Thursday, November 30, 2017

Little Things...

Photo of Reservoir Park, Pinehurst, North Carolina taken by me. 

It's the little things in life that bring the most joy. A walk in the park. Time spent with family. A snuggle with my niece. A warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold morning. The twinkling lights of my tree. My sweet pups greeting me after a 5 minute trip outside as if they hadn't seen me in a month. A text from my mom. A pile of Christmas magazines in the mail. Watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and loving it just as much now as I did when I was a child. 

In the hustle and bustle of the coming month, take the time to savor the small things.

Have a great day. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tartan at Brooks Brothers and #Givingtuesday

This post contains affiliate links.

Good afternoon! I am a little late posting today because I am still under the weather and frankly my energy is zapped and it is a pain when you cannot hear. 

Tartan Jacket

No matter, I wanted to let you know in case you didn't already that today is #GivingTuesday! Giving Tuesday has been celebrated the last 6 years the Tuesday After Thanksgiving, and is a global movement that harnesses the power of social media to get people to donate their time, money and more to charities world wide. 

Many stores, including one of my favorites, Brooks Brothers is giving 10% off of your purchase today and donating 10% of the purchase to the charity of its choice, St. Jude. 

Brooks Brothers Dress

If you are a fan of tartan, as I am, you can get yourself or someone a gift today and make a donation while shopping. Does it get any easier?

Brooks Brothers Dress on sale

Here are some of my favorite tartan piece from Brooks Brothers. 

Great dress for a party

I ordered this dress above and I cannot wait to wear it, it has a classic style and silhouette and I think would be great for a party or to wear to a meeting as well. 

Tartan Skirt

I am contemplating this skirt, it reminds me a little of my old uniforms but I love this mix of tartans!

There are many more fun tartan pieces at Brooks Brothers, including scarfs, shoes and more.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hot Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Cheese Dip

Post contains affiliate links. 

Good morning! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a long weekend. Mine was great, although I was sick for most of it. In fact on Thanksgiving night I was in bed at 5:30 and I slept until 10:30 Friday morning. I have a sore throat and a cold and now I cannot hear in one ear. Needless to say no one is getting much sleep at my house because I am coughing all night. But it is the start of a new week and hopefully I will be feeling better soon.

We spent Thanksgiving with my brother and his family and it was so nice to be with my niece and nephew. They are growing so fast, my nephew who is10 made a movie while we were there and like most kids is more proficient at iMovie than I am. He even wrote a screen play for the next movie he is directing.

My family loves food and luckily most of us love to cook. My brother and husband love to cook and are great at it, and my brother is a fabulous baker as well. Needless to day we cooked, baked and ate a lot of great food. On Thanksgiving we also got up early to go the the blessing of the hounds, which was a beautiful ceremony, although it was a wee bit cold.

Among the many things we ate this weekend this Caramelized Onion and Gruyere dip was one of them. It is so easy to make and is cheesy, creamy and delicious. I think it would be a great dip to make for a holiday party, tree trimming day or even on game day.

Hot Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Dip
Recipe from Recipes of Spicy Southern Kitchen

4 bacon strips
2 sweet onions, cut in half and thinly slice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoonTabasco
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon in a large skillet. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate, let cool. Once cooled crumble the bacon. 
Add the onions, sugar and salt to the bacon fat in the skillet and cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often until the onions turn brown, if the onions start to burn turn the heat down to low. 
Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the thyme and the Tabasco sauce. Remove from the heat. 
In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream and the mayonnaise, add the crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and black pepper and the onion mixture. Mix well and transfer to a 2 cup baking dish or cast iron skillet. 
Bake for 20 minutes or until the mixture is golden and bubbly on top.
Serve with crackers and a sliced baguette. 

I hope that you have a great week!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Holiday Gifts

Good afternoon! I am laid up with a sore throat and a cold so I put together a few of my favorite holiday gifts.

Image Country Living

Here are a few of my favorite perfumes that would make a great gift for you, your family and friends.

For the dachshund lover in your life here are a few things you might like, I am partial to the pillows!

As you know I love tartan and I could not resist posting these beautiful mittens. After all who can't use another pair of mittens to keep their hands warm on a cold day?

Anyone for a few pieces of Engligh toffee or perhaps a caramel or two?

What are your favorite gifts to give and receive? I personally think that you cannot go wrong with a wonderful scarf, mittens, perfume, box of candy to accompany a gift card, or perhaps even a candle.

I hope that you are having a great day!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope today you find yourself surrounded by family and friends. And of course eating all of your favorite holiday foods. 

I am thankful for so many things, my family, my friends, my health and so much more. I am also thankful for you! Thank you for your always kind positive thoughts and for sharing a part of your day with me when you visit here. 

Be safe and have a wonderful day. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

10 Christmas Gifts for the Baker in Your Life

Good morning! I know that most of us have our minds on family, friends and food this week getting ready for Thanksgiving but for many once the meal is done they are headed off to shop.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite things to get for the baker in your life. Something small like measuring spoons and cups are great stocking stuffers. As are pot holdersaprons and extracts. If you want to get something really special for the baker in your life you can always gift them a Kitchen Aid Mixer! My mom gave each of my siblings and I one when we turned 21 and my husband and I have gifted them to our daughter and daughter-in-law the last two years.

What is your favorite kitchen utensil that you bake with? A rolling pin, a baking mat, or perhaps a favorite pan. Please share so that we can add those to our own kitchens and Christmas lists too! 

 Have a great day!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Good morning! I hope that you had a great weekend. Mine was perfect, my mom has been visiting and we had a wonderful weekend sewing pillows, working on a special family Christmas project and baking. We also watched Christmas movies, read magazine and relaxed. Unfortunately she left for home so it is back to the grindstone for me today.

Pheasant platesimilar cake standsimilar napkin

I am busy making preparations for Thanksgiving with my brother and his family and I cannot wait. We love food and my brother and husband are both great cooks. My brother also happens to be a spectacular baker so I am hoping not to gain 10 pounds this week.

similar cake stand, vintage nutmeg grater, similar here similar napkin here

I tried a new pumpkin cheesecake this week and I thought I would share it with you, as with all cheesecakes it is easy to make. The good news is that you can make it ahead and even freeze it if you want. You can also garnish it with whatever you like, a praline sauce, cranberry sauce, or just nuts and whipped cream. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Recipe from All She Cooks

12 Tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
21/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
23/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
2 lbs. room temperature cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 15oz. can of pure pumpkin 
6 large room temperature eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
21/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

preheat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a 10 Spring form pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. 

In a bowl, mix the butter,  the graham crackers and 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Once mixed pour into the pan and press into the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 

Let crust cool. Once pan is cooled wrap the pan well in aluminum foil and place in a roasting pan. Bring a pot of water to a boil. 

While waiting for the water the boil prepare the filling. 

Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until light. Add the sour cream, mix until blended. Then add the pumpkin, eggs, spices and the vanilla. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated then pour into the prepared pan. 

Place the roaster in the oven and pour the boiling water into the roaster. until it comes half way up the  side of the spring form pan. Be careful not to splash and get water on the cheesecake. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until the cheesecake is set on the edges and wiggly in the center. 

Open the oven door to release a little heat and then leave the cake in the oven for an additional 1 hour. Carefully remove the cake from the pan, and let cool on a rack for 1 hour. Then run a knife around the edges of the pan and place in the oven to cool for 8 hours. 

When ready to serve remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and let it warm up a bit, remove from the spring form pan and serve. You can garnish with whipped cream, cranberry sauce or enjoy it plain. 

So tell me, what did you make this weekend? Will you be hosting Thanksgiving dinner or will you be going to someone else's house? What will you be baking?

Have a great week! 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Friday Favorites from The Simple Luxurious Life, Creations by Cara, Carlsbad Cravings, and More

This post contains affiliate links. 

Good morning! Happy Friday! How was your week? Mine has been fabulous, my mother and I have been Christmas shopping, baking, watching holiday movies, working out and eating a lot of our favorite things. Today my mom is making me some pillows and  Christmas stockings. I will be sitting by her side supplying moral support, coffee and sustenance.

Can you believe that six days from now it's Thanksgiving? I can't but I am so excited to see my family and to cook our family favorites. 

Image from What Should I Make for...

Are you ready for the "big day"? If not I have a few ideas to help you prepare for your guests, although I am sure that you do not need any. I will be starting the day with this easy and delicious looking Cranberry Chutney and Brie Crostini from What Should I Make for... I think this chutney would also be fabulous on Thanksgiving leftovers as well. 

Image & Recipe Carlsbad Cravings

Doesn't this Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf from Carlsbad Cravings look like the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Believe it or not it can be made in one pot. 

Yummy White Dinner Rolls from Creations by Kara

Fluffy Fabulous Dinner Rolls are a must on the Thanksgiving. I cannot wait to make these. I think they will also be perfect for leftover turkey, chutney sandwiches. 

Pecan Pie Cheesecake from OMG Chocolate Desserts

Image The Simple Luxurious Life

If you need to stock up on a few books to read while you are relaxing after the feast check out Shannon of The Simple Luxurious Life's holiday book list. 

On my movie list: 

Have you seen them? Katie at Preppy Empty Nester said that Christopher Robin is fabulous. 

New York Street Style

Coloring books for adults have been the rage for the last few years. New York Street Style by Zoe de las Cases is the perfect one for all of the fashionistas in your life. The book is beautifully illustrated with sketches by Zoe of the outfits, hairstyles and accessories and sites of New York. I think this would make a wonderful Christmas gift. 

Speaking of Christmas, if you are looking to add a little color to your holiday look check out these fabulous lipsticks and nail colors that I recently discovered. I do not typically wear dramatic colors like these but I have recently ordered this polish to wear to a party that I am attending. I love this lipstick but I haven't made up my mind just yet, 

What about you? Are you a fan of a bit of color at the holidays? Do you have a favorite polish or lip color that you wear?

I hope that you have a fabulous weekend. As always, please safe your recipes, books and finds with us!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Advent Calendars

This post contains affiliate links. 

Good morning! I hope that you are keeping warm, as it seems many of us are experiencing below average temperatures. It seems as if we skipped the Fall weather and went right to Winter, not full blown freezing, rainy weather just cold, windy, grey days. 
For most of my childhood and adulthood for that matter I have lived away from my family but my family has always made me feel special even from miles away. 


One of the things that my grandparents used to send us every Christmas was an Advent calendar. My siblings and I took turns opening the little doors each day and counting down the days until Christmas. The little chocolates were the highlight of a cold winter day.

Stocking Garland

I did the same thing from my grand kids a few years ago when I sent a little advent calendar that was a string of 25 alternating red and white mittens. The first year I filled each mitten with candy and my little grandsons loved it. Now each year it is the first thing they like to hang and each afternoon after school they run over to it, counts the days and takes out a Hershey's kiss or one of their favorite treats.

Paper Envelope Calendar

I have seen so many fabulous ones that you can make on Pinterest or that you can buy handcrafted from Etsy. If however making on is not in the cards for you this year here are a few of my favorites.

Do you have an advent calendar that your family uses to count the days until Christmas? Is it an heirloom or something that you made, was it yours as a child? 

I think no matter your age one can always use a little whimsy each day to remember the reason for the season. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

10 Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pumpkin Pie

Good morning! I hope that you are having a great week. I am a wee but tired.  I started a boot camp this week and I go from 6:45-7:15 and get my butt kicked, then I take my dog(s) for a 2 mile walk and then I am off to hot yoga for an hour. Needless to say I can't wait for the weekend and my two day rest. 

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie From Gimme Some Oven

I love dessert, but then you know that. At the holidays I take great joy in making and giving away things I make, especially if it is a family favorite using a recipe from my grandmother. 

My grandmother and my mother always made pumpkin and pecan pie and that was it. Pumpkin is my favorite with a little or a lot of whipped cream depending upon how many potatoes and yeast rolls I ate at dinner. 

I know that many people do not like either pie so I made a list of 10 Thanksgiving desserts you might want to try instead. If you like pumpkin pie I have included a great Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Recipe which I have made and loved. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

No-Bake Turtle Tarts

Chocolate Mousse Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Slab Apple Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie from Baking a Moment

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

Cranberry Torte

Cream Puffs with Praline Sauce and Toasted Pecans

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars

What do you make for Thanksgiving dessert? Are you a die hard pie person or do you make another family favorite? Are you open to new recipes? Or are you a traditionalists?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Magical Snow Globes for Christams

Good morning! Thank you so much for your very kind birthday wishes, I appreciate them so much. I had a fabulous day and I am so happy that my mom came to spend it with me. 

I am slowly sorting my Christmas decorations and weeding out the things that I no longer use. Then I may or may not add one or two new items to my decorations. 

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is this snowman snow globe that I have had for years and years. It makes me smile every time I shake it and watch the snow swirl. Although I do not remember having a globe like it as a child I do remember receiving several of those half globes with the little plastic villages or Santa and his reindeer and I loved them. I remember thinking I would love the be flying with Santa and his reindeer or walking in one of those little villages. 

My favorites from this little collection that I put together for you are the snowman in winter wonderland with the birch base and the retro globe with the red truck and a snowman sitting in the back

I may have to add one of these to my Christmas decor this year. If you would like to read a little about the history of snow globes this article is interesting.

I hope that you have a great day!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Birthday To Me

Good morning! Yesterday was my 51st birthday and as I typically do I wanted to share a a few lessons I learned this year. 

1. Live your life every day and forget your age. 

2. Every day is a NEW day. 

3. Inner peace is the best peace. 

5. Sometimes burning bridges is awesome. It prevents you from going back to places you should never have visited to begin with. 

6. My mother was right. 

7. Sometimes you need yoga. Sometimes you need a donut. Sometimes you need both. 

8. Silence isn't empty. It's full of answers. You simply have to listen. 

9. If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. 

10. Sometimes you forgive people simply because you still want them in your life. 

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Christmas Wreaths

This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! A happy frigid Saturday morning to you. On days like today my mind is on Christmas.

At my house the first thing I decorate it my doors, sometimes with a simple evergreen or a handmade magnolia leaves wreath with clippings from my own tree. If you want you can follow this tutorial from Southern Living to make your own.

How do you decorate your door? Do you use a wreath? Or do you swag your door? Do you use fresh fruits and greens? 

Image HERE

This is actually my favorite decor for the door, isn't this cleaver? I have saved this image for 5 years but have yet to do this! Perhaps this will be the year. 

Have a great day!