Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday Favorties from Privet & Holly, Our French Oasis, Pretty Pink Tulips, Castles, Crowns and Cottages, HIP Paris and More

Good morning! A very happy weekend to you. It is going to be a wet, chilly one here so that means a self imposed lazy weekend. I can use it because every muscle in my body aches because of my new workout regimen. In addition to weight training I have been taking hot yoga strength classes. Apparently, I have no muscle mass because it hurts to lift my arm when I brush my teeth and every time I walk up and down the stairs. I will be enjoying all of my favorites from this week while I rest and recover. 

Keri Rosenthal "Hint of Lime" photo via Elizabeth Pretty Pink Tulips

Mother's Day is fast approaching and if you would like to win a beautiful Kerri Rosenthal painting head over to Pretty Pink Tulips and share your happiest memory of your mother. NOTE: The painting above is not the one in the contest, visit Elizabeth's blog to see it. 

Or if your mother is a chocolate lover, you should consider baking this Magleby's "Copycat" Chocolate Cake Recipe aka "The Best Chocolate Cake Ever" from Once Upon A Chocolate Life. I have made it several times and it really is one of most delicious cakes I have ever made, chocolaty, moist and covered in creamy frosting. 

Can you see the Magic in Life? Wether you think you can or you can't, visit Suzanne's post at Privet & Holly, she is an incredibly talented write and photographer and friend and I love for people to discover her talents. 

Speaking of talent, I am in awe of creative people and no one more so than my dear friend Anita, from Les Dames d' abord or Castles, Crowns and Cottages as it is formerly known. In addition to her writing, Anita has been practicing and developing her photography skills and is she is creating magic. If you do not follow her blog make sure to check out her Instagram page.

 I LOVE Paris and have been lucky enough to travel and spend a lot of time there, so I frequently share links about it and each time that I do my French followers email me and ask me why I do not focus on other parts of France.  This week I wanted to share one of my favorite French blogs, Our French Oasis written by Susan, of Charente Maritime of South West France where she lives in a small village with her husband and five children. Susan and her husband are English and have lived all over the world including New Zealand, the USA and the Caribbean but are now calling France home, you can follow along on their adventures as they fix up their old French home and explore their region along with enjoying their French oasis. 

By the way, if you know anyone that loves Paris, and social media and will be there this summer, check out HIP Paris Blog, they are looking for a Summer intern based in Paris. 

Have you seen Becoming Bulletproof, I recently watched it and loved it. It is a documentary that follow a group of disabled adults who make a film and so much more.  You will never look at a dialed person the same way again.

To all of those who commented on my post Just Curious...Do You Write Honest Comments on Social Media I would like to say thank you. The world is a crazy place, blogging is sometimes as well and although I frequently write about food, travel sometimes I have other things on my mind and it is nice to be able to share in a discussion with you about them.

I hope that you found something here that you liked! If you found something interesting this week, please share!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Just Curious...Do You Write Honest Comments on Social Media

Good morning! A couple of weeks ago I read a post on Elements of Style, the gist of which was that Erin was having a bit of a rough patch juggling motherhood, work, and other commitments including her book, blog and a few more things. I noticed that there were lot of comments and so being the nosy person that I am I read through them to see what people were saying because obviously this post had touched a nerve.  There were positive and negative comments and everything in between. 

What I found interesting is that when someone left a comment that was perceived as negative or was in fact negative, the comments following it were often nasty, snarky comments about the person that wrote the negative comment. 

Erin even posted a comment defending herself and her post and then her husband wrote a response to the comments sticking up for his wife. 

I actually couldn't stop thinking about it for a few days and I wondered if you read a blog or another form of social media are you "allowed" to write an honest comment or opinion? Or do you have to say something nice or say nothing at all if you cannot think of something nice to say? I'm not talking about mean-spirited, bitchy comments, I talking about offering your opinion on a post whether or not it is the opposite of that person who wrote the post. 

The world of social media is a interesting place because it is open to everyone, the "haves and the have nots" the educated and uneducated, the well traveled and people whom have never left their town, the beautiful people and the not so, people who live exotic and exciting lives and people who just survive, I could go on and on but you know what I am talking about. The world through social media is incredibly small and yet at the same time magnifies the differences between people in so many ways.

The fact is that someone is always going to have more than you and someone is going to have less than you, you are going to have more than someone and less than someone. But it doesn't make you a better or worse person. Sometimes though people who have more are perceived as braggarts(sometimes they are) and those who have less get irritated by the people who have more and brag about it. 

I will say that anytime your hit publish you are putting yourself out there to be scrutinized by whomever reads your stuff. That's the way it is and so I wonder, what do people put such personal stuff out there? Are they really asking for an opinion? Are they gluttons for punishment? 

I personally do not leave a comment unless I have something nice to say. I have been on the receiving end of a few nasty comments and I do not like it. What's funny is they were often because someone tried to bake something that I posted about and it didn't work. Do I deserve to be called names because you made the cake and poured all the batter into a 6 inch pan instead of a 9 inch and it leaked all over your oven? 

That said, I absolutely believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and I think it is sad that we are becoming a society where if you do not agree with someones opinion you are often criticized and bullied and that is not right either.  

So please share, what are your thoughts about comments in social media? Do you feel as if you can speak your mind or do you think you always have to say something nice? 

I hope that you have a great day! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cinnamon Stuffed Challah Bread

Good morning and a very happy week to you! Did you enjoy your weekend? I did; the weather was beautiful, sunny and 71, no humidity, just perfect. I did a little gardening, cooking and lots of reading.  Although to be honest, I am awaiting the days for warmer water and time out on my board. 

I have always been a fan of yeast breads, and recipes because they remind me of my grandmother and my childhood.  Yeast has not however been a fan of me. Frequently I end up with flat, hard breads and pastries. Lately though I have tried a few new things and I am having a little more success. 

Last week I made this Cinnamon-Walnut Stuffed Challah bread, minus the walnuts and it turned out perfect, not to mention fabulous! The only thing I did that I do not normally do is use yeast in a jar instead of from a package and to proof the dough, I turned the oven on to 350 for 1 minute and then turned it off. This seemed to make all the difference in the rise of the bread. 

Cinnamon-Walnut Stuffed Challah Bread
Recipe from Completely Delicious


1/2 cup hot milk
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 envelope(21/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 large eggs

1/2 cup un-salted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
2 cups chopped walnuts(I omitted these)


Combine the milk, honey, and butter n a small saucepan set over medium heat. Warm until butter is just melted. Remove from heat and let she mixture cool for 5 minutes, or until it is between 120-130 degrees F. 
In the bowl of a stand miser fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 cups flour salt, cinnamon and yeast. Then add the milk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and make sure to incorporate each one before adding the other. 
Add the remaining flour one tablespoon at a time being sure to incorporate it fully into the mixture. When all of the flour has been added, the dough will be very soft, but clear the sides of the bowl. If you need to add a little more flour. Then knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes. 
Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic. Place in an area that is warm and free from drafts, for about an hour or until doubled in size. Once risen, carefully punch down the dough and knead for a few minutes by hand. 

To assemble the Challah:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and walnuts(if using). Mix until smooth.
Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces. Working with each piece separately, roll until 12 x 6 inches rectangle, then spread a generous amount of the filling onto the dough. Starting at the long end roll the dough like a cinnamon roll. Once finished, place onto a pan lined with a Silphat or a parchment. Repeat with the remaining 1 or two pieces. Once finished braid the pieces together and then tuck the ends under. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let reuse for 30-45 minutes. 
In the meantime, preheat oven to 350. Then make an egg wash with 1 egg and 1 tsp water. Brush mixture onto loaf.  Bake until golden, about 30-45 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes. 

What do you think? Do you like cinnamon? Are you a fan of hot, yeasty bread right from the oven? Do you have a favorite bread recipe? If so, please share!

I hope that you have a fabulous week!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday Favorites from Messy Nessy Chic, The Simple Luxurious Life, Fast company, The Brown Eyed Bake and More

Good morning! I hope that you had a great week! Mine was great, a little family time, a little work, and a little road trip. There may have also been some tasty treats and scrumptious meals as well. 

Skillet Cheeseburgers from The Brown Eyed Baker

Warmer weather means grilling, picnics, and dinners on the deck with lots of easy, tasty comfort food. Burgers are one of my all time favorite summer meals.  Should you find yourself craving a burger on a rainy, summer day, these Cast Iron Skillet Cheeseburger from the Brown Eyed Baker  would be perfect!

Blueberry Muffin Cake from Cookies and Cups

Looking for a breakfast treat to start the weekend? I think this Blueberry Muffin Cake from Cookies and Cups would be delicious!

Or maybe these Blueberry Crumb Bars?

Any plans for a trip to New York in your future? If so check out NYC's Most Secret Places from Messy Nessy Chic.

Love this list of 39 Ways to close out your email  from PR Daily!

Celebrate the Obstacles a podcast by Shannon of The Simple Luxurious Life  is full of reminders that we could all use once in awhile. 

What interesting things did you discover this week? A new blog, book, movie or article? Please share your finds!

Have a happy and safe weekend.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Just Curious...What is Your "Happy" Color?

Good morning! How is your week coming along? 

Mine is fabulous mostly because the weather has been so beautiful. In years past Spring/Summer have been my least favorite time of the year but as I age I find myself more drawn to the warm sun and relaxing spirit of these seasons.

I don't know about you but for years my favorite "color" was black, I wore it every season, lately though I have found myself drawn to colors I would never have worn, like green and orange. 

Image Refinery 29 via Pinterst

In fact I have found myself wearing crazy, colorful patterns and combinations, perhaps I am trying to get in touch with my inner Iris Apfel

 So today I am curious to know, what is your "happy color?" 

By that I mean what color makes you smile when you wear it or see it? 

Do you find your tastes in color changing as you age or are you still drawn to the same favorites you have had your whole life?

Do you find yourself drawn to the muted colors of Fall? The brights colors of Spring and Summer? Or the icy tones of Winter?

Whatever your favorite colors I hope they bring you joy and make you smile!

Enjoy your day. 

P.S: If you need a little color inspiration check out my Pinterest Color Board.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Salted Alfajores Bars

Good morning and a happy Monday to you. It is funny what a little warm weather and sun will do for a persons spirit. This weekend in my neck of the woods, although it was chilly Saturday, Sunday was beautiful, sunny and the first opportunity to sit, relax and enjoy the weather. 

I read, relaxed, worked a bit and of course baked. Oddly enough I may have mentioned that I am "dieting", the dreaded "D Word" and I find that I actually bake more when I cannot or do not want eat the food. This weekend I baked a batch of of salted alfajores and the friends who were the recipients said they were scrumptious. 

For those who do not know what an alfajores is, it is like the Oreo's of South America and it is a pair of sugar cookies with a layer of Dulce de leche in between. 

I visited Buenos Aries in December and I would not be exaggerating if I said I ate my weight in these cookies, in fact the only thing,  other than a leather hand-bag. I brought home was 10 lbs of these cookies. In case you are wondering I did share a few but for the most part, I ate them all. Which explains why I am dieting!

The great thing about this recipe from MB from Bourbon and Brown Sugar is that it is an all in one bar cookie, you still get the classic taste of a traditional alfajores cookie but with the ease of a bar cookie. 

Salted Alfajores Bars 
Recipe from Bourbon and Brown Sugar

  • 4 sticks (1 pound) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 16 ounce jar dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars, and beat until creamy. Then add the vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the flour into the butter mixture and mix on low speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  3.  Press half the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place the remaining dough aside in the refrigerator to chill until needed. 
  4. Bake the bottom crust until firm and the edges are a golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. When the bottom crust is finished, let it rest for about five minutes. Microwave the dulce de leche for about 30 seconds so that it softens  and is easy to spread. Spoon the dulce de leche onto the bottom crust, and spread it evenly. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it over the dulce de leche layer. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the topping. Return the pan to the oven and bake it until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let it cool completely the with a sharp knife to cut the bars in squares and enjoy. 

I hope that you try these bars, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. If you try them, do let me know I want to know if you like them.

I hope that you have a fabulous week.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Friday Favorites from Tone on Tone, Cup of Jo, The Iron You, The Food Charlatan and More

Good morning! How was your week? Unfortunately, I am still fighting my cold and coughing all night. That is the most annoying part. Oh well  what can you do? 

Another weekend of rainy, cold weather headed this way so I will be stuck inside recuperating and relaxing. What about you? 

Image Tone on Tone

Spring is definitely in the air somewhere, here it looks like spring but there is still a bitter wind. No matter though because after reading Loi's of Tone on Tone post this week Arrangements in White I have all the inspiration I need to bring Spring into my house. If you like flowers you have to check out this post, Loi teamed with several blog/Instagram friends and they all posted about arrangements in white. Stunning is putting it mildly!

Image from Cup of Joe

Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day, unless I am eating something sweet like pancakes, waffles, cinnamon rolls or something like that and by that I mean containing sugar. For the most part I start my day with a  protein shake or avocado and eggs on sprouted grain bread, which is tasty and good for me. But I think I may start making this fabulous Breakfast Board which I spotted on Cup of Jo.

Chickpea Tikka Masala Image from the Iron You

I discovered a fabulous blog this week, The Iron You, written by Mike it is filled with beautiful recipes, photos and tips for living a healthier lifestyle.

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever from The Food Charlatan

This is not healthy, but hey a person can have a treat once in awhile right? I LOVE chocolate cake with lots of frosting and have been searching for a new recipe to try so I think I will be making this Magleby's Copy-cat Chocolate Cake from The Food Charlatan.

This article, When I'm Gone from Medium  will definitely give you something to think about. Make sure you have a box of Kleenex though because you are going to need it. 

love stories like these and would love to discover a long lost treasure in my attic!

This is another great story, from homeless to baker!

That is it for this week, I hope you found something new here this week. If you found something interesting or tasty please share.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Feeling the Blue(s) and White

Good morning! How is your week? Mine has been great although I am feeling the blues because I have a Spring cold and sore throat and consequently have not slept well for the last four days. Last night was the worst because it felt as if I coughed the entire night. Anyway today I thought I would cheer myself up by checking out one of my favorite Pinterest boardsBlue & White Love,  where I pin everything from rooms, to clothes, to dishes and more.

Blue-White Mervyn Gers Ceramics

Blue and White Mark D Skies

Blue-White Viebeke Design

Blue and White Tea Service from Tea Time Magazine

Blue and White Sunroom by Emily Henderson

Blue-White Plates

Blue White Pillows Image from Home Bunch designed by Flemming Homes

Blue-White From Ashley Seawell Design

Blue and White fruitcake

Blue and White Carolyne Rohm

Blue and White Dinnerware Image from Studio Karin

Blue-White from Thistlewood Farm

Blue and White Chinoiserie Chic

Are you a fan of blue and white? Do share your Pinterest boards if you have them! 

Have a great day!