14

Macdo

• 29 May 2009

Is anyone else besides me completely shocked at the beautiful interiors of this MCDONALDS in France? (Bussy St. Georges to be exact) Wow. Also shocking was their full beverage bar offering espresso and orange passionfruit juice. I noticed the barista even making pretty floral designs in the foam on another guests' drink. Pinch me. Am I really at a Macdo? (what they call McDonalds in France - pronounced "mac-doe")

And it's not just a nicer experience for the adults. The kids score as well. Just think...instead of sending your children off to a dirty, probably-never-cleaned-tunnel system (a friend of mine swears her child becomes sick after every visit...so they stopped going), your children could participate in dance revolution or take on an obstacle course. Not too shabby folks.




5

Georgia O'Keefe + Ansel Adams

















I've loved Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams since my teenage years. In fact, at one point I had an Ansel Adam print and a Georgia O'Keefe calendar hanging on my wall at the same time. I'd really love to see this exhibition at the SFMoMA if possible...and to think it begins in only two days!

If you live in San Francisco, or are simply heading there for a weekend getaway in the next couple of months, stop by this gorgeous museum for a little creative inspiration.

3

Virginia Light Rolls
























To dress up a simple meal based around soup, I'll sometimes make these rolls. People really eat them up quickly and on the rare occasion you actually have some leftover, they are delicious the next morning with jam. The fact that the dough is made in the bread machine makes them easy to make and lessens the amount of hands-on time tremendously. So, if you have a bread machine, give these Virginia Light Rolls a whirl this week.

Notes:

1. To make the cloverleaf shape pictured above, pinch off a small amount of dough; then shape each piece into approximately 1 inch balls. Lightly butter or apply cooking spray to a muffin tin. Place three balls in each cup.

2. I brush a little melted butter on top of each roll before placing them in the oven.

3. I cook them for only 8-11 minutes even though the recipe calls for 25 minutes. For some reason mine are perfectly golden in half the time. Keep in mind that every oven varies so make sure you keep an eye on yours so they don't over bake.

32

A Mere Trifle

• 28 May 2009



































Just a few days ago, I finally put my sittin'-pretty-on-the-shelf-for-18-months trifle dish to use. I discovered that trifles are delicious...and beautiful...and easy to make...what took me so long to try to make one? It's just layering, right?

I was in a time crunch so I picked up an angel food cake at the store (I realized I need a tube pan so I can make my own next time) and layered it with homemade whipped cream, lemon curd, and sliced strawberries. Yet another use for lemon curd...love it!

Do you know of any outstanding trifle recipes calling for homemade cake? If you, I'd love a link!

3

Blue + White

























Two lovely examples of this killer combination--cobalt blue & white:

Squares of Tissue Paper: After seeing this, I couldn't help but love these too. Surely I can find all sorts of uses for a box of 1000 :) If you're local, you can pick these up (also in red!) at Orson Gygi. 1000 squares for $25.55.

Summer Dress: I picked this up for my oldest daughter at Target. I can't believe how much I love it! She wore it on the first day of school in France (more on that later...). It's not a real French-schoolgirl-kind-of-look per se, but she felt lovely in it. Speaking of Frenchy clothing, did you all see the sale over at Olive Juice Kids? I was able to find some extremely well-priced, European-styled pieces for her to wear as well. Check out the sale here.

13

A House on a Hill: Renovating a Cottage in France, Part 2

We took this picture of the kids last August, just after checking out the home for the second time. This pretty, wildflower-covered hill is just across the road (or rather "path") from the cottage. For me, this photo epitomizes the innocence and joy of being a child. It's fun to think about other children being photographed on the same hill someday. Can you see the Dordogne River there in the background? It's the perfect river to canoe I might add. The wall you see in the background is part of the original city wall...it's only 400+ years old! It's amazing how "new" our country seems after spending a little time in a Medieval village.




























If you've seen the movie, "Ever After" with Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott, you may recognize this vista...to drive up to the castle you have to take a roundabout road that winds through the country for a few minutes. As you make the last turn, this is what you see. Do you feel like running through those fields barefoot or is it just me?


6

Best Tex-Mex

• 27 May 2009
















I love good Mexican food and these recipes from the latest Living definitely fit the bill. In fact, I've made variations of this meal twice in the last 3 weeks--it's that good. Since I'm a rare red-meat-eater, I've decided to save my limited intake for the Tacos Picadillos..they clearly present a temptation :) To make them a little healthier, I buy fresh corn tortillas and then place them on a griddle pan on medium heat for about 5-10 seconds per side. I don't spray them with oil or anything...I find them delicious enough on their own.

Some other notes worth reading beforehand:

1. The Salsa Picante is just that...picante...as in pretty darn spicy. I only used one of the two recommended jalopenos to lessen the heat, but still found it quite hot. For the Husband, who enjoys spicy food, it was just right though. I'd go with 1/2 to 1 jalopeno when I make this again. The roasted vegetables really add depth to the salsa. Loved it!

2. This Spanish Rice recipe is the best I've ever made. Totally loving my tomato-paste-in-a-tube right now. It's easy to double too.

3. Holy Guacamole. This is good. Easy too! The trick is choosing the right avocado...I always buy one more than I think I'll need just in case I open one and it's bruised.

4. A side of the Southwestern Salad is the perfect "fresh" accompaniment to this meal. It evens things out a bit you could say. In addition to the Southwestern Salad, consider a plate of fresh fruit for dessert. It's a light way to end a Mexican meal.

images from MS

0

Computer Woes

We are experiencing some major computer drama today (and yesterday) but are on the up and up. Bottom line: regular posting will resume tomorrow or if I'm lucky...this evening. Here's hoping!

I have some fun things in store for you to read including more about the cottage renovation in France. Thank you for being patient as I try to recover a good portion of my hard drive. Yikes!

A demain...hasta maƱana...see you tomorrow...


10

Yummy Banana Bread

• 25 May 2009



































This is some of the best banana bread I've ever consumed. Not a surprise though, the recipe hails from my favorite bakery in Boston--Flour Bakery + Cafe. Yu-uh-mmy!

Find the recipe here.

update: I've now discovered two banana bread recipes that call themselves Flour Bakery recipes and both from legitimate sources--the Food Network and Epicurious. They are slightly different. One I've linked to above...here is the other.

0

Homespun Goodness























Marvelous Marta is hosting a mini-series on "m.writes" called Homespun Goodness. Every week she asks her panelists (of which I am one) a different question relating to all things domestic. If you're like me, you'll love reading everyone's two cents. Read all about it here.

Marta also has a lovely online shop full of lots o' goodies. I've purchased some tags from her before and loved them!

9

Still Can't Believe...



























...I have a redhead...and that she is two! Well, she's been two for a few months but I'm still in denial. Where has the time gone?

9

Gardening 101

• 22 May 2009



































Since I love to cook and use fresh ingredients, it seemed natural to start a little garden. The only problem with this seemingly obvious scenario is that I'm not a gardener. In fact, I've only recently turned my black thumb kind of a brownish-green hue. This basically means instead of killing plants within a week, it takes more like a month or two :)

But, all skills that do not come naturally to us can be acquired with much effort. This I know. So, I'm giving my little garden a "go". I planted about 25 plants and only killed 4 the first week and 2 the second. Given my history I'm pretty satisfied with the status quo. I'm just hoping my red lettuce starts growing a little more. It's not dead--or even close--it simply appears to be the same size this week as it was 2 weeks ago. Hmmm....thankfully I can report my herb garden is alive and kicking. Hallelujah!

Any tips?

7

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Orange Maple Butter






























We ate these for dinner last week and I fell in love. It's on the richer side, but the combination is exquisite. Definitely take the time to make the orange maple butter (if you have leftovers, use it on top of some homemade rolls and you'll experience a pseudo-orange-roll experience). I can't wait to make it again...but I'll have to wait until I have some blueberry-loving-guests visit, as apparently my family doesn't enjoy blueberries in their pancakes. Say what?!

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Orange Maple Butter
Martha Stewart Living

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh blueberries
Orange Maple Butter
Pure maple syrup

1. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk, butter and egg. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (mixture will be lumpy).

2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (for keeping pancakes warm). Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toss blueberries with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Brush griddle with melted butter. Spoon batter onto griddle 1/3 cup at a time. Sprinkle with sugared blueberries, about 2 tablespoons per pancake. Cook until edges are set, 3 to 4 minutes (don't wait for bubbles to form on this recipe...they won't show up!). Flip, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter and blueberries, adding more butter to griddle and keeping prepared pancakes warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Serve with orange maple butter and pure maple syrup.

Orange Maple Butter
Martha Stewart Living

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Using a rubber spatula, combine ingredients in a small bowl. Orange maple butter can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

image via MS Living

0

Oklahoma!




























Over my life I've traveled across the country at least ten times. If I were making it #11, I'd stop by Oklahoma City take a peek at this intriguing photography exhibit featuring the work of Julius Shulman. He shot more than 70 structures across Oklahoma's windswept plains, one of which was this futuristic, fantastic photo of a bank. I wish my bank looked like that :)

Check it out here.

3

A Deal on Tolix Seating: No.2

• 21 May 2009















I know many of you love these classic, French chairs from Tolix so I'm passing along this delightful tidbit of information: the Sundance Outlet in SLC carries every chair you see here at a discount...$165 each. Nothing is wrong with them...no scratches...no dents (like mine) and they come in three rockin' colors.

You can use them indoors or if you prefer to use them outdoors, apply a coat of lacquer to each chair. They stack well, clean up well, and are not uncomfortable, which you may presume by looking at them--they are metal after all. If my testimonial doesn't convince you, check out the sleek cushions Pottery Barn offers specifically for these cafe chairs.

So that's the lowdown...I hope those of you that have emailed me about these in the past get lucky this time :)



































image from Everyday with Rachel Ray

8

Kitchen of the Month



































This kitchen strays from the usual light-colored kitchens I seem drawn to; however, I find it almost equally appealing. Typically you don't find these colors in a modern kitchen but more often in an outdated 70's version. But, this modern take is outstanding because it combines freshness with earth tones. Those pretty white walls really set the stage.

image via Elle Decor

6

LA's Garment/Fashion District


































A few weeks ago I hit LA's Garment/Fashion District with low expectations. It was my second visit, but clearly it had been awhile and I'd forgotten more than a few things. I was amazed, if not shocked, at what I found--beautiful, inexpensive fabrics & trims of all styles, colors, and sizes!! I could've easily spent an entire day there. Next time I will...

This part of LA is vibrant, bustling, energetic and an all-around fun place to be during the day (sources tell me it's not the place to be in the evening, however). You hear Bob Marley blasting from boom boxes, encounter street vendors selling fresh fruit (see mother-in-law holding delicious fruit above), and feel inspired by all the fantastic fabric you see in all the storefronts...even if you're someone who can't even sew on a button properly (me).

Here are a few places to start:

Floret Fabrics - Some outstanding bold patterns
306 E. 9th Street

Carmel Gallery of Fabrics - I found a bold Hable Contruction-esque pattern for pennies.
432 E. 9th Street #1

Hi Fabrics, Inc. - Great for large orders on solid fabrics, i.e. for tableclothes and such.
937 S. Maple Ave.

Big Bargain Trims - 100 yards of heavy grosgrain ribbon for $5
623 E. 9th St.

Maple Craft - Cake toppers, organza favor bags and ribbon galore.
925 Maple Ave.

Enjoy discovering your own little finds...there are blocks and blocks to explore. Keep in mind there aren't a lot of great places to eat in this neighborhood so have low expectations when it comes to eating out. Oh, and don't forget to check out all the colorful pinatas on 9th Street. You'll never see anything like this outside Mexico.

6

IKEA Napkins























I am a huge fan of IKEA napkins for a few reasons...1. they are fairly substantial and of the perfect weight...2. they are inexpensive...3. they have great solid colors and outstanding designs. On my last trip I spotted these new designs and fell in love with just about every one--they are some of the best I've seen yet. You can check them out online here.

Note: While you can't purchase them online, you can read product descriptions and use the product locator function to see if the style you want is in stock at your local store.

9

Gourmet Grilled Chicken Sandwich

• 20 May 2009



































With the weather warming up a bit and eating outside has become an option, it felt appropriate to make something that felt like more like Summer, i.e. on the grill :) I haven't been seriously tempted to try the recipe cards in the last several issues of Living, but this month's set put a stop to that! First up--the delicious-looking grilled chicken sandwich pictured. Links to all the recipes in the current issue are not available on the MS website yet so I'll share it with you here. It's very easy to make and is definitely going on "repeat" in our household.

A few notes about this recipe: Don't be tempted to cut corners on this sandwich or you'll compromise the recipe. Good bread makes a big difference--I used a Crumb Brothers baguette (the best around these parts). Also, use an artisan cheddar that's been aged at least 6 months. Don't substitute a conventional cheddar--you want to hit the good cheese aisle :) When it comes to grilling the onions try to keep the rounds together. I accidentally let some of them fall apart and this created a problem when grilling. If you don't want to spend $ on creme fraiche, substituting sour cream here is no problem. I eliminated the sour pickles. One last thing--Maille makes the best whole-grain mustard in the States.


Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Mustard
Martha Stewart Living

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, minced (approx. 1 tablespoon)
coarse salt + pepper
2 chicken cutlets (6 ounces each)
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 ounces aged cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1 baguette, cut crosswise into 4 pieces and halved horizontally
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
3 sour pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise (I consider this ingredient optional)

1. Mix 1/4 cup mustard, the oil, dill, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken and onion rounds, and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill onion, turning often, 8-10 minutes. Grill chicken on 1 side for 3 minutes; flip, top with cheddar, and cook 3 minutes more. Cut cutlets in half. Grill baguette, cut sounds down, for about 30 seconds.

3. Mix remaining 3 tablespoons mustard and the creme fraiche in a small bowl. Spread onto cut sides of baguette. Sandwich chicken, pickles, and onion between bread.

Enjoy! It's soooo good.

4

Local Sightings



































Starting top left going clockwise:


1. Pretty varieties of little daffodils at Liberty Heights Fresh. They'll even wrap them in pretty paper and ribbon for you. I tell you, there is something about the simple combination of brown paper and twine that I love.

2. Large, canvas J-Crew-esque totes at the Natalie Dunford Boutique (next to Evergreen Art & Framing through Thursday). Only $15!!

3. Major points go to Caffe Niche for the presentation of their cheese plate. I'm not sure I've seen a prettier version, even at nicer restaurants. So far, based on my two experiences there, I'm impressed with quality, pricing, ambiance, etc.

4. The best selection of Orla Kiely I've seen yet at my local Target. Does yours look like this too?

15

Organizing Tip #25

• 19 May 2009

























Designate a shelf in your living space as the "gift shelf". After building up your "stock", wrap the gifts all at once (labeling the contents discreetly) so you have a beautifully-wrapped present ready-to-go at a moment's notice.

Dedicating an amount of space (be it small or large) to just gifts, has been one of the best things I've done to make my life easier. I stock baby gifts, hostess gifts, children's gifts, and birthday gifts for my friends and associates. Sometimes I see the perfect something for a specific person 3 months before their birthday; and it's nice to know I have a place to put that "perfect gift" until their birthday arrives. I also find that I gift better, more thoughtful gifts, as a result of having this shelf set aside for this distinct purpose. No more last-minute-spend-too-much-on-something-they-won't-love gifts! What a relief...

But, I recently took this one step further to simplify my gift-giving even more. For project swap one night, Tiffany and I wrapped all the gifts on my gift shelf and labeled the contents with a little post-it-note. So instead of unloading all my wrapping and ribbon just to wrap one gift, I simply wrapped all of the gifts at the same time. Plus, wrapping and embellishing gifts for two hours was fun to do! In addition, knowing I have a bunch of gifts ready-to-go at any given moment is a source of relief to me and something I am grateful to have.

Don't be surprised if you see one of the pictured goodies on a doorstep near you...:)

More organizing tips here.

1

Etsy Pick o' the Week: Chakra Pennywhistle




















Thoroughly enjoying this fabulous little Etsy shop recently discovered via ali loves curtis. The simplistic "old + new" beauty found in this pillow is just lovely.

You can view the rest of her pretty things here.


found on Ali loves Curtis

0

Theory Sale


























Local boutique Woollahara (Highland Park) is hosting a significant sale on all Theory and Rag + Bone. You'll find Theory pieces reduced by 70% and Rag + Bone discounted in half. Bottom line: Neiman Marcus merchandise for Banana Republic prices. Woollahara is also a great place to pick up a box of fashion tape or a unique piece of jewelry.

Note: if you stop by during the day and notice the door is locked, rest assured the boutique is not closed. The shop owner, Melissa, will simply buzz you in upon your arrival.

3

Appliqued Canvas Tote

• 18 May 2009



































I love this simple craft featured in the latest Living. Basically you print a starfish onto fabric using fabric paint; cut out the shape; then applique it to a tote bag. Cute, cute, cute.

You can find the tote pictured here over at Muji (love Muji!). It truly is the perfect canvas tote.

(Was it me or was this recent issue waaaay better than past issues? It almost had hints of "Blueprint" or something...thoughts?)




































Speaking of Muji, did you note the Thonet-Muji collaboration that just hit select stores? Those chairs!!


















image 1, 2 from MS; 2 from Muji


2

Framed Placemats











I have not, to my recollection, come across a more perfect placemat ever! Even if they required ironing (something I loathe) I think I would still love them so. That framed border cinches the deal for me.

You'll find the best price on a set here .

71

A House on a Hill: Renovating a Cottage in France

• 15 May 2009
























Things have been crazy around here, mostly due to a huge project we undertook a few months ago--renovating a 400-year-old stone cottage in southern France (pictured right). It's become such a big part of our life that I can't keep it to myself any longer! Plus, I know if I don't document it here, it won't be documented at all; and I want to remember all the little details and nuances associated with renovating this old home.

I thought it would be fun to start regularly featuring posts detailing the renovation process from step 1. I may throw in one post per week, or perhaps more. We'll see how this flows...If any of you have done this before, please share any tips! Also welcomed are style ideas for the interior...I have less than a month to make some crucial decisions regarding such. Thanks in advance!

So here we go with Step #1: finding this cottage.

The Husband and I are big fans of Rick Steves Guidebooks. He's been there for us on previous trips and during our last family vacation we consulted his expert wisdom yet again. On the pages of Rick Steves: France, he mentions a lovely town in the Dordogne region called Beynac-et-Cazenac. The region itself sounded spectacular--if you love a good Medieval castle or two, great food, amazing scenery and an interesting history.

We explored our options for lodging via VRBO and to our surprise, found a lovely home owned by a couple in Utah (where we lived at the time). We couldn't believe it! What are the odds?   We ended up booking a week and at that point the wheels started turning. We thought, "if they live in Utah and manage a home in Beynac, perhaps we can do it too?" We always wanted to have a rental property as an investment, but overseas? Pourquoi pas?

During our vacation we fell in love with the place. It seemed perfect! Initially out of pure curiosity the Husband contacted the local agent (this is where a French-speaking spouse comes in handy) and arranged to see all 3 of the homes up for sale in this town. It's a tiny town :) All were lovely, but only one was in our price range. What we did next, we found out later, is not nearly as common in France as it is in here in America and even a little taboo. We submitted an offer that was below asking price.  Also included in our offer was the reasoning behind the price submitted.  We wanted to explain in detail to the homeowner all of the renovations we hoped to make to the home and how we wanted to make it even more magical.  I gave the offer a 5% chance of being accepted.  

After submitting our offer, we left on a little rendezvous with our friends to Italy. We were having so much fun on our first getaway sans kids in years (!!), that we failed to check in with our agent as to the status of our offer. Although we didn't mean to act uninterested, this actually played out in our favor as we appeared to not care whether they accepted our offer or not. The owner came back with a "yes, if you add in ___ " and we accepted. Then, we looked at each other with a nervous laugh and said, "what have we gotten ourselves into?". We had no idea...

Next up: the history behind this ~500-year-old stone cottage.

6

Caramelized Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet



































This is such an easy and delicious recipe...you must try it soon while pineapple is reasonably-priced and plentiful. Seriously, 3 ingredients?!! It's the perfect ending to an Asian or Tropical-themed meal when a chocolate cake doesn't quite seem to fit...

One little note: you'll want to use the highest quality coconut ice cream/sorbet you can find. With so few ingredients, quality is especially important. I used Haagen Dazs Pineapple Coconut and loved it. Keep in mind that one pint feeds about 4 people.

image via Real Simple

2

Lighten Up

• 14 May 2009

These light-infused spaces are incredibly appealing to me. Even if one can't re-create the entire room, it's fun to glean ideas and inspiration to apply to one's own space in small doses.































































































image 1; image 2; image 3

5

Linen Kids
















If you are looking for a special piece to complement those baby Gap tees your kiddo loves to don, start your search over at Linen Kids. They offer beautiful, unique and my favorite...simple...dresses, pants, toys & jackets. If I owned this Winged Linen Dress, I'd make my two-year-old wear it everyday. Perhaps it would remind me that she can be an angel? :) And if my little guy were the ring bearer in a summer wedding, I'd love to see him in their dapper Linen Suit. The selection of stunning christening/blessing dresses is also worth a peek. Oh, and don't forget to give a look-see to the sale section too!

While Linen Kids is a European-based company, they offer 5 Euro shipping ($6.80 approx.) to the US and FREE shipping throughout the European Union. How great is that?!

4

Classical Favorite

A little while ago I asked your advice regarding classical music choices and many of you shared your favorites...thank you for doing so! I have to tell you readers, your taste is wonderful. Wonderful! I think I downloaded at least one song recommendation from each and every one of you that commented. My classical music playlist is pretty sweet right now thanks to you.

I want to share my absolute favorite though...this album. Listening to it puts me at complete ease and pretty much defines the ultimate in relaxation for me. Add a good read and a cozy blanket and you'll experience a good dose of well-deserved peace.

7

Summer Tabletop

• 13 May 2009






























I've been cruising the blogosphere, interviewing friends, and revisiting old clippings in my binders for ideas for an event at my church that I am in charge of planning next month. This summer-y tabletop is top on my list due to the fun, fresh feeling it exudes (those yellow bandanas are fabulous!). After reading the fine print on the clipping, it looks like most of the goodness you see here hits Target next month.

0

Budget Fashionista: Cardigans



































Lots of pretty cardigans in the sale section at BR...and they are all under $50. Not bad for a quality sweater that's stylish enough to wear for years (vs. the Forever 21 top you'll be dropping off at Thrift Town next year).

View them here.

0

Sponsor: Annechovie Print Sale























If you love Anne's prints like I do, you'll be thrilled with this post-Mother's Day special going on through Saturday, May 16th. It's a 2-4-1! Yes, you can choose two prints for the price of one. Simply purchase one print and then in the "note to seller" portion of your Paypal invoice indicate which print you'd like as your "freebie".

Anne's prints are awesome. I find her quote prints particularly inspiring for both myself and {hopefully} my children too. I am not the only one who thinks these prints are top-notch...her work has been featured in Domino as well. Check it out!

0

Sponsor: Pretty Pewter at OTI

• 12 May 2009

























Old Town Imports is hosting a Spring Sale...yay!! I love so many of their pieces and find them incredibly useful for day-to-day decorating and for entertaining. As an added bonus they recently revamped their website and it is a "sight" to behold :) All that pretty photography...

See the new website here. There is a lot to be smitten by...promise.

Check out the blog here. Lesley shares party tips, special offers, and other good stuff.

Locals, when you make a purchase at the warehouse you can jump on their mailing list and every now and again you'll find a coupon in your mailbox offering a great discount.

17

Comparing Ourselves to Others




























For the last couple of weeks I've thought about the subject of comparison and its damaging effects on our individual souls. I wrote a little about the subject a few months ago, but want to bring it up again because I feel it is an important issue to revisit. So, forgive me for recycling, but I think it's a helpful re-read.

A few notes to add...

1. I've learned the "judging others" lesson several times in my life. It seems that God teaches it to me over and over. I think I'm finally getting it...hopefully :) What I've learned is this--the old cliche is true. You can never judge a book by its cover. The most put-together-person has a tragic family life; the seemingly simple person is anything but--in fact he/she is dynamic, talented and doing a lot of amazing things in his/her life. I could go on and on but I hope you catch my drift here.

2. Judging a person by his/her blog is even more inaccurate than judging a person you know personally. Please remember a blog shares edited information. Most often you're not going to read about someone's argument with their spouse, their strained relationship with a sibling, their {truly} most embarrassing moment or the escapade with their kids in the middle of the grocery store (the one where everyone stares and your face is beet red). Most people like to put their best step forward on their blogs, so they can get past the day-to-day stuff that often weighs them down emotionally and sometimes physically.

Oh, and since we've moved on to the subject of "blogging" itself, read this post as well, including all the many comments. I think you'll find yourselves nodding your heads in agreement.

I'm going to sign off now before this becomes any heavier, but on a positive note I am so grateful to be able to share information in this way. Blogs can be blessings too with the right approach. Three cheers for keepin' it real!

xo

image via the San Diego Historical Society

1

Under Water

• 11 May 2009

























































Is it me or are these underwater images from the latest Anthro catalog simply gorgeous? I was completely enamored. Of course, the fact that my adorable little sister-in-law just secured herself an internship with Anthropologie's corporate office probably contributes a little :) Go Rachel.

p.s. there are some mighty cute things on sale...check it out if you're curious or have some Mother's Day cash to burn :)

3

Gladiators for Kiddos

You've got to love these adorable gold gladiator sandals for tots. How stylin'...and inexpensive! Hurry in, they'll go fast...


1

Lost + Found Series






















Jen, a former Real Simple editor who writes the blog, The Haystack Needle, is kicking off her Lost + Found series today with a mini-interview avec moi. If you're interested at all in a few organization-related ideas, you can check it out here.

0

Downeast Basics GIVEAWAY Winner

• 09 May 2009












Abigail, please email me your contact information. Congratulations!

Readers, if you want to be the first to know about all Downeast Basic sale information and promotions, check them out on Facebook too.

Update: One last thing...you'll be happy to know that Downeast Basics is offering FREE shipping on all orders over $40 to my readers. Please use promo code, "mdaysale" at checkout to receive the discount. Here's your chance to buy yourself a little somethin' somethin' for Mother's Day. Have a lovely day!

4

Freezing Food the Right Way

• 08 May 2009





















I'm not one to be in love with the idea of freezing food; perhaps because I've heard so many crazy stories about freezing foods, that in my opinion, should not be frozen ever! But, I'm slowly being swayed after reading this article in the NY Times this week and am on my way to feeling better equipped in my own freezer section. Three cheers for being less wasteful, more prepared, and not having to buy boxed chicken stock.

7

Mount Auburn Cemetary

















One of my favorite places to visit in Boston is Mount Auburn Cemetary. It's full of life, history, peace, beauty, and nature at its best. It's the only place you'll find a little fox running around, an owl hiding in the trees, and lily of the valley hugging the hillside...all within a few minutes' walk of each other.

Stopping by and enjoying a long walk in this beautiful place is a must when in the Boston area. It's not accessible by the "T", but if you have a rental car you are in luck! If hearing about Mount Auburn is new-to-you-news, read a little about it here for a minute. You'll see why it's such a unique part of history.
























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