Monday, November 28, 2011

LOVE: Recommended Reading

I recently stumbled across Goodreads, a website that tracks what you read, what you thought, and gives recommendations.

Basically you set up an account, and begin to set up your profile. First you select the genres of books you like the most, followed by books in each genre that you may have read. You rate the books you've read on a 5 star system, and any books that come up that you've been meaning to read you mark as "I want to read" and the website adds it to your list.

There are a ton of suggested reading lists, including some pretty funny categories. I think my favorite was "YA Paranormal Romance That Is Not Twilight" (which included The Hunger Games) and "Best Kick-Ass Fantasy Female Characters From YA and Childrens" (which included a bunch of Tamora Pierce books and A Wrinkle in Time).

I think I finally found my version of Netflix.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pink & Green Thursdays

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm enjoying balmy Texas weather here in Houston. I hope you are having a great Thanksgiving, too!

I have a mix vintage, treats, and outerwear.


Green Chiffon, vintage from Hemlock Vintage

Owl cookies!

This series of outerwear by NorthFace (images from Nordstrom)

So I hear macaroons are the new hot treat...

Loving this sweater

They are so cute that I can't help but love them too.

And this dress

 I want these in my belly.

Love, C

Monday, November 21, 2011

Inspire: What are you thankful for?

I've paused from my frantic packing (okay not so frantic but I probably should be) to update tonight.

Tomorrow at 6am I'm boarding a plane to one of my favorite spots: Texas! I'll be spending Thanksgiving with G's family in Houston and I'm very excited to see their kind faces and soak in as much southern warmth as I can. It's getting chilly up here- even though it was unseasonably warm this weekend.

We have big plans for Thursday- including the annual Texas A&M V. U of Texas game. We (ok, G) got tickets to go- and it will be my first real football game (that time me and housemates snuck in first year didn't count- the stadium was the size of my high schools) and I'm very excited to buy my maroon out shirt. Hopefully I will get to see some of G's old haunts from his good old undergrad days.

Maybe (just maybe) me and his mom can go shopping too. The lady has excellent taste. Just not on black Friday- nobody wants to deal with that. Last time I spent the holiday with his parents G and I went to the zoo- it is free on black Friday... maybe as a way to thin the crowds at the mall?

I'll be back Sunday afternoon- just in time to rest up before work on Monday. Until then here are a few things I'm thankful for:

A healthy body that can run 3 more miles this year then last.

A silly bunny that drives me a little crazy in the good way

A caring boyfriend who is reasonable, grounded and reassuring (the best).

A good job, with great colleagues who recognize my strengths and help me with my weaknesses

Getting to go to Hogwarts for our anniversary (like I said, best bf ever)

A new member of our herd, a baby hedgehog we will be picking up very soon

An awesome new apartment with cheaper rent, more room and a much much better landlord

Being able to splurge on clothing now an then now that aforementioned rent is so cheap

Being able to spend my time baking on the weekend and using all our great gadgets

That G likes (nearly) all the same food as me! Otherwise it would be a problem.

I'll try to update Thursday as well- but we will see!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Love: J.Crew Winter

It is pretty obvious that I am a big J.Crew fan. I'm also a big fan of them putting their catalogs back on their website.

So here are a few gorgeous shots from the most recent catalog (found here).

Sweater rainbow of my dreams.


Monday, November 14, 2011

EAT: Charlotte Turgeon Tea

If there was one thing my time at Smith taught, it was a love for tea time.
Second year: Argyle and Earl Grey.

While at school there was a tradition of Friday Afternoon Tea, where each house would gather in their living room at 4pm, and snack on treats and drink tea.

The chefs always made the best finger foods to prep our stomachs for dinner (at 5:30pm sharp), the "bad" days we were stuck with just an assortment of cut fruit, cheese and crackers and the "good" days at cream puffs or cannolis. I know, we were spoiled.

Senior Year: Cashmere and English Breakfast.

The "best" tea time was when we got to go to either the Alumnae House or President's House. Each year the houses (3 at a time) where invited to the Alumnae House for a delicious tea and inter-house mingling. The President also hosts a tea for each class year on a yearly basis- complete with chocolate dipped strawberries- at her gorgeous home overlooking our pond.

Note the college plates in the cabinet

Well, now that I am an alum I don't get tea on a weekly basis (probably better for my hips that way) but I do get to go to events at the Alumnae House still (it is after all, my house now). Yesterday, it was the Hampshire County Club's annual Charlotte Turgeon Tea.

Tea cups for grabs

Charlotte Snyder Turgeon graduated with a major in Italian Language and Literatures in 1934, and soon after married a French Language and Literatures Professor at Amherst College. She traveled to France while her husband was on sabbatical in Paris, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu in 1937. She published her first book, a family cook book, in 1949. In 1961 her and Nina Froud, created the first English translation of Larousse Gastronomique (first published in 1938 by Prosper Montagne), the same year her friend Julia Child (1934) published Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Finger sandwiches

Julia Child and Charlotte Turgeon, life long friends since their time at college, had different agendas.
Julia wanted to communicate how wonderful French cuisine was, she said, while she herself had a far more practical purpose.


“When King and I got back from his sabbatical in France, I realized that there were all these young Amherst faculty wives who were scared to death of cooking and had to live on a nickel, the poor things,” Mrs. Turgeon said. “I wrote my cookbooks for them, and others like them. I just wanted to make the cooking part of life intelligible and fun.”

My pretty tea cup for the day

The Alumnae House is so pretty! Check out the gilded mirror below:

Alums love gossip

Of course I had to take a photo in the bathroom (tradition).

I am always smirking

And a time trip:
Senior Year

Bestie and I senior year

And yesterday

Ohlala check out the wall paper.

At the Charlotte Turgeon Tea, Alums are asked to bring in a bone china teacup and saucer to add to the collection. This on had been sitting around our apartment with no love, so it was time to donate.

See you later, teacup!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspire: Tree houses

Today I read a NY Times article about an interior decorator who built a tree house behind her apartment building in Brooklyn. She built most the structure using reclaimed supplies- old windows and doors that had been salvaged from other renovations and sold on the cheap.

Her whole budget was $400. Say what?

Loving the wallpaper

Double doors to let in the breeze.

Night-time oasis.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Eat: Chai Spice Cinnamon Rolls

I love these for a Fall Sunday.

4 ½ cups all purpose flour     1 package active dry yeast     3 Tablespoons corn starch
½ milk     ½ chai tea concentrate     ⅓ cup butter (cut up)     ⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt     2 eggs

½ cup brown sugar     2 tablespoon ground cinnamon     1 tablespoon nutmeg     ½ butter, softened

1 ½ cups powdered sugar     5 tablespoons chai tea concentrate     1 tablespoon milk

1. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 ½ cups of flour and the yeast. Heat milk and chai concentrate in a medium saucepan until just warm, stirring often. Add butter, sugar, and salt; stir to mix together and stop just before butter melts completely. Add to flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat together, scraping the sides of the bowl to get all of the flour bits. Add in the remaining flour slowly, until all of it has been incorporated.

2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface- I like a giant wooden cutting board we have. Knead the dough 3 to 5 minutes until you have smooth, elastic dough, Shape the dough into a ball. grease the bottom of a bowl (I like using a vegetable oil spray) and put the dough in the bowl, then lightly spray the top with oil. Cover the dough and place it in a warm area that is draft free. Let the dough rise until it doubles- around 50 minutes. Take this time clean up!
Dough, ready to rise.

3. Punch the dough down (it is as fun as it sounds) and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Let it rest for another 10 minutes. In the meantime grease a 13x9x2 inch pan if you want to cook these right away. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.

Chai spice filling.

Ready to be rolled out!

4. Roll dough into a 18x12 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough, leaving a ½  inch border on one of the longer sides. Sprinkle filling mixture on the buttered surface, coating evenly and leave a 1 inch border on the same side that has the ½ inch border. Roll up the rectangle, starting from the filled long side, rolling to the side with a border. Pinch dough to seal the seams. Slice the roll into inch sections using floss. Scoot the floss underneath the roll to where you want to cut, bringing the ends up and then across. Pull the ends until the floss cuts through. 

Covered with the filling mix.

5. Arranged the pieces in a prepared pan. Preheat the oven to 375F. Let the rolls double in size (about 30 minutes). Bake the rolls 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. While rolls are baking, make icing by combining chai concentrate and powder sugar. When rolls are down baking let cool for 10 minutes, then spread with icing. Enjoy!  

Since I have the extra baking pan, I freeze mine in the pan.

If you want to store the rolls for a rainy day, cut 11 pieces of wax paper to the size of the roll. Cut a piece of plastic wrap to its 14 inches long. Oil one side of a piece of the wax paper and put in oil side down on top of a roll; repeat. Oil the other side of the wax paper, and then stack the rolls together, so each piece is separated by an oiled piece of paper. Spray a line of oil on the long side of the plastic wrap, then place the line of rolls on the oiled plastic wrap. Spray the uncovered side of the rolls with oil. Then roll the log of pieces so they are completely sealed by the plastic wrap. Place the cinnamon roll log in the freezer. When the rainy day comes, unwrap the rolls and place in a prepared baking pan. Cover, let defrost for a half hour to hour and then bake uncovered using the directions above.  

 I hope you enjoy them!

Friday, November 4, 2011

LOVE: Umbrellas

Okay, this is a little weird. I have a really big love for umbrellas and rain slickers.

I think it can be traced back to my childhood:

Exhibit A. I've always loved to match.

I always have a rain jacket with me (thanks, Seattle) and an extra one at the office at all times just in case. You never know with this crazy New England weather.

My favorite rain jacket is this one by Marmot:

I also have a few cheapo ones that I keep stashed in case I don't have the Marmot one handy. They are not worth showing.

I also have several trench coats I love for heavy, cold downpours. Besides a basic Zara black trench I have one similar to this I love:

This one is by London Fog, mine is by Anne Klein

 Anyhow, between G and I we have a basketful of umbrellas (probably around 6 or 7) for TWO people. I have a pansy umbrella I love to use with scalloped edges. We have many of the standard black umbrellas, including the super cheap desperate-subway-purchase umbrella I got while getting off the T in Cambridge in the middle of a summer thunderstorm a year or two ago. It is also my only full sized umbrella. This is a problem.

I'm a big girl, and I think it is time I get a big, adult size umbrella. Or I am just telling myself that as a way to justify purchasing this:

Isn't it great? I love you, Kate Spade.

These are some other options:

Vintage Dot by Felix Rey, $80

Primary Dot Bubble by Totes, $24

Gentlemen's Automatic by Totes, $16

Gold by Burberry, $250

Or maybe I should stick to the little ones since this is so cute!

Watercolor dot by Juicy Couture, $48