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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Treats

My parents live on an apple orchard that is about 25 acres. Much of it is leased to a commercial company that uses them for cider but there are still plenty of apple left over in the fall for yummy treats. While on the hunt for something new, I found the above, mini apple pies, baked in muffin tins! Both the picture and the recipe come from here. I haven't made this yet but it is on my list for this weekend!.

Muffin Tin Apple PiesMakes 6 pies in a Texas muffin pan 
Pastry dough

  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 sticks frozen butter (1 cup)
  • 10 Tbsp. ice-cold water
Filling

  • 6 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. maple sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and brown sugar several times. Cut the frozen butter into 8 pieces, add it to the flour mixture, and pulse until the butter is combined and the mixture is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
With the food processor on low, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. 
Place the dough on a floured surface, knead a few times and form it into a ball. Cut the dough in half, flatten it into two disks, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight). 
While the dough is chilling, peel the apples and cut them into ½-inch dice. In a pan on medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the apples, cinnamon and sugar and toss to combine.
Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the apples are still firm, but can be just pierced with a fork. Set the apples aside to cool slightly. 
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a muffin tin liberally with butter.
Place the chilled dough on a well-floured surface and roll it out to about ¼-inch thickness, and set it aside. Repeat with the second piece of dough. 
Cut out 6 circles of dough to fit the muffin tins, then press each one evenly into the tin to fill the base and line the sides; the dough should be even with the top of the tin.
Cut the dough for the top crusts (they suggest a drinking glass works as a size gauge), and cut a small opening in each.
Fill the pies to the brim with apples.
Use a finger to lightly moisten the edges of the top crusts and bottom crusts with the beaten egg wash to help the pies stay together.
Place the top crusts on—egg wash side down—and press each down gently to connect with the bottom crusts. Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. 
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crusts are nice and golden. Allow the pies to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin. 

Serve with vanilla ice cream. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Fun Find, Paper Source

In my rambling around the internet I found a cool company called Paper Source and ordered this fun craft kit from them for the upcoming Christmas season. The kit comes with all the supplies necessary to make this neat poinsettia wreath. Click here to go to the page.
They also have this beautiful peony one which you can find here. It looks a little harder than the poinsettia one so I think I am going to wait until I complete the first one before ordering but I am already picturing how perfect it will be on my front door at Easter! They also have cards and stationary and a bunch of other cool craft kits. I'll report back once I complete the wreath above and let you know how it goes but I think they are well worth taking a look! Happy Monday to everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Proper Table Settings

I know, I know, once again I have been gone for ages. If you are still out there checking in, my humblest apologies. Life has been insane but I keep finding that something pulls me back to this blog so here I am. I've been doing a lot of thinking and fine tuning bits and pieces of my life recently so I have lots to share. In the mean time, as the holiday season approaches, I saw this on Pinterest and thought it seemed like a good thing to share. I have been working hard on the manners of the three kids in my life and table setting has been a recent focus. My  biggest weaknesses has always been remembering whether the spoon goes inside the knife or vice versa. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year, my mom is but I'm sure I will be setting the table (not to mention doing dishes!)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Monday Dress Boutique

I've been a fan of Marley Lilly for some time and consider it on of my go to places for monogramed gifts and cute looks. The same folks have launched The Monday Dress Boutique and there's some cute stuff. I am really liking the red and white striped skirt and the sailboat tunic below. Click here to check it out.