Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Colorful Print Tops Travel Wardrobe

From Freepik

Inspired by the colorful Dalmatian painting I featured last week, I decided to go bright with this week's travel wardrobe.  I also chose to include only print tops, as I get tired of solid colors all the time and love to add interest with multi-hued shirts, especially for mild-weather wardrobes where scarves may be too warm to include.  Images of patterned shirts can be hard to find, but I discovered a plethora of prints on the Peter Hahn website.  I became so obsessed with this site that I decided to choose all of my wardrobe options there.  Here is the bight and colorful travel wardrobe I put together, starting with the outfit to wear in transit to some delightful vacation destination:

Clockwise from top left: Zaida 1/2-Length Sleeve Round-Neck Top in White/Yellow/Green; Peter Hahn Necklace in Natural; Fluffy Ears Cashmere Cardigan in Green; Aigner "Ivy" Bag in Off-White; Sioux Moccasins in White; Brax Feel Good Ankle Length "Slim Fit" Jeans in Pastel Yellow; Peter Hahn Belt in White.

The wardrobe to pack includes even more lovely patterns (mostly floral) and colors:

Clockwise from top left: Peter Hahn Cashmere Cardigan in Vanilla; Roeckl Silk Scarf "Lace Flowers"; Peter Hahn Round Neck Top in Ecru/Multi-Coloured; Brax Feel Good Design NICOLA "Feminine Fit" Jeans in Bleached Denim; Peter Hahn Short-Sleeved Round Neck Top; Scarpio Slip-On Shoes; Zaida 1/2-Length Sleeve Round Neck Top in White/Red; Canyon Capri Trousers in White; Peter Hahn Belt in Ecru/Multi-Coloured; Bogner Round Neck Top; Center top: L. Credi Bag in White; Center bottom: Peter Hahn 3/4-Length Sleeve Blouse Top


Don't you think this colorful wardrobe calls for a warm and sunny tourist destination, whether coastal, southwestern, or even Mediterranean?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Broccoli-Cheese Cornbread

This week's recipe is for the Broccoli-Cheddar Cornbread I baked to accompany the chili I made last week.  It came from the same blog site (Home Is Where the Boat Is), and was in fact recommended as the perfect side dish for the chili.  My husband was a bit skeptical when I told him that this bread is chock full of broccoli, but as soon as he tasted it he declared that it was "the best cornbread ever"!  I have to say I agree with him.  You do not notice any broccoli flavor, but the added moisture and slight crunch from the vegetables make this dense cornbread absolutely delicious.  I've already made this recipe a second time, and it is our first choice accompaniment for chili or soup from now on.  If you like cornbread, you have got to give this recipe a try!

Broccoli-Cheese Cornbread

1 pkg. (8.5 oz.) corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy*)
3 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese (I used a cheddar-mozzarella blend)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and patted dry

Combine the cornbread mix with the eggs, onion, cheese, butter, and garlic powder.  Stir in the broccoli.  Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch square pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Cool slightly before cutting.  Serves 8.

*I used the Jiffy mix because my husband bought it so that was what we had, but next time I will look for a mix without unhealthy hydrogenated lard (Jiffy also makes a vegetarian version).

Thursday, February 23, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: National Garden Bureau's 2017 Plants of the Year

Every year the National Garden Bureau selects one perennial, one annual, one bulb, and one edible as their Plants of the Year.  The plants chosen for 2017 are some of the most enduringly popular garden choices, so even novice gardeners should have no problem finding any of them.  Without further ado, here are the year's selections:

1) 2017 Annual of the Year is the Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) - these large-flowered, versatile, popular bedding annuals come in a wide variety of colors, are easy to grow, and the flowers are even edible (just do not use pesticides if you intend to eat the flowers).

2) 2017 Perennial of the Year is the Rose (Rosa spp.) - the fragrant rose can sometimes be tricky to grow, but they have been a garden staple for a very long time, and come in a tremendous number of varieties and colors.

3) 2017 Bulb of the Year is the Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) - this spring-blooming, self-propagating perennial is one of the most recognizable harbingers of spring, and they are easy to grow, pretty much pest-free, often fragrant, and come in colors ranging from white to pink to the familiar yellow.

4) 2017 Edible of the Year is the Brassica Family (Brassicaceae) - this diverse family includes cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, bok choy, and a number of others, all of which are among the most nutritious of vegetables and also contain cancer-fighting compounds.


Next week I will share a few more 2017 plant selections from other gardening organizations.  Now is the time to start thinking about what to plant this year, and these winners can help you make those choices.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: More Cute Spring Shoes from Modcloth and Anthropologie

From Fresh Wallpapers HD

That's right, more spring shoes this week!  Both Modcloth and Anthropologie are always good sources of unique apparel, and they did not disappoint in the shoe department.  Take a look at these cuties:

1) Hare She Goes Again Loafers ($108.99) - are these not the best shoes for Easter ever?  That cute bunny face, the pastel pink, even the floral fabric lining all sing spring to me!

From Modcloth

2) Second Prances Rain Boots ($49.99) - no need to worry about April showers when you can stylishly strut your stuff in these pretty rain boots festooned with delicate May flowers!

From Modcloth

3) Riveting Ribbets Heels ($139.99) - okay, I'll admit that these heels may only appeal to the most daringly eccentric types, but if you really want to make a statement this spring just think of the eye-popping entrance you could make in these cuties!

From Modcloth

4) Sanchita Pink Cactus Sneaker Slides ($338) - I love the desert southwest, so I could see myself wearing these colorful pink and turquoise slides with the cushy metallic leather lining (they are also available in a neutral black and cognac color for a slightly lower price)

From Anthropologie

5) Aigle Miss Juliette Printed Rain Boots ($228) - these durable slip-on rain boots feature a floral print in subtle colors, and will allow you to spiffily stride through puddles for years to come!

From Anthropologie

6) Startas Magnolia Sneakers ($68) - magnolias are a favorite spring flower here in the South (the early varieties are in bloom right now), so these fancy floral sneakers could be considered an essential item of spring apparel for the well-dressed woman anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line!

From Anthropologie

πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ 

These are just a few of the many cute shoes available for spring right now (check out both websites for even more options).  However, I think it may be time for me to step away from fancy footwear, before a newfound passion becomes a full-blown obsession.  I know that my wallet, my closet, and my husband will thank me!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Anticipating Spring Travel Wardrobe Based on Dalmatian Art!

I recently purchased this colorful Dalmatian painting on sale from Pier 1 (unfortunately it is no longer available, but this one is also on sale and equally cute).  I just love its cheerfully abstract look.  So much so, in fact, that I had to use it as the basis for a travel wardrobe which anticipates the arrival of spring.  I chose black and white as the neutrals based on Dalmatian colors (although there is actually very little black in the painting), and then chose one of the dominant colors in the painting, a bright shade of aqua, as the accent color.  Accessories add more emphasis to the Dalmatian and bright colors themes.  Although there are plenty of apparel choices for chillier temperatures, I also included some lighter-weight pieces should warmer weather decide to dominate.  Here is a look at the outfit to wear while in transit:

Clockwise from top left: Anika Dali Rainbow Polka Dots Scarf; Peter Hahn Long Wool Cardigan in Lagoon MΓ©lange; J. Crew All-Day Tote in Black; Eastland Crystal Slip-On Shoes in Black; Coldwater Creek Curvy Classic ShapeMe Jeans in Black; Coldwater Creek PrimaKnit Turtleneck in White; Center: Fusion Hidden LED Watch in Light Blue.

I have optimistically opted to leave out any coats or jackets, but should your destination require one by all means include it!  I like this packable, lightweight, water- and wind-resistant jacket:

Craghoppers Women's Compresslite Insulated Packaway Jacket in Lagoon.

And here are the rest of the items to pack:

Clockwise from top left: Women's White V-Neck Polka Dot Cardigan; Mia Toro ITALY Bernina 24" Luggage in Aqua; Coldwater Creek Essential Supima Crewneck Tee in Dusty Aqua; Fair Indigo Organic Fair Trade Pencil Skirt in Black; Coldwater Creek Essential Supima Crewneck Tee in White; Abstract Fish Canvas Shoes; Coldwater Creek Essential Supima Boatneck Tee in Black; Serrv Kolkata Leather Purse with Suede; Fair Indigo Essential Fair Trade Pima Cotton Shirt in White; Fair Indigo Slim Leg Fair Trade Ponte Pants in Black; Coldwater Creek Essential Supima Boatneck Tee in Dusty Aqua; Center top: Custom Made Black & White Spotted Dalmatian Jasper Spiral Earrings; Le Chic Multi-Colored Layered Beaded Necklace.

If you look closely at the painting you will see a bowl full of fishes to the right of the Dalmatian, so I chose to include some colorful fish print espadrilles in this travel wardrobe.  However, you could select any of the spring shoes I featured in my most recent Wish List Wednesdays post instead if fishes are not appealing to you.


The great thing about this painting is that it can inspire a wardrobe featuring just about any color scheme.  In fact, I may use it again next week to create another travel wardrobe based on a completely different set of colors!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Italian Turkey Sausage, Black Bean, and Butternut Squash Chili

My husband's birthday was last week, and one of my gifts to him was two home-cooked meals, with chili for lunch and salmon for dinner.  I found the chili recipe on the Home Is Where the Boat Is blog.  This site is mostly a tablescape blog, but there are often recipes included as well which are always excellent.  As soon as I saw the recipe for Chilly Weather Black Bean, Sausage and Butternut Squash Chili, I knew my husband would love it, and he did!  I made a few minor changes to suit our needs, and this dish was so good that I know I will have to make it often for as long as we have cool weather!

Italian Turkey Sausage, Black Bean, and Butternut Squash Chili

2 T. olive oil
1 pkg. (20 oz.) mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I used the Publix brand)
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1 bag (16 oz.) microwaveable cubed butternut squash
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes (I used unsalted)
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, drained and rinsed
4 C. chicken stock (I used unsalted)
1/4 C. chia seeds
1-2 T. apple cider vinegar

Heat 1 T. oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.  Add the sausage and cook, breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Push the sausage to the edges of the pan, leaving the middle clear.  Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the remaining oil, then add the onion and bell pepper to the center of the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and coriander, and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomato paste and salt and stir until the paste begins to darken in color, about 30 seconds.  Add the squash, tomatoes, and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the chili has thickened and the squash is tender, about 45 minutes.

Stir the beans and chia seeds into the chili and heat through, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and/or pepper as needed.  Taste the chili and stir in up to 2 T. vinegar.  Serve the chili with preferred toppings (we used sour cream and shredded cheese).  Like most chilis, this one tastes even better the next day!  Serves 10-12.

Notes: You can use lean ground turkey as a low fat alternative to the sausage (you may need to increase the oil for browning since there is little fat in ground turkey).  I did not have apple cider vinegar, so I used champagne vinegar instead, which was very tasty!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Haunting, Heart-breaking, Cute as Hell, and Stop-Motion Friends!

From Monroe MusicFest

I've mentioned before that I am not inclined to pay much attention to music, as I merely think of it as background noise most of the time.  Nevertheless, music will occasionally catch my attention, as these selections from NPR's "All Songs TV" did.  I think it was the descriptions of the music videos that drew me in, and those descriptors are quite apt.  If you have a little time, take a look at these four videos from YouTube and see if you agree with the assessments.  Each one is very different from the others, and all are by female artists with whom I am unfamiliar (although I think I may have heard of Miranda Lambert, possibly from one of the TV music competition shows whose names I can never remember?).

1) Haunting - Aldous Harding's 'Horizon'

2) Heartbreaking - Caroline Spence's 'Hotel Amarillo'

3) Cute as Hell - Miranda Lambert's 'We Should Be Friends'

4) Stop-Motion Friends - Gillian Welch's 'Dry Town'


Even though three of the four music videos feature country-type songs, I think I am most intrigued by the first one, New Zealander Aldous Harding's neo-folk style song which co-stars her mother.  But really, it is the combination of these four very different songs that makes listening to them enjoyable for a non-musical person like me!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Cute Shoes for Spring

Spring is not so very far off now!
(from Get Wallpapers in HD)

Somehow I've developed a shoe obsession lately, specifically shoes designed with spring in mind.  It all started with a search for all things Dalmatian, believe it or not, but when I found a pair of flats with a Dalmatian theme the search for cute footwear was on!  Here are the shoes that started it all:

1) Kate Spade New York 'Elena' Dalmatian Ballerina Flats ($258) - the price is a bit staggering, I know, but what Dalmatian lover could resist that cute little puppy face?  Certainly not me!

2) Hush Puppies 'Darlene' Flats in Aqua Coromandel ($55) - much more reasonable priced flats with a cherry blossoms and birds print, so appropriate for spring  And in the perfect spring colors as well (although two other colors are also available)!

3) 'Mimosa' Canvas Shoes (on sale for $34.98) - if you prefer bold hues, these casual and colorful floral sneakers will transition effortlessly from spring into summer!

πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ πŸ‘’πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘‘πŸ‘ 

I have a feeling you will be seeing even more spring shoes in the near future, as my new obsession is just getting started!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On the Homefront: Red Toile Birds Valentine's Day Table

Juliet the Dalmatian loves her gift of a satin heart-shaped candy box,
and gazes adoringly at...

Dalmatian Romeo, who sent the box and now sits at the head of the table,
patiently waiting for dessert to be served!

For Valentine's Day, I decided to use a holiday tablecloth I found at the HomeGoods after-Christmas sale as inspiration!  The tablecloth is from the Well Dressed Home collection, and is a rectangular shape but similar to this round one currently available on Amazon (tablecloths and napkins in this design can also be found on eBay). The pattern of red cardinals, pine branches, and holly on an ivory background set the color scheme.  I also got the chance to use some lovely red and grey scalloped-edge appetizer/dessert plates, also from the HomeGoods sale, on this table:

Red velvet placemat; BHG Amity Dinner Plate in Ivory; red vines napkin; 222 Fifth Andover Appetizer/Dessert Plate; stainless steel flatware; red-stemmed wine glass; Luminarc 14-oz. Storage Jar/Glass; small white candy bowl (from Pier 1 years ago).

A closer look at the appetizer/dessert plate ( I love the cabin with the cute little bunny in front!):

There is a pinecone theme going on here!

My red Le Creuset heart-shaped Dutch oven, a gift from my husband on
Valentine's Day years ago (it is also available in pastel pink).

We always dine at my favorite Indian restaurant for Valentine's Day (I love Indian food!), so I have listed my preferred choices from their menu below.  The links provided will take you to Wikipedia for descriptions of each selection, for those who are unfamiliar with this cuisine.  The No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart is a recipe I found in the February issue of Family Circle magazine.  I modified the recipe slightly and made it for my husband, who is a dedicated chocoholic!

Valentine's Day Table Menu:

Vegetable Samosas/Dipping Sauces
Garlic Naan/Cucumber Raita
Kachumber Salad
Tandoori Shrimp
Basmati Rice
No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart*

From Family Circle via MasterCook.

*No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart

1 package (9 oz.) Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (see Note)
1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 C. milk chocolate chips
3/4 C. bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 C. heavy cream
6 strawberries, sliced

Crush the chocolate wafers (or graham crackers) and combine with the melted butter.  Press the mixture into a 5x14-inch rectangular tart pan (I had some left over and made a couple of individual tart shells as well). Chill until firm.

Place the chocolates and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir the mixture and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds.  Stir again until smooth, microwaving for another 20 seconds if the chocolate is not completely melted.  Cool the mixture slightly (about 5 minutes) and pour into the chilled tart shell(s).  Top with sliced strawberries and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares or wedges.  Serves 12.

Note: I used two-thirds of a 14.4 oz. box of Nabisco Honey Maid Chocolate Graham Crackers (two of the three sleeve packs, or about 16 full sheets of crackers) because that is what I had on hand.


Even though I have cut back drastically on sugar consumption, there just has to be chocolate on the table for Valentine's Day!  The little bowls at each place setting contain a foil-wrapped Reese's Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Heart, a Milk Chocolate Lindt Lindor Truffle, and the new Strawberries and Cream White Chocolate Lindt Lindor Truffle (which is awesome!):

Red bird candleholders, from Pier 1 ages ago, and a huge bouquet of
red roses from my husband adorn the credenza.

I hope you have a
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Winter Weekend Getaway Travel Wardrobe

Hermes Silk Scarf Henri de Linares 'Les Plumes' in Pink.

For this weekend before Valentine's Day, I put together a travel wardrobe, suitable for a long weekend getaway, that features a unique color combination based upon the intriguing feather-print scarf shown above.   I was not sure how well the coppery spice color would work with blush pink and taupe, but they seem to play together pretty well.  Take a look and see what you think, starting with the outfit to wear while traveling to your chosen destination:

Clockwise from top left: Hinge Slub Knit Panama Hat in Pink Crystal; Melinda Maria Mini Nina Feather Earrings in Gold; Betty & Co. Long-Sleeved T-Shirt in Roseshell; Coldwater Creek Knit Denim Straight-Leg Jeans in Spice; Steve Madden Ecentercq Slip-On Sneakers in Blush; Avia Metallic Bow Leather Gloves in Pale Pink; 'Leslie' Blush Pink Boyfriend Coat; Hermes Silk Scarf Henri de Linares 'Les Plumes'.

Here is the collection to pack for the trip:

Clockwise from top left: H&M Knit Cardigan in Taupe; Claire Chase Canzater All In One Leather Carrry On Pullman in Saddle; Wallis Pale Pink Zip Blouse; Land's End Women's Short Sleeve Supima Sweater in Sand Blush Heather; T By Alexander Wang Scoop Neck T-Shirt in Blush Pink; Kim Rogers Siena Leather Bucket Crossbody Bag in Taupe Fall; Cole Haan Nantucket Loafers in Desert Taupe; Coldwater Creek Knit Denim Slim-Leg Leggings in Spice; H&M Rib Knit Sweater in Rust; Center, top to bottom: jewelbirdvintage Gold Tone Feather Link Choker Necklace; KaelMijoy Pink and White Feather Polymer Clay Necklace; Melinda Maria Feather Cuff Bracelet in Plain Gold.

In our unpredictable and unusually mild winter here in Georgia this year, the range of top styles is a necessity (our weather has been bouncing around from lows in the mid-20s to highs in the mid-70s, so anything from a sweater to a short-sleeved t-shirt might be required).  This wardrobe would suit all but the fanciest occasions, but if something a bit more elegant is needed, simply add a pair of nice trousers and some pumps to the suitcase:

Top: Whistles Flared Cropped Trousers in Pale Pink;
Bottom: J. Crew Dulci Suede Kitten Heels in Kraft Brown.


I hope you have a great weekend, whether you get to travel or not!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Soup

I have been obsessed with soups lately, so, not surprisingly, today's recipe is another soup!  Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Soup is a creation from the Skinnytaste website, so you know it has to be good for you!  The vegetables are the only thickener in this soup - no flour or dairy of any kind is involved.  I added garlic and a no-salt seasoning blend for additional flavor, but even without these additions the roasting process adds tastiness to the dish.  Try this healthy and satisfying soup on a cold winter's day and you won't be disappointed!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Soup

16 oz. Brussels Sprouts, halved
16 oz. cauliflower florets
3 T. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. all-purpose seasoning blend (such as Mrs. Dash)
4 C. vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Place the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower florets in a large baking pan.  Toss with 2 T. oil and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Roast in the bottom third of the oven at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking time, until slightly browned.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat 1 T. oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion.  Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

Reserve about one generous cup of the roasted vegetables and keep warm.  Transfer the rest to the pot and simmer for 2 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup mixture until smooth.  (If the soup is too thick, thin with additional stock or water.)  Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper as needed.

Spoon into four bowls and top with the reserved roasted vegetables.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: An Awesome Island Lighthouse Home in Michigan

Have you ever wanted your very own private island?  Or perhaps you've always dreamed of living in a lighthouse.  Well, for just under 1.5 million dollars you can have both!  This very special Michigan lighthouse home on its own private island in St. Mary's River is available right now, and is the perfect place for an idyllic waterfront lifestyle.  It even comes with its own caretaker!  Despite the steep asking price, this house is not at all ostentatious.  Instead it is a study in elegantly casual simplicity, which I find admirable.  Just take a look at these images:


If I were extremely rich and had a hankering for living next to the water, I would certainly consider buying this lovely island lighthouse home!