Friday, November 21, 2014

In Tartan we Trust

I love tartan plaids. Maybe it's my Catholic school upbringing, maybe it's my inner prep. Most of my personal plaid items are the navy and green Black Watch Plaid. My families horse farm growing up was called Black Watch Hill. I like it because, unlike the bright red and green plaids it doesn't totally scream Christmas. I also love the Brooks Brother's Signature Tartan which is a navy, burgundy, camel and green pattern. They have a really interesting short article in their online magazine about their tartan.

 I love both this silk chiffon ruffled scarf above and the cashmere Ruana below. Classic and understated. Just how I like it!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Being Mindful

The holiday season is almost upon us with all the excess it implies. Some how, what should be a wonderful joyous experience always seems to devolve into a frenzy of shopping and buying things. One of the things I have been striving for this fall and am trying to hold onto in an attempt to remain centered this season is the concept of mindfulness. Thinking before I buy and trying to enjoy the little thing without getting caught up in the frenzied pressure to create a perfect holiday. A great resource is the blog Into Mind. There is a focus on simplicity and thoughtfulness that I have found very helpful. Just thought I would share in the hopes of helping others!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving

I'm stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that Christmas is sneaking into my Thanksgiving. So while red cups abound and I'm starting to see posts about great holiday gifts, I'm going to share a great blog called Champagne & Macaroons. I found this beautiful blog in my wanderings while celebrating my inner French girl. There are beautiful pictures of Paris and a wonderful spread about Thanksgiving entertaining. But what I thought sounded yummy was this recipe for Pumpkin white hot chocolate.

Ingredients

1 cup of heavy cream

2 cups of milk – I use skim milk

1 cup of good quality white chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice

Whipped cream and additional pumpkin spice to sprinkle on top.

Directions

1. Heat cream and milk in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot but not boiling.

2. In a medium sized bowl, pour heated cream and milk over white chocolate chips. Stir until chips are melted.

3. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin spice.

4. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.

A few tips:

Keep a close eye on the milk and cream mixture – once it is hot, turn off the flame. It doesn’t need to come to a boil.

Use good quality white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate. The flavor and sweetness of white chocolate really varies. I have found the Ghirardelli white chocolate chips to have the best taste and have been able to find them at almost every grocery store.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving People!





It's still fall people! I feel the need to remind everyone that Thanksgiving is still over a week away. There are red cups in my Starbucks and holiday items in my Target but I am resolutely avoiding it. I love the Holiday season but Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays within that Holiday season. It's about food and family and somehow I feel like that gets lost in our rush for Christmas goodies. As much as I love Christmas, some years I feel overwhelmed by the pressure for perfect memories. Somehow, I always end up sick and stressed at the end. So turn down those jingle bells and step away from the red cups people. Let's take some time to relax and be thankful!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Finding My Inner French Girl

I've always been drawn to the "French Girl" books about the mystical way of life a of a French woman. Now, I suspect that this is at least partially a myth or at the very least a huge exaggeration. However, the image appealed and I started by the road looking for my inner French girl.

The first place I started was my wardrobe. Over time it had become disjointed and drifted from who I really was. Bottom line is that I am a very conservative, traditional dresser. I went shopping a few times with my sister who is an elementary school teacher and dresses more J. Jill than Brooks Brothers and I began to drift.

I found an amazing blog called The Vivienne Files. She is a lovely blogger and has a great series about starting a wardrobe from scratch and choosing colors. My main colors are navy blue and gray. I also use white, red and hunter green. I have been ruthlessly editing my closet and keeping really only the things of better quality. This is the few items but better quality aspect that you will hear a lot about if you read books about the life of "The French Woman". Although, I think it is a more common trait among Europeans in general. My Swedish friend totally swears by this.  It's not necessarily and easy transition but I am trying to move to only buying things that I love, and love me back.

I'll post about the other ways I am "finding" my inner French Girl in the days to come but for now, I have decided that her name is Collette! What about you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Treats, not Tricks

I admit I like apple as the flavor and scent of fall, almost more than pumpkin. Might have something to do with my parents living on 25 acres of apple orchards? Any way, I found this wonder recipe on The Glitter Guide  and just had to share. Doesn't it sounds delicious?

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz apple cider
  • 1 tsp thyme-infused simple syrup
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Thyme (to garnish)

DIRECTIONS

For the thyme-infused simple syrup: Mix equal parts sugar and water with a few sprigs of thyme over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes while thyme steeps. Strain.
For the martini: Combine vodka, simple syrup, cider and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with thyme.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Brooks Brothers

I love Brooks Brothers, hands down my favorite place. When I worked in downtown SF I used to walk up to their store just off Union Square and wanted around, just enjoying the ambiance. I think I mentioned that I have been doing some serious thinking about what style was truly me and editing my closet to reflect it. Brooks Brothers is the best representation of that for me. I love the look above. Their signature tartan is one of my favorites. It's navy and red and green and a little camel thrown in. All my favorite colors! I have a cashmere ruana from Brooks Brothers in a bright red that my hubby have me for Christmas that I love. In our more temperate climate here in Northern California, I often wear it over a blazer during the winter instead of a coat. Especially now that I'm not commuting via BART. But what I love about Brooks Brothers isn't just this look, it's the embrace of the put together.