amazing…and of course…there will be some hot apple cider simmering on the stove as well.  
How can you not get excited for a Sunday like that?  Like I said….I love Fall:)

First thing's first, let's keep this easy people! It's technically a day of rest:), and I never want these impromptu dinners to be stressful in anyway.  An afternoon filled with husbands and football means the food better be hearty, simple to serve, and easy to eat while the cheering and jeering ensues in my living room.  It is also relatively impossible to pry them away from the a meal crowded around our coffee table was inevitable.  That, however, does NOT mean we can't spruce up said coffee table and add a little pizazz to go with this Sunday family dinner! A hodgepodge pile of 50 cent pumpkins and some pretty tea lights were just the ticket:)

Next I popped these delicious and GLUTEN FREE Buffalo Balls in the oven. This recipe is a fabulous Pinterest find for me, and honestly I haven't seen a need to alter it in any way.  So credit where credit due check out these

In all honesty I almost didn't get a picture taken, that's how fast they were being consumed!

super delish with some ranch dressing to dip!

And finally this very easy Chicken Chowder. 

1/2 cup chopped onion (I've been loving yellow ones)
4 bacon strips, diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 package (32ish ounces) frozen cubed hash brown potatoes(Or chop up raw ones if you have time/energy!)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup pearl onions (frozen or not...whatever you can find in store)
1 Rotisserie Chicken!
salt and pepper to taste!

1. In a Dutch oven (or soup pan), saute onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp.  Stir in the flour, cumin, chili powders, and garlic powder.  Cook on high and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

2.  Stir in the hash browns, broth, cream corn, Mexicorn, chilies and pearl onions.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until heated through. Add more broth if you like it less thick. While simmering, pull meat off the the rotisserie chicken in bite sized pieces.  Stir into soup. Add salt and pepper and more spices to taste. 

Yield: I would say 6-8 servings depending on what else you serve with it.  Rossi and I have a tendency to go back for seconds a lot!! This soup just gets better and better and thicker and thicker the longer you let it simmer...and it's AMAZING as leftovers!

SO...that was pretty much it for a fun, family filled Sunday!  No music playlist for this get ruled the speakers today.  But there was much love and much laughter...All around a wonderful Sorella Style event:)

Love and laughter!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bye Bye Baby (Weight) Update!

So, what is the worst thing that can happen when you are on a diet that consists mainly of smoothies? If you guessed my blender breaking down, you would be correct.  Total Fail.  Thankfully I am a proud member of Amazon Prime and our new blender was delivered the very next day at like 50% off.  Who doesn't love a deal? :)
Thankful for Amazon Prime :)

If any of you are wanting to kick start a healthy diet, or begin an exercise routine I would highly recommend Harley Pasternak's The Body Reset Diet.  It has truly been easy (I was only delirious with hunger once or twice-kidding) and I have loved all of the smoothies. I feel better, have more energy and the best part.....I have lost 12 pounds in 15 days! I think at least of a third of that was water weight, but it makes me feel like I am on the right track and they say if you do anything for 21 days it becomes a habit.  I only have 6 days left and then hopefully, fingers crossed, I will have formed some new, healthy habits!

In the book there are a bunch of delicious smoothie recipes with just the right balance of fats, calories and protein and there wasn't one that I didn't like. Once I got the hang of it, I started creating some of my own.  Here is my favorite creation.......

-1 and 1/2 cups of Mixed frozen berries ( I have been using a mix of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) You can also use fresh if you prefer
-3/4 cup non fat greek yogurt
-2 cups of spinach
-1 and 1/2 TBSP of coconut oil-there are so many amazing benefits to coconut oil there will be a post on that all it's own.

**Coconut oil comes in solid form, so you need to melt it before use.  They recommend that you do not microwave it, so I typically put it in a ziploc and run it under hot water and it instantly becomes a liquid-so cool!**

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy! I have been making smoothies the night before on the days I have to work and it has been great.  All ready to go bright and early the next day!

Colorful, healthy, delicious smoothies!
Hope you all have a fantastic day! The weather here in Denver today was rainy and cool-very fall like! I am going to do a little fall reading for inspiration. Game Day Snack Attack from Rachael Ray? Yes please! 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Mindfulness Monday with Kate

Just a few things I've been delving into lately, helping me be more mindful in my every day life...

by Michael Singer
“In the book The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer takes you step-by-step through the process of Gyana, the yoga of the Intellect, to the Source. Moreover, he does it with elegant simplicity. Read this book carefully, and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity.”
—Deepak Chopra

Yoga, yoga, and more yoga :>)
Local? Go to The Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach, CA
Home Practice? Run, don't walk to your computer and sign up for Yoga Glo!

Cold Pressed and Detox Juices from Kreation Juicery
Some of my favorite flavors are Harmony, Master Cleanse, and Sassy.  I immediately feel lighter and healthier when I have a Kreation Juice.

Have a wonderful Monday, lovelies!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Sorella Styles Instagram

 Lavender wall at Lavender Ridge 

We are so excited to announce our new Instagram account!

Follow Kara, Kacey, and I as we post all our Sorella adventures :>)


Happy Friday, lovelies!

Copper love

Pretty Moroccan glassware

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Let's Luau! Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

So here's how it went down.

Pretty much all of our good friends were at another friend's destination wedding in Hawaii.  For one reason or another, about 3 couples (including me and Billy) weren't able to attend the wedding.  As you can imagine, a serious bout of Instagram envy began.  After all, it was a gorgeous wedding in a stunning locale with an amazing group of friends....Green. With. Envy.

How did we remedy the situation, you ask?  

We threw a luau!  

I mean, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em :-)  Hawaiian themed recipes were on the menu, and I was tasked with dessert.  So I made chocolate cupcakes from scratch and threw chopped macadamia nuts on about half of them.  Add a cocktail umbrella and viola...

I'll luau anytime!

Recipes below:

PS: Cupcakes are super easy to make and fun to eat at a party!  And you can switch up the "festiveness" based on the occasion: American flags for Memorial Day, mini sparklers for 4th of get the picture!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Bye Bye Baby (weight!)

Four months ago today my life was forever changed.  Our beautiful baby boy, James came into this world.  Four weeks early, but healthy as can be, his little face and hands and mouth and feet introduced me to a kind of love I had never felt before.  An unconditional, unwavering, deep in your soul kind of love.  Weighing in at 5 pounds 13 oz he was a little peanut, but wow was our baby strong.  He didn't have to spend a moment in the NICU, and he was trying to push his tiny little head right off of our chests the day his was born. 

less than an hour old

first day home

our little peanut

Our newborn shoot
Happy 4th of July!

Sweet baby James at almost 4 months

The past four months have been filled with so many firsts, and our little man is growing and changing every day.  It truly is the most amazing thing I have ever done.  However, now its time for me to make some changes.  I have been trying (not successfully) to get my workouts and diet back on track, and NOW at the four month mark I am going to actually commit to making the change. 

I have researched a lot of different programs and have decided to try Harley Pasternak's Body Reset Diet.  The cover of the book says "power your metabolism, blast fat and shed pounds in just 15 days"! All of that sounds great to me, and after researching the plan, it truly doesn't seem that tough to follow.  I don't need to be educated on the right kinds of foods to eat, or what's healthy-believe me I know ALL of that kind of stuff.  What I need is just a little jumpstart to get back on track.  

image via internet

Harley Pasternak has worked with Kim Kardashian, Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox and Hilary Duff just to name a few.  All of these women have great figures, and both Megan Fox and Hilary Duff are post baby and look fantastic! Kim is post baby too, but clearly she is in hiding (I don't blame her!).  Those who know me, know that I do love a little celebrity in my life, so why not start "training" with a celebrity trainer! :) One of the things I love most about Harley's book is that he understands our need for instant gratification when it comes to losing weight and getting fit.  His plan starts with 5 days of smoothies-3 smoothies a day with two 150 calorie snacks mixed in a day.  All the exercise he asks for in the first 5 days is 10,000 steps a day.  Shouldn't be to tough, right?

Having a baby changes everything, and I mean everything when it comes to our bodies.  Of course I wouldn't trade any of these changes for the world, but enough is enough. :-) I have bought all of our groceries for the first 5 days of smoothies and snacks and can't wait to get started today. My hubby is on board which helps so much.  I will update next Monday with pounds lost, healthy living tips and how I am feeling so far.  Wish me luck! ;-)

Hope you all have a great Monday!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flea Market Find: Under The Sea!

There is an amazing little antique store down the street from my house.  One of my favorite ways to wile away an afternoon is to walk the few blocks and wind my way through the different booths.  I never know what I'm going to find, but I always find something!  It's a little dream of mine to have a booth there - I'd love to fill it up with all my favorite little trinkets: candlesticks, vintage barware, amazing table lamps, unique jewelry...

One of my last trips through, I found these cute little fish dishes.  They were piled up on a shelf that was completely overflowing with odds, ends, junk, and treasures.  I've probably walked past them a hundred times, but something about this last time made me notice them.  I decided to spruce 'em up with a little spray paint I have laying around the garage...silver, grey, peacock, and cream.  Totally beachy and over the top - but that's why I like them!

They'd make an adorable hostess gift.  And can be used in so many ways! Soap dish, jewelry catcher, candle holder in the guest room...the list goes on.  Whimsical and a little goofy...I love them!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Words of Wisdom for Every Woman...

I saw this article on Huffington Post last week and loved every word of it.  See for yourself.

My dearest daughter,

Celebrating your 28th birthday has made me reflect and want to share some well-earned wisdom with you. You know, the kind of stuff I wish someone had told me when I was your age? Yes, I know you didn't ask, but we both know that has never stopped me before.

First up, turning 28 is NOT approaching mid-life. Your young years are far from over, and, no, you're not "old." But you're right, time does goes by way too quickly. Best to make the most of it each step along the way.

As you grow older, I hope you will live your life with the spunk and audacity you were born with. Those gifts were bestowed upon you by a higher power. Use them every chance you get and never let them stray too far away from you.

Try not to criticize yourself, second guess your feelings, doubt your abilities or be too hard on yourself when you think you've failed. The world does all those things for you and it is your job to stand up to it, not give in to it.

Know that failing is a required curriculum to life. Without it, it is doubtful that you will ever truly succeed. Don't be afraid of it. You don't have to like it, you just have to get good at it. Failure is success turned inside out.

Take chances. Be bold. Be silly. It's okay. Living in the box has never been where the magic happens. Align yourself with the unordinary, the risky and the spectacular. It's where you were born to be.

Friends will come and go, but the good ones stick. Value them. And while your husband and family will always come first, never lose sight of those friends that have seen you through some of life's rough spots. You will need them again, and they, you.

Try hard not to worry so much. It causes wrinkles, stomach aches, paranoia and the worries seldom materialize. And stay off of WebMD. No good has ever come from general Internet diagnosis.

From time to time, you may become self-conscious of your body. Don't. Your figure will never be finer, your hair will never be fuller, your skin will never be as refined and you will never have as much energy as you do now. Appreciate it.

Life doesn't end when you become a parent. You know I can't wait for the little bundle(s) of joy to come into your life, but there is no hurry. I will admit that life as you know it will never be the same. But the secret is, the ties you are afraid of binding you, will in fact set you sailing into a world of wonder and perpetual love. Trust me on this one.

As a wife, you are going to make mistakes. You may at times be judgmental, critical, temperamental and perhaps a tad dramatic. It's not just you. It's how we are hard wired. But know that once spoken, harsh words can never be taken back. I hope you forgive freely, hug strongly, cry often and let the little things go. They are almost all little things.

There will be times that you find yourself impatient or angry with your mother. It's more natural than you might imagine. But please understand that she is doing the best she can and she is doing it for all the right reasons... for love of you. At times, I know we can be exasperating. But there will never be anyone that walks this Earth that loves you like your mother. Respect it. It will one day be you.

Make time to spend with your family. We would like to think that our family is forever. But it's not. We grow old, we get sick and we die. It's the natural course of things. We are just visitors here. Make sure that you don't pass up too many offers to spend time with them, to laugh, joke, eat, drink and make memories. You will treasure those memories, and one day they will be all that is left.

Know that being strong doesn't always mean not crying. I fear that in my zeal to be strong for you as you were growing up, I didn't allow you to see the tears, the heartache and the disappointments. Shame on me. They are all a part of life, and you will not be able to avoid them, no matter how hard you try. But never, ever confuse tears with weakness. They will cleanse you of your hurt, and your heart will follow.

Be kind with your thoughts, gentle with your words, generous with your actions and forgiving with those who love you and fall short from time to time. None of us is perfect and more attention and gratitude should be given for the trying.

Life is hard. Love makes all things bearable. You will endure the hard knocks so much easier with someone who loves you by your side. Return the favor.

Complain less, be grateful more.

When you start your family and think that you have gotten in over your head, when you think you will never be able to be the perfect mom you envision yourself being, stop and breathe. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. You and that wonderful husband of yours will find your way. Lay your fears at the doorstep of your love.

Nothing worth having is easy to get. Everything has a price. Think about what you will have to pay for something before you act. Half the time, the acquisition is worth far less than the price paid.

Never confuse ego with confidence.

In the days that you do grow old, I hope you will realize that it is a privilege not offered to everyone. I wouldn't look down my nose at it. When the time comes, believe me, you will be happy to be there.

As for me, my darling daughter, I have loved you with the breathe of me since the moment you were born. Being your mother hasn't always been easy, but it has always been good. These days I am more of a spectator than a player in your day-to-day life. It's as it should be. I'm grateful that we are wonderful friends and companions of the best sort. I will always be, no matter what, your biggest fan. And I am here should you ever need me for anything. It is my life-long vocation.

Before I end my euphony of wisdom, let me say thank you. For so much. For your loyalty, your choices, your sweetness, kindness, compassion and humor. For trying even when you didn't think you could make it. For making me proud every single day that you live.

I know that you're not perfect. None of us are. But truth be told, to me, you are pretty damn close.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

High Tea in Hermosa Beach

A few weeks ago I had a serious yen to head back to London for high tea.  Maybe it's all the royal baby fever, maybe its the bouts of June Gloom we have going on here in LA...either way, I was craving the comfort of remembering a fantastic vacation and the serenity that a little afternoon tea brings to an otherwise typical day.  And a trip all the way back to London feels a little extreme :>)

So instead I decided to "re-create" high tea right here in Hermosa Beach!  Well, its our Southern California-ized version.  

Here's what you need:

**Vintage Tea Cups** 
Collected over the years at various antique stores, flea markets, Gramma and Pop Pop's house!

**Tea spoons**
I absolutely adore these gold plated sets from West Elm..super fun, super fancy, completely unexpected

**Tea and Teapot**
I used the loose leaf Earl Gray tea I purchased from the Tower of London.

**Pretty Tray to hold all the goodies**
In London, it's very typical to drink your tea with a little cream and sugar.

The high teas we experienced in London came with all sorts of delicious snacks: Biscuits with jam, scones, little cucumber sandwiches.  For our So Cal version I served this simple Tuscan Salad I shared with y'all a few weeks ago.  See recipe here.

I always find the ritual of making tea to be very soothing and inspiring.  And adding a few easy details (like using vintage teacups and fancy flatware) makes it a fun, festive way to honor a vacation and celebrate summer time.

Cheers to you!

Friday, June 21, 2013

HGTV Design Star!

You know those events in your life that you have to keep mum about? Especially mum since you signed a confidentiality agreement to keep mum about it?

That's been me for the past 5 months.  At the beginning of this year I began working on a TV show - the 8th season of HGTV Design Star!  I was hired as an Associate Producer, which I admit, is slightly shocking considering I've never before worked in television production.  This position, however, had to do with design, interiors, and styling - which I do so love :)

This year Design Star is partnering up with the amazing One Kings Lane.  Each episode features a One Kings Lane "pop up boutique" - sort of a "bluefly accessory wall" for the designers if you will.  The contestants are allowed to "shop" the OKL boutique for any last minute accessories or furniture they need to finish off their designs.  My job was essentially everything One Kings Lane.  From the set design, to item curating, to styling the was wild.  It was crazy.  It was challenging.  It was amazing!

And this is pretty cool to see:

The episode 1 boutique was set up in an old warehouse.  I layered in rugs and pillows and designed shelving units to help hide the not as attractive parts of the space:

There was literally over 1,000 pieces of furniture, home decor, lighting, pillows, throws, you name it - we had it to choose from.  I had an amazing team working with me...imagine loading and unloading trucks multiple times a day for 8 weeks.  It was an intense job! But we had tons of fun and creating these spaces was an incredible experience!

So be sure to tune into HGTV Star on Sunday nights! This weeks episode features....

Yup.  Kacey and Rossi :>)

You can catch the previous 2 episodes here.