Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Prince William Belt

Undeniably all eyes were on Prince George when he first arrived, but there's also been some attention given to Dad's belt.

The Argentine polo belts can be found in the US at:

Or in the UK at:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thos Moser Woodwork Chairs

A friend said to me, "There is a reason cocktail hour begins around five." She was speaking in reference to newborns and the so called witching hour that occurs in the early evening. Having just had a baby, I can appreciate this. Also, having a child, one starts to learn that there was a reason that someone invented the rocker.

Back in the day they knew how to make a good, quality rocking chair. It was comfortable to sit in and made to last. These days, while harder to find in grandpa's work shed, Thos. Moser has just what you are looking for.

The furniture is American made using local black cherry wood right from their backyard in the state of Maine. The company believes in sustainability - the piece should last at least as long as it takes to grow the tree - 75 to 125 years!

The woodworkers at This. Moser use element to element, or the mortise and tenon joint, so the wood pieces contract and expand naturally with temperature changes.

Whether young, old, or in between, you just can't beat a good rocking chair. And a quality rocking chair starts with craftsmanship. When it comes to quality and craftsmanship of wood design, no one does it better than Thos. Moser.

Not all styles are old school, they have some modern rockers too:

And there are non-rockers:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No Nothing sign

I still have no idea what this sign is saying, but I think it is absolutely phenomenal.

Photo taken in Scotland.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Yes, you read that correctly, not just chocolate, not just chocolate and peanut butter, but chocolate and peanut butter and salt. A.Maze.Ing. Need I say more? I didn't think so...

Inspired by Martha Stewart's peanut butter swirl brownies, I upped the ante and threw in a few twists of my own. Read it, bake it, eat it, and enjoy. With love from my kitchen to yours:

1 1/2 stick of butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter *
3 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon salt

*chunky or smooth, your choice! I usually go with smooth.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Walton's Fancy and Staple, a patisserie

Coined by the French, a patisserie is a bakery producing only the best of pastries. It is a term not to be bestowed upon lightly. 

Breads, puff pastry, flaky pastry, and strudels - all are up for grabs at Walton's Fancy and Staple. Along with cupcakes, cookies, macarons, and tarts, both sweet and savory, Walton's haas become a great Austin patisserie.

One of my favorites is the Honey Bee Cake, an almond cake layered with caramel buttercream and topped with a chocolate ganache. Added bonus, isn't it adorable? Pictured below left.

And yes, the cinnamon buns taste as amazing as they look...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cherry Blossoms

It's officially the first day of Spring! And... today marks the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival!

The trees were a gift from Japan to the U.S. over 100 years ago and still continue to grace us with their beauty and symbolism. The first trees were planted in Washington along the tidal basin, where the Jefferson memorial now sits.

It was a gift that keeps on giving, each and every year.

 Now the cherry blossoms have spread and can be found throughout the city of Washington.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Barbour Bedale

When my husband first met me, he said he had never known a girl that owned so many sweaters. That's what happens when you grow up in the cold of Michigan. And being a gal from Michigan, I know a good, quality jacket.

In walks my Barbour Bedale:

What's go great about the Barbour waxed coats is that they are waxed. So any rain or snow (or spill of a drink) runs right off the side.

But what really gets the golden ticket for me is the sleeves. You know how sometimes you are outside, in the winter, in the cold, and a breeze makes it way right up your arm. Well, the Bedale has a soft wool inner cuff that snuggles its way around your wrist. Good luck sneaking in there!

Another thing that I quite enjoy about this jacket is that there is an under arm breathe way. When it's cold outside we like to layer - and layer and layer. And well, after a lot of layering, it can get a bit stuffy inside. I'm sure you get the picture. But don't worry, the studded vents won't let that breeze back in.

Mind you, the Bedale was initially designed for equestrians, so when you see it in the shop and try it on, you might notice that the back of the jacket has extra room, perfect for riders, but not so perfect for street folk. The intention is that a rider has room to let loose on the reins when atop a horse. But, if you are not atop a horse, then the extra room simulates the hunchback of Notre Dame. Not to worry, the back of the coat will drop. Give it a few wears and I promise it will break in.

For more interesting tidbits about the Barbour Bedale, visit The Daily Prep.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Florence, Italy

It was a rainy day when we went to Florence, but that didn't change a thing. Rain or shine, this city sparkles with a medieval beauty.

View from the Ponte Vecchio

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Fat Tuesday!

It's hard to beat the Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter of New Orleans, but there are other ways to celebrate. And with the accessibility of the world these days, you don't have to travel to NOLA to get a taste of it, literally (yes, we can use that here). In walks Abita Beer.

 Abita beers are brewed with just the right touch of flavor. Some of my favorites:

Grapefruit - refreshingly tart, but not sour. Give it a good sniff first, your nose will thank you.
Amber - the brewery's original and a customer favorite, me included.
Jockamo IPA - hoppy like an IPA should be. Caution: Slightly higher in alcohol by volume, as is the case with most IPAs.
Purple Haze - a hint of berry. Sweet to start or finish. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hot Buttered Rum

So we're at Winflo and I saw a Hot Toddy on the cocktail list. I've never been much of a whiskey girl, so I asked for a hot "something other than whiskey" toddy. The bartender happily obliged and was excited to get to mixing. He came back with a delightful concoction of dark rum, kahlua, hot water, lemon, and a tiny cube of butter slowly melting on top.

I closed my eyes and delightfully inhaled the different aromas as the steam warmed my face. It was scrumptious before I even took my first sip. So you can imagine how much better it went from there...

The drink reminded me of the first time we were introduced to Hot Buttered Rum. It was at Henry's bar, housed in the Harbor View Hotel on Martha's Vineyard. The hotel said they do their version with spiced rum, butterscotch schnapps, and some hot water.

Everyone seems to have their own take on how to make the hot drink. Google recipes for Hot Buttered Rum and most recipes start with an infused butter. But let's be honest, who has the time and patience for that.

Yes, it's a total calorie splurge since Hot Buttered Rum is rum and butter, but once in a while it just hits the spot. Here's my simple, easy make-at-home recipe:

Thursday, February 20, 2014