Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Summer Veggies
There’s nothing better then a quick & delicious meal that can be prepared at home in a pinch. Not only is this Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Summer Veggies swoon worthy but it’s baked in a sheet pan which makes clean up a breeze. This recipe makes the most of store-bought gnocchi, ripe summer veggies and mouthwatering brown butter. It’s easy to fall in love with this dish over & over again. There’s no hard fast rules for the vegetables you need to use, choose what’s ripe, most flavorful and ones that add color to the dish.
The July 4th Edit (Pieces You’ll Love Year After Year!)
The easy breezy days of summer are zipping by & we’ve been enjoying every single moment of each glorious day! Life in the mountains treats us right with bluebird sunny days and green hued hills. Telluride, CO is a special place to live no matter what the season but the summer is short, sweet & precious. July 4th is always so fun & festive here with a small town parade that brings thousands of adoring guests to our tiny mountain town. It’s certainly worth a visit if you’ve never been. Dressing up in red, white & blue doesn’t need to be reserved for this holiday only. When you invest in the right pieces each one can be enjoyed year after year no matter what the occasion.
The pieces I’ve curated for this post are timeless favorites, several that can be worn/enjoyed together and each work well on their own. Happy shopping & happy summer!
This blog post & featured shop widgets contain affiliate links.
Mealtime seems to roll around quicker and quicker every day. Admittedly I used to have more time in the day to shop & prepare healthy meals for my family. I’ve been juggling several jobs at once & every minute counts. Meals I can prepare quickly but don’t lack in flavor are of the upmost importance. This 20 Minute Acini de Pepe with Broccoli & Shrimp became a quick favorite in my house. I’m certain it will be loved by you and your family as well.
Happy Mother’s Day beauties! I hope you are all having a wonderful day no matter how you choose to celebrate. Around here I’m enjoying lots of relaxation & time with family & my four doggies. For those of you who have become acquainted with my Mer Rose Atelier brand of one-of-a-kind, hand painted accessories & those who have not…I invite you to check it out! For a very limited time I’m offering a 50% discount on select pieces. It’s time to treat yourself, mom, your grad or that special someone to a purse they will cherish forever! Looking to transform a custom piece? Reach out to me here & we can start the conversation. I look forward to working with you.
As the temps warm up it’s time to think about pretty, flowy, feminine summer dresses. The prints & colors this year are absolutely gorgeous! Embroidery, eyelet, smocking and embellished details make pieces extra special. Say goodbye to the idea of “throwaway” dresses. Investing in favorites is a better idea for your budget & the key to a diverse wardrobe.
This time of the year salads are the go-to meals for a lot of us. The weather is warmer and we crave lighter foods with no loss of flavor. I cannot have enough amazing salad recipes and this Greek Barley Salad is a nice diversion from standard salads. Grain based salads are not only delicious, but they keep energy levels sustained for a good long time as well. If you enjoy Greek salads, then I’m certain you will love this recipe.
When it comes to making your Greek salad the best ever, I always recommend that you choose the best ingredients you can find, for me that means sheep or goat feta and the best kalamata olives I can find.
Toasty summer sun means we all need new refreshing cocktails! We are loving these easy, refreshing Orange Basil Margaritas. The fresh citrus paired with basil is quenching, light and will cool you down whether by the pool or having a virtual toast with friends. Consider this cocktail for brunch gatherings or any time you are craving a tasty marg!
I’ve been wanting to visit Spain for years now, but I’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to plan a trip. This summer I met the fabulous Karl Straub here in my home town at the Telluride Yoga Festival. He taught a number of classes at the festival and I loved his unique style and fun filled personality. I practice yoga regularly and had been thrown off the wagon a bit with some classes that didn’t fit my lifestyle.
I had a yogic rebirth when I took Karl’s class and immediately hopped online to look at his retreat offerings. As luck would have he was holding a retreat on the island of Mallorca, Spain in November. That fit in perfectly with when I was looking to book a European adventure.
Mallorca for yoga
I’m usually a solo traveler. I look for an event and book a trip surrounding that event. The goal is to have a focus to write about and to learn new things about beautiful places. In this case a yoga retreat was the impetus to spend a week in Barcelona. A quick hop over the Mediterranean Sea would bring me to this postcard of an island. I’d often read about Mallorca (Majorca) and gazed on the beautiful photos of this Balearic Island on Instagram and in magazines.
This journey beckoned me on so many levels. To practice yoga with like minded folks, to explore a place I had never been to and to delight in the most fresh, delicious cuisine. There were no stones left unturned and I got everything I possible could have dreamed of.
A short drive from where we stayed was the gorgeous Playa S’Amarador Beach, which you must visit if in the region. The color of the water was absolutely mesmerizing!!
If you want more a urban vibe then visit the resort city of Palma de Mallorca, where you can do all kinds of luxury shopping, cafe hopping, site seeing and of course, lounging on the beach. Take time also to meander through and drive around the small country roads. I saw the most adorable lambs grazing in beautiful green pastures.
This island is the perfect place to escape it all. It’s where you can focus on you new or well seasoned meditation and asana practice. It’s a place where you can dive into the sea and float in the sunshine. It’s a place I will go back to again. I fell in love with Mallorca and can see why so many swoon over it. I met so many lovely people on the retreat, a few who I will certainly stay in touch with. I look forward to seeing them at future Karl Straub classes, gatherings and retreats.
If you are curious to join in on one of Karl’s adventurous retreats I promise you will create memories of a lifetime. He chooses every location with full attention to every detail. He wants everyone to feel swept away by the environment, all levels are welcome and encouraged to practice with him. Whether you are a solo practitioner or you gravitate to the group vibe…you will feel at home and so welcome in Karl’s classes. He makes sure yoga is accessible to all. His smile, wit and charm will keep you well entertained. Along with being an exceptionally smart teacher…Karl is humble and absolutely hilarious. I was belly laughing often throughout the retreat.
One of the questions we most often have on yoga and life is the search for labels. We want to know what style, brand or theme we are being introduced to. Karl has a history with the Jivamukti Yoga School, but I love how he says yoga is the“invisible infrastructure of all spiritual traditions. …the name of a style of religion or style of yoga is not so important. The essential theme is the same: how to get to heaven, how to be happy, fulfilled, joyful, complete, included, unified with God.”
He impresses this on us throughout the retreat. Karl is open, honest and sympathietic to everyone. He wants to learn and loves to teach. Just when you think you know what he will do next he will surprise you. One day he wanted to get us pumped up so he played James Brown before the yoga class. We all danced around our mats and laughed like little kids. He is a special teacher and I’m so grateful to know him. There were two classes per day during the retreat and Karl made sure to make himself available to all the participants for any extra conversation and learning throughout the day.
We stayed at the spectacular paradise Cal Reiet, located on the southeast corner of the island in the quiet rural village of Santanyi. This village attracts international artists and has a friendly local community. Everyone that I spoke to that lives there absolutely loves it. There’s just enough of everything to keep your palate satisfied and a healthy quest for the great outdoors quenched. In just minutes you can walk to town from Cal Reiet and shop at lovely locally owned boutiques and dine at family run restaurants. Only a few miles away is the turquoise blue Mediterranean Sea.
There are many places to find your own quiet sanctuary within this holistic estate and outside on the rest of the island. Karl thoughtfully structures the retreat so you have plenty of yoga, but also lots of time to explore. I don’t like to feel trapped, so the free time was a great blessing for me.
The accomodations at this holistic retreat are clean and beautiful. My room was spacious, bright and inviting. My en suite bathroom was stunning. The shower had sea green tiles on the walls. It was paradise! You are destined to enjoy an ultimate relaxing holiday at the boutique Cal Reiet. Holistic living for them is a lifestyle and they tend to each aspect of it.
Included in our stay was their delicious, consciousness based cuisine. We enjoyed 2 meals per day while there. After our morning yoga/meditation practice we would head to the dining room and feast on a full on sensory packed vegetarian meal. The hotel uses only fresh, locally-sourced organic ingredients, partly sourced from their own garden. The freshness and vitality of the ingredients is sustainable and so healthy. You can heal from the inside out with their “food as medicine” approach. Karl gave us the opportunity to meet with our new friends or to enjoy brunch quietly in the sunshine or under the shade of the beautiful old trees.
Dinner was a time to gather and reflect on the day. It was a nice social experience, we all enjoyed the colorful, nourishing elegantly laid out buffet. If you are a wine drinker like me, you will be happy to know that plenty of people enjoyed a libation at dinner. Wine was flowing if you want it. If you don’t want to imbibe that’s great too. It’s your call, no one is there to judge you. Again, this trip is all about fulfilling your needs. Everything on this trip is suggested, but not preached. Preachy yoga or diets are not for me.
Karl offers a retreat at this property twice per year. You can go with friends, as a couple or as a solo like I did. You will never feel alone!
Even though the official start to summer here in the Northern Hemisphere is Saturday, June 20th 2020…we are already diving into the fun it here in Telluride, Colorado. The temps have been warm and the summer vibe is huge. We’ve been enjoying lots of socially distanced time outdoors hiking and chilling on the porch. With all this extra time at home and the restaurants still closed, it means we have plenty of time to cook.
Along with all kinds of savory dishes (I’ve been living on my favorite Chipotle Macaroni Salad the past few day, we also crave sweets. This Campfire Skillet S’mores Dip is from my cookbook High Alpine Cuisine. It’s the perfect dessert for any time of the year and can be on the table in just 20 minutes! So if you are looking to wow your family or any guests to your home I highly suggest you take a few minutes to whip up this easy recipe. You only need 5 easy to find ingredients to make one of the BEST desserts ever. There’s no fancy techniques involved and you are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face!
*DISCLOSURE: I occasionally use affiliate links. If you happen purchase something through one of my links, I make a tiny percentage of revenue. Thank you for supporting me and my mission to help make your life it’s very BEST! XO Marla
With Mother’s Day around the corner it’s time to figure out how to celebrate this special gal in your life. Looking to keep the kids busy this weekend? Have them make these DIY Pom Pom Letters for MOM! All you need for this craft are some cardboard letters (you can also cut letters out of poster board) pom poms and craft glue.
Pedaling Through Provence & the French Riviera with Backroads
I’ve been on many active trips, hiking in the Italian Dolomites, heli-skiing in deep Canadian powder…but up until recently I have never been on a cycling trip. With so many bucket lust location choices, it was tough to choose which trip to go on. I was tossed between many options on my travel list but ended up picking the luxury Provence to French Riviera bike tour with Backroads. This active travel company has been on my radar for years now and it was time to check it out.
Choosing a Backroads Trip
The selection at Backroads is extraordinary. Not only can you travel around the globe, but there are also choices for whom you want to travel with. You can choose between couples (the one I was on), singles, private and custom itineraries. On some trips, there is also a choice for Premiere Hotels and Casual Hotels. The cost is quite a bit higher if you want to go super luxury. I’ve heard both options are great, though I opted for Premiere. The other thing to note is activity level, Backroads explains this in great detail for each trip as well. The trip I was on is a level 2-4, I opted for a mid-mileage ride each day.
I urge you to look at the weather in the region you would like to tour before you book. I don’t do well in extreme heat, so September was the best time for me to visit the South of France. If you would like a multi-adventure trip they offer plenty of those as well.
As much as I enjoy the active parts of a trip, I also love my down time by the pool or in the spa.
Being on a Premiere Hotel trip is both extravagant and fabulous! Tucking into high thread count sheets after a day of climbing hills on the bike was a real treat. I took advantage of spa visits when I had the time. The food was always exceptional ~ great bites are always on the top of my list when I choose trips.
Our first stop was at Hotel Les Lodges Sainte Victoire in Aix en Provence. This property sits at the foot of the mount Sainte Victoire which you might recognize as the muse of French artist and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. I loved this boutique hotel and made sure to spend plenty of time at the infinity pool with views overlooking the Provence countryside.
As always, I shopped a lot on this trip…after all, who can refuse French fashion?! This dress is from Sandro Paris. A chic boutique for contemporary fashion & accessories.
After staying 2 nights at the Hotel les Lodges, we rode to Lourges and stayed at the beautiful Relais & Chateaux property Chateau de Berne. You can read my story about that HERE. A spectacular property!
Our final stop was Cannes where we stayed at the glamorous Hotel Barriere le Majestic. My room had a lovely little balcony overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. The hotel is located right on the famous Promenade de la Croisette. If you need to find something beautiful and luxe to wear to dinner or to the beach, you can find it within a few steps from the hotel.
Provence and the French Riviera
As much as I loved the parts of Provence that we visited…I really fell in love with the Côte d’Azur/French Riviera ~ especially St. Tropez!
We cycled through so many beautiful villages on this trip. It was awesome to ride through iconic inland vineyards, then to end up next to the sparkling Mediterranean sea in the Côte d’Azur. You can see from my photos just how diverse this itinerary was. Beautiful visual treats around every single bend in the road.
Colorful Provencal villages included: Aix-en-Provence, Contignac (my favorite!) and Lourges. We ended in St. Maxime on the sea. From there we took a ferry to St. Tropez, stay tuned for a post on this haute spot. We wrapped the trip with a night in glam Cannes.
In Contignac we had time to shop the outdoor market. I will never forget that colorful & tasty excursion…I will write a separate post on that. It was that amazing! The details are in the photos I took there, I can not believe the abundance of goods at these french markets.
The pedaling days start super early, so that means you gotta be careful with all that delicious wine! If you are a typically a late riser, plan to train your body to wake up early! We started each day with a gorgeous breakfast spread and then it was time to ride. When you greet the group outside the guides have your bike set up & waiting for you.
Each bike has a saddle bag so you can pack a lightweight waterproof jacket, small camera, drinks, and snacks. They have lots of snacks and drinks available & I can’t emphasize how much you will need these! I ate many m&m’s, peanuts and pretzels on the daily tours.
Backroads guides are true pros. Not only are they awesome cyclists, but these know the routes inside and out. They can answer all kinds of questions and if they don’t know the answer they will find it out quickly. Our two main guides Lulu and PY had such fun personalities, look for them if you plan a Backroads trip.
When the group meets, the guides discuss the route options for the day. You can choose from a few itineraries and then program your Garmin GPS to the desired route. You WILL rely on this device. I took a whole lot of photos on the ride, so it was hard to stick with the groups pace. Once I learned to trust me GPS I felt a lot better about taking these photo breaks. The support vehicle will also help to keep you on track.
Food, Drink and Snacks
Cycling burns a whole lot of calories, which is a great thing when you want to enjoy all the foods of France. Not only were all the restaurants phenomenal, but our guides made sure we were well fed on the road too. Each morning there is a wonderful spread of snacks to pack in your day pack. If you run out, the Backroads support van will have plenty more to share.
The guides also packed some goodies from the regions we traveled too…this nougat was to die for!
A few things you need to know to make the most out of your trip…
Make sure your handlebars and seat are set properly! I was in agony on day #2 when a fellow bicyclist noticed that my seat was set to high. My lower back and shoulders were so messed up. With a few tweaks, all was better almost immediately.
Bring cycling clothes and clothes for the evening dinners.
Bring layers and rain gear.
Go at your own pace to enjoy every bit that this special trip has to offer!
Mountain locals say “You come to the mountains to ski in the winter, but you stay for the summer” In the past I didn’t invest much credibility into this statement, as I’m an avid winter enthusiast and self proclaimed “Snow Queen.” However, now that I’ve created a full-time life in the high country (Telluride, CO.) I assure you this with absolute conviction: summer in the mountains is spectacular! Carving out time for a road trip or grabbing a flight to high altitude bliss is time very well spent. The overall vibe in the summer with majestic pines and fluttery aspen trees is easy breezy. Now that Covid has loosened it’s grip on travel, we can explore freedom again!
There’s no other mountain/ski town in the USA like Aspen, CO. Famed for it’s epic skiing in four locations: Aspen Mountain (Aka: Ajax), Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. The terrain is varied and skiers of every level can find their Shangri-La. No matter what season you visit, you’ll experience magic of the mountains and the ultimate Rocky Mountain High.
Aspen and the entire region is super easy to fall in love with, the culture is rich in every way. It’s possible to immerse oneself in the arts, exceptional dining, outdoor recreation, shopping and the finest lodging all in one day, but I suggest you book a long weekend or better yet a week. Through the years I have spent several winter vacations at The Little Nell and my every experience there is noteworthy. The more time I spend in Aspen the more my love for it deepens. There’s so much to see and do in every season, there really is something for everyone.
If you are looking to channel your inner artiste, then booking a workshop at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center should be investigated. The campus is beautiful, located conveniently at the base of Snowmass Mountain. There are workshops for ages 4 and up and the class offerings are very diverse. You can choose from courses in ceramics, digital fabrication, furniture design, woodworking, painting & drawing, photography & new media, printmaking, sculpture & more.
This summer I participated in a week long class in China Paint Techniques with the fabulous instructor Melanie Sherman. This is a painting technique I knew nothing about, but a soon as I read the course description I knew this former textile designer had struck gold! (Literally I painted with gold lustre every chance I got) It’s been many years since I was immersed in art classes at Syracuse University, and an absolute treat to live and breath the campus life again at Anderson Ranch.
Immediately you feel at home when you step onto the friendly campus. There are dorms located on campus, but these coveted spaces fill up quickly. Word has it when classes open for registration in January the dorm accommodations fill up immediately. Local lodging in Snowmass and Aspen are also a great option.
While the exteriors of our historic buildings provide a glimpse into our ranching past, inside you’ll find impeccable spaces for art making and state-of-the-art equipment, all specifically designed to feed the passion of the artists who come to Anderson Ranch to make art, learn new skills and share ideas.
As far as destination hotels go you really can’t beat The Little Nell. It’s unrivaled location (at the base of famed Ajax mountain) combined with exceptional amenities, rooms, restaurants and customer service keep The Nell always as the most highly ranked hotel in the area and one of the best in the world.
The summer offerings are wonderful and not to be missed. If you can book a stay there then everything The Nell offers will be at your fingertips. If you are just passing through, then absolutely try to secure time to enjoy one of their two restaurants Ajax Tavern or Element 47 or three bars. The Wine Bar opened this past winter and instantly hit the mark for its aesthetics and extensive wine list. The Little Nell is fully committed to it’s award-winning wine program, led by a reputable team of sommeliers. A DJ spins vinyl tunes while you sip vino and enjoy noshes from the charcuterie carving station and delectable cheese boards. There is also a full bar menu for your favorite cocktail. The Little Nell has an on-site cellar with a wine collection of over 20,000 from the world’s highly esteemed vineyards, Oenophiles you will be in your happy place at The Wine Bar!
If you have a private group, secure a booking at The Board Room. A hidden speakeasy located in a secret location in the hotel. A great way to impress your friends!
Aspen’s catchphrase is “defy ordinary” and that’s very easy to do once you get there. If hiking and exploring nature are your thing then exploring the Maroon Bells is a must. There are six pet friendly scenic hiking trails to choose from and each will beckon you with a variety of natural habitats and a diverse look at the Elk Mountain Range. Gorgeous Maroon Lake greets hikers at the start and sweeping views of the 14’ers Maroon Bells offer some of the most spectacular views in the world.
Now is the time to book those tickets for live music! Thankfully this summer Aspen’s popular Belly Up live music and events venue is open to indulge music lovers with 100% capacity and no mask or social distancing requirements (with proof of vaccines) The line up is awesome, diverse and tickets are selling really fast. The Belly Up is a favorite among Aspen locals and visitors from all corners of the globe.
Listed as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “BEST CLUBS IN AMERICA,” we are a 450-capacity music venue at the base of Aspen Mountain.
You don’t need to be on Broadway to see amazing live theatre productions. The Theatre Aspen has noteworthy shows lined up this summer among them are Chicago the Musical (June 30-July 22, 2021) and Rock of Ages (July 30 – Aug 21, 2021. These shows are as professionally produced as any you would see in NYC or London.
Two-step into your cowboy boots and saddle on up to the Snowmass Rodeo this summer. This is a great time for the entire family. This high energy event takes place every Wednesday night from June 23 – August 18th, 2021. Purchase tickets here. Events include: The Grand Entry, Bareback Riding, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Dally Ribbon Roping, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding and of course…lots of time shooting the bull outdoors with friends and family.
Boutiques and Galleries
The town of Aspen is laid out like a grid with phenomenal views of Aspen Mountain framed with boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants. Whether you have saved up for the trip or simply window shopping, you’ll be smitten with all the Instagrammable opportunities. From the chicest luxury clothing and accessory boutiques to the finest jewelers, housewares and galleries. Stuff your wallet full, because the shopping in Aspen is like no other ski town in the USA. Luxe favorites like Dior, Valentino, Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton are oh so appealing at 7,908 above sea level.
If you are heading to the Snowmass Rodeo then Kemosabe is the place for all things western including cowboy boots, hats and turquoise jewelry. Gorsuch is best known for its epic ski collections, but in the summer styles will inspire you to book that trip to St. Barths. This family-owned boutique also has housewares to swoon over for that perfect tabletop. You might even be lucky enough to find discounts on chic ski apparel at Gorsuch and Performance Ski. When you hit up Aspen in the summer, you will likely want to visit again in the winter and you will need to be well dressed for the snow as well!
For fine jewelry and that coveted Rolex visit Meridian Jewelers, a family-owned shop with a very helpful team to help you find that gorgeous piece of bling.
Meridian tastemakers are known for finding new and up and coming designers from across the globe in order to present pieces that are innovative and original, for the discerning client who appreciates an independent style.
If you are an art collector or launching into the world of art then Aspen also has so much to offer in this realm as well. With over 20 galleries, art is a huge priority in this region, one of the reasons Anderson Ranch is such a well funded and popular center to partake in the arts. Two of my favorite galleries are the Christopher Martin Gallery and Skye Gallery. When I walk into these spaces I feel so alive and energized.
Skye Gallery represents a diverse collective of emerging and established artists, from a local to global level of recognition.
Dining In Aspen
There’s always something delicious to eat and drink in Aspen! If you are looking to dress up in your chic new outfit then be sure to wear it to one of the many restaurants. For French cuisine check out Cache Cache (try the lamb chops) and the French Alpine Bistro. Famed Dante has pop up at the St. Regis Chef’s Club, this restaurant hails from Greenwich Village NYC and is a huge hit with Aspenites serving up Italian small plates and creative cocktails.
If a sushi craving beckons to be satisfied then head over to Kenichi, the bar is always hopping and the food is delish! For happy hour head over to Clark’s Oyster Bar, get your oyster shooters fix from 3-5pm seven days a week. Another aprés spot to hit up is the pool at the W Aspen, great views, people watching, cocktails and a swim make it an ideal way to spend the afternoon. Looking to beat a hangover or boost your daily vitamin intake the grab a juice at JUS, here you can even get a cleanse bundle.
A slice is always nice and the Aspen Pie Shop serves deliciously thick, flavor packed slices. Located on a vibrant corner of town where you might choose to people watch all day long. The seats over looking the park provide endless entertainment!
If a mountain picnic is your thing Meat & Cheese has you covered with delicious cut to order cheese and charcuterie selections. They also have sandwiches, artisan breads, fresh seafood and a great outdoor seating area should you decide to dine there.