THE ART SHOP IS OPEN!

I literally couldn't be more excited to announce The Art Shop is officially open on the website.

After years of doing custom illustrations and watercolors for invitation suites I've gotten more and more requests to sell prints online. And when I started showing my painting process and some behind the scenes on my Instagram story I couldn't ignore the idea of opening an online shop any longer!

So The Art Shop a shopable gallery of some of my favorite watercolor illustrations all printed on cotton paper and shipped to you in perfectly appointed gift packaging. Each print is available in three sizes, order one or order multiple prints to create a gallery wall.

I will be adding more prints each month and older prints will sell out and may not be renewed so if like something be sure to snatch it up now! Happy shopping girls! Here are a few highlights below for you to check out, let me know what you think in the comments below or pop onto my Instagram...let me know what you'd like to see in the shop.

Cheers!

Catherine

THE BEST PUMPKIN PASTA RECIPE EVER

So it's finally gotten a little cold here and is feeling a lot more like Fall, I actually don't know if I'm loving it yet but I've definitely started making some more soul warming comfort food. I posted a photo of this pasta dish on my personal Instagram page because it looked too good not to share....and got a lot of requests for the recipe so here it is! Super easy and super good.

You can make your own pumpkin pasta sauce or you can buy the jarred kind I recommend below...either are delicious. And if the idea of pumpkin on pasta sounds like a accidentally spilled some pie filling on my dinner don't worry...this is a completely savory dish despite the pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice. Even The Big Guy liked this one and he is not a sweet and savory lover nor is he a member of the Pumpkin Spice Army. He did however triple the amount of fresh ricotta that I added but he's Italian and fresh ricotta is one of the things that make life worth living.

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SPAGHETTI WITH PUMPKIN SAUCE, SAUSAGE + FRESH RICOTTA
{serves 3-4 dinner portions}

1 pound spaghetti
1 1/2 - 2 cups tuscan pumpkin sauce
       (recipe below or use store bought Cucina Antica Pasta Sauce Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce)
6 sweet italian sausage links
3 generous handfuls fresh arugula
1 cup of fresh ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
good olive oil for drizzling

Cook the pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water...it should taste like the sea. While your pasta is cooking, fill a frying pan half way with water and place the sausage in it, boil on high heat flipping once until the sausages are cooked through. Drain the water from the frying pan and brown the sausages on all sides. Set aside to cool, then slice on the diagonal.

Drain the pasta when it's al dente and place back in the pot it was cooked in. Add just enough pumpkin sauce to coat the noodles but do not drown it in sauce, you will not need the whole recipe below for this dish. Stir in the sliced Italian sausage and parmesan cheese, lastly add the fresh arugula. Plate your pasta and top with a about a quarter cup of fresh ricotta, drizzle with a really good olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve with grilled bread for a really rustic fall meal.


Tuscan Pumpkin Sauce

32 ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 jar of really good tomato sauce
a yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2-1 cup of stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon ground sage
1/4 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
olive oil
salt and pepper

I start this sauce in the same fashion I start every pasta sauce…heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium high heat, add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are translucent but not carmelized or browned. Add the garlic to the pot and stir until it becomes fragrant…30 seconds. Add the pasta sauce, pumpkin and herbs stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper and add a ½ cup stock (or more if your sauce is very thick) Keep in mind you do want the sauce to be thick so it coats the spaghetti not slides off so go easy here.

Simmer sauce for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. Add the cream (or I’ve even used half and half) just before taking it off the heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a lot of sauce so you can freeze it for another dinner or make a baked pumpkin ziti and freeze that or if you are feeling adventurous I've got a delicious pumpkin pizza recipe for you later this week!

5 THINGS MAKING INDIAN SUMMER BETTER

It's officially Fall in the Northeast...but it certainly doesn't feel like it. Temperatures are in the low 80's or high 70's on a daily basis and most days are filled with humidity...gross. And if you are anything like me as soon as the kids go back to school and the Pumpkin Spice Army rears it's ugly head you are ready for a chunky sweater, suede booties, a serious plate of mac and cheese and all the red wine you can drink, but it seems so inappropriate right now. So here are the five things making this Indian Summer tolerable for me.

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1. Tom Ford's Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum | Citrus, floral and amber undertones are almost all Summer but with a touch of Fall.

2. Nine West Ankle Strap Flats | I have them in buff and black...perfect for when you want a flat but still have the cool factor of a sandal. These are from a past season but they have a similar pair out now.

3. The Sinsear | A cocktail from Domino magazine's Fall 2017 issue. Apple cider and ginger will remind of the fall but it's still refreshing in the heat.

THE SINSEAR
{makes 2 cocktails}

1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp simple syrup
2 sprigs fresh rosemary for garnish

Combine all ingredients except the rosemary in a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

4. Plum Focaccia from Martha Stewart Living October 2017 issue. Um yum, that's all I have to say.

5. And a Diptyque Mimosa candle...because this one screams summer and it's literally the chance you are going to have to burn this one until it the end of next spring.

Cheers to this weird weather ending my ability to hide out in cowl neck sweaters soon!
Catherine

BRAND NEW OFFERING: CUSTOM PORTRAIT ILLUSTRATIONS

I'm so freaking excited!! Like literally jumping out of my skin excited! If you didn't already know I launched my newly refreshed website recently (go check that out) but today I officially launched a brand new way to serve my all of my clients...CUSTOM WATERCOLOR PORTRAITS! AHHH!!!

custom watercolor wedding portraits

If you are a bride or groom who recently got married or is in the planning stages I've got custom wedding portraits for sale in 2 sizes, an awesome way to commemorate your big day or even use at your reception in place of a guest book! Click here for all the info!

custom family watercolor illustrations

And if you are a mom or dad or looking for the perfect present for one, custom watercolor family portraits are perfect for you! And you can click here for all the info.

I'm truly so happy to officially offer watercolor illustrations to all of my clients, I've gotten tons of requests over the past few years so I thought it was about time to offer them to the masses. Check out the website and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Catherine

SUMMER 2017 RECAP

Summer always seems to end so bitter sweetly and this year is no different. I was lucky enough to travel with my family but also took some short trips with friends. I always like to recap at the end of each summer to remind myself to be grateful of all the great things I get to experience and the people I get to experience them with.

We kicked the whole thing off with a lot of lacrosse for The Dude followed by some more lacrosse for The Dude. Me and The Big Guy may or may not have gotten a little (or a lot) sunburned for Father's Day while sitting on the sidelines. But on a positive note we finally were able to tell The Big Guy that we were taking him to Colorado and Utah to celebrate his 40th birthday, that was a secret we'd been holding for months.

This will be remembered as the summer we finally completed the patio and pizza oven...this was taken the first day we really got experiment with it. These two ate more pizza that night than I've ever thought possible.

I finally got to have dinner with my girls when all of our kids' activities and schedules finally calmed down in the warmer months. We have been friends for 25 years and it doesn't matter how much time passes, it's like we are 15 years old all over again. There's no one I laugh more with.

Just a few days later The Big Guy, Avy Gravy and The Dude and I all hopped on a plane to Denver, Colorado where we began one of the coolest road trips I've ever taken. Driving through the Rockies, stopping for lunch in an awesome town called Salida and then making one more step at Blue Mesa Reservoir for a quick pic.

We finally made it to our destination, Telluride, CO. which would be home for a few days. My husband has been here several times in the winter to go snowboarding but never in the summer...and it was a first trip for the rest of us. It was such an awesome town and I've never seen such friendly people in my life. And I've literally never done so much physical activity on a vacation ever.

Day One we hiked...a lot. And breathing at 9,000 plus feet is not easy. The Big Guy and Avy Gravy seemed to fair much better than me and The Dude. Then we took the scariest ride I've ever been in the back of pick up truck, 7 miles up the side of the San Juan Mountains to Imogene Pass, 13,000 feet above sea level. Don't worry, I only actually thought we would die like 3 times. I'm slightly smiling in the pic below because I was out of the truck and on solid ground....and was apparently in denial that I had to get back in and good all the way down.

We white water rafted in the rain but spent evenings by the fire at the hotel or in Mountain Village...literally haven't been that relaxed in years.

And on our last day in Telluride we hiked to Bridal Veil Falls which was on this guys bucket list. The following day we left for Utah and that was another unreal drive. I've never been able to see that far at one time and there was literally nothing for miles upon miles.

Now I need to get serious for a minute. Utah is really hot in the desert in the middle of July. Like 108 degrees hot. And The Big Guy was like "let's hike in Arches National Park" and I was like "yeah I don't think so, I want to live" But we did see Delicate Arch from a far and were able to the short hike to see the "Windows."

And then that night we took an insane sunset Hummer tour on the petrified sand dunes in Moab. Not as scary as the ride in Telluride but close. Really freaking close. The next morning we drove all the back to Denver and spent some time with my oldest friend and her little family. We took a short trip to Boulder for lunch...that is a town I could live in! It was definitely and awesome trip and I would highly recommend making a road trip out of it and I'd even recommend the death defying tours.

Avy Gravy turned 13 just 2 days after we got home so we celebrated her and The Big Guy's birthdays with some tacos at our favorite Mexican spot.

And a few days later I got back in the car and take for the Hamptons with one of my girls and got to visit two of my favorite boys for a few days. Lotta laughs, lotta wine, lotta good food...don't hate me because it was fabulous.

A trip to the shore house with the kids was in order following the Hamptons trip. We celebrated my mom's birthday with a lobster dinner cooked by my brother in law and it was unreal. We spent some much needed time with our toes in the sand and the kids rode the waves and played paddle ball. That is my happy place.

Finally we celebrated a family wedding where The Big Guy and I danced all night...he needs no egging on to get on the dance floor, it's his thing, but I do. But once we were out there together it didn't matter that there was literally no one else for a long time, we could have fun in a paper bag as long as we are together.

Thanks for the memories 2017....you did NOT disappoint!

Cheers!

Catherine

NEW LOOK! NEW WORK!

So it's been awhile right? I'm going to be totally honest....I was burned out from blogging and Instagram was so much easier to get new work in front of my audience with a lot less pressure. My mom texted me a month ago and asked why she wasn't getting any emails from The Asylum anymore, I think she was taking it personally. I had to admit to her and myself that I had let it fall by the way side despite the fact that I know it's important for my business and for me too.

But a break combined with a blog design refresh was literally exactly what I needed to get excited to sit down at my laptop and tell you all about what's on my mind, what's happening behind the scenes and what I'm working on.

And there's a lot of fresh content coming your way! I've got awesome wedding and event inspiration coming your way coupled with a larger focus on what is happening in my studio including videos and how to instructions on stuff I get asked all the time, like literally all the time. And of course this is where you will see all new wedding suites and work before they land on the website. Needless to say I've got a lot to catch you up on before I we move on to new happenings so stay tuned over the next few weeks to see what's happened since I've been gone.

I hope you're as happy I'm back as I am. If there's anything you'd like to see featured on the blog feel free to comment below! And let me know what you think of the new blog design.

Cheers!

Catherine